Warning: This post has lots of pics, and may be a little like one of those boring slide shows your family members use to show of their ridiculous vacations!
For those of you who don't know we just surprised our two boys with a surprise trip to Disneyland a couple weeks ago. It was so much fun, and I had such a great time planning it. The boys had been to Disneyland once before 3 years ago, Corbyn had gotten sick on the trip and wasn't able to really see Disneyland and Kaison was just a baby. So we decided now was the perfect time to go again. So glad we did. It was a wonderful week together as a family, something very much needed. We made some great memories. And I have to say I'm super proud of us for getting all the way to California and actually in to the hotel room before we broke the news to the boys! Although we were expecting one of those reactions you see on America's Funniest Home Videos or something of the children jumping and screaming hysterically....that is not the reaction we got! It was still an excited reaction but much more mellow that we hoped for. Still good none the less.
In the weeks leading up to our trip I had begun to prepare gifts and items for the boys. I did this mostly to save money, but I thought it would hold more sentiment in the long run as well. I created a washi tape autograph book for each boy to use while at the two parks so they could collect the characters signatures. You can find the post on how I made them HERE. I also decided that since I'm not huge on character clothing I would create a t-shirt for them that was a little cooler. You can find my freezer paper "mouse stache" shirt HERE. I also went to several dollar stores (Dollar Tree, and 99 cents Only) and collected everything Disney (Mickey related) that was cool. I was able to find a ton of stuff. I used these items to create three separate gift bags to have Mickey & Minnie leave in the room each day for the boys. This would help to ward off a ton of "I wants" while at Disneyland. It worked so well. We let the boys look while at the two parks but made it clear that had a certain dollar amount to spend on the last day there, $20.
Our trip was booked through Get Away Today, and was perfect. We stayed at the Radisson Suites Hotel in Buena Park, it was a 10 minute drive from Disneyland. I will definitely stay at this Hotel again if we have the choice. It was perfect. It included a full hot breakfast each morning, the rooms were perfectly clean and all suites. The grounds were immaculate. I highly recommend it!
When we got to California I checked in and ran to the room before the boys to place their first day gift and note from Mickey & Minnie. It included their autograph books, some glow sticks, cars washcloths, and some minifigures of Disney characters I found at Dollar Tree in each bag. (Sorry the pics were off my phone) I also bought some water bottles and had a sweet friend cut our their names from vinyl in the Disney font and personalized the bottles, they loved them.
The second days gifts included a small plush stuffed Goofy & Mickey I found at Walmart. And two more minifigures for each boy. Another thing we did was bought large glow sticks and such at the dollar store to have each night during the World of Color show and fireworks. Saved a ton!
The last day of gifts included things like stickers, stencils, pens, and notepads, etc...All Mickey & Cars related, and some blinking light stick things I found at Target.
I also made some "Pressed Penny Money" for each boy to start collecting. I bought a couple mini M&M tubes from the store (ate the M&M's) then made labels for the tubes. Filled the tubes with pennies and quarters. They had a blast collecting them.
Other helpful tips:
Hit up your local Disney store where you live and buy up a bunch of collectors pins that are cheap or on clearance. Put them on a lanyard for the child to wear while at the parks, if they see a cast member who has a pin they want (as long as the cast member doesn't already have that pin) they must trade them. I've heard it's really fun for the kiddo's!
We ate at only one restaurant while in the parks for a full meal, it was in Frontierland and it was the Mexican restaurant called Rancho Del Zocalo. From what I read it was one of the only restaurants worth the money and gave you the best value. I totally agree. Not the best mexican food I've had by any means, but it was still great and great portions. Prices were in the $10 range for a full plate of food and a great place to sit and eat. The only other things we had to eat were the Dole Whips (I don't know what all the fuss is about) they were okay. A corn dog from the Corn Dog Castle in California Adventures. Seriously good! Awesome pic right!
And the Turkey Legs, OH MY HEAVENS! They were so good! The best we'd ever had. They must have been magical turkey legs! Ha Ha. Other than that we took lots of snacks, and bottled water in with us.
The only things we bought as souvenirs for the boys and my Mom were their first set of ears, and some Pecan rolls for my Mom. She loves them.
Now get ready for the rest of the pics!
(creeper in the background!)
Kaison break dancing while waiting for the boat.
Mickey and the staff liked my "mouse stache" shirts!
They thought it would be funny to all do mustaches!
This picture is a little blurry, but Kaison's face cracks me up!
The only bummer about the trip was how busy Cars Land was, we didn't get to do anything ride wise. Corbyn was bummed. Next time! We are so blessed, and I'm so thankful we made some wonderful memories with our boys!