Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Vacation Day 6: Disneyland

The very last day of our vacation was the day the kids & I were looking forward to the most.  

Who doesn't love Disneyland?  It's the happiest place on earth.  I love it & could go every day of my life & die happy.  People think I'm nuts, but I really really really love it.

Tarrish surprised all the kids with nets & purses with $20 inside for them to spend at Disneyland.  They were SO surprised & SO excited to shop.

We were so happy when we arrived on the tram.  It was so much fun being there with all 6 of my kids.  This was Craiger & Canyon's first time at Disneyland. . . as well as the first time the girls could ride big kid rides.  We knew it was going to be a fabulous day.

Right when we walked into the park, there were characters everywhere.  There were lines to see the characters too & since the boys were pretty scared of giant ducks, dogs, & mice we decided to warm them up to characters by doing rides first.  This was the closest we could get them to Donald, Pluto, Mickey, Minnie, & Cruella DaVil.

It was so much fun walking down Main Street with my boys showing them the castle for the first time.  The last time we went to Disneyland, Bladen was just a baby.  Everything was so exciting to them.

I love that my girls (& Bladen too) brought their mickey ears with them on the trip.  They love their ears & like to wear them every time we go to Disneyland.  Cadence & Lorien have had theirs for several years now.  Taya & Bladen both got their ears when we went about 3 years ago.  This time it was Craiger's turn to get some ears.  He couldn't wait.

Tarrish, Tuhk, Carolyn, & I took the 3 girls to Space Mountain very first since the line was only 20 minutes long.  This was the girls' first time riding a "big kid" ride.  They were SO excited.  The boys were all too small to ride, so Trek took them to the spinning rocket ships at the entrance of Tomorrowland while we rode Space Mountain.

The girls loved Space Mountain.  I was happy they liked it.  They've changed it since I rode it last many years ago.  I'm not sure I liked the newer version as much as I liked the older one. . . probably because whatever you're used to you always like more, but this was the girls' first ride so of course it's now their favorite.

The boys LOVED the rocket ships.  Trek rode with them while Oma rode with Emery.  Opa was a good sport & stayed behind with the babies while everybody rode rides.  The kids loved how it spun around & went up & down.

Trek then took the boys over to the Innovations building which has now been turned into the Marvel Universe.  FINALLY the boys have a "cool" place to visit at Disneyland.  The first thing they saw was Iron Man & all of his super high tech suits.

Then we joined up with them & stood in an hour & a half line to meet Captain America.  You can also visit Thor here as well, but we told the kids we would only stand in one line in this area & they chose Captain America.

The girls were more excited than the boys by the time we actually got to meet him.  Bladen was scared out of his mind & was screaming the entire time.  Craiger looked at him, but didn't want to touch him at all.  My boys are so funny.

Canyon LOVED him.  He kept trying to touch his shield & finally Captain America just let him touch it over & over & over again.  Canyon was SO happy & laughing by the time it was picture time.

I love this picture for so many reasons.  Hooray.  We met the REAL Captain America.  The girls are thrilled.  Canyon still wants to touch his shield.  Craiger is crying to the side of daddy not wanting to be anywhere near Captain America, & poor Bladen is in the very back having a panic attack with Opa.  And of course the minute we stepped out of the room, Bladen wanted to go back & see him again.  Yup, that's my boy!

After waiting in that long line, it was time for lunch so we found an eatery in Tomorrowland next to the Jedi Academy show.  Of course Lorien wanted to go try to be in the show so she ditched us & the food to try her luck in the crowd.  She was soon joined by Taya.

Much to my amazement BOTH my girls were chosen to be part of the Jedi Academy show.  Taya was a little nervous at first, but got the hang of it & Lorien was ready to rock & roll.  She's been wanting to be part of this show for YEARS now & has never been chosen.  She was beaming when they pointed to her in the crowd.

They got to put on Jedi capes & were given lightsabers to train with.  They were taught a routine & then when Darth Vader, Storm Troopers, & Darth Maul showed up, they knew just what to do to fight them off.

Trek & Canyon watched from the sidelines.  Everyone was loving it.

Taya got to fight Darth Vader himself.  She was one of the smallest kids up there & she did GREAT.

Lorien fought Darth Maul.  She knew exactly what she was doing & put her heart & soul into her battle.  She cracks me up.  I love her so much.

After lunch & Jedi fights, we made our way to the castle & into Fantasyland to meet the Frozen princesses. 

You want to talk about a line?  I'll tell you about the longest line I've ever stood in at Disneyland. . . EVER.  And I've been to Disneyland more than 100 times in my life.  Seriously.  Three hours.  Three hours of standing in a line in 90 degree heat with the sun beating down on us.  Three hours to ride one of the most fabulous rides ever right?  Nope.  Three hours to meet Queen Elsa & Princess Anna from Frozen.  Three hours to get two whole minutes with the princesses.  We must be out of our minds.  Nope, we're just parents who love their girls more than anything.

The kids actually did well for standing up for so long.  No tears, no whining.  I was amazed.

They were SO excited when Olaf finally came into view.  We were almost there.

We, as adults, were SO relieved when that door opened for us to come in, but you know what?  The instant those princesses came into view of our girls. . . the way their eyes lit up; the way their mouths turned up into the biggest smiles we've ever seen.  Wow!  Disney really is magical.  Three hours?  Nothing.  It was worth every minute to see my girls that happy.  I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

The princesses spent a good 5 minutes with our girls.  They spoke to them, hugged them, signed autographs, joked with them. . . it was magical.  They were so much fun.

And the best part?  Craiger wasn't nearly as scared of these two as he was of all the other characters.  Bladen. . . still cried in a corner avoiding eye contact.  ha ha ha.

This was the crowning moment of our trip.  This made the entire trip worth it for me.

After visiting the princesses we made our way over to Pirates.  The line was backed up all the way to the Haunted Mansion.  The lines here were nuts the day we went.  However, it moved super fast & we were on the ride within an half an hour.  We did manage to lose Bladen during that 30 minutes which was terrifying, but Trek found him wandering a little behind us in line.  "I was looking for you dad!" was all he could say.  Poor kid.  They all LOVED pirates.  Craiger was scared & held me super tight the entire ride, but it's all he talks about now.  He loved seeing the pirates.

After Pirates we dashed back over to Tomorrowland to hop on the Buzz Lightyear ride to finish off the day.  The line was super short (20 minutes) & it was everyone's favorite ride.  I love that ride.  I got to ride with Craiger & he loved shooting his laser gun at the targets.

After the ride both Bladen & Craiger bought a Buzz Lightyear laser gun like the one on the ride with the $20 Tarrish gave them earlier in the day.  Then we took the girls shopping.  Taya bought a baby Simba with a matching blanket.  She was happy again.  Cadence & Lorien chose to save their money for now.  And finally we took Craiger into the Mad Hatter to pick out his Mickey Ears.  He chose a set of Star Wars R2D2 ears.  He looked adorable.

Just as we were getting ready to leave the park, we turned around & literally RAN into Mickey Mouse.  How cool is that?  He gave everyone hugs & signed autographs for them.  Craiger wasn't scared this time around.  It was a great end to our day.

On the way out we stopped by the front of the park to get a family photo.  The Potter family LOVES Disneyland & always will.

I'm ending this post with my very favorite picture from the day.  This picture of Craiger pretty much sums up my feelings for Disneyland.  He would stop, put his hands behind his back, & just stare at everything around him.  He was in his own little magical world just taking it all in.  Disneyland is magic.  Disneyland is happiness.  Disneyland is our Never-Neverland.  Disneyland keeps the magic alive.

The Famous Potter Family Egg Hunt 2014

Get ready, get set. . . . GO!

There's nothing in the world like the Potter family's famous Easter Egg Hunt.  Hundreds of eggs, 4 different rounds of hunting excitement, candy galore, money, money, & more money.  You just can't beat it.  Opa & Oma really know how to put on a fabulous hunt.

We were SO happy to get to be a part of it this year.  I'm happy our spring break vacation happened to fall on Easter weekend.  It was SO MUCH FUN.

The first round was the little kids round. . . so Bladen, Craiger, & Emery got to battle it out to see who could find the most eggs & money.

Opa helped Bladen, Carolyn helped Emery, & I stuck around with Craiger.  There were 105 eggs for this particular round as well as $60 hiding in those eggs.  And lets not forget the chocolate bunnies, toys, & other surprises hiding in trees, bushes, & chairs.

The kids had so much fun.  There were so many eggs that they didn't know what to do with them all.

The boys especially loved the trucks & superman action figures hiding in the trees.  It was fun to see their faces when they saw TOYS in the TREES.

All three kiddos in round 1 found a TON of eggs & had a blast.

Round 2 was for the girls: Cadence, Lorien, & Taya.  Trek didn't take very many pictures of their egg hunt adventures because they were SO fast.  They found all 105 eggs in less than 3 minutes.  $60 was hidden inside those 105 eggs as well.

I was with Taya on this one.  She is such a dirt/germaphobe that she refused to put her hands anywhere that dirt may have touched in any way so basically she'd point to the eggs & I wound up digging them out of holes, bushes, spider webs, & trees.

After the 1st two rounds, the kids all came in & we assessed the winnings.  Cadence found a total of $12 in her eggs.  Most of her eggs were stuffed full of candy.

Lorien got a little luckier & found $19 stashed away in her eggs.  She was pretty excited.

And Taya wound up with a whopping $29 in her eggs.  She was beyond thrilled.  She immediately started deciding exactly how she would spend it:
She's been wanting a new stuffed lion [simba] since we moved here last January when her old simba got "lost" in the move.  Not my best moment.  Big oops on my part.  I didn't realize how attached she was to that one.

The boys did equally well in their hunting skills.  Bladen had $18 in his eggs.

And Craiger trumped everyone with a whopping $33 in his eggs.

For the 3rd round of hunting, we let the ADULTS race to find eggs.  10 adults, 350 eggs, $300 hiding.  Of course we have absolutely NO pictures of our race. . . . we were too busy pushing each other down, diving for eggs, & trying to booby-trap anyone that got in our way.  It sounds awful, but it's hilariously funny to be a part of.  The competition between the Potter siblings is SO funny & as an in-law adopted into the madness I enjoy trying to play along the best I can.  I found a grand total of $22 in my eggs. . . actually out of 42 eggs only 2 had money in them.  I got SO lucky to find a $20 bill in one egg & $2 in another.  The rest was candy.  Trek got $44 in his eggs so basically he found enough for the both of us.  ;-)  He won that round.  

Tylee & Pete made a deal that whomever found the most money between the 2 of them got to keep BOTH people's money.  Pete totally kicked Tylee's trash with $65 while she found a measly $12 in her eggs.  ha ha ha.  It was SO funny.  (We laugh because Tylee is ruthless in these hunts & usually takes home MOST of the money.  It was funny to see her lose so badly.)  She was a great sport about it too.  I love my family.

After all that madness, we woke the babies up from their naps & let them hunt for their eggs.  They were super cute.

Once Canyon found one egg, he was done.  We were all laughing.  He just wanted to eat the one egg he got his hands on first.

Within 30 seconds the race went from babies to parents.  Trek & Carolyn were battling it out for their babies sake.  It was SO funny to watch.

Good job babies. . . parents.

Canyon wound up with $19 & Ella had $21.  He enjoyed playing in his money.

So, now you see why Easter is such a huge deal in this family.  Isn't that funnest thing you've ever seen?  I love the Potter egg hunt.  Opa & Oma are the best!  Thank you guys for making Easter magical for everyone.