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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tips from us, and more detail for those who would like

This last post is for two purposes. Just before our trip my friend posted on her blog about some helps she discovered on their trip so I thought I would do the same, then a little more detail about the run down of our trip for those like family that might want to know more than what is posted above!

First I have to say...no matter how much people tip you about Disneyland or the other parks in that area...each family is different and so each situation is going to be different. I have friends who swear by doing the 3-5 day park hopper passes because there is just NO way that you can do Disney in a day. My take on it is....Don't waste the money. Take your kids out of school, go during a time when it's not busy and take 1 or 2 days. I think if we had older kids I would have wanted 2 days...max 3 if we did both parks, but with Toddler age children and only doing the one park, one day was PLENTY! I can't imagine if we had chosen to do a second day right after. The kids were SO tired that night and even the next morning. So with young kids plan a day that's not too busy and just go for one day.

I have a friend who packed in their meals for their trip and I wanted to try that as eating out too much makes me literally ill, and I'm glad we did it. Not only did we save money, and eat healthier, in the end I think we saved a lot of time too. As much as it seems convenient to run through a restaurant...by the time you lug in 4 kids, order, wait for food, eat, then get back to where you were....it takes some time and energy! I made three frozen dinners and brought already sliced cheese, Ham, pickles, and condiments and we had Sandwiches, Fruit and crackers for three of our lunches. We packed in yogurt, bagels and cereal bags for breakfasts as well as getting a hotel that offered a free breakfast. Plenty of snacks and drinks and we were set! WE of course planned a few meals for eating out since it's fun, but overall I think we did pretty good on the cost of food considering we were gone for 5 1/2 days! We also double checked with Disney, there is no official statement on the Website that says you cannot bring in your own food. They just don't recommend bringing in coolers full of food as there isn't really anywhere to put them. We had a small collapsible cooler with our pre-made sandwiches and some drinks.

The 7 day pass for the price of one deal with Sea World was great although we certainly could have done it in a day. Because we came at the slow season they were only open from 10-6 but if we had even waited one more week the hours were earlier and later. Since it didn't cost us anything extra though to have the 7 day...that really was awesome because then both days the kids were able to have short naps, stay up late playing, and then sleep in. Oh and food wasn't too bad since we did half days...we just had lunch just before going in, and dinner right after. They do have meal plans that are kinda pricey but you get lots of food, or of course plenty of other stuff.

We did drive to save money as well (there is NO WAY we could have ever afforded to fly). We drove during the day the first part of the trip then during the night on the way home, although I think next time I would switch that as at the end of the trip is when your more tired.

Thanks to the suggestion of my friend on her blog, we established a spending fund for each child ahead of time, although we didn't mention it to them until they asked which wasn't until quite late in the day. We set $10.00 per kid which was perfect!

For family and anybody else interested this was the run down of our trip.

We departed Monday morning about 6:00 am
The drive was pretty good! We stopped for about 15 minutes every 3 hours to feed Savannah and take potty breaks. We packed our lunch this day so didn't take a long lunch break.
We got stuck in a little LA traffic, but roughly it took about 12 hours to get there...not too bad although the kids were asking constantly if we were to Disney Land yet!
We stayed at the Anaheim Park Hotel. We got two rooms and I think most everyone slept quite comfortably! Duck and I were pretty hungry upon arriving, but the kids were really anxious to go swimming so we did that first then I went in to warm up our Hamburger helper dinner which was scarfed!

Tuesday, our Disney day we had to get on the Bus at 9, so we were up early to get ready and make sure that we had everything we needed to be prepared for the day. Still I wished I had my monkey leash, baby backpack and the stroller rain cover. We survived without though!
We let the kids guide our way through the park mostly just doing whatever they wanted to do. They were so dang giddy about EVERYTHING! It really was truly a magical day for them. The park almost didn't do the fireworks because of wind, and I'm so glad that they did because it really was a perfect ending to the day. As tired as we were, I found us skipping and yelling and laughing our way out the park!
The kids each picked their own prizes at the end of the day. Funny was they didn't pick a Mickey or Minnie hat, or other Disney memorabilia, Maliyah chose a pink make-up/hair set, Kyson a cars car launcher, and Jayden a Buzz toy. Which in the end was so smart because now they have fun toys they will continue to play with to remind them of their trip!
We were still pretty pumped from the fun day when we got back to the Hotel so after getting Savannah in bed, we hung out in the second room playing with our new toys and watching a movie! We had Maliyah and Kyson sharing one room with Jade while Duck and I had the two little ones. It really worked out great.
Wednesday was our day of rest! Kinda...we slept in went on a walk and after DUck checked out and got the car loaded up he met us at Target for lunch. It was a beautiful morning and great to get out and go on the walk. I let each of the kids pick a $1.00 toy at Target to play with on our drive to San Diego.
The drive there was great timing, NAP time! Duck and I had fun playing License plate games on the way and when we arrived the kids were all energized! Perfect for an afternoon stuck in a hotel room while it was raining! We checked into the Comfort Inn & Suites and tried to think of what to do with them all afternoon while it was raining, but finally the rain slowed and we decided to at least visit the beach. I sat out with Savannah while Duck played with the kids. She did NOT like the wind at all. I finally calmed her down enough to pick up the camera and take a few pictures. While doing that I somehow missed a wave catching Jayden! He got toally soaked! He still the little trooper wanted to play and help feed the seagulls. We finally had to leave when he started shivering bad!
Grandpa Duckworth had needed some Miles I guess before he had enough for a big trip they are wanting to take so Duck suggested he earn them and come join us! Lucky for us it worked out for him to come! So that night after the beach Duck went to pick him up at the airport while I got dinner started for the kids. We were supposed to go on our date that night, dinner and the temple, but it didn't work out quite as planned. Duck had forgotten any church clothes, so I was going to have them drop me off after dinner, but it took quite a while to find the place we were going for dinner (we didn't know WHERE we were going), and so by the time we were done it was too late. I was okay with it...I figured I would go early in the morning on my own before we headed out to Sea World. Silly of me though, I should have planned a little better as when I got up in the morning realized that would have left Duck and the babysitter alone together which I wouldn't do for both their sakes. So thus it didn't work out. I was really disappointed, but now Duck just owes me one for our next trip out!
Thursday was our Sea World Day. It was supposed to be raining by 1, so we just planned to spend the morning. We ended up staying a little later as the rain never started, it just got windy, cloudy and a little cold.
The kids all fell asleep during the 10 minute drive back (which was hopefully the plan) so we drove up Mission Bay to find a road entrance to the Boardwalk. Things started to look familiar when then we passed the Catamaran! All the sudden memories came flooding back! I wished that I had remembered where things were (like the bead shop...or was that in Anaheim?) but other than Ralph's the grocery store I didn't remember much!
We stopped and took some pictures, visited that wild pig and then went on back to the Hotel for Dinner. Dinner worked better the first night in Gallon Zip Lock baggies versus this second day in Tupperware. I think partly because I had the bags frozen flat so more surface area to be warmed at once. I also had frozen cooked veggies that worked out pretty good.
Then off to Chuck E Cheese! Seriously cheap entertainment! And I'm glad we had the excuse of already having a dinner because that place is so pricey when it comes to the food! And afterward how convenient that there was a 7-11. The kids and I had been wanting Slurpee's since we saw the first one on our way to Anaheim!
We let the kids stay up late again as they were going to be able to sleep in a bit in the morning. Isnt it more fun to fall asleep to a MOvie anyway! WE decided to do the Pay per View as our DVD player wasn't working well....mistake! They were $14.00!! Holy Crap! If I hadn't already told the kids what movie they could watch I would have NEVER done that!
Initially our plans were to drive home on Friday, but I wanted to visit a friend who lived nearby and we also had the 7 day pass ticket to Sea World we wanted to take advantage of, so we decided to drive at night. Since we never got to swim in the ocean we promised the kids we could do the pool (heated right?). To them swimming is swimming and honestly other than playing in the sand...the pool is better because there aren't waves (although Duck would argue that one).
We cleaned up, checked out and started our last day at SEa World. Since we were letting the kids lead the way they wanted to do mostly the rides, but we convinced them a few times that the animals were just as cool! They LOVED the 4D movie although I don't understand what Elmo has to do with Sea World...the movie had nothing to do with Sea life at ALL! But the theatre was filled up, so I guess if it makes them money...why not!?
Duck unfortunately had to take a nap before our drive home so he went back to sleep in Steve's hotel room since he was still staying through Saturday. Mostly we just played in the kiddie area after that and then the Shamu Show....but I wished he could have seen the show. It really was awesome. I tried to take video of most of it, but holding Savannah, trying to do video and trying to take pictures with only a manual focus camera was proving to be very difficult! Unfortunately when we got home to show it to him it hadn't recorded! I was devastated. The kids toys they had picked at Sea World were a couple of Shamu toys so they put on and we video taped them doing a Shamu show for Dad instead. It was pretty cute!
Duck picked us up and we were going to go meet my friend for dinner but unfortunately that didn't work out. Lack of communication, us leaving late, and the possibility of traffic kept it from happening. Although I'm grateful they were so willing to take their time and open their home to us! We ended up finishing up dinner spending a last few minutes with Grandpa and his and Daddy's favorite, Olive Garden. Too bad the wait was SO dang long! WE still ended up getting out pretty late, and still hitting awful LA traffic! It was late enough it wasn't just rush hour, but we never did find out what because Duck ended up exiting and taking another route. Thanks to the GPS!
The drive home was long. Jayden kept crying and crying and crying! I finally had Jade sit in the front so I could be in the back to help him and I figured out the problem! 1) he was SO dang tired. 2)he is a light sleeper. 3) I discovered that kyson had accidentally unbuckled his car seat and so every time Duck swerved fast, slowed down fast or anything cause Jayden seat to jerk sideways and forward, thus waking him up! I took 3 minutes to switch it to the recline position, buckle it back in and he was out the rest of the night. Until morning....then the crying started again. Figured it out...he was constipated! I had to change him three times for the dinkiest little poops! Poor kid....and he was still SO tired, but needing to poop would wake him up!
Savannah did awesome. Now that she sleeps through the night she was out. Kyson and Maliyah did great as well and actually slept until we got home at 10:00 the next morning! Yes, it took us about 13 hours to get home. LONG long night! I had to help Duck a couple of times with the driving, but mostly he did awesome! I was pretty tired though with all the Jayden disturbances, so on Saturday after Duck got a nap and I got some unpacking done I had to take a nap too!
So...I'm sure there is MUCH more I could tell about this adventure we waited forever to take...but I think that was LONG enough! It was totally worth it...there is little I would have changed about it...and I'm SUPER glad we took Jade with us, and very happy that Grandpa was able to join as well. We're just sad that grandma couldn't come too, but we understand. Next time we will plan it together!

Now I get to face reality and remember that I'm still not done unpacking the house from the stupid move! Yes stupid I say only because the timing it stupid and even though it's been over 3 weeks now, I still am not unpacked...lots of putting away and organizing to do, decorating, yard work at the other house still and ALL the cleaning and inside fixing at the other house. Like honestly....I'm done...can't I just snap my fingers and it all be fixed!?

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