As many of you know , our family recently took a trip to Disneyland with the extended Lincoln clan. Woohoo!! It was quite a trip, 4 long days in the car, 3 VERY full days at the park...but it was a great time for all. Nothing is quite like seeing Disneyland through the eyes of your children. Again, there's too many fun pictures to post in one blog, so you need to click on the link for our picasaweb album towards the top right corner and then click on the Disneyland album. I apologize in advance for my prolific explanation of our adventure. Read on if you dare.... :)
Our trip was extra neat as we got to celebrate some birthdays while we were there. On our first day at the park, Tyler turned 5!! Funny thing is ... 3 years ago exactly we were there on Tyler's 2nd birthday with my family. Pretty lucky kid, ay? Well, it's a great time of year to go. One of our nieces on the trip shares the same birthday with Tyler and turned 12. You get lots of attention and special treatment there when it's you birthday. There are 3 other February birthdays within our big groupas well, so we all celebrated the first night by eating at Goofy's Kitchen where we got to meet and greet many of our favorite characters (as you see above) and get even more special treatment.
On the first day, we were all wearing red matching shirts (thanks to my sister-in-law), so we drew a little attention to ourselves. Half of our group got separated from each other within the masses as were were wating on Main Street for the park to officially open. Some of the park officals that were going to open the park saw half our group waiting in a shop (in an attempt to short-cut and get infront of the crowd) and invited us to step infront of the mass of people waiting and asked if we wanted to "open" the park. Of course we said yes, although we couldn't get the rest our group up with us. It was very awkward as our little group faced the thousands of people with the "how come they get to be up there?" look on their faces and we just stood there with our hands up in a "stop" fashion. We did that for a few minutes, then some of the officals announced our family and where were we from etc. Then they whispered to us to run as fast as we could when they said go, in order to get out of the way and not get trampled by the crowd. It was an exciting way to start our Disney adventure.
Some of the highlights of our time were watching the parade on the first night and Lexi and Tyler getting lots of attention from the characters in the parade (mostly because of their birthday buttons). At some points they got to go out and dance a few times in the parade and be in a conga line etc. Lexi was totally into it and Tyler (well - he reluctantly followed his sister). The kids also loved the big rides they were able to go on (Tyler too, because he's a little tall for his age) like Indiana Jones, Space Mountain and Splash Mountain etc. An even neater thing happened on the second evening...Nate's brother's family was invited to be in the pre-parade and ride on the lead car because they had done some volunteer work, which is the big theme at the park this year. There ended up being a couple more spots on the car partly because Nate's mom sacrificed her spot, so they invited Tyler, Lexi and my other nephew to ride with them. Nate ran along through the crowd trying to get good video of them the whole way, while Colton and I waited at the end. They got to ride in an old fashioned fire-vehicle and Tyler got to ring the bell. They were all having the time of their life waving at the crowds as they rode by. It made a great memory!!! Thanks Dan, Joylin and Grandma :)
Another awesome experience we had was participating in the Jedi Training Program. We observed this the first day and thought some of the kids would absolutely LOVE to be a part of it. So it was our goal to make it happen the second day, knowing only a small group of kids got picked. We arrived very early for the last show, hoping it would increase our chances to get some of our kiddos picked to be participants. We were told it's totally at random, but that it might help to make a lot of noise and jump up and down....so you can probably imagine the spectacle we made of ourselves. Tyler was picked right away (again because of his BIG birthday button), Lexi got confused and thought they pointed to her because she had a button on as well so she began to walk up too and they let her. Then eventually the Jedi masters picked two of my nieces and my nephew as well. We were all totally jazzed. All the kid participants got to wear the Jedi cloaks and use a light saber. The Jedi masters gave a short training session with some key moves for the padawan (spelling???, Jedi's in training) to use. Then Darth Vader and Darth Mal made quite an entrance trying to persuade all the trainees to join the dark side. They of course all refused, so they all geared up for a battle. Each child got a chance to go one-on-one with one of the villains and use their newly learned moves. It was SOOO much FUN!! There's no shortage of footage with that event, believe me.
The third day we spent in California Adventure and made pretty great time. Again the kids loved all the big rides. Lexi's favorites were the Screamers roller coaster and the Tower of Terror. They all got to go on the wild water ride too and get SOAKED!!! We had a grand time.
Before going on this trip I was not looking forward to the many rides I wouldn't be able to go on and also just being on my feet all day lugging around my big 'ol pregnant body. In fact many family members jokingly asked if they should get a wheelchair for me before hand, and of course I laughed and said I'm not decrepid. Really though, by the end of the first day, the wheel chair option was looking mighty nice! Well, I was pleasantly surprised at the many rides or activities I could do. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. The whole being on my feet a lot and being very pregnant, that wasn't so much fun, but I lived. It was hard on everyone's body I think.
The crazy thing was, after coming back to the hotel the last night at the park, we were all soooo beat. But Nate got up at the crack of dawn the next day and proceeded to go on a 2-day bike tour with his friend through Joshua Tree National Park. I couldn't even imagine being able to do that. Good thing that boy's in shape! He and his friend seemed to have a successful trip though and went through a lot of miles. I'm proud of them, but did not for a second want to be in their shoes.
Overall, it was a wonderful, yet tiring trip. The kids didn't do too bad in the car, considering. I probably had a rougher time than they did :) I'm so glad we were able to make it work and spend that memorable time with the rest of Nate's family.