This year we decided to do Disney Land. It was the perfect timing for three reasons 1) Leland is still two which means he is still free for everything. 2) This year if you went in May adults were kid prices and 3) This **MAY** be the last summer-ish (we are hoping) that it's just going to be the three of us. (I don't necessarily like the idea of packing a baby around Disney and didn't want to have to wait another 3+ years to go.) (NO, NO! NOT pregnant.... just thinking... just thinking)
Our tax return ended up being almost double what we thought it would be, so we did end up compromising and split it in half. Which meant we went pretty cheap- but still so much fun! The first thing I found a great deal on was flights! Obviously the weekends were way too expensive so we ended up finding super cheap flights if we went from Sunday to Thursday. I found our flights on cheapflights.com and they ended up being about $160 per person for round trip. I also saved us $100 by not taking any check in luggage, but packed us all up in carry-ons. Next, we booked our hotel through getawaytoday.com and found a package deal that included hotel and park hopper tickets. Score! And lastly, we discovered Uber- the cheapest way to get around California by far! It was also really nice because our hotel had a shuttle to the parks that ran every 20 minutes. So there you have it- money saving tips from yours truly! The rest of the trip we only spent money on food and some souvenirs for little man.
So like I said before, we left super early Sunday morning. (Flights are also more expensive if you want flights in normal waking hours, especially mid-morning.) When we got to Cali it was still too early to check into our hotel so we dropped off our luggage at the front desk and then headed to Huntington Beach. Since we didn't rent a car we had to haul Leland's car seat around with us when we used Uber. Fortunately there was a super sweet lady at the information booth at the beach that offered to hang on to his car seat while we explored the beach. It was awesome of her. That thing would have been such a pain to lug around! We bought Leland a cheap shovel and bucket and then just sat our bums in the sand and watched the waves, surfers, people, and built sand castles. I mentioned to Justin that I truly believe that it is a spiritual experience watching the ocean, and just plain good for your soul. I love the ocean. I love the beach. I was in pure heaven. We also got some lunch on the beach and it was so fun to people watch and listen to the live bands that were playing there. I think I could spend an entire week just at the beaches of California.
The next three days we did Disneyland and California Adventure every day. I was really worried that Leland wouldn't have any fun and it would be just one big trip of melt-downs. Lately he has started this fear thing where he is scared, or pretends to be, of everything. But the kid did awesome! I was especially nervous in line for the roller coaster that he insisted going on. It's the one in Toon Town, so not exactly big, but still, he is only 2. I didn't need to worry though- he was belly laughing the entire time and insisted we go on it again. The first day we did have some melt-downs when it was time to get off the ride. I had to literally drag him off kicking and screaming. Eventually he got the idea of it all and realized that after this ride would come another and another, and it eventually got easier and easier to get him off. (Well, except for the race cars that is... hahaha I was laughing so hard at the fit he was throwing on that one!) The only time he ever got scared was during the Bug's Life 3D movie. It totally freaked him out when the air and water shot out at him- we had to exit the theater real quick in that one. He kind of got nervous in the Tiki Room when the storm started too, but he sat on my lap and continued to eat his Dole Whip and all was well.
Can I just say, going to Disney with a kid is like a bazillion times more fun then going by yourself?! I LOVE Disney through the eyes of my boy! It is the absolute best I tell you! Cars Land was of course the biggest hit, and we ended up back there on the last day. I have never done Disney so lazy before. Usually we get there when it opens and stay until it closes so that we can get our moneys worth. But this time we would sleep in, go back to the hotel in the middle of the day to get lunch and a nap in, and then go back at night. It was actually kind of perfect. We were not burned out by the third day and it was kind of fun to just sit back and relax and enjoy the moments. In three days we didn't even get to see everything though... but it was okay with me. Eventually your toddler is done with long lines and so you sit and eat a churro and life is grand. Everything was perfect. I could have probably stayed longer, and definitely could have had another beach day, but all in all, it was perfect. Cheers to good times and 'makin' memories!'