Lisa had to host a winemaker dinner at Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland on Friday night, she also visited some clients around the Anaheim area whilst in southern California. Disney offered to put up the rest of her family if she wanted to bring them along so – as I did when I had the opportunity years ago at the Taos Winter Wine Festival – I jumped at the opportunity. We weren’t sure if Lilia would appreciate (or even enjoy!) the extravagance of Disneyland at such a young age, but all we had to cough up were plane fares so it was worth a shot. Her face was generally fixed with with an expression of awe for the entire first morning at California Adventure, although she definitely let out some giggles on the Golden Zephyr as we flew above the water. She was also quite wrapped with all the lifesized Disney characters walking about the place. As long as they didn’t get too close, that is: you’d think Mickey had the plague by the reaction Lilia gave when he tried to touch her early one morning! The only two characters that she really enjoyed up close were Snow White and Belle as they visited our dinner table on Friday night. If I had a dollar for every time she asked me, “Where’s Belle?” for the rest of the weekend…
We spent our first morning at California Adventure, entering the park an hour before official opening (“Magic Hour” is for Disney resort hotel guests only) and covered most of the rides designed for toddlers and preschoolers within the first 90 minutes. I ducked into the singles line at the new ride based on the Cars movie, a hell of a lot of fun although I don’t think I would have waited the 60-90 minutes required of patrons in the regular queue. King Triton’s Carousel (a merry-go-round) at Paradise Pier was definitely Lilia’s favorite at California Adventure. We rode the carousel three times in a row, and probably would have done it another five if Lilia had her way!
With Lisa’s work obligations out of the way, the three of us spent Saturday in Disneyland. We were told that we should again take advantage of the “Magic Hour” to experience the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage because of lengthy waits during the park’s regular hours. We were the first ones on the ride shortly after 7:00AM, a very fun underwater adventure in a submarine lead by an Aussie-accented skipper through Nemo’s world. We had reservations to dine with all the Disney characters shortly after we’d finished in our submarine, it again took Tinkerbelle a little while to warm up to the characters but by the end of breakfast she was playing peek-a-boo and taking photos with everyone (except Captain Hook who, I will admit, was huge). We spent the remainder of the morning sampling the best of toddler-friendly Disneyland rides, the carousel again featuring high on Lilia’s list. She was even game to try a roller-coaster just before lunch, I have a feeling it was a little more than she bargained for (she met the height limit by about a quarter of an inch) but she toughed it out with no tears. There’s a video of it from Lisa’s iPhone here, we’re the ones in the first carriage.
Lisa and Lilia were keen for a midday nap together, so I stayed in the park and again took advantage of the single rider queues. I covered Indiana Jones, Splash Mountain and the Matterhorn in 45 minutes; individually I would have been waiting at each ride for 60-90 minutes if I’d lined up regularly! I noticed the line for the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage was 90 minutes when I walked past at 12:30PM, I’m glad we had the hot tip on that one!
I do think Lilia enjoyed the two Disney theme parks, but if there’s one portion of the long weekend I think she enjoyed most it would have to be spending each afternoon in the pool area of the hotel. The collection of two outdoor spas, three water-slides and two pools really was a very fun place for all of us to enjoy the southern Californian sun. During the afternoon when Lisa was visiting clients Lilia and I would have gone down the water-slide together at least 35 times. I’m not exaggerating.