On Tuesday, October 12th the day before we were actually scheduled to leave CA, we told the kids we were going back to WA, and left Berg with Poppie and Nonnie. (We told Eben and Kivi that Berg was going to spend a week by himself and Nonnie would bring him up to WA a week later.) So thinking we were going to the airport, we drove right by Disneyland and Eben says, "Hey, that's a really big theme park." They had no clue we were about to surprise them. We had no clue it would take so long, after seeing Disney paraphernalia, to get to the actual entrance to the park! We didn't say a word about where we were going. And even after parking and having the parking attendant tell the kids that the Toy Story shuttle would take them right to Disneyland, the kids were worried that Dada had no idea how to get to the airport. The whole shuttle ride, their faces looked perplexed, but strangely calm at the same time. We kept thinking they'd get the idea and yell - "We're at Disneyland!" - but no. They just waited and sat - in silence. Finally, we got off the shuttle and near the entrance of the park and we broke the news. Peter told them that because they were now old enough to ride on rides, we were in CA, and it was Eben's birthday -we were taking them to Disneyland. Then it actually hit them - or they finally allowed themselves to believe it - and they got huge smiles and their faces and stared open mouthed at us. Then we all held hands and ran toward the gates!
Dada had been secretly preparing the kids for this by renting all the old Disney movies and Nonnie had given them maps to Disneyland months ago. So they knew all the characters, plots, and rides by name, even Mr. Toad's Wild Ride - which by the way, is nothing like the movie. But we had told them that we wouldn't go to Disneyland until all the kids were able to ride all the rides - so they had thought they'd have to wait for this for a long time. I think they were still in shock until we actually got into the park.
Then there was a rush of excitement as we skipped down Main Street together; the music was blaring, all the workers had Mickey gloves on and waved at us. We danced in our own parade, adorned with first-time visitor buttons, maps and huge smiles.
The first place we tackled was Adventureland. We ran all the way there. Actually, we ran almost everywhere we went that day. Dada and Kivi did the Jungle Cruise while Eben and I rode Indiana Jones (Kivi was too little.) The first thing Eben says after getting off his very first ride at Disneyland: "I never want to do that again!" Hilarious! I forgot how scary that ride was. I also forgot how much those Tea Cups make you want to throw up!
Eben and Kivi on "it's a small world".
The park wasn't crowded at all, so we were able to do almost everything (even though, it closed that day at 6:00pm)! Eben's favorite ride was the Matterhorn and Kivi's was the Pirates of the Carribean. Dada's favorite was Space Mountain and Mama's favorite was a new ride: Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.
Eben and Kivi with Mickey at his house in Toon Town.
Flying the Astro Orbitor.
This was my favorite. You get to control your own car, look at the cool ride and shoot these laser guns at targets to try to beat the person next to you. It was very cool!
We definitely got the most out of our day, this was our first "stop" between rides. We had packed lunch and eaten in the Finding Nemo line. But ice cream deserved full attention, and a seat. Because of our dedication we were able to go on 25 rides in our one little day at Disney!
Tom Sawyer's Island has been turned into Pirate's Lair, so Eben and Kivi stole some booty.
Here's Eben pretending to be Poppie, where he proposed to Nonnie at Snow White's wishing well.
Our big 7 year old birthday boy. He had an "Art Party" all planned, but he wasn't sad in the slightest that we surprised him with a totally different birthday theme. He picked Chinese for his birthday dinner at California Adventure, which we hopped over to at 5:00pm with our Hopper pass. We sang Eben "Happy Birthday" as he cracked open his fortune cookie.
We were able to go on 6 rides at California Adventure before they closed and then watched the World of Color show. The last ride we were able to do was the best, but definitely the scariest for the kids, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror! They talked about it forever.
We had such a fun, memorable day with our oldest two! A wonderful birthday celebration and a monumental surprise. I can't wait to do it again for the rest of the kids!
And Eben, you are amazing! I can't believe you're seven! We love you so much and cherish these times we get to spend with you. You're growing up so fast, learning so much, and are continually surprising us with your inventions, helpfulness and love you show to others. God has blessed us so much by giving you to us. Happy Birthday - Surprise!