Happy Birthday Ian! There's no better place to spend it I think than at Disneyland.
Today's hats are all about birthdays. My pink birthday Mickey hat came from Disneyland Paris. Ian's came from Disneyland a few years ago and the candles light up yellow. Alli's is from Walt Disney World and the candles light up red. Theresa's hat is from Disneyland looks like colorful confetti.
D'oh. We done messed up.
Instead of setting an alarm in the morning, we were relying on the "kid" alarm. They're always up before 7am. That would leave us time to make park opening at 8am.
Well the kids alarm clock isn't that reliable apparently. Theresa woke up, looked at her phone and said "Oh no!" That woke me up right away. What bad news is it? "It's 7:55!" Oh, just that. We sped out of the house and made it the parking garage by 8:55am. And that's when we joined the rest of the line of cars trying to get into the parking garage. And that's why we try to get here early.
After parking, we started the walk over to Downtown Disney. One of the cast members directing the crosswalk saw our hats and asked whose birthday it was. Ian was very excited to tell her that it was his! She wished him a happy birthday and almost as an after-thought remembered she had a birthday button in her pocket! Ian was very excited.
Walking towards security, I was talking with the kids, knowing that the parks have been decorated for the holidays. I know Main Street has a giant Christmas tree installed, so I told them that as soon as they see a giant Christmas tree, they'll have to let me know. They were both quick to point out "There's a giant Christmas tree! It just needs some decorations!" Har Har.
Yikes! The security line at both entrances was really backed up. It stretched into the street and curved around. Seems like they were being especially thorough today (Veteran's Day). Finally we were inside Downtown Disney.
Ian - Can we ride the monorail?
It's your birthday buddy, so sure, you can make some of the choices. It's a bit backed up today, showing a 20 minute wait. By this point it's 10:05am. It took an hour and ten minutes since we got in line for the parking garage. Ugh. No more kid alarms.
They're excited to be back at Disneyland.
Ian, what ride do you want to do first? Ian - The monorail! Okay smart guy, what's your second ride you want to do?
The app seems to be having some "refresh" issues today.
Check the app, 5 minutes for Nemo. Arrive at Nemo to see a 20 minute wait. Okay... What else.
App says 10 minutes for Roger Rabbit. Walk to the back of the park to Toon Town. 45 minute posted wait.
15 minutes for Gadget. Walk over and it's 25 minutes.
Fine. Let's head to an old standby. The Carrousel.
Ian loves his button.
This boy loves getting attention and praise. He'd stand in line, holding his button out and looking up towards people, trying to catch their eye, just waiting for the inevitable "Happy Birthday" that would follow.
After two short cycles, we were loaded.
Alli is so over Jingles now. Now she wants a pink horse that's off to the right side. No luck today, but there's another pink/purple horse that is acceptable.
Everyone is celebrating a birthday. According to Ian, his horse is 4 years old today.
Show me those muscles Ian! Can a 5 year-old pull out that sword and become king for the day?
No luck today. One of these times I'm hoping he'll be able to pull it out. He's determined.
Since we're in the area, even though Snow White has a line that's into the walkway, the queue inside isn't very long. Only a 10 minute wait or so. Ian still loves to touch the apple.
But doesn't always like the result.
Hey Alli, is it your unbirthday today? Yes? Wow! It's my unbirthday too!
Ian, what about you? Are you celebrating your unbirthday? Ian - No, today it's my birthday!
Seeing as it's his birthday, he got to pick his favorite color tea cup. Teal!
On the walk to the other side of the park, there was a short wait for photos at the castle. I'm never one to pass up a good photo opportunity.
The Holiday Haunted Mansion is as popular as ever. As soon as we scanned in at the monorail this morning, I grabbed fastpasses for it, returning at 11:40am.
Hey Ian, I found you a present!
Since we're in the area, the idea was to spend some time in Critter Country. Winnie the Pooh was down, so the entire family hopped in the fastpass line for Splash Mountain. Ian wanted to stand in row 5 because that's how old he is now.
It's November, so we shouldn't get too wet, right?
Wrong! All the water spots on my camera lens as evidence to that.
After Splash Mountain, the plan had been to ride on Winnie the Pooh if it was working again. Walking over to the entrance, it was running but the line was insane. The line wound around the entire queue, including the places that don't usually get used, and the line still stretched out the entrance and back to the entrance to The Hungry Bear.
So this time instead of riding Pooh and then going to Pooh's Corner, we bypassed the ride and went straight for the treats. They've got some cute ones out for the holidays. I was thinking maybe we'd find some gingerbread cookies here. No luck, but we did find something else.
A peppermint marshmallow wand!
Alli promised mommy a bite of her treat later if she would share a bite of her peppermint wand now.
T's comment. Too much peppermint. Really? Too much? I thought it was pretty tasty.
Checking the wait times for everything around the park. Yikes! It's starting to get a little crazy. It's about time to head home.
Do you ever see the original Haunted Mansion pulling 200 minute wait times? With queues that stretch well out into New Orleans Square? And that's why the mansion is changed into the Holiday Haunted Mansion every year. It's incredibly popular.
I had one last fastpass left, so we rode Mansion one more time on the way out. You're always hopeful that when those elevator doors open, you can walk right up to the Doom Buggies. It's never a good feeling when the doors open and you're greeted with a wall of people on one side and a full elevator trying to get out behind you. Both Ian and Alli asked to be picked up.
Probably my best photo of the knight in armor. It helps that the ride stopped completely for a few seconds.
Time to go home, but not before we get that button Ian got at the beginning of the day filled out with his name and birthday. Alli got an I'm Celebrating button to go along with it.
Ian had his choice of 1 special birthday treat today. Popcorn was pretty high on the list with a Tigger Tail close behind. But it was the Olaf Strawberry Lemonade popsicle that ultimately won out.
Walking back through Downtown Disney, I was surprised to see that the pumpkins are still here even though it's decorated for Christmas everywhere else. Last year I thought it was giant Christmas ornaments and poinsettias filling this area.
And I see the Salt and Straw is open now! There's some interesting seasonal ice cream flavors there this time of year. Flavors like Salted Caramel Turkey (made with turkey fat according to the website), Peach and Cornbread stuffing, and Goat Cheese Pumpkin Pie. I'll have to try some of that one day.
But today we're headed to Sprinkles to pick up some cupcakes for tonight's birthday celebration.
Alright, quiz time. There's 3 different treats on Alli's face right here. Can you guess all three?
Let's start with dried seaweed and continue with an Olaf Strawberry Lemonade bar.
And finish with a powdered sugar beignet. Alli - There's sugar on here! Yep, maybe just a little bit.
At this point we'd normally head over to the gazebo and relax while the kids run around. As we were walking up though, another family was walking in front of us and turned into the gazebo before we got there. No worries. I know of one other place that Ian has been asking to see.
Just outside the Frontierland Tower at the Disneyland Hotel is Ol' Unfaithful. On previous visits, Ian has seen the pool and the plaque, but we didn't stick around to watch it go off. Today though we stuck around.
Waiting for Ol' Unfaithful to erupt again.
A tribute to the Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland.
Daddy! It's starting! We stuck around for one more eruption, which seems to happen every 10 minutes or so.
After a delicious dinner at home, it was time to enjoy our birthday desserts.
Ian wanted Alli to have candles too. Might as well. They celebrated their birthday together a few weeks ago.
We finished the night like we do most nights. Reading a story together in bed.
I know Ian had a great time today. Even though it was hectic as Disneyland, we still managed to find fun things to do.