Thursday, August 9, 2018

Disneyland with Ben, Round 2!

Disneyland, round 2!

So what did Ben's 2nd Disneyland trip have in store? Even more doses of magic, adventure and happy moments for our lucky little rainbow!

A *Grand* welcome home!
We're making it a point to try and soak in as much magic as we can during Ben's 1st year (and hopefully beyond)! So when PB's birthday weekend rolled around and we knew we had to take advantage of our getaway and cram as much fun into the few days away as possible. With a little sprinkle of pixie dust, we found ourselves back at our favorite Disney hotel, the Grand Californian! We love this hotel for so many reasons, most of which, because our wedding ceremony was held in the Brisa Courtyard here almost 8 years ago. Now we love the Grand because of the super close proximity to the parks.

It's getting HOT in here
When we arrived in SoCal, my sister, a local to Los Angeles let us know we had just arrived in time for the heat wave. Oh boy, she was right! It was a scorcher the 3 days while we were at the parks! I guess our fruit themed summer style was right on point for the summer weather!
We spent the peak heat times finding fun indoor attractions for Ben to enjoy, and us to cool off. What's great about Disney with a baby is that you really get a new perspective on things through their eyes. The Tiki Room is an attraction that we'd always overlook, but seeing it with Ben for the first time was utterly magical! He was all smiles and giggles the whole time. Bonus? AC the entire show!!!

Rides, rides and what NOT to ride!
After taking a break from the parks since we were literally melting away, we headed back into DCA to experience more fun. We headed straight to Bugsland since it's yet another area of Disney we'd always overlook, but got to experience with a little one now. We found a ride, Francis' Ladybug Boogie that had a short wait and no height requirement which we thought would be perfect for Ben.... Boy we were wrong! PB stayed behind since the ride was a "spin" ride and he gets motion sickness easily, let's just say he was the smart one out of the group!
Basically Ben HATED this ride!
Ben wasn't able to sit on my lap, which should have been the first sign that things would go amiss. When the ride started, both my sister and I held on tight to him, but the combo on not being able to sit with mommy and the swirling motion proved to be a bit too intense for his speed and our poor little guy cried the rest of the ride! Total #DisneyFail, but at least we know now!

**PB&J Disney tip**
Ben was able to ride a ton of rides this trip and enjoyed almost all of them (except the one above). Disney pretty much allows babies on all rides that have no heigh restrictions, but a mama tip is to really research the ride before bringing baby on. Scope out the attraction beforehand by asking a CM if they think a baby would be okay on the ride, check for seating (lap vs seated on their own), generally just checking how the ride is motion/noise wise. Baby Ben's approved rides? All the slower moving dark rides like Pooh, Peter Pan, It's a Small World, Monster's Inc. Also a majority of the Fantasyland fun like Dumbo and Casey Jr. Shows are also a plus as long as the music and effects aren't too much. We were worried about the "angry Gods" portion of the Tiki room with the thunder and lightening, but Ben did well and was just into the lights.

Pixar Pier!!!
After calming Ben down we were able to take it easy with dinner, catching Paint the Night (he loved the lights!) and strolled around the new and amazing Pixar Pier! Our little Ben was such a trooper and unlike his first visit at 4 months old, he was able to stay out longer, nap in his stroller when he got tired and we were actually able to stay until park closing at DCA our first night!

Girls (magic) morning out
Staying at the Grand gave us the opportunity to use the perk of Magic Morning. We were able to get into either Disneyland or DCA an hour early, depending on the day for each day of our stay. My sister and I decided to take advantage of the perk and head into DCA for their Magic Morning offering. It was great to hop on the new Incredicoaster with no wait. It was also a milestone for me since it was my very 1st "grown up" ride in about 2 years! Yes... you heard that right, TWO years! The combo of being pregnant with Ben and our angel pregnancies put me right at that mark, so it was definitely a happy moment to get on a ride that went faster than 5mph, lol.

Rope drop = YAY
Ben and PB had their version of daddy and me time by sleeping in and meeting us at Disneyland for rope drop. The amazing thing about getting to the parks early is that most attractions have little to no wait times, characters are out with little people waiting for photos, which makes interactions with them so much more memorable! Best of all? You can beat the heat and finish up most of your day before it gets hot!
Magic Mornings = Dumbo nap times for Ben
All the Fantasyland rides, check! Got to love Magic Mornings!
**PB&J Disney tip**
ROPE DROP. I've read about it from numerous amazing fellow Disney blogs, accounts, etc about the magic of getting to the parks early and yes, I can agree, it's amazing. If you can, get to the front gates of either DCA or DL before opening to be some of the first few guests in and you won't regret it! Little to no wait times on all the major attractions, memorable character meet and greets and basically getting the busiest part of your day done in the first few hours of the morning. It makes the rest of your day so stress free to just enjoy the remainder of the parks since you'd have crossed most of what you wanted to do off in the early morning hours!

Quack Quack
Naturally, this Disney mama came with her strongest Disney style game for herself and Ben. Day two had Ben in a classic Donald outfit which was perfect because Donald was out and about, in the same outfit by the way. It was the cutest interaction between the two. We think Ben loves Donald because he was all smiles while visiting with him.
Ben LOVED Donald Duck!



Pool break
We headed back to the hotel for a much needed pool break with our family once peak heat hit. It was such a refreshing bit of down time. Ben loved the pool at the Grand!
Yum, everything tastes better poolside! 
Lamplight Lounging
Once refreshed we headed back into the park to check out the brand new Lamplight Lounge. It was super comfy, cute and the food was super yummy!
Ben super excited about the Lamplight Lounge donuts (YUM!)
A *Royal* dose of magic
Ben is one lucky little baby. With a dose of a lot of magic and kindness, we were invited back up to the amazing 21 Royal balcony for a special viewing of Fantasmic.
We meet again 21 Royal/Disneyland Dream Suite!
The most priceless view for Fantasmic!
Special desserts for our little family!

21 Royal truly has a special place in our hearts. We hosted the most special event here last October as a celebration for our upcoming rainbow baby (Ben). If you'd like to read the recap on that click HERE. Since that magical night, we've been able to stay in touch with the staff at 21 Royal and they've given us some truly memorable doses of magic for our little Ben. We are so incredibly thankful for the sweetest surprise for our family, by the most amazing person! From the bottom of our hearts, thank you 21 Royal! Ben is so thankful to be an official 21 Royal baby and for all the kindness you've given us.
So thankful for these magical moments! We love the 21 Royal family!
One final run around the parks
On our final day at the parks, we stopped by to say hello to another magical group of dream makers:  the Disney Weddings team! These amazing folks have been making our dreams come true since our wedding back in 2010. It's been so wonderful to visit with them on our trips to the park to say hello and give Ben hugs!
The most magical dream makers on earth!
We took in the last day of magic by running around DCA trying even more Pixar Pier foods and treats and having one last stop at where our happily ever after started almost 8 years before: the Animation Building! Last visit we only got to check out the outside since Ben was fast asleep, but this trip we were finally able to go inside and show Ben where mommy and daddy had their wedding reception all those years ago!
Visiting our wedding venue! Sigh, so many happy memories here!
We loved the Buzz Wing Wall!
Bing Bong's Confectionary was so adorable! We loved the slushy drinks, especially this Imaginary Pal.
Jack's Num Num cookie was AH-MAZING

See ya real soon!
Another magical Disney trip comes to a close and we couldn't be more thankful for another memorable and amazing trip. We're thankful for all of the people who made this trip so fun, for the doses of pixie dust, and for another beautiful vacation for our adventure book! 💜






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Maira Gall