Where to begin! Andrew was granted a wish from Make-A-Wish, not because something is wrong, but because his heart condition qualifies as a life-threatening condition. So, he wanted to go to Disneyland and see Papa and Mema. Our trip was 6 days total, fast but full of fun!
On Friday, the limo picked us up to drive us to the airport. What a treat! The kids were all giggles and smiles. They enjoyed the light show on the ceiling in the car. The plane rides were also fun. It was very late Friday night, when we arrived in Santa Ana. There we rented a minivan(2011 Toyota Sienna-what a treat for me, it is my dream car!!). We drove to Paradise Pier, a Disneyland Hotel. What a nice place! When we walked into the room, we saw they had left balloons for Andrew along with an autographed 8X10 of Mickey Mouse. The beds were filled with CANDY! Disney character chocolate coins. And, don't forget about the Mickey Mouse shaped Rice Krispy treats dipped halfway in chocolate next to chocolate covered strawberries! We looked out our window to see if we had a good view, and boy were we pleasantly surprised. Our 11th story room overlooked California Adventure, more specifically-the World of Color show and the park all full of lights, including the Mickey Ferris Wheel. It was gorgeous!
Our first day, we ate a quick breakfast and headed straight for Disneyland. Just after we got in early, because we were hotel guests, they had to close down the entrance and exit due to a suspicious package. We did not know about it for a while, but we did notice for about 2 1/2 -3 hours, there were no lines for anything! How nice. We rode so many rides. Then around 12:30, we had a private "Meet & Greet" with Mickey Mouse (and Minnie came a bit later, too) in the "Wish Lounge". The kids got plenty of hugs and autographs. They all got to color with them and play hide and seek. Of course, many pictures, too! Then off to more rides and meeting characters in the park. The weather was warm, but very nice. That evening, we met up with some college friends of ours, their kids and ours played very well and we all went to eat at Rainforest Cafe, in Downtown Disney. Fun memories! Then, back to Disneyland for more fun. Later that night, we made our way back to the room and watched World of Color.
The second day was another filled with busy fun. We first had reservations at Goofy's Kitchen. There we met more characters who came to our table and visited for a minute or so, allowing us to fill up our autograph book a little more. It was a lot of fun, not to mention-the buffet was great also. They had a very large selection of hot breakfast items, along with fun foods like Mickey Mouse shaped waffles, pancakes, etc; peanut butter and jelly PIZZA, mac n cheese pizza, tons of fruit, pudding with gummy worms, hot dogs, muffins, and so much more. After our meal, we went to Disneyland California Adventure. What a neat place. More characters, rides, souvenir shops. We got to go to Disney Jr. Live On Stage. That was a highlight for younger kids. We saw the Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Handy Manny, and I don't remember what else. It was a very neat show, party favors fell from the ceiling at one point and bubbles at another. After more rides and lunch, I took the younger girls to the room, they needed some run around time and rest. The older three kids and Don got to really hit all the big kid rides, including Hollywood Tower of Terror, YES all 3 older ones went on this one, along with Soaring Over California, and many more! They had a blast and were able to do much more without the youngest two. Later that evening Papa and Mema drove up to spend time with us. The kids would not leave them alone! But it was nice to have them there for a couple days. Back at the hotel, we got to see World of Color and some fireworks over Disneyland. Our T.V. had a couple channels with the music that went along with the firework show and World of Color.
The third day was Knottsberry Farm day! I really loved that place. I enjoyed the slower pace, less people and more kiddie rides that we did not have to accompany them on. We stayed there until closing. Papa and Mema went with us. We got a private "Meet & Greet" with Snoopy and Snoopy gave Andrew a stuffed Snoopy, which he loves! We also got to see a Peanuts Characters show, very cute. Of course we ate at Mrs. Knotts restaurant, GREAT experience. At Knottsberry Farm we got to see a cowboy show, it was hilarious! I have to say that the log ride was my favorite there and we rode it quite a few times. On the way back to the hotel, we drove to one of Don's favorite places to eat, In-And-Out Burger. It was very crowded but yummy fun!
Tuesday morning we drove down to Santa Maria to see Don's family. We had not seen them in 5 years. Got to visit with Grandpa and Grandma Trieber-miss them so much! Of course, we spent most of the day at Papa's and Mema's with 10 of their 21 cousins, you would have never known we had that many children there, they were all so well behaved and polite! Aunt Cassie enjoyed her niece time(she is the brave Supermom to 8 boys!) and the enjoyed playing around with Uncle Steve and Uncle John. One fun thing there, Don dared his twin(who normally has a shaved head) to shave his goatee and in return Don would shave his head. They looked so much alike from the back, it was funny. The bar-b-cue was delicious, along with all the other yummy things we got to eat. We went to see 4 more cousins on the way back to the hotel, late night but fun!
Our last day we had to make a few important stops: Boston Market and See's Candy. We were NOT disappointed one bit! Then off course, off to drop off the rental and then to the airport, sniff...sniff...I prayed not to have a bad attidude upon giving up that 8 seater, beauty. It went ok, I guess. We got to the airport way too early, but it beats rushing around. Our limo was waiting for us with our family name on a sign at baggage claim here at the N.O. airport. We got home after 1 a.m. and the kids were wired telling Grandma all about it. I think we went to bed at 3:30 and the kids all slept in til after 1030.
This trip was so much fun, so glad we got to do this. Glad, too that Andrew wished for it!