The kids in front of the big Christmas tree in the square on Main Street. We took this picture right after we arrived at Disneyland as we got there a little early and the rest of the park was not open yet.
The first day of our Disneyland adventure dawned bright and beautiful. The rain was gone and the weather was perfect. We got all the kids dressed and ready to go (thank the Lord I didn't have to iron!) One thing that I did before we left was to take a picture of each kid so I would have it in case one of them got lost at the park. Thankfully, we never had to use the picture!
One of the reasons for that was because Justin and Jason wore a backpack harness the whole time. I can not tell you how wonderful these things were to my peace of mind. We did have the stroller and did keep them buckled in as we walked along, but for times when they were not in the stroller, such as going on a ride, it was so helpful to have that connection because, try as you might, you do get distracted by this buckle or that other child and little ones can and will run off sooo fast. And least you think that I'm a horrible parent for harnessing my kids, the boys loved wearing their backpacks and didn't mind it one bit. They still bring the packs to me here at home and ask me to put the packs on them.
I mentioned that we had the double stroller. I tied a colorful scarf around the handle so that we would be able to identify it easily. Another thing that I did was packed everything into backpacks. Nothing was left free. This was because there were certain times, mostly on the Disneyland Railroad and sometimes the tram, that the stroller had to be folded up. Since all of our stuff was in backpacks, it was easy to sling the packs on our backs, allowing our hands to still be free to hold kids, lug stroller, and navigate steps, etc.
The backpacks held diapers, extra clothes for the little ones, sweaters and jackets because it did get cool around 3 in the afternoon, snacks and water bottles. The snacks and water were wonderful, allowing us to only have to purchase lunch and dinner, with the occasional treat that we could afford and wanted, not just needed.
Our hotel was a 10 minute walk to the Disneyland parking lot and trams. Tyler complained about the walk, but it was nice not to have to worry about paying for parking.
Let me just say that we picked one of the best times to go! I've been during Christmas and I know how much of a mad house it is then. This week that we went, the second week of November, was nothing like that at all. It was empty by Disneyland standards. But, they had just started to put up the Christmas decorations, so that was a fun little treat. No parade yet, though, and Small World was still closed.
They opened up Main Street an hour before park opening time, so it was easy to get in and walk around Main Street without having to rush to the rides. Kind of silly, but as we walked under the arched tunnel that leads into Main Street, I got a little teary thinking "We brought all of our kids to Disneyland!"
Overall, we had a blast. I had been a little worried about keeping everyone happy because of the age difference, but we had no problem at all. Surprisingly, Justin and Jason were able to ride on lots of the rides. And, if they were not able to ride a certain ride, there was also something close by for them to do. And because it wasn't busy, none of the lines were very long, so we weren't stuck waiting forever. This was a huge key, I think, to our success: we were constantly moving. Also, most of the rides that Justin and Jason were able to go on were configured in such a way that I was able to sit with both of them on one row, so we didn't have to worry about being separated.
I'm not much of a roller coaster rider. I'll ride them but I don't enjoy them as much as Jim does. So it naturally fell to him to ride the coasters with the big kids and me to hang out with the littles. However, we did switch for certain things, like Star Tours. Again, it was so easy. I really was surprised and applauded Disney for a convenient layout.
I'll share some more pictures and stories later.