Disneyland

The Photo Gallery | Happy – Finding ‘Happy’ at Disneyland California!

Guess where we are?

Known as ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’!

Disneyland!

This visit I am the happiest I’ve been visiting Disneyland California, and it’s not just because of the dashing man by my side (though of course he is a big part of the reason!).

Me & hubbie at Disneyland

It’s also because our Miss 4 has finally reached the magic height of 40 inches, (corresponding with me reaching the age of 40!) which enables her to go on so many more rides!

She stands proud and tall when asked, ‘Can I check your height?’, with a look of determined confidence. She is now able to ride all of our favourite rides in California Adventure Park, like Soaring Over California, Radiator Springs Racers and Silly Symphony Swings. In Disneyland she loves the newly reopened Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Star Tours!

Here she is, between our friend Frances, visiting us from New Zealand, and her Daddy, preparing to go on Soaring Over California:

Soaring over California

Our friend Frances being here is another reason to be super duper happy. We have three adults to three children and everyone is getting to have fun! Hurray!

Miss 8 and Frances hanging out in the lobby of the Disneyland Hotel:

Disneyland Hotel lobby

Frances having a laugh with some flashing ice-cubes that landed in our drinks at the wonderful Blue Bayou restaurant on Monday evening! Fabulous food, wonderful company and superb setting:

Blue Bayou ice cubes

I’m so happy to be dining out and soaking up the good vibes. We had an incredible table for dinner this evening, overlooking the fun of Paradise Pier.

Dinner overlooking Paradise Pier

What a view!

California Adventure

Our older daughters are super happy, now they know the layout of the parks so well, that they feel confident to run onto rides, as ‘single riders’, skipping the long lines of people waiting to ride together. We stay at a cafe nearby, enjoying a drink, whilst they ride to their hearts content! They must have been on California Screamin’ over a dozen times!

We are even managing to get our oldest daughter, Miss 10, to make the occasional appearance in front of the camera, so long as its a ‘Selfie’; those are all good in her book.

Selfie with Miss 10

And Miss 4 is super happy to have her wish to become a mermaid finally come to fruition – at least in painted portrait form…

Alice the mermaid

We have all week here and the weather is scorchio’, the swimming pool inviting and the cocktails…. ahhhh, so happy!

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Linking up with lots of other ‘Happy’
over at ‘The Photo Gallery’ at Sticky Fingers blog this week:

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Prose for Thought | Is Disneyland Your Happy Place?

I watched my children’s eyes, filled with wonder –
But saw the the plastic cups and plates in bins.
I marvelled at the sparkling lights and shows –
But thought about the electricity.

I laughed alongside them on the rides –
But wished to hear the same laughs in nature.

I waved at the characters in costume –
But struggled to answer,
‘Is that a person dressed up?’

I steered through the crowds of people, wishing –
I was in a place of large, open spaces.

I gawped with them at all the toys and clothes –
But wanted to wear blinkers, like a horse.

I took photos of so many Christmas trees –
But would have gained immeasurably more –
Taking photos of trees in the wilderness.

I went for my children – they loved it – but –
I struggled with what this was teaching them.
In a time when so many in the world –
Live with so little, hoping for peace –
I felt troubled.

I thought –
Let the memories be happy and thankful –
Let the ‘magic’ be more than a few days –
Let not the excess merchandise taint them –
Let them see past the lights and laughter –
Let them understand happiness –
In its purity.
A happy that is not bought –
But can be found –
in The Everyday.

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After I wrote this poem, I looked over the photographs and video clips, seeing the magic, happiness and laughter in my children’s eyes. And yet, still, my other thoughts still remained in the background. Was it worth it? My children would say, ‘Yes!’ and perhaps, with their innocence, they are right. My mind is so jaded with the cruelty in this world, that they are too young to yet understand and definitely not emotionally strong enough to cope with (are we ever emotionally strong enough?). What would I have rather done? I could list one hundred things – camping, visiting village children in a country where they have so little – but make their own happiness, appreciating every moment of life as a blessing – knowing all too keenly how quickly life can be taken. But they did love the magic of it all, the surreal world of what is possible with imagination and creativity. It will be interesting to hear their own recollections in years to come.

Here’s the video clips of those happy faces –

Prose for Thought

LOVING our New Zealand neighbours being here with us in the USA!

They arrived today! Our wonderful New Zealand neighbours. Our children are ecstatic and it’s magic for us adults to see them all together. Their ages span from three to ten, but all five children (three of them being our crazy girls) are like a little family in their own right. They mix up play between them all and have so much fun together. We have yet to get a photograph of them all together (any attempts are faced with silly faces, ducking behind pillars and under tables, diving under the water or behind a Christmas tree… sigh!).

We left sunny Santa Barbara at 9.30am this morning and arrived in a rainy Disney just after midday. The sight that greeted was beautiful Christmas poinsettias and the biggest, twinkling Christmas tree in the entrance room of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Very magical indeed!

Christmas is BIG at Disney!

Within half an hour of us arriving at the hotel, our dear friends arrived (we’d arranged a limo to pick them up at Los Angeles Airport after their long haul flight from New Zealand).

I was relieved the drive wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated (imagine the worse and it can only be better – right?!). With only Miss 3 as my passenger in my lovely turbo VW red bug (the other two drove in comfort with their Dad – who I tailed most of the way through LA), it was a surprisingly relaxed drive. She slept half the way, and spent the remaining half of the journey happily taking in the scenery.

Arriving at the hotel

The drive down started with the beautiful coastline south from Santa Barbara towards LA, in glorious sunshine…

Leaving sunny Santa Barbara

– before hitting the outskirts of LA and five lanes of highway in each direction (that’s when I refrained from being a speed demon, leaving my husband to chase my tail, and took time out to follow his tail through the heavier traffic and lane switches to keep us in the right direction for Disney!).

Our first afternoon together has been so much fun and it’s as though we’ve never been apart. Our friends had incredible stamina to stay awake till 10.30pm pacific time here (after not getting much sleep on their long haul from NZ). The children even all managed a swim in the hotel pool at 9.30pm!

I’m now signing off, as this Disneyland stuff takes a lot of stamina (whilst my dear hubbie is still out in the park – with our two eldest daughters – and it’s close to midnight!). He sent this pic and I can’t WAIT to see this with my own eyes tomorrow!

Disneyland castle

Good night from here, sweet dreams and may all your wishes come true!

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Linking this post up with my lovely friend Meghan in Wellington, New Zealand, who really makes the most out of life.