Thursday, June 16, 2011

A little princess-in-training

Sorry for the lack of posts, this past week have seemed both really busy and really uneventful. But we did go to Disneyland last weekend! A friend of ours is moving away in August and needs to get in as much baby time as she can before she goes. We thought an all-day epic trip to Disneyland sounded like a good way to accomplish that!

There are a few new things at Disneyland that we wanted to check out. Unfortunately, we scrapped the first of the only four things on our agenda right away. We opted not to experience the new version of Star Tours after learning how Disneyland does the "Baby Swap" situation. We determined that babies can't wait in line with the rest of the party if they aren't going to ride. If you want to do the baby swap to let both parents enjoy the attraction, one parent has to wait alone with baby while the rest of the party waits in line. Then they can swap. We figured we'd rather experience the attraction later when one of us didn't have to spend 75 minutes hanging out with Alice while the other waits in line. So don't tell me anything about it, I can't wait to check it out!

With that off the table, we went about our usual favorites (Haunted Mansion, Pirates, Jungle Cruise) and Alice seemed about as ambivalent as the last time we visited. At this tender age, she neither particularly dislikes or enjoys any of the attractions. Not even Winnie the Pooh got a reaction from her! She did start to cry a bit in Pirates as we sailed into the darker area past the Blue Bayou. I was afraid the entire boat was in for a long thirteen minutes, but she collected herself and didn't even seem to mind the drops! 
waiting in line, walking off the crankies
We wanted to try and squeeze in a whirl on the carousel before we had to save a spot on the curb to watch the parade. We planned to feed Alice once we were sitting down but were pushing our luck, timing-wise.  The afternoon had really warmed up and Alice was starting to get tired and hungry and cranky while we were waiting in line for the carousel. Again, we feared that the next three minutes could turn out to be the longest of our life, stuck in a spinning vortex of Disney organ music with a screaming child. Happily, though, Alice really enjoyed her introductory carousel experience. Dad kept her on her horse while I took pictures from the row ahead and our friend recorded the entire adventure from the horse beside them. I'd share the video, but you wouldn't believe from her unchanging expression that Alice was actually having a good time. Hopefully next time I can capture expressions of delight and squeals of glee. Just trust me, she liked it - Jon had to pry her off the horse when we were finished.

Jon fed Alice while we waited for the parade, and then Alice fed Jon some of her puffs. Yum!

And then we saw Mickey's new Soundsational Parade! Love that piano skirt, Minnie!
It's a fun and colorful parade but it didn't unseat the previous parade, the Parade of Dreams, as my very favorite. The floats boasted some awesome elements by Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily, and I was delighted to see both Tangled and Princess and the Frog featured. 

A really fun float with Ray, Tiana, Louis, and dancers with fabulous Mardi Gras costumes.

My favorite part of the princess float was the little tween girl standing behind me, singing along with Rapunzel. She was absolutely belting it out with such heartfelt emotion, it was just a magical Disney moment.
I couldn't get a great detail photo, but Belle is wearing the most beautiful version of her iconic dress that I have ever seen. I thought it was so exciting and inspiring to see such a new and fresh interpretation of something so recognizable, without it being jarring or even noticeable to most. 

We also made sure to visit Ariel's new Undersea Adventure. Alice even got to ride like a big girl, sitting on a lap instead of safely contained in the Ergo. It was so fun to see a brand-new version of a dark ride and Alice was definitely enthralled, if not actually emotive. It was so shiny and colorful and the animatronics were pretty amazing. I couldn't help but think how it would have blown my mind at the height of my Little Mermaid phase, when I was flipping my hair all around in the pool in my best Ariel fashion and wishing I had fins of my own to flip...
watching the newt play the flute and the carp play the harp

Though this was Alice's fourth trip to Disneyland, we'd somehow never needed to use the Baby Care Centers before. For some reason, we thought we'd check them out this time and I was so glad we did - they are great! They have private booths for nursing, high chairs for feeding bigger kids, and a whole room with changing tables and pint-sized potties for all your baby bathroom needs. It's also where lost kids are corralled and they get to watch Disney movies and meet characters until their parents are tracked down. The whole place is looked after by a lovely group of castmembers dressed as Victorian nursemaids. Delightful.
really enjoying her dinner.
Anyway, we had dinner and hung around a bit before we decided to park at DCA's Cove Bar for a drink or two before the World of Color show. We snagged a table by the railing, overlooking Paradise Bay. We were having such a good time, we decided to pay the $10 cover charge and stay there for the show. Jon has been angling to see World of Color from as far back as possible to get a panoramic view. This vantage point didn't quite fit the bill but was still cool. The show is definitely meant to be viewed straight-on only, and since we were off to the side, we couldn't see all the projected effects and could hear how the soundtrack is out of phase which was a bit distracting. Still cool though, and a really low stress way to do it.
We passed through the gift shop on our way out, looking for a souvenir to send to a friend. Alice took home the Alice in Wonderland Pookalooz after her visit to the park and I've been thinking that she might need another Wonderland friend to keep her company. I held up this Cheshire Cat Pookalooz to see if Alice showed any interest and she immediately grabbed it from me and gave him a big hug. So naturally, I couldn't put it back on the shelf after that. Please note, I would not have given it to her in the first place if I had no intention of buying it. I'm not a sadist... Alice clutched it all the way from the store to the car, here she is in the parking structure:

And the next morning, the Cheshire Cat officially joined the violet dog among the ranks of most favorite and honored toys, in the cat bed with Alice.

Can't wait until our next trip, maybe we'll even get to ride Star Tours!


  1. Yay! I've missed your updates, Erin!

    It's been so long since I've been to Disneyland... I can't even remember the last time. I look forward to going again and seeing all the changes they've made!

  2. Your little girl is so precious! I can't get over how cute she is, and I just love her hair. My little girl, Norah is 9 months. I think she will look a lot like Alice when she is that age.
    It is too funny that her fav spot is in the cat bed! Especially with her chesire cat. I have to get that one for Norah- she has a tinkerbelle pookalooz (though I never knew it was a pookalooz until your post).


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