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Disneyland In Photos

I surprised the kids with a trip to Disneyland for Spring Break.

I'll share more of the details on all that another day, today I just want to share some of my favorite images.

So much magic.

We went with my sister & Jeffrey and their daughter Gabrielle and our friend/nanny Katie.

Loved getting the chance to go back to the park at night with Simon and Katie while my sister stayed with the girls at the hotel.

The Bob stroller works for little and big kids.

I'm not going to pretend that the trip was all awesomeness. Three-year-olds, ten-year-olds and adults all get tired and cranky - even (and maybe especially) at the happiest place on earth.

But man oh man was there a lot of joy and magic.

Like Simon getting to do Jedi Training and having a light saber battle with Darth Maul.

Or Anna getting to have a princess makeover.

And then have lunch with the princesses.

Or a three-year-old getting to drive a car and both of us laughing hysterically the whole time.

Really just being together was a big part of the magic.

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103 thoughts

  1. Ilona says…
    04/05/2012

    How much fun! I'm sure Jedi Simon won that battle and haha, I can hear you and Anna laughing in that car :-) - great to see you and the kids having fun. Thank you Ali for sharing a little of that magic on your blog!

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. audra says…
    04/05/2012

    Looks like a wonderful time! We were just there in October (first time) I'm SO glad Simon was able to do the JEDI training! My son did that as well, it was just awesome! Anna makes an adorable princess, love the photo of her getting her nails done!

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Tami says…
    04/05/2012

    i love that white zip up jacket-where did you get it?

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. Ali says…
      04/05/2012

      It's from Lululemon. http://shop.lululemon.com/home.jsp

    2. patty says…
      04/06/2012

      in that picture with the white jacket... ali, you look stunning! so SO beautiful... a moving UP smile for sure!

  4. Amanda says…
    04/05/2012

    I'm jumping up and down that Simon got to do Jedi training. And isn't the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique pure magic?

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      04/05/2012

      We cried. We were really nervous that he wouldn't get picked even though I had let him know that if he didn't we'd come back again and again until he did. He was the second to the last to get picked - we were so, so glad and he was so, so excited.

  5. HeatherC says…
    04/05/2012

    How fun -- Disney is a magical place -- we went this spring break too, but to Disney World in Florida -- it was so fun and I have so many little stories -- I have kids 5 and -- we used strollers too -- and they had a ball -- in fact, my 5 year old's favorite ride was the Speedway --- she loved driving the cars too. We had our share of meltdowns from all, but a trip to Disney is a little like childbirth -- there is so much fun anticipation, while you are there there are moments of pain and great exhilaration, but after it is over the pain will fade and it is the magic you will remember -- and want to do it again! Glad you had a great trip -- I know I am so happy that we financially able to give this experience to our kids.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ann Marie says…
      04/05/2012

      What a perfect comparison to childbirth! I love it! :)

  6. Michelle B says…
    04/05/2012

    what an amazing trip! looks like so much fun! Everyone does look so happy! I love Simon drinking out of the star wars cup and Anna as a princess and driving a car! Awesome!

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. libby gordon says…
    04/05/2012

    It looks like you all had a great time! Yes, one can even get cranky at the happiest place on earth:) My daughter (she was five at the time) and I met my sister and her youngest daughter at DW once for a princess weekend....it was really fun but we had a total meltdown in "It's A Small World"....which became even smaller after throwing herself (the 5 y o) down in line, screaming "no flash photography." Was a pretty classic moment:)

    Glad you had fun and the pictures are great. Can't wait to hear more.

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. dawn says…
    04/05/2012

    WOW, great photos and memories to be had by all of you. It really is the happiest place even with the few meltdowns. I love the one of you and Anna in the car, she is soooo happy. How awesome for Simon, that was perfect for him. My nieces did the princess makeovers also, love that idea.

    We have been there twice and are trying to get there again very soon. If I could we would go every year. The last time we went Sam was Anna's age and when we saw the princess they actually made him blush and get all shy. They treated him like a prince and told his sisters how lucky they were to have a prince of a brother. We didn't do too many rides, they were mostly interested in the shows and meeting characters and getting autographs. Now that they are older we will really enjoy the rides and other attractions even more. It really is magical when you take a litte one with you and they really believe the charcters are real, their faces are priceless when they meet them.

    So glad you got this time away and with your sister also. Thanks for sharing these with us.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Neelu says…
    04/05/2012

    We went to Disneyland Paris with our kids for Spring break too! How weird is that! haha

    You are right - it did get a bit cranky in between.. but my husband and kids enjoyed :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Neelu says…
    04/05/2012

    Oh forgot to add - love love love your photos Ali. Love the one in which she is wearing the princess costume and laughing hard! MashaAllah :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. P.J. says…
    04/05/2012

    What a joy for Simon (& the rest of you)! My 32 yr old son was (and is) a Star Wars fan. It would have filled all of us with joy to see him dual with Darth Maul when he was Simon's age. So I understand your feelings. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Kim says…
    04/05/2012

    Love the pictures; they bring back memories. And yes, the happiest place on earth is where my son had some of his biggest meltdowns (me too)!

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Ellie A. says…
    04/05/2012

    OH how I LOVE these bits of shares How fun. You can feel the happy so awesome!

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Sue TR (Your Story 2011) says…
    04/05/2012

    Oh how fun!! We were there 2+ years ago and one of my favorite parts was the Jedi Training Academy !!! Oh boy did I wish I was a kid again and could do that...the girls were too scared to try and do it but it was so much magic to watch!!

    Love the r2d2 mug...my girls dutifully carried their buzz light year cups around the whole day... and still drink out of them!

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Katie says…
    04/05/2012

    Oh my! So Jealous!! Disney is my absolute favorite place in the world to visit! I can't wait until my son is old enough to enjoy it with us!! :) :) Looks like you had a blast! :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Cindy Welch says…
    04/05/2012

    Oh I love the happiest place on earth. Even though I live so close, I rarely go. I loved to take my children when they were little and I am just dying to take my grandkids when I have them. LOVE

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. April says…
    04/05/2012

    Hi Ali,

    We are planning to take our 3 and 6 year old to Disneyland this summer, do you have any website recommendations for planning the trip? Did you prepurchase the passes and do you have a nice hotel to recommend?

    Thanks for sharing these photos, it gets me so excited to take our kids to Disneyland.

    Have a lovely day.

    Reply 5 Replies
    1. Ruth G says…
      04/06/2012

      April, personally I really like the Unofficial Guides to Disney. They gave me a good sense of what would be good to do and what to skip depending on the type of group you have. It's not for everyone because there are very organized routes to take, etc, but for our family, it worked really well. Enjoy!

    2. Ali says…
      04/05/2012

      Hi April - I'm planning to talk about more of the details in another post. We stayed at The Disneyland Hotel and it was great - location, atmosphere, pool, etc. We purchased a package that included park passes (park-hopper where you can go back and forth between Disneyland and California Adventure). I don't have any specific website recommendations - I'll ask my sister.

    3. Brenda says…
      04/05/2012

      The Grand Californian Hotel was lots of fun when we stayed there and it has a direct entrance into California Adventure so you don't have to go through the main entrance. Make sure you use fastpasses so you can get on more rides (at the bottom of the fast pass is where you'll find the time listed when you can get your next fast pass). At least here in Southern California you can get good priced tickets at Costco.

    4. Kristan says…
      04/09/2012

      First Ali, wonderful photos! I love Disneyland! LOVE it! And I wish I was young enough to be picked for the Jedi Training Academy. My husband I went in October (his first time) and will be returning in July. As for planning, disboards.com has lots of great info!

    5. Renee says…
      04/06/2012

      We booked our trip last October through Alaska Air. They had the best prices for everything. We were able to get a 6 night vacation including airfare, transfers, hotel, park hopper tickets, and cancellation insurance, and taxes (all for 5 people) for $3000. We stayed in the Best Western right across the street from the main entrance... There's also a HoJo that is a little cheaper, down the road and it has a great pool area - for those much needed afternoon breaks!
      If you've got an iPhone or android, I highly recommend getting the Mousewait app - great resource for planning before and during your trip!
      Another thing that's a must is the Photo Pass. Disney has there own photographers throughout the parks to take your pictures in from of attractions and with certain characters. Get a photo pass card when you have your first photo taken, then use that card every time you get a photo taken... Your photos will all be saved to the card and at the end of your trip you can buy either just a cd with all your photos, or for the same price you can buy a cd containing over 350 high res stock photos of the parks that also comes with a code to order your photos on e you get home. You can then add col borders and stamps to your photos before you order them :)
      Have fun!!!

  18. Ann Marie says…
    04/05/2012

    Ali I am so happy for you all -We went to WDW for first time last Feb with our oldest (7) and had to leave (4) yr old home (PPD-NOS)
    I have been contemplating another trip but to Disneyland and want to bring 4yr old with.
    SOOO glad Simon participated in the Jedi training. I think that was the highlight for me seeing my guy battle Darth Vader. LOVE the pic of Simon on the ride with the sunshine on his face and a Star Wars hoodie on. They should use that in their ads. :)
    I would love a post on more details of where you stayed and any advice for Autism families :)
    PS- the R2-D2 mug is fabulous :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Eileen says…
    04/05/2012

    It's my favorite place on Earth. And Jedi training sounds pretty awesome too.

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Jo says…
    04/05/2012

    the pictures that stand out for me r the one with simon and the r2 d2 cup how awesome is that and the black and white princess anna, so cute. glad ur having a fun time,
    jo xxx

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Peg says…
    04/05/2012

    Wow, Simon looks so grownup in these pictures. That always happens in this 9-11 year old bracket. Suddenly it seems to me anyway. Looks like a great time all around and I'm glad you got away to make some new memories!

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Debbi G. says…
    04/05/2012

    LOVE Disney! We just did Disney World & my 9 year old did Jedi training too! So much fun! Isn't it cool to watch them?...could just sit and watch & listen :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. laura g. says…
    04/05/2012

    what a fun time! looking forward to reading how you pulled this surprise off!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Carolyn says…
    04/05/2012

    We were at Disneyland last week too! My son considered himself too old for Jedi training, but we still loved watching all the younger kids have a great time while we were eating lunch one afternoon. Its easier with older kids. My two are teenagers now and this was our best Disney trip ever.

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Janaina Oliveira says…
    04/05/2012

    I plan to take my son there I know if there is one place good for Autistic little boys is Disney they really care.
    I don't know why I got so surprised to see this pictures of Simon, he is so grown up in this pictures, time really flies and I see in the reflection of your blog Ali for so long I read it.
    This pictures makes me want to go to Disney even though with my son I always think would be hard. But I will wait for more details.
    Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply 0 Replies

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