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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. cecilia says…
    04/05/2012

    Can I just say you amaze me?! Disney land, amidst everything. I love your keep-moving-forward spirit.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Leanne in CA says…
    04/05/2012

    So fun! Disneyland is one of my favorite places and my kids love it too. Great photos. Glad you were able to enjoy it with family. What a great surprise!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Karin Podolski says…
    04/05/2012

    My mom used to take photos of children crying and people arguing at "the happiest place on Earth"!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Rinda says…
    04/05/2012

    What great photos - love the fireworks and Simon drinking from the star wars cup especially. I have so many terrific memories of disneyland. And the grumpy parts fade from memory in the long run.
    Rinda

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Kary in Colorado says…
    04/05/2012

    We were there just two weeks before you for spring break too--such fun! My kids are teens so it is a whole different trip (no meltdowns & many, many rides on California Screaming), but one of our favorite hilarious (now, not at the time!) family stories concerns my now-15yo daughter having a meltdown at age 2 outside of Indiana Jones. So glad you got to do this--great memories for all of you!

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Nicky from Canada says…
    04/05/2012

    Thank you for sharing. We all know how magical these holidays are but always how difficult they can be at times. All so worth the adventure!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Jenny W says…
    04/05/2012

    So many happy memories! My favorite is the driving with Anna picture...reminds me of the same ride with my kids at the same ages. We have memories of laughing so hard together that we hurt (or maybe that was the bruises from bumping back and forth from kid drivers...) Either way, truly wonderful. Glad you had a good time--and that you're wise enough to see the good over arching the grumpy moments.

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

    Looks like a wonderfully, magical trip. So happy you and your family got to experience it all. Thanks for sharing your amazing photos (you can truly see the magic in them) and I look forward to hearing all the little details as well.

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

    I have two kids (now adults) with Autism who are Disney obsessed! We were able to take them to Disney World quite a few times. When we went, we took them to guest services and got a "disability" pass. This allowed us to bypass the lines. There was no way my kids would be able to wait in the lines. This usually meant that we would go in the exit and get on the ride right away. I am not sure if they do this anymore. But we couldn't have gone to Disney without it. And we made use of the strollers even though our kids were "bigger." Love Disney!

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

      They absolutely still do it and it's the only way to go :). I'm planning to talk a little more about that in a future post.

  10. Gayle says…
    04/05/2012

    Love love LOVE Disney :) got married at Disneyworld in September because we think it's pretty magical too :)

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

    What a wonderful adventure for you! Can't wait to go for my first time next summe(2013) after my oldest son's HS graduation.

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

    We were there last week too! My boys are older 15 & 11, but we love to go to DL.Some days we are there from 8 am until midnight. Love the memories that we make there. Glad you had such a fun time.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. elise says…
    04/05/2012

    that photo of Anna with her hands out for her nails to be painted... made me tear up.

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Jena Baker says…
    04/05/2012

    I know it was magically awesome. My hubby and I suprised our kids with a trip a year ago and seeing your pictures brought all of those great memories back. We still talk about it frequently. Disneyland is truly the happiest place on earth.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Anna-Marie says…
    04/05/2012

    What absolutely adorable photos. So glad you guys had a good time. I also loved the very honest comment about the trip not being all roses, I am so glad to hear that because I sometimes wonder if my kids were the only ones who would be at Disney and have a not so good time. Makes me feel so much better that it really is just kids and not just my kids and that it is perfectly normal behavior. I have girls so the princess photo's of Anna just set my heart a beat, would love to see more of that photo of you next to her with your crown on. I am trying very conciously to be a part of the action and not just the face behind the camera. At my daughters last party I made sure to run around with her for a little while and play, we went on the Shark slide together and even got a photo of us coming down at the bottom to prove it. Looking forward to hearing more about the trip and hopefully seeing a few more photo's.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Teri H. says…
    04/05/2012

    That's so awesome! What a great surprise. You sure captured that joy and magic on your kids' faces.

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. tania willis says…
    04/05/2012

    :) (we're going to disney this summer for the first time ever!) these pictures stir up even more excitement! i love how you are in so many of them. also, i'd love to know what kind of camera you toted around and am curious if it was your big one. i'm nervous about taking mine (even though i consider it my every day camera). it's the only one i have. wondering if i should invest in a little pocket Point & Shoot before we leave. thoughts?

    Reply 3 Replies
    1. Jennifer says…
      04/08/2012

      We've been to Disney World four times (we live near Ali's sister on the east coast). First time I went I took only a point and shoot. It worked well at the time because it was only my husband and I and pictures didn't consume me. Second time we had one child (7 at the time) and I carried my SLR (film not digital). Pain to carry - yes but worth it. I have great shots from that trip. What I did to carry it/protect it from water was buy a larger camera bag and that did double duty. It held my SLR, film, handy wipes, bandaids, tissues, etc so I didn't have to carry 2 bags. Third and fourth time we had 2 kids and we carried both a camera bag for our DSLR (just big enough for the camera and lens) and a backpack for other "gear." I carried one bag and my husband carried the other. Not fun but I'd do it again. Our SLR pictures are wonderful. My advice take the best camera you have that you are willing to carry - hand YOUR camera over to the staff and they will take pictures of you with characters with YOUR camera and that can save you some money. If you're willing to spend the money to go to Disney and pictures are important to you, you won't regret the extra "baggage."

    2. tania willis says…
      04/05/2012

      wow. thanks for the quick answer ali! and iPhone is on my wish list next time i upgrade (december 2012, i think). anywho. did you just wear the big one on your being at all times? or have it tucked into a safe camera bag/sling? gosh, i feel so clueless. i know i'll be disappointed if i don't take it, but i have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis that is attacking my hands something fierce. so i know holding it all day for 5 days straight (we're going to Disney World & all associated parks), that i'm at risk for dropping it because of the pain/weakness in my hands.

    3. Ali says…
      04/05/2012

      I brought my big one and was super happy to have it along. I also used my iphone, which I was also glad about :).

  18. jodie nelson says…
    04/05/2012

    WOW! We were at Disney last week and I saw a lady who really reminded me of Ali Edwards and I thought to myself "How stalkerish to think you see people from blogs in real life!!" Now, I am thinking maybe I wasn't crazy and actually did see you! Ha! :)

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

    I'm feelin' the magic! The fireworks silhouette-awesome. Anna getting her nails done-priceless. Her happiness is leaping off the screen!

    We just inherited a big box of princess dresses from my sister's family. Let the games begin!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Elizabeth*S* says…
    04/05/2012

    There is something so extra special about Memories created at Disney with cousins! The kids will never forget it! Thankfully our entire family loves Disney. Living in Florida enables us to spend LOTS of birthdays at Disney World! <3

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

    Glad you had a great time. You deserve it. I am going to DW in a week & was wondering about cameras too. I have an iPhone and a dSLR but the thought of lugging the big camera concerns me but my kids are older (6, 9 & 12). Thoughts?

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. Renee says…
      04/06/2012

      Oops! Typos ;). *to port, *even with it fully loaded...
      Sorry bout that!!

    2. Renee says…
      04/06/2012

      I brought my dslr and a point and shoot along. We used the Passport Sling by Lowepro ton port everything around. It was bug enough for both cameras, and additional lens, two wallets, sunglasses, a small pack of wet wipes, my daughter's autograph book and pen, and a small water bottle. Even without fully loaded it wasn't too heavy to tote around all day, and my husband didn't mind carrying it either :). You can find it on Lowepro.com
      I even took a tripod for capturing nighttime photos of the fireworks and rides with all the lights on...

  22. furrypig says…
    04/05/2012

    what an amazing trip to have with fab photos to keep all those memories

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. alexa says…
    04/05/2012

    What a wonderful surprise that must have been for them: there's a lovely Mum. I loved the photo of Simon's Jedi moment, and Anna having her nails done! So effective to have a colour and black/white mix. Glad you enjoyed your family time too.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Jen Hart says…
    04/05/2012

    Great share Ali. Love the photo of you with the great big grin. Go on going forward, it's inspirational :) I look forward to seeing the details. Love the one of Anna and the makeover and Simon after his star wars experience, smashing. Jen xx

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Paula says…
    04/05/2012

    Love your photos! Living in Florida, we have taken the kids to Disney many times and made many magical memories as well as some "not so magical ones!" My daughter has Aspergers and before she was diagnosed, we could never figure out why she refused to go on any "inside" rides - but wanted to obsessively spin on the Tea Cups over and over again....now we realize it was one of the many quirks that led to diagnosis. So we enjoy mostly outside stuff...one thing we do sometimes is "transportation day" - we just ride the monorail, and everything that goes up and down Main Street - the double decker bus, the horsedrawn carriage, the train that goes through the park,the go carts, Dumbo and of course the Tea Cups - then we watch the parad, fireworks, and call it a day! We didn't worry that "lunch with the princesses" actually involved no eating for her, it was the fun that filled us up. (And I got to eat her chocolate glass slipper desert!) Thanks for the chance to relive those memories in my heart today as I enjoyed your photos and post! If you've never been at Christmas time, Disney is amazing 1st two weeks of December, and lots less crowded! The decor and the characters dressed for the holidays is awesome.

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

      Hi Paula - Chris and I took Simon to Disneyworld the second week of December back in 2006 and it was awesome. Really great time of year for sure.

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