April/May 2019: Seven Kinds of Crazy - in progress!

Jaina

Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
Joined
Jul 22, 2005

WHO:
My "little" family of 7. (pictures taken at Christmas)



DH (35) likes Disney a lot. Or he used to, at least. We have been several times just the two of us. BUT these days he gets a little anxious about all the crowds, about not losing kids, and about too much stimulus. Disneyland with the kids is not necessarily his idea of fun right now. Our last trip, which included an almost-3-toddler who woke up at 4:30 every morning and a 4-month-old baby who would only sleep when he was wearing her (and he had a bad cold) was pretty traumatizing for him. I'm -really- hoping this trip will be better for him!


Sara(Me, 36). I'm the Disneyland-obsessed one. Sometimes I really wish I wasn't, because it's so expensive to do with a big family! But I have so many great memories of family trips as a child... I'm the one always itching to get back there. I also like painting, record-keeping (video editing, digital scrapbooking, etc.), music, and our family cabin.



Reilly (DS12) is in that awkward space between child and teen. He is still excited about Disneyland, and is not embarassed by us yet, but doesn't have much patience with th elittle kid stuff, or for meeting characters or anything. He is most excited for all the Mountains, Guardians, and Incredicoaster. He loves all things Marvel, Star Wars, Lego, Harry Potter, lots of book series I don't know anything about, and thrill rides.



Jaina (DD11 - actually, Jaina was the name of my Virtual Magic Kingdom character when I joined the Dis, which was several years before the actual Jaina was born. :) ) is completely obsessed with Disneyland, and is currently saving her money for another just-her-and-a-parent trip, because she loved attending the Halloween party with me so much this year. (Which she also paid for her own ticket to) She is my most-responsible child, but also my biggest worrier. She loved everything about Disneyland (except Incredicoaster) and I think her favorite ride is probably Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. She has been delightful to take to Disneyland from her first trip when she was 5. It's her happy place. I vacillate between being happy that she likes it so much, too, and between wishing she wasn't also so obsessed with such an expensive hobby. She loves Star Wars, Marvel, and all things Disneyland. Princesses aren't really her thing anymore.



Katy (DD8, almost 9 by then) is a little more challenging than the older two, parenting-wise. She definitely keeps us on our toes. She loves Disneyland, is not sure how she feels about princesses at this point, and has been a thrill ride enthusiast from her first visit at not-yet-3. I'm excited to see if Incredicoaster is too much for her, or if she loves it. She did NOT love Tower of Terror, but I'm hoping the less-spooky nature of Guardians will help her love that one as well.



Shawn (DS5) had his first visit on our last trip when he was a few weeks shy of 3. He had a great time, even if he wasn't that into listening, and we lost him once or twice... He is excited to be tall enough to ride most of the rides, and is especially excited about Carsland and RSR. (He wasn't really that into it yet last time) He also said he wants to see a parade. (We watch those on Youtube sometimes)



and Bridget (DD2 - almost 3 by then). She was just 4 months old at our last visit, so this is really her first visit. It will be interesting to see what she is into and if she's afraid of anything. I think she will like the rides, and she doesn't seem scared of characters from what I can tell. She is very excited about "Dinneyland!" and asks to go frequently, since she's seen me go several times this year... she is the main reason for the timing of our trip (we like to take them while they're still free, but old enough to really enjoy some of it). Well, that, and hitting it again before Star Wars land makes it crazy for a year or two. She loves the fabulous 5 the most, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is her favorite show. She is super excited for it all. Except the riding in the car part. She is not a fan, so the 6 hour drive will be exciting. Disneyland is one of the few things that can get me to drive that far and stay in small hotel rooms with them all at this point in life...



WHEN: We are traveling to California Sunday April 28th, and will be in the parks Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We had only been planning on 2 days (we're trying to get into a house this year, so were trying to keep this trip as low-budget as possible), but the new ticket deal made 3 days seem like a no-brainer. We will s-pend 2 days at Disneyland, and only one at California Adventure (mostly since there's not a whole lot for the under-40-incher there right now. I have my fingers crossed for the carousel to re-open before then, but I know it may not happen. I'm anxious to see what's going to be under refurb then, but really really hoping it's not Big Thunder Mountain or Guardians. Trying not to think about it too much until we can actually find out.

WHERE: I've changed my mind like 8 times. We currently have reservations at 3 different places, but we're planning on keeping the one at the Best Western Plus Raffles Inn & Suites. Hotels for families of 7 of are not very budget-friendly. This room has a king in one bedroom, and bunk beds/a pull out couch in the other. DD2 will sleep in our room, probably on a little toddler cot, to avoid being woken at 5:30 with the other kids, since she usually sleeps in until more like 7. We'll see. She was up pretty early on our recent trip to the Grand Canyon over Christmas. We will check out Thursday morning, and the kids and I will drive home. DH actually has a chiropractic conference that weekend in Newport Beach, which also affected the timing of our trip, and he'll stay the rest of the weekend and then fly home.
 

Jaina

Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
Joined
Jul 22, 2005
History:
Our family trips with kids have happened twice. The Best Trip Ever, in February 2013, when my kiddos were 6, 5, and almost 3 was amazing. The first day, especially, was just perfect. We had such a great time, and they were the perfect age to really enjoy everything. (Except the little one, who was too short for a lot of things still. But she still really loved it.)





And our Second Family Trip happened in November of 2016, when our 5 children were 10, 8, 6, almost 3, and 4 months. We still made good memories. We had a good time. They were cute as can be, mostly. But it almost killed us off a little. We had a toddler/pre-schooler who needed a lot of watching, and got up before the crack of dawn each day. That wouldn't have been bad if we could have tag-teamed. But we also and a 4 month old that wouldn't take a bottle, but was too stimulated to nurse well, and would only sleep for Dad, not for me. And we had an issue with DD6's hips/legs having a hard time and had to try to use the DAS system without being properly prepared. It squelched just a little bit of the magic, and we were exhausted afterwards. My poor DH still has a teensy bit of PTSD from that trip, and I was afraid we wouldn't be able to get him to go back.





Really hoping this trip is a happy medium between those two. Nothing ever goes that smoothly with 5 kids, and someone is usually grumpy about whatever's happening, but with no baby, we're hoping to have a great time, and not wear ourselves out too much, since we're only doing 3 days (instead of 4) and taking the cheaper option of not parking hopping this time. Also, our 3 oldest are all old enough to go on rides without us sometimes now, which will be helpful here and there too, I'm sure! We haven't decided for sure if we're doing MaxPass. It adds about $180 to our trip, (since we can still get it at the $10/day rate) and I'm not sure if it's worth it (though I'm a huge MP fan) with how much we're trying to budget. If DH has another good week at the office (he's a chiropractor and self-employed) this week, I might go for it... He doesn't like the idea of me taking off all the time to be the fast pass runner, even if we aren't doing any park hopping. At this point the plan is to do Disneyland Monday and Wednesday, and California Adventure on Tuesday. We have a magic morning, but with one park per day, I think it might be worth it to not use it this time, and just hit the opposite park. I'd rather begin and end with Disneyland anyway. Anyone have thoughts on any of these?
 
  • Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    Okay, I just purchased 4 of our 6 needed promotional tickets. This thing just got real! o_O Until now things were completely cancel-able, but it's anyone's guess if these tickets have any trade in value after May 23rd, so... I used the Disney gift card I won last summer to purchase two of the tickets, and our Southwest card to purchase two more. The plan is to purchase the last two in March (to make sure we can keep the card paid off in between). Big families are expensive, haha! But it makes me super excited to see those 4 tickets sitting in my app already for me to admire for the next 3 months. And I decided to just go ahead and get MaxPass, with the deal we're getting with these, and knowing how chaotic things can get with our kids, I don't need to be running off to grab Fastpasses across the park. Yikes, though. No turning back now! Now I just start praying that everyone stays healthy and nothing weird happens to throw off this trip! (Plus we actively work on our immunity the two weeks before a trip like that. We completely cut out sugar, and up everyone's immune supplements/good food/good sleep. It has worked so far, so hopefully it will work this time!)


    (pic is from our 2006 trip from the balcony of what is now the Dream Suite, I believe!)
     

    AJA55

    My very special Custom Title has gone away..sad.
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2002
    No turning back now......haha. Can't wait to read more.
     

    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    No turning back now......haha. Can't wait to read more.
    Seriously, once you plunk down some money for "promotional" tickets, you're all in!

    I've been working on getting some shirts together, since my kids are getting older, and may not be up for being all matchy matchy by the time we go on another trip (probably not for 2-3 years as a family). I was trying to pull stuff together from the Disney Store Outlet that's close to us, but I was striking out a little, and it was starting to add up. $$ So our first set of shirts are yellow (found at JoAnn and Hobby Lobby) and we're planning to do this design:


    We might start tomorrow. We'll have to see how the day goes. The kids want to help which has me a bit nervous, but glad that they're excited. I also got this hat that I may or may not have for my 12-year-old to wear. The girls will be doing black Minnie ears with bows that I haven't made yet.



    And I think DS5 is going to get one of these hats from our first trip (that he wasn't born for).


    Our second set of shirts is made up of two matching Mickey shirts from the Outlet for DH and I, and after some failed attempts at coordinating some other shirts with them, I decided to go with shirts for all 5 kids that we're going to put... something on, hopefully in that teal color. There will be some experimentation before we get it right, I'm guessing. But I got these cute Minnie hats at the outlet for $1.75 each(!) so I'm hoping they end up looking cute for it. I can't wear a hat very well with my curly hair, so I'll probably wear those ears, also snagged at the Outlet earlier this year. The Mickey ears hat is from our last trip, but it's so cute, and still fits my 5-year-old too. The Star Wars hat mostly goes, and the 12-year-old will actually wear it. (He's getting to that picky age)
    (failed set, haha)


    What we're working with:



    And the third set is mostly new stuff from the Outlet, along with a shirt I wore a few years ago. I might add some white to it too, we'll have to see I guess. My shirt is up for discussion still, but I tried it with a grey (I don't have quite the right shade) and pink, which is possible, but we'll what I'm feeling as it gets closer. The girls do really like the new shirts, and I think the boys will like wearing theirs a lot afterwards too.

     

    OziJo

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 9, 2011
    Hi Sara. I've just read through this PT and I'm amazed at your stamina! I can't imagine doing Disney with 5 young kids. On the other hand I can't imagine anything more wonderful than seeing the joy, wonder and excitement of experiencing Disney with young children. Our girls were 10, 12 and 16 when we first went in 2009 and it was great fun but there were many experiences that we missed out on because they were aimed at younger kids. I'll have to wait for grandchildren before I can experience the pure joy of a young child's first time in Disneyland. I'll look forward to following along with you and your lovely family.
     
  • Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    Hi Sara. I've just read through this PT and I'm amazed at your stamina! I can't imagine doing Disney with 5 young kids. On the other hand I can't imagine anything more wonderful than seeing the joy, wonder and excitement of experiencing Disney with young children. Our girls were 10, 12 and 16 when we first went in 2009 and it was great fun but there were many experiences that we missed out on because they were aimed at younger kids. I'll have to wait for grandchildren before I can experience the pure joy of a young child's first time in Disneyland. I'll look forward to following along with you and your lovely family.
    I'm glad you're following! As you know, it makes it so much more fun to write about when you know other people are benefiting from and/or enjoying seeing how your trip goes! I'm really hoping this trip will be better, and that it will have a little more sleep involved. And I hope it's not too crazy busy on the days we'll be there, so I can still hit a few of the bigger rides using either MaxPass or the rider switch (which I'm feeling unsure about with the new system... I need to do more research, because it seems like it will really slow the whole party down). But either way, I'm sure excited to do Disneyland with my youngest two especially, because they're so excited and little, and I think DD2 especially is going to love it all! My family never took kids to Disneyland until we were at least 40 inches (so about 4/5), because they didn't want people to have to stay off. I'm glad we didn't stick with that, because I've had a lot of fun and joy with the little ones too, that makes up for the inconvenience of splitting up a lot.
     

    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    Long, slightly frustrating day today. My husband is at a conference this weekend, so I decided it was a good time to make a big mess without it stressing him out, haha. Which means that my dishes still need to be done, and my table is a mess, but I'm pretty close to done with these! (Mostly I just need to add a few more layers of white to the buttons.


     
  • Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    They look great!!
    Oooh I like the yellow Mickey shirts. Very nice :)
    Thanks! They were fun to make!

    Surprisingly, the second set was a little faster to whip out. I guess because I didn't have to keep switching colors, and waiting for parts to dry before I painted more. I think we did a pretty good job mixing the colors to match the Disneyland Mickey shirts. I liked them best with just the turquoises, but the kids asked to incorporate a favorite color on each other theirs, so they're more unique. We will attempt names on the back in their colors of choice as well. :) I really like how they turned out though!

     

    theluckyrabbit

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2012
    Things are looking really good! :)
    Re: Rider Switch
    Keep asking questions on the trip planning board -- or you might want to start a new thread with specific questions. Since the change to digital swap last summer, there have been different reports from different posters. You'll want to ask the moms that visit the parks weekly to get the most accurate idea of what to expect and how to best use RS for your trip.
     

    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    Things are looking really good! :)
    Re: Rider Switch
    Keep asking questions on the trip planning board -- or you might want to start a new thread with specific questions. Since the change to digital swap last summer, there have been different reports from different posters. You'll want to ask the moms that visit the parks weekly to get the most accurate idea of what to expect and how to best use RS for your trip.
    Thanks for the advice! I’ll keep a close eye on it!
     

    FeistyDisneyMom

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2019
    I feel like we are kindred spirits! I'm also a mom of 5, and we have been doing family trips every couple of years! And our next trip is this spring! I am following your report eagerly :) and will be stalking all the same RS threads. Our most recent trip was September 2016 - we did our pregnancy announcement from the parks (4 sets of ears with kids' names and one with a ? - and believe it or not, it was hubby's idea! He patiently puts up with my obsessive planning, but doesn't get into it until we can see the park.

    I love the shirts you are putting together! I've never tried doing that - think it is something I could figure out for this trip? I've been wanting to do something more homemade, but had been looking at making journals and autograph books. Shirts might be more practical though!

    *** Edited to add - hotels are so tough for us now, I went ahead and did a house rental for this trip. We are bringing my brother in law and his 7 yr old daughter and my other brother in law with us this trip so we make an even 10 and the house rental + promo tickets was significantly better than even good neighbor deals.
     

    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    I feel like we are kindred spirits! I'm also a mom of 5, and we have been doing family trips every couple of years! And our next trip is this spring! I am following your report eagerly :) and will be stalking all the same RS threads. Our most recent trip was September 2016 - we did our pregnancy announcement from the parks (4 sets of ears with kids' names and one with a ? - and believe it or not, it was hubby's idea! He patiently puts up with my obsessive planning, but doesn't get into it until we can see the park.

    I love the shirts you are putting together! I've never tried doing that - think it is something I could figure out for this trip? I've been wanting to do something more homemade, but had been looking at making journals and autograph books. Shirts might be more practical though!

    *** Edited to add - hotels are so tough for us now, I went ahead and did a house rental for this trip. We are bringing my brother in law and his 7 yr old daughter and my other brother in law with us this trip so we make an even 10 and the house rental + promo tickets was significantly better than even good neighbor deals.
    That's so fun! How old are your kids? When are you going? You should start a trip report so I can follow along with your plans! Our last trip was just a couple months after yours, in November 2016! I want to see that picture! The shirts are actually really fun for me, even though they're a lot of work with so many. I love the matchy or at least coordinaty stuff for all the pictures, and they're not that hard. I printed out mickey head shapes, used an exacto knife to cut them out, and then ironed them on. I used a small paintbrush and Tulip fabric paint (I got a 10 set at Walmart, and some extra black matte at JoAnn) to make the designs. You just have to iron them down well to keep it from bleeding outside your margins, make sure you put cardboard or wax paper between the shirt layers, and sometimes do more than one coat.

    Hotels are SO hard for larger families to not get super expensive. We stayed in an Airbnb last time, and had more room, but the driving/parking/trying to make rope drop like I prefer was really stressful for DH, so he wanted to stay closer this time. I had the Anaheim Lodge booked (2 rooms with 2 queens) for onlye $350 for 4 nights, but then I stayed there with my sister and decided we wouldn't be that comfortable there with a whole family. It will be snug at the Best Western, but we shouldn't be in the room much, and having the Toy Story lot so close will be a bonus if we want to take turns taking the 2 smaller kids back to the room around 7/8 for bed and letting the older ones close out the park one or two nights. :) The promo ticket turned our trip from a 2-day visit to a 3-day visit, with just a little added food/hotel expense!
     

    FeistyDisneyMom

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2019
    I've started a PTR as you have inspired me, but it is offline while I try to figure out what to say :)

    I think I will try a single shirt next weekend and if it works make some more. Here's the pic! It was early in the pregnancy and we had no idea gender, but DH picked a minnie set and he was right! He picked it because it looked 'baby-ish'. I had ears that matched the big girls, and our son and DH had matching ears, but we couldn't fit all 7 on the dresser!
    IMG_3104.JPG
     

    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    I've started a PTR as you have inspired me, but it is offline while I try to figure out what to say :)

    I think I will try a single shirt next weekend and if it works make some more. Here's the pic! It was early in the pregnancy and we had no idea gender, but DH picked a minnie set and he was right! He picked it because it looked 'baby-ish'. I had ears that matched the big girls, and our son and DH had matching ears, but we couldn't fit all 7 on the dresser!
    View attachment 379743
    That is so much fun!!
     

    Jaina

    Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2005
    Following along! We skipped out on matching shirts our last trip but I'm going to enforce it on our next trip. :teeth:
    Hahaha, this cracks me up! I like that word, "enforce." I might have to use that if I get any pushback from the 12-year-old. (He still tries to be a pretty good sport.) I've been gathering more items at thrift stores (I'll have to show you my awesome 90's sweatshirt that my 8-year-old is excited about) and glow sticks/ponchos...
     

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