Aug 31, 2009


Our Disneyland trip was so much fun! I've been wanting to post about it but had to wait until after the weekend since we were having Steve's family over for a slide show and I didn't want to "release" the photos until afterward. It took me 2 full days days to edit the photos in preparation for the "event" since so many were in taken in extremely low light without a flash, in mixed light (very bright and very shadowed) or while moving. Plus my travel companions weren't too patient about picture taking and I had to shoot fast. I did seriously cull them down from 1500 to about 800. For the brave who'd like to see all of them here's the album link. If you click on slideshow and options you can change it to view them at a faster speed. I considered paring it down further for Ainsley's site but I'm burned out on photo editing so I just included them all.

After a busy summer with Steve working excess hours we really needed a real vacation. This was the first time Evie and Adrian had been on a plane (Ainsley had been on one the year before for a medical trip to Cincinnati). Surprisingly Ainsley isn't afraid of the take off or landing and really seemed okay during the flight while the rest of us complained about our ears. She kept herself busy with the fold down tray and a plastic cup. It's the simple things.

Once we arrived in CA we took a nasty shuttle bus (that we paid good $ for !@#&*!) with film over the windows that made the scenery look very dingy. So Ainsley missed nothing by being asleep on route to the Disney California Grand Hotel where we stayed. Its craftsman style was amazing and we enjoyed our view even if the room was a little small. Ainsley slept on a mat on the floor (with her pulse-ox on as normal). It was very convenient to be able to enter downtown Disney and the Disney's California Adventure Park from the hotel. Although the hotel was so large it was quite a trek from our room. Think Vegas, big. They actually had 10 registration desks, were using them all and we still had to wait in line about 15 minutes to check in. I'm not sure how many rooms there are. It's quite an operation. Normally I'm more a fan of quaint. Still I think it was a great place to stay and was worth the extra money we paid. At least that's what I'm trying to tell the frugal part of me that can't quite get over the price. Everything was so nicely done. Being a fan of the Craftsman era I really appreciated the architecture and design. And there were so many little touches that delighted the kids like: how housekeeping would arrange the kids' stuffed animals when they did turn down service and left Disney character chocolates, the hand towels were folded into little shell shapes, there were even Bambi characters on the shower curtain. The kids loved playing on the deck with some special Disney resort exclusive figures we bought to keep them happy when we were at the room. They discovered a fallen Pooh bear on the roof below our room and were quite distraught. After a few days we called maintenance and they came to rescue him and let the kids take him home. I think that was a highlight of the trip for the kids.

Disney has grown so much since Steve and I were there last, 15 years ago, (being about double the size, Did you know they added an entire new park?!) that there was little time to sit and relax by the beautiful and quite deluxe pool as I'd thought. Since pools and trached kids don't mix real well, that was really okay with me. We were constantly on the go. It was challenging to get around the park and in and out of the rides with an (almost) 3 year old disabled child, since she can't stand, walk or even get in and out of the stroller by herself. Even with official permission to use the stroller = wheelchair and sometimes getting to use the wheelchair access lines it was tiring for SO many hours a day and Ainsley is big for 2.9yrs old. I did walk her through one 40 minute line and she was having a blast even though she was worked harder than she would in therapy. But it was hard on my back and held up the line since I'd often have to lift her up every few feet. I'm glad we did it this year because I can't imagine if she was any older and bigger since I don't anticipate her walking well enough to navigate Disneyland anytime soon. People with able bodied kids just don't realize how hard it is physically when your child is unable to help at all with getting in and out of places. Even at 34 pounds it's exhausting, especially on top of all that walking and negotiating which ride to go on next. I survived with a little help from my friend, Jack (Daniel's that is), and was ready to get up and do it day after day even though it started to feel a bit like Ground Dog Day toward the end.

We were there for the last week of Summer Nightastic and it was more crowded than ever with locals since it was no longer the blackout period for season pass holders so the lines were very long averaging 40-90 minutes, except for King Triton's Carousel so we went on that about 5 times, the kids being big Little Mermaid fans. Still we were able to go on most of the rides that we wanted to. Adrian was terrified of the Matterhorn and then refused to go on several of the rides. Can't blame him really. Evie was a trooper and went with both Steve and I so neither of us had to go alone (since one of us had to wait with Ainsley for a lot of the rides). She even went on the California Screamin' roller coaster and the Tower of Terror TWICE! Both kids earned badges of honor for their bravery in the form of trading pins. I had no idea about pin trading before we went. Of course the kids loved it especially when they were able to trade up for a good pin. Ainsley was great on the rides that she was big enough to go on. The only thing that really scared her was the character breakfast, Eeyore scared her the most, but she was even afraid of Minnie. We also got lucky and got a reservation to eat in the Blue Bayou inside Pirates of the Caribbean. I'd always wanted to do that so I was really excited. By the end of the 5 days and nights our feet were very tired and we were "almost" ready to come home. I'm not sure Ainsley was. She REALLY loved it. You should have seen her wiggling in her stroller with a grin from ear to ear as we set out to the park every morning!


  1. Hi. It sounds like you had a great time. Totally hear you on the whole carrying around a toddler who can't walk. It's literally back-breaking.

    Anyways...just wanted to let you know that I found your blog and am enjoying it.


  2. What a great vacation!

    Just wanted to say thanks for commenting on my blog. (sea monkeys)

    I'm looking forward to reading more about Ainsley. You can tell her that breakfast with Eeyore would scare me, too!