california, Emmie, family, Peter, travel
I’m sorry for being so MIA in the past few weeks. Thankfully, all has been well. We have changed Emmie’s schedule a bit so that she is home with me Tuesdays and Thursdays, which has allowed us to do things like go to children’s museums, nature and science museums, parks and other fun excursions. Part of the decision to to this was to be able to spend more time with Emmie, and this definitely has allowed for that. Even if it’s just a day spent doing art and watching movies, we have gotten to enjoy so many wonderful moments together.
Also, writing has been difficult for me for a while, with texts and emails taking a very, very long time to compose. Thankfully, this has gotten better, so now you can get a real blog post! (Since it won’t take me 2 months to compose it)
Last weekend, we got to check off one of my bucket list items, and also get to spent many hours of wonderful free time with our daughter. In other words, we got to go to Disneyland!
We spent a day at Legoland, a day at the beach, then one day each at Disneyland and California Adventures. It turned out to be the perfect amount of time for each park for each person. I foolishly overdid it at Disneyland, meaning that California Adventures had to be a LOT calmer (I could barely even get out of the wheelchair all day and I had to seriously up my pain meds to make it), but if you know me, you know that there is no way I could ever pass up Space Mountain and Indiana Jones!
Overall, it was just as an amazing adventure full of highlights. Here are just a few:
Legoland (Emmie’s first amusement park ever)
- “Everything is made out of Legos here! They should call is LEGOLAND!”
- Riding on the Lego Ponies all by herself
- All of the cool scale models of the different cities
- Emmie starting to really get into collecting minifigs and watching Daddy and Emmie bond over sharing the “collection gene.”
- Unexpected bonus: our hotel was right across from the convention center where the world premiere of the new Star Wars trailer came out. There was a whole convention and it was AMAZING to see all of the incredible costumes people had put together (imagine the most mind-boggling fan costumes you’ve ever seen and you might get a small taste of it).
- Emmie spending hours and hours just digging in the sand. The water was too cold for much else.
- Peter spending hours beach combing for shells.
- Dad and I (the fair ones) making sure we were covered up. I had lots of blankets since the wind actually made it fairly cold!
- After the beach, going to my of neighborhood to see where we used to live. It was actually pretty nice! Lots of reminiscing about the earthquake that hit shortly after we moved there and lively debate between me and my dad over which was the safer tactic: staying inside under strong desks or camping out under the trees and power lines. Bonus surprise memory: randomly stopping for some delicious roadside strawberries and realizing that the building RIGHT next door was one of my first daycare centers!
- Having some super delicious seafood. What did Emmie eat? Two full, HUGE loaves of bread.
- LOVED seeing Emmie’s face when she saw the castle. Pretty overwhelmed at everything and scared of most of the rides, but she was a real trooper!
- Great to catch up with Dad’s long-time friend, Art Dragon, who was the music director at Disneyland for many many years. I also found out we had some medical stuff in common, so we spent a good while talking about all that stuff!
- Really fun watching Emmie as she started to get into the hang of things. She loved the parade and waving to all the princesses. I think her favorite parts were the Storyland boat ride and all the silliness at Toontown.
- Meeting Doc McStuffins and getting a picture with her was probably Emmie’s all-time highlight. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there (having done myself in the night before with all-the-rides at D-Land), but my parents said she had the biggest smile ever on her face when she spotted her and happily waited in line to see her. She was a little bit shy at first, but as soon as the cameras turned on, Emmie’s smile was HUGE.
- We got to meet up with our friend Art’s daughter and her three little girls and the four of them were in heaven. They even declared Emmie an honorary sister (aww!). They had a great time showing Emmie everything.
- The Aladdin show. Seriously, if you go to California Adventure, DO NOT MISS! It’s basically a 45 minute Broadway show, complete with life-size elephants, camels and flying carpets. Totally amazing. Site of our one bad encounter with jerks about the wheelchair, but thankfully I didn’t even notice (mom and dad did).
- The parade. Art’s daughter was the person who kept the choreography in shape for many years, so basically everyone knew her and MANY high fives were give to the girls. Since Emmie is just as blond and cute as the other three girls, she got lots of high fives too 🙂 It was really awesome to “be with the band.”
- Watching the Disney Jr. Show. Since Emmie is essentially obsessed with Doc McStuffins and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (thank you, sleepovers with Gigi and Bapa), this show was the greatest for her. We *almost* didn’t get in, due to being two minutes late, but my visible frustration (plus being in a wheelchair probably didn’t hurt) helped us get in. Thankfully, it was everything Emmie dreamed of and was truly magical to watch her sing and dance along with all her favorite characters (princesses? Pshh!).
- World of Color Show. Another magical coincidence. You are supposed to have tickets for the show (which we did not), but I just asked one of the ushers if they had wheelchair seating (not knowing about the ticket thing). He said sorry, no ticket, no show, and then stopped himself. Apparently, for one family every evening, he gives them tickets, even if they don’t have any, and we were the lucky family! So Peter, Emmie and I got to see the show we weren’t supposed to see (even if Emmie did sleep through the entire thing). It was pretty cool!
All in all, we had a wonderful time. I used a wheelchair everywhere except the beach and it was a life saver. I highly recommend using them at Legoland (you get a special pass for the rides) and Disneyland (they have special entrances and usually the line is only about 10-20 minutes long for those in wheelchairs). CA Adventure had no special lines and generally was not that helpful. As I said before, most people were very kind about the wheelchair (though I did realize that most of them were slightly pregnant women using them!). The one rude group at the Aladdin show apparently blatantly pushed their way right in front of us, cause my dad to comment something about “I guess some people don’t care about people in wheelchairs!” There was one member of their group behind us and apparently he was PISSED at the other people in his group and gave them a talking to. Hopefully someone learned some kindness that day! Like I said before, I didn’t even notice at the time.
Thanks for all the wonderful support and well-wishes. It was great to make one of my bucket-list dreams a reality! (Plus, we saved a ton thanks to dad and Peter’s great use of points!)
Any favorites you have from Disney, Legoland or CA Adventures?
Netty Martinez said:
I’ve been there at least 100 times.. we had season passes for the girls. But hearing your
Wonderful experience trumps mine. I just thrilled that everyone had a great time and you
Put a dent in that bucket! I’m smiling in my heart for you!! Rock it girl!
(((((((Shannon Peter Emmie Mom n Dad)))))) (((((M-O-U-S-E ))))))))
(((((Why? Brcause we love you!)))))))
Netty Martinez said:
Lol pardon the typos!! My phone is having a tantrum! ((((Typos)))
Marla Gadsby said:
Disneyland has always been a favorite of mine……visited there the first year it opened when I was very young. Caryn visited when she was about 4…………I must get Hannah and Bethany there also. Mostly I’m so happy for you and your family to have had that wonderful time in CA. You are truly a remarkable young woman, mother, wife, and daughter Shannon.
They really should name it Legoland! So glad to hear about your Tuesday/Thursday and CA adventures with Emmie.
Rob Hill said:
Thank you so much for taking the time to share this, and to share these beautiful moments. What a wonderful post. Reading it was the highlight of my week.
Annette Martinez said: