Ali's Adventures

February 29, 2012

Our Disneyland weekend

Filed under: Kids,Move,Uncategorized,Vacation — by Alison @ 12:01 am

We just got back from a wonderful weekend in Disneyland. I have to admit that I love Disney. One of the first things we did when we got E’s school calendar was figure out when we could go to Disneyland, and then when we saw how reasonable the flights were it was settled. We went down on the President’s Day weekend (same weekend as Family Day). This is one of the busiest non-summer weekends at Disney, but it really didn’t bother us.

We flew from Seattle to Long Beach on JetBlue. The airport is about 35 minutes from Disneyland and the cab cost us $45. It’s a small airport, and looks like it’s from the 60’s. JetBlue is an affordable airline, but they have seatback tv’s, and free snacks. My husband was kind enough to sit between the kids, so I had a very relaxing flight.

Instead of booking on the Disney property, we stayed at the Ramada Maingate. It was literally right across the street from the main entrance to the parks. It wasn’t fancy, and the continental breakfast left a lot to be desired. The pool was great for kids, with a sloped entrance and a water play area. There are other hotels on the same block, but all seemed very comparable.

The first morning our plan was to be at the gates for the park opening at 8am. We woke up at 7 and E threw up. She then declared herself ‘good to go’ and hurried us all to get dressed. We’d both our passes the night before at the ticket plaza. There are 2 parks in Anaheim, Disneyland and California Adventures. The main entrances to both are in a large plaza, with the entrance to Downtown Disney on the far side.

We actually made it into Disneyland before the park opened, and were waiting on Main Street for the whistle that signals the park opening. Our first stop was the newly renovated Star Tours. I got the Baby Swap pass, and Dan and E went for a ride. H waited with me while I found coffee. Once they finished, we explored the gift shop and then I got to go on the ride. It was such fun, I really like the new 3D ride. It’s also pretty cool that there are different destinations, so you can go on it a few times without knowing what’s going to happen.

R2D2 from the StarTours Line.

Other highlights from the first day, were the Finding Nemo submarine ride and meeting Mickey Mouse. H wasn’t so sure about the line to meet Mickey, and the barn was a bit dark so that they can show the cartoons to keep people entertained. We ate lunch at the park, but went back to the hotel for a rest in the afternoon. We returned to the park for dinner at the Plaza Inn. When Dan and I visited Disneyland in 2003 we loved the meal there, and it didn’t disappoint. Meals were not too expensive, it cost about $45 for dinner. The kids meals came with fruit and vegetables and milk to drink. After dinner, we wandered down Main Street and found a great spot for the parade. There was singing and dancing and characters. The kids were enthralled.

E made a friend at the parade.

Snow White is H's favourite. I only found that out at Disney.

It was a full day, the kids crashed hard when we got them to bed around 8pm. E was so exhausted we couldn’t wake her to see the fireworks.

Our second day started off a bit slower. We didn’t make it to the park for opening whistle, but still made it before the crowds. This time we started on the right side of the park with Adventureland. We managed to see all the attractions before 9:30. One of my favourites is the original Enchanted Tiki Room, without the annoying Aladdin bird that invaded DisneyWorld. The day ended with the Autopia ride and a trip on the Monorail to Downtown Disney. We watched the fireworks from in front of our hotel room, and all fell asleep before 10pm.

We had two full days at the park, and enjoyed all of it. We used the MouseWait App, that provides real-time updates for line wait times, to help us avoid big lines and took advantage of FastPasses and the Rider Swap when we could. With H not being big enough for some rides, and E not wanting to go on some, we decided early to ride alone. One of us would take the kids on another ride, or to watch a show or to have a snack, while the other enjoyed the attraction. It’s not as fun to go by yourself, but it’s better than not going at all.

I find that there’s a slower pace at Disneyland as compared to the Magic Kingdom in Florida. It may be partly because it was cooler than when we’ve visited Florida, or the fact that people aren’t just in the area for Disney, but there seems to be less stress. I also really like the fact that it’s the original Park. It’s Sleeping Beauty’s castle not Cinderella’s, some of the rides were made in the 1950’s and 60’s, and all the main attractions are in the one park. Even the cheesy gift shops in the hotel/motels seemed charming to me.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle (or Aurora's Castle or Briar Rose's Castle)

All in all a fantastic weekend. I’m already planning on going again next year. Anyone want to join me?

I think they're up for it!


February 25, 2012

Kindness of Strangers on a Plane

Filed under: Kids,Move — by Alison @ 4:45 pm

As Kindness Week in Ottawa wraps up, I felt I should share a recent story of kindness. In early October I flew back from Seattle with my two kids. We’d left my husband behind, and I was just starting to wrap my head around the fact that I’d be solo parenting for the next few months and then we’d all be joining him. Kind of a lot to think about.

On the plane, my daughter had to sit in front of us as there were only two seats on either side of the aisle. And here’s where the kindness starts. The man seating beside my daughter for the five-hour flight, made sure that her seatbelt was done up, helped her to get the tray down when the drinks came around. These are things that are would have been very difficult for me to do. He also explained to her the ways airplanes fly and what the wings and wheels were doing during take-off (we were seated just behind the wing). She in turn, explained to him the plot of Barbie Princess Charm School. He patiently listened. When our plane arrived in Toronto, he made sure she had all her things, and before I could say thank you he left.

The Toronto airport is a hassle to get around, and we missed our connection to Ottawa because of delays at customs. We were quickly booked on the next flight, and after sorting out food we sat down to wait. I had a car seat for my son, the stroller, and our carry-on bags. And as anyone who’s carried a car seat can attest, those things are bulky and awkward to carry. Then add on wrangling a tired toddler, and it’s tons of fun. Luckily, another family at the boarding area saw my difficulties. The father offered to carry the car seat onto the plane for me, and when we arrived he carried it off the plane and down to the baggage claim.

Both of these acts of kindness made our journey home such a pleasant one. And I would like to thank all of those people very much.

February 16, 2012

House sneak peek

Filed under: Move — by Alison @ 12:09 am
We had dinner guests on Saturday. It was a lovely evening, topped off by a trip to the local amazing ice cream shop, Molly Moon. And in their honour, we tidied the main floor.

So without further ado, here are the first pictures of our Seattle abode.


Coming in through the front door.


Living room.


Showing off the lovely windows.


Set for dinner.

I also made a traditional Canadian dessert.

Butter tarts. NO raisins.



February 2, 2012

Why is this in the box?

Filed under: Move,Plans — by Alison @ 5:23 pm

As part of our relocation package, we had people pack up our house for us. They managed to pack everything in two days. It’s taking us a lot longer to unpack.

One of the key lessons for any move or really anything at all, is make sure you have the right tools or supplies. The amount of boxes, specialty boxes and packing paper they used was extensive. It meant that they were able to just pack and not make late nights dashes to the store looking for boxes, or pack things in the most random assortment of containers.

The problem with having someone else pack your house for you, is that they don’t know your stuff. Boxes were labelled oddly, things weren’t kept together, and random things that shouldn’t have been packed were in boxes. One box labelled crafts had snowpants, a garage can, and two small Christmas ornament crafts. They also managed to pack the shelves for a storage cupboard we left behind, and the cover for the water pipe hole in the basement. Unwrapping that, was not a pleasant surprise.

Also, knowing that the cost of the move was covered I didn’t do as extensive a purge as I should have. This can also be blamed on moving after Christmas and solo parenting for three months. Now I need to figure out where to donate things here in Seattle.

Overall, I’m pretty impressed with how much we’ve unpacked in the past three weeks. There aren’t any boxes in the main living area, or the bedrooms. We even have paintings on the wall. Our momentum has slowed, and there are still boxes cluttering the closets and the office. There are also empty boxes and boxes full of paper cluttering up the hallway. Hoping to empty all the boxes we need to by next weekend, and sort out who can take the boxes.

Wish me luck!




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