In great news, we OWNED Splash Mountain!! We ended the night with a grand total of 17 rides. We were soaking wet, running through the parades and fireworks and Main Street, but triumphant. Each round on Splash Mountain is ten minutes, so about three hours of our day yesterday was dedicated to realizing the dream. Well worth it. Good memories. And a goal met!

I’m back home…after several hours at LAX, on a plane, waiting in the drive-thru because Jenna HAD to have in-n-out, I am back from the Happiest place, and occasionally laughing out loud as I remember certain moments, pouting that I have to return to normal life!

I love Disneyland. And even when we’ve been together too long and getting on each other’s last nerve, I love family vacations. I love that we are all in the car together the whole time, which we never experience at home because we don’t have a car big enough. I love that when we get tired, we start getting punchy and silly and don’t care that people can hear us. I love that we talk to every person working every job at Disneyland.

I love that because I’m with my parents, I don’t have to pay for anything, that I eat all the junk food I want, that we remember past trips and everything is hilarious. I crack up that Sophie still won’t go on most rides and finds ways to duck out at the last minute.  I love that my sisters lose their minds on the ferris wheel at California land place and I just sit and laugh while they clutch the sides and pray for the ride to end. I love that my voice is hoarse from unnecessary screaming on rides that no longer scare me, but are fun to scream on. I love that I know every single word to “Zip a Dee Doo Dah” now. I love that on the take-off for the plane ride home, my sisters and I recited the “keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times” safety lines from the Disneyland rides in Spanish, and then put our hands up in the air and pretended to pose for pictures.

Here are some hints and observations about Disneyland, some helpful, some not so helpful, that I wanted to share.

1. Go early. We went on Splash Mountain eight or nine times between 8:30-10. You can accomplish a lot while parents with young children are doing little kid stuff and getting autographs.

2. Utilize Fast Passes wisely….they help you reach your ride goals. Highly recommended for Tower of Terror and California Screaming, and plan ahead for the hottest part of the day for Splash Mountain.

3. Eat everything in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head. Its delicious.

4. Smile at every one, especially small children, and say “Happy Birthday!” to everyone wearing a pin. So fun.

5. high-five everyone in a Giants shirt or hat.

6. Skip the parade, ride more rides.

7. Definitely hit the wine bar and beer cart at California land. I think every adult was praising Jesus when they opened those guys up. Really helps when the kids start getting cranky.

8. Sit on a bench and people watch. There is such a good cross slice of American and international society to be seen…it reminds me that it takes all kinds to make this world go round. And all the weird couples and nerds and punks and hicks and teenagers also remind me that there is truly someone for everyone, and that comforts me and gives me hope.

9. skip the muppet 3d ride. LAMES!

10. Captain EO is back!!! YEAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

11. Plan out your poses for pictures on rides that you go on more than once. hint: pretending to fall asleep is always hilarious.

12. Wear comfy shoes! I don’t understand these girls that were all dressed up.  its really awkward for you and everyone around you when you’re squatting in and out of a ride in your dress/short skirt/ironic jumper and heels/gladiator sandals/ugg boots.

13. Adults – rock your Disney gear. This is the only place it doesn’t look weird and dorky.

14. Look up disney secrets before you go. So fun to point out Club 33 and secret mickeys and the pardoned Turkeys and all that.

15. ESPN sports zone. i could live here.

16. thunder mountain railroad – best ride ever. ride at night and keep the bar loose across your lap. so fun.

17. jungle cruise – most underrated ride! So hilarious! go at least three times and rate your guides and laugh at all their jokes.

18. Celebrate the magic and all the other feel good stuff there is about Disney. Hug, hold hands, eat cotton candy, buy silly souveneirs, clap and scream on every ride, make memories. the end!