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The Happiest Place on Earth

The Duke Family embarked on its innaugural trip to a “Disney” spot last month. I grew up going to Disneyworld in Florida because it was driving distance from my home in Louisiana. However, I had never stepped foot in Disneyland and I was quite excited to go. Especially now that I had kids to share the joy with. Our trip to California was for a family reunion, but I figured we could squeeze in one action packed day to Disney, and that, we did. I conducted many facebook polls to friends who had walked where I had not gone, made Word documents of tips and tricks, fretted about seeing everything, and hemmed over our “must do” list. We were there for 12 rockin’ hours, my baby napped peacefully in her stroller, the kids were happy and excited, and we filled in 12 solid hours of fun in one day. Whew. We were so word out at the end of the day, but happy. The lines were long, but it wasn’t unmanageable. We expected it, but those workers are a well oiled machine and push you through the lines. We used fast passes, stroller swaps, and I am happy to say that we checked off everything on our “must see” list. Even filled in more than I expected.  I challenged myself to carry around my “big camera” to document the day.  I’m so glad I did;) I did however use my little camera to snap a few here and there for instant facebook sharing (as the first one above with Goofy).  I was bummed that was the only character we saw out of the official Disney family.

Here we are entering the park at 8am.  Hubby studying the map…I was so nervous about where to go first (besides getting our Star Tours fast pass).  The first hour I was very anxious (are we missing out on a short line here because we are here?), but then I was able to let go and relax.

My daughter told me a day or two ago that she knew how to drive because she “learned at Disneyland…” Uh-huh. They all really enjoyed the cars (though I thought to myself…we can do this anywhere locally with go-carts)

Since our 2 year old was too small for Indiana Jones, hubby stayed back with her (she actually slept in the stroller) while I took the 3 big kids to the line.  That was the one line we waited for nearly an hour, and my patience was thin, I tell you.  Luckily, I was in line by a nice lady that brought nice conversation. Above, my daughter is telling dad how scared she was.  She was screaming in horror and I had to cover her eyes for most of the ride.  Oops.  She may be scarred for life.  I get a giggle thinking about it though.

Yummy beignets, just like at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans!!! We ate in the New Orleans section and had delicious Monte Cristo and parmesean fries.  It was, however, $70 for LUNCH and our kids shared meals…but we saved some for dinner and didn’t end up buying dinner, so it evened out.

I took this pic in the bathroom of myself…assuming I may not be in any pics all day, this was proof that I was at Disney;)  The bathroom…right.

Tarzan’s Treehouse…no lines;)

Jungle boat ride…nice to sit and relax for a spell.

THIS was pretty exciting…my boys are big star wars fans and a friend of mine told us to go to the Jedi Training show, and if they want to be “picked” they need to be over the top boisterous with their hands waving in the air.  I told my boys that and my second son went up front and ready to get up there.  My oldest, more reserved, stayed back.  Second got picked, and it was so fun!

They gave him a robe and light saber and taught the Younglings how to fight.  Then Darth Vadar and Darth Maul came out…

He got to fight Darth Maul!  It was so fun (I also ran my camera phone video side by side while taking these pics).

Job well done…;)

Waiting for the parade….

I didn’t expect my baby to like it so much, but she got really into it.

Though we spent most of the day by ourselves, hubby’s brother & fam, his dad, sister and hubby were also there and we’d see them from time to time.  This is his brother and fam…they are moving to China…we might not see them for 2 years….

Here we are eating ice cream on Main Street before the evening parade.

I handed the camera off to my sis in law to grab a family shot of us….

  Then hubby grabbed my camera and took this just as it was getting dark.  We had a really fun day and I’m ready to conquer Disney World with my fam for a few more days next time.  We left, exhausted, at 10pm.  My oldest and I rode Splash Mountain as the last right…got wet (and chilly–it is California after all) and it was a great bonding time for us.  I love any one-on-one I can get with my kids.  So if you are hesitating on Disney, GO!  It was really fun;)

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  1. I’m so glad you guys had fun! It’s been a few years since we’ve gone…and I miss it! ONe of these years we’ll actually get passes so we can go to our hearts’ content!

    I loved that you documented the fact that your daughter may be “scarred for life” after Indiana Jones…I felt that way after taking my 4 year old on Space Mountain. I thought he would love it, but my heart broke the instant I heard him crying during the ride and then saw the tears streaking straight back from his eyes to his hairline (because we were going too fast for them to actually fall down his cheeks!) when the ride ended. He definitely did NOT enjoy that ride! I think he would love it now!

  2. Awww, what adorable pics of you and your beautiful family. So glad you all had this time together. And bravo to you, Mom, for coordinating a Disney vacay with FOUR kids!!! You get Mother of the Year award for that one :)

  3. Such precious moments you all shared as a family! All the pictures captured them perfectly! I love the one of you in the bathroom–it’s hard always being the one behind the camera. :)

    You sure have a beautiful family!

  4. love the one of the kids on the curb with the ice cream

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