We just returned from a week long vacation to southern California with the Showgren clan. The trip produced many lasting memories - some good, some not so good. Here's a brief recap of the adventure.
I drove the Suburban down with Braden, Jason and Alyssa. We listened to some books on cd to pass the time. The second one was a terrifying tale with a dark chasm of damned souls and a big, booming voice for God. It kept us awake for sure. We made good time, but as soon as we arrived we had to leave to pick up Lori, Kaylee and Traven at LAX. All of this went smoothly, and we were resting at a reasonable hour. Traven even slept through the night, which was amazing. Incidentally, he has done this now for over a week in a row!
Wednesday we were off to Disneyland. I was amazed at how well Traven did. He loved to be held out so he could watch everything. He was good about taking his bottle even when it wasn't warm. He even didn't complain when I bundled him into about 20 layers of clothing!
He was getting a bit tired towards the end of the day, so Lori and I took him and his cousin Caleb back to the hotel to relax. Caleb must have been exhausted, as he just laid on the bed for close to an hour.
It was awesome vacationing with Glenn, Allison and their kids again. It reminded me of the fun we had on our trip to Houston last year. They are easy to get along with and our kids get along well.
It was also nice to have the grandparents along. Sally paid for most of the trip, which was a fun Christmas present for all of us. Eric helped with watching all the grandchildren. Jeremy was a riot, and Emily seemed to enjoy herself.
I won't go into the details of the less-than-enjoyable portions of the trip. I don't want to offend anyone. See me for details.........
The lines were not bad at all on Wednesday or Thursday. Friday we went to Knotts, which in my opinion is not worth the money. The atmosphere is just not as fun as Disney or even Universal. I don't know that I'll bother going back there.
The crowds at Disney were AWFUL on Saturday. I have never seen it so crowded. We could hardly move at all. Traven was still awesome. Man, he was a good baby. Actually, all my kids were awesome. There was not much complaining at all.
By Sunday, we were all worn out. This was when things got to be the worst. Again, see me for details. Let's just say it wasn't anyone I've mentioned by name that made the day miserable.
Monday, everyone but our family left for home. We slept in, spent a few hours at Disney, grabbed some dinner at Cocos and got ready to head home.
The drive home Tuesday was hard. I started off with two hours of driving to get Lori, Kaylee and Traven to the airport. We ended up leaving around 10:00 am. I was so tired, and suffering from a bad cold, that we stopped a lot. We arrived home around 10:00 pm.
I thought I'd list my favorite rides, but I actually enjoy everything at Disney. I guess if I had to pick my very favorite I'd go with Soarin' over California.
Some things I learned:
- Plan in a rest day. 6 days in a row of theme parks is way too much.
- 22 people might be too big of a group with which to vacation.
- 22 might work if the group did not include any immature, irrational, insane or unstable people.
- Use a sling or some other carrier to help with transporting a baby. Traven started to feel like he weighed a 100 pounds by the last days.
- Food is dang expensive at theme parks.
- Fast pass rules. Did you know you can have more than one active at a time? At one point, I had three of them.
- The parades are lame, but the kids love them.
I also got a kick out of Nick and Zack on a kiddie ride at Knotts. They were such big chickens. They were screaming like they were going to die. Allison was laughing so hard she forgot to hold onto her stroller, and Caleb started rolling downhill. It was priceless.
All in all, I look forward to more family vacations, but I'd like to reduce the number from 22 to 17. Yeah, that's a good number!