Disneyland adventures: Part 1


Main st  1 of 1

Ducks  1 of 1


Waiting to see minnie  1 of 1

Whale teeth  1 of 1

Parade  1 of 1 11

Little minnie  1 of 1 2

Small world  1 of 1 8


Walking  1 of 1 6Teacup  1 of 1 5


W nana  1 of 1 7

Parade  1 of 1 16

When I was little, I loved looking at a photo album my mom made for me of Disneyland trip with the family. In the album, I was 4 years old, and with my nanas, aunts, uncle and parents at the “Happiest Place on Earth.” I still remember that trip, and I think it’s because I had photos to bring back the memories:

feeding the squirrels,

screaming like I was on fire during the Snow White ride (and the photo afterwards with bloodshot eyes and an angry scowl),

my dad being a goofball,

dancing with the mariachis during the parade..

so many wonderful memories.

Since Disneyland is a manageable drive from Tucson, we’ve gone often since I was that young. Every time it was different (with the family, with my musical theatre group, my dance team), but very much the same. As much as I enjoyed our trips, I never really thought about what it would be like to take my own baby to Disney. It just seemed like something so far away, and too good to be true. Well, the time was this weekend, and it really felt too good to be true.

We heard mixed reviews from friends (with kids around Livi’s age) about whether Liv would appreciate it or know what was happening. In the end, we decided to do it because we really wanted to take her, and also take my mom and nana on a little trip to say “thank you” for helping us so often with Livi. They each watch her for one day each week while I go to work, and we couldn’t be more thankful to have their help. So we packed up the SUV with the luggage on top and decided to go for it.

Liv had an absolute blast. I’ve never heard so many “YAY!!”s, “Hooray!”s and “more, please” in one spot… and basically, “It’s a Small World” is like a rock concert for toddlers. Livi is obsessed with baby dolls, so when we told her we were going to see singing babies, she basically couldn’t handle herself. Hundreds of babies, in one spot, singing and dancing just for her! The second time we were on the ride, we went through the tunnel, and Liv threw up both arms in a beckoning motion and yelled, “HIIIIIIIII, BABIES!” Like, “Friends! I’m HOME!”

She also had the chance to meet her favorite, Minnie Mouse, a few times. We learned that characters were best viewed from a distance -with lots of kisses and waves headed their way- which saved us from waiting in long lines to see them πŸ™‚ When we got too close, she climbed up me like a spider monkey while half-crying and saying, “Hiiiii, Minnie Mouse” at the same time.

Going to Disneyland with a toddler taught me how to appreciate the things I had overlooked during past trips. Back in the day, we were very busy riding rides and usually missed the parades, character sightings and shows. Those three things were the emphasis of our park visits (we got 3-day park hopper passes and rotated between California Adventure and Disneyland). We rode a few rides -Liv adored the teacups and Dumbo, too- and saw the parade each day. I wasn’t sure if the shows would hold Liv’s attention, but she was yelling “Huzzah!” with all of us during the Tangled!Β live show, and dancing during Disney Junior LIVE! Β So much fun.

A very special part about the trip was getting to see Liv experience all of these things for the first time. I didn’t take a ton of pics of the actual events because I soaking in the awestruck look on her face. Even if she didn’t’ know exactly where she was (she called it “Minnie Mouse House”), I could see her trying to process it all, and knew she was enjoying herself. The clapping, dancing and cheering were unforgettable. I can’t wait to make a little album for her to enjoy, just like madre did for me πŸ™‚

During our trip:

-We came back to the hotel each day for naptime. We needed it almost as much as she did! Madre and nana stayed at the park relaxing and shopping while we went back for naptime, and then we met up with them to eat when she woke up.

-We ate a lot of Mickey rice crispies, kettle corn and churros.

-I found out that Mickey ears can actually be stolen (who takes mouse ears from a stroller?).

-Liv learned “hula, hula!” during “It’s a Small World” and can now shake her hips like a tiny hula dancer.

-We got to enjoy a family vacation with the Pilot and 4 generations in one spot. Lifetime memories, for sure <3

Have you been to Disneyland? What’s your favorite ride? I absolutely love Peter Pan and Pirates of the Carribbean!

I’ll be back later today with a recap of the restaurants we enjoyed + where we stayed.





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  1. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on July 18, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Ok the hula, hula thing is beyond adorable! Your photos are so sweet! I love the one where you and Liv are in almost matching dresses. I’ve never been to Disneyland but I have been to Disneyworld with my parents three times. They were some of the most memorable family trips of all times. Glad you guys had a great time!

    Who steals mouse ears from a stroller, is right!?!

  2. Lisa on July 18, 2013 at 11:21 am

    The teacups were my favorite when I went to Disney Land!
    Oh I miss it there, it’s always so much fun no matter how old you are.
    And it looks like you guys had a great time.
    That’s so sweet that Liv had an awesome time – and cute that you never heard her say “yay” so many times. It really is the happiest place on earth for kiddos.
    I don’t know if I can choose a favorite ride! Maybe splash mountain.

  3. Lindsay McElwain on July 18, 2013 at 11:24 am

    I live only a half hour away from Disneyland, and so naturally have an annual pass (although, with the price hikes, when my pass expires this October, I won’t be able to renew for next year). I LOVE Disneyland and I love taking little kids. My best friend’s four year old daughter’s favorite thing is Fantasmic!…the show on the Rivers of America every night. She calls it her “Mickey Movie” and dances along with Mickey the entire 27 minutes.

    My favorite ride has always been Haunted Mansion. I love everything about that ride, including the Haunted Mansion Holiday, when the put up decorations for Halloween and Christmas (Nightmare before Christmas decor).

    I’m so glad you got a chance to take Olivia and am so happy she had such an amazing time!

  4. Leslie W on July 18, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Are you kidding me with the ‘Livi on Daddy’s shoulders’ pic? That has to be the sweetest thing ever! So glad you had a good time. I’ve never been on a plane or anything…only been to Austin for the weekend. We live in Southeast Texas and father in law is taking us & our kids to DisneyWorld in November on a plane! I’m wiggin’! πŸ˜‰ Ours are 9 and 7 so it’s going to be so fun!

  5. jodie on July 18, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Beautiful pics. The last time I was at Disney and I really don’t remember it was when I was 4 yrs old. Time to visit.

    Love that Orange summer dress, is it a Stitch Fix item?

  6. Julie @ Better Life with Burgers on July 18, 2013 at 11:27 am

    I live in LA, so we go to Disneyland fairly often (though not in a few years, now that I think about it). I’ve always wondered whether we would take our future children at such a young age. It’s nice to see this perspective and how much fun Liv had even though she was so little. πŸ™‚ Glad you guys had a blast!

  7. Claire @ Keeping Up With Claire on July 18, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I think I just died of cuteness when I read that she yelled “Hi babies!”. Being around children is so refreshing, especially when you are somewhere like Disneyland. You guys are the most adorable family ever!

  8. Emily on July 18, 2013 at 11:33 am

    SO sweet!! My grandparents lived about an hour away from Orlando when I was growing up, so when we’d travel south for Christmas, we always stopped at Disney World. I vividly remember the year we went when my Dad’s cancer went into remission and still love all our family photos from that year.

    So glad you had great time and created beautiful memories with your family <3

  9. Katie on July 18, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Where are livi’s yellow shoes from…I’m looking for some better summer shoe alternatives for my daughter and those look great!

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2013 at 11:44 am

      old navy!

      • Katie on July 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm

        thanks :)!

  10. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on July 18, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Oh I remember the tea cups from when I was little! They were one of my most favorite memories with my dad! It looks like she had an amazing time! (as did you all!)

  11. Christine @ BookishlyB on July 18, 2013 at 11:43 am

    I’ve been to Disneyland a few times and I totally hate it. I live in SoCal, so this is pretty much blasphemy, but I don’t care. The crowds, the expense, the materialism, the crying kids- I just can’t call it fun. So many people down here have annual passes and their kids have no appreciation whatsoever for the park- my husband and I decided that when we have a kid we won’t take them until they’re older and from then on out once a year tops. It should be a special place (if you like it, that is), not one you go to every week.

    • Amanda on July 18, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      Wow. Totally relevant to this post. (not)

      • kate on July 18, 2013 at 5:48 pm

        really Amanda? How is this NOT relevant? The topic is Disneyland. Christine was giving her opinion about Disneyland, since that was the topic.

        just because you don’t like her opinion, certainly does not make it any less relevant. If you were from Southern California (as am I), you may actually agree. Many many people have season passes when you live locally and Disneyland very much loses it’s luster with children when you go over and over (as I did.) It’s not special anymore. I believe that’s what Christine was speaking about.

        • Fitnessista on July 18, 2013 at 6:29 pm

          i can see how it loses its luster if you live there and go all the time.
          we don’t, and it was liv’s first time, so it was really special for us.. especially having my nana there with us! πŸ™‚

          • Christine @ BookishlyB on July 18, 2013 at 9:50 pm

            Hahahaha! Thanks Kate. Oh man. I get it- some people are defensive about their Disneyland. It’s not like I was like, “You know, I really hate it when people go to Spain and refuse to take siestas and…” Come one, relax! The blogosphere is supposed to be about interacting and sharing. I didn’t criticize Gina for taking her family, I just riffed off her “have you been to Disneyland” question at the end. And now I’ve spent too much time justifying myself.

            Gina- I think going with a kid for the first time makes it more fun, for sure. Especially when you have somewhere to retreat for nap time!

      • Sara on July 18, 2013 at 8:07 pm

        I agree. It’s relevant. It may not ooze rainbows and unicorn farts, but it’s her opinion and she’s entitled to it. It’s a blog… the comments don’t always have to reflect the same enthusiasm as the poster!

        I don’t go to the parks in Orlando often (I live in Jacksonville), so I still enjoy going when it comes up. I look forward to bringing my daughter in the future, but I do NOT look forward to the crowds. To each their own, though! πŸ™‚

  12. Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run on July 18, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Liv in Mickey ears is just about the cutest thing.

  13. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat on July 18, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Looks like such an amazing time! I’ve been to Disneyland only once and I’d love to go back sometime soon!

  14. Livi on July 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

    it looks like Liv enjoyed it so much- adorable! I have never been (how is that possible- I’m 20?!) but I’m going to Disney in February to run the half marathon…I can’t wait!

  15. Theresa on July 18, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Growing up in Florida, we would go to Walt Disney World nearly 3 times a year. My first visit to WDW was when I was 2 years old and my brother was 1. I loved it! My favorite rides are Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

    We went to Disneyland as part of our honeymoon last year before heading to Hawaii. My mom thought I was crazy to go there but I loved it too. It’s very unique and has a slightly different vibe from WDW. I loved the New Orleans Square (we don’t have that in WDW) and I also loved the Carnation CafΓ© for breakfast. They have the best lattes and cinnamon-spice hot cocoa!

  16. Sylvia on July 18, 2013 at 11:51 am

    That picture of you guys in the teacup- adorable!

  17. Denise P. on July 18, 2013 at 11:54 am

    I live about 35 minutes from D-land so I went often as a child. I too have many memories and photos of the early years when I had the 4 B’s – bottle, blankie, baby doll and (Mickey ear) balloon as we strolled around the park. Oh how different it is these days – including so expensive! I haven’t been in a few years even though its in my backyard. But now that I’m expecting my first I’m sure that will change.

  18. Sabrina on July 18, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I love this post. And you all look so happy and relaxed. Congratulations on such a successful vacation!

  19. Amber on July 18, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Reading this made my heart smile. I can’t wait to take Baylie (1yr) to Disneyland.

  20. Miranda @ Miranda Runs on July 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Ahhh! I was at Disneyland/California Adventure at the same time you were! I went with my (then) boyfriend and his family and we were there Saturday-Monday. HE PROPOSED!!!!!!!!!!!! to me at Snow White’s wishing well on Saturday <3 Disneyland is definitely a place where memories are made! So glad that Liv enjoyed it πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2013 at 12:05 pm

      NO WAY! that is so amazing. congratulations!!!! πŸ™‚

  21. Lucie@FitSwissChick on July 18, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Awww, Liv with the Mouse Ears, sooo cute!!
    I grew up in Switzerland and never got to see Disneyland, but it seems like such a perfect place for kiddos!!

  22. Julie on July 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Oh how I loved this post! Your descriptions of Liv’s reactions to everything made me smile & LOL! We absolutely ADORE Disney! I started w/ Disneyland when my daughter was 5 & continued w/ DW every year for 5 years after. Each year was a little bit different experience as my daughter grew up & her tastes/attitude/nerves changed. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, but I’d have to say Soarin’. I have a whole summary written up for friends of things not to be missed at DW if you guys ever decide to venture that way.

  23. CourtStar @ StarSystemz on July 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I LOVE DIsneyland! I lived 15 minutes away growing up and held a season pass from 6 years old-18 years old! It was the perfect summer time attraction with all my friends from high school and we would go after cheer practice and get mickey mouse ice creams πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing such a beautiful moment with your daughter, I can’t wait to do the same with my kids one day! Love + Shine CourtStar

  24. Carrie on July 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Growing up in small town in the Midwest, Disneyland/World was that elusive, “I want to go to there” place that if you were really lucky, you got go to… once. I never went, but I hope to take my future children some day.

    • Jen in MN on July 18, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      TOTALLY relate to this (-: I grew up on a farm in the very-rural upper midwest.

      I basically did not know anyone who had been to either Disney theme park! My siblings and I didn’t even think/know to ASK to go to one. I think we knew it was out of the question. Ha! It’s quite a distance, really, from where I grew up.

      Interestingly, I did end up getting to go to WDW for a day when I was 16. I thought I was going to melt into the pavement. Standing in long lines in the hot sun was really not-fun to me. Maybe if I’d gone as a younger child, I would have enjoyed it more! Who knows.

      All that to say, with the heat, high prices, and big crowds, it’s definitely something my hubby and I hope to somehow avoid w/ our kiddos. It’s just not our thing. If they are really desperate to go, we would consider a one-time big special trip when they are both old enough to really enjoy (they are only 4 and 1 now). Maybe some grandparents would want to fund it or something….. (-;

      Fitnessista, I am glad you guys had such a great time! The pics are adorable. Fun memories for all of you!

  25. Kelly @ Runs for Food on July 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    What great pictures! I’ve never been to Disneyland, but I’ve been to Disney World several times. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you’re never too old for Disney World! Epcot is my absolute favorite.

  26. Jen on July 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    I went to Disneyworld with my aunt and grandfather when I was 3 and the 2 rides of remember are it’s a small world and the Pirates of the Caribbean. I also went when I was about 11 and my parents have some video of it and in one I’m basically being a crying brat because they wouldn’t buy me a mickey ice cream lol!

  27. Amanda @ Sistas of Strength on July 18, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    How fun! I was in Tucson while you were in Disneyland! HAHA

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2013 at 6:43 pm


  28. Andrea on July 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Thank you for this. We want to go to LA to visit family soon and I’ve been debating on whether or not to take Bronwen to Disneyland. This is post is very encouraging!

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      i think she’ll love it!

  29. Ashley on July 18, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    That’s too, too cute. I’m so glad that she loved disney!

  30. Claire @ Health Nut Claire on July 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    So fun! I loved the tea cups and Dumbo ride when I was Liv’s age.

  31. Laura @ fuelingalife.wordpress.com on July 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Oh my gosh, those pictures of Liv are absolutely adorable and bring back so many childhood memories!

    I’ve never been to Disneyland, but I’ve been to Disney World twice. When I was five, I remember being terrified to go on Splash Mountain. After my brothers finally convinced me to give it a try, I LOVED it and kept asking my family to go on it again and again!

  32. Julianna @ Julianna Bananna on July 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Liv is so precious! I can’t wait to take my kids to Disneyland someday.

  33. Margaret on July 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I don’t regret my decision to delay having kids, if I have them, but looking at your photos it makes me sad that its unlikely my grandma will ever meet my kids and if she is alive when they are she isn’t able to do stuff like this anymore.

    I think its great that you realize how special it is to be able to do stuff like this with all four generations and that you have these memories to share with Liv.

  34. Shay on July 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    We went to Disneyland in November with our two four year olds! We loved it…and I think all the time of when we can go back πŸ™‚

    It was a sad day when our own little Olivia’s pink mouse years got stolen off our stroller too! Watch out peope…

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      that makes me so sad! someone just commented and said they’ll replace them for free at disney, so if it happens again…

  35. Crystal on July 18, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    The only Disneyland I’ve ever visited was Disneyland Paris. We lived in Germany for several years when I was a kid (dad was in the USAF πŸ™‚ ) and by the time we moved back to the States, we started taking more “grown-up” vacations. I can’t wait to take kids to a Disney park!

    Olivia looks so cute and happy!

  36. Christina @ The Beautiful Balance on July 18, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Liv is such a doll and such a little fashionista! Is that romper made for adults?! Haha πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      seriously! i love that little romper πŸ™‚

  37. Bonnie on July 18, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    How fun!! Also, you have the best wardrobe– where is your orange dress from?

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      wow, thank you! it was from nordstrom rack

      • Bonnie on July 18, 2013 at 8:02 pm

        Thanks! If you have time, can you check what brand it is in case they don’t have it in-store anymore? Thanks again πŸ™‚

  38. erica on July 18, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    I love Disneyland! my favorite rides are the haunted mansion, pirates, and Indiana jones!!!

  39. Kailey on July 18, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Sounds like you had an amazing trip with unforgettable memories! So fun.
    Between Liv’s Mickey ears and Ariel shirt, I’m dying. Love love love.

    Never too young (or old!) for Disney!

  40. Sam @ Better With Sprinkles on July 18, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Glad to hear that LIv had a good time! I went to Disney Land at 3 months old, so I think it’s safe to say thatr Liv probably appreciated it more than I did πŸ˜‰ I went to Disney World when I was 8 though, and it was amazing! I think my favourite ride there (at that time) had to be Splash Mountain, of course.

  41. chrissy on July 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    i’m such a Disney freak!!!! even though we don’t have kids the husband and i stay for the fireworks/parades/dances/etc. my favorites are the entire “space” section at Disneyworld, Mission 2 in Paris, and the bobsled one at Disneyland. For some reason I only remember entering Minnie’s House at Disneyland–I feel like it exists at the other parks, and if it doesn’t it should! Hopefully we make it to the one in Japan within the next 5 years:) too many places, too little vacation!!

  42. Darien on July 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I met my hubby in the military, and he’s from Cali. My very first ever trip to California was to visit him and his family for a week before another long military-induced separation. It was during Christmastime at Disney and he proposed during the fire works in the fake, foamy snow! Picturesque! Now, we have been married for 3.5 years and live an hour away from Disney. His parents gifted us with annual passes this year and it’s just amazing to be able to head down for the afternoon.

    Also, I know it’s a little late now, but if you drop, lose, or otherwise find a souvenir ruined or missing at the park, they’ll replace it for free! You just have to go find a castmember in the same type of place you got it. During a mad dash to the proposal (I was so confused about what was going on!) my man lost his suvenir hat. We just told a castmember in a shop what happened and they gave him a replacement. Same with a dropped ice cream cone or dropped popcorn.

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      wow, that’s awesome! thanks for letting me know πŸ™‚
      that proposal sounds like it was out of a movie <3 very romantic!

  43. Laura B on July 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Seriously impressed that you dressed so cute and wore sandals! My Disney experienced and normally very cutely dressed friends told me to wear sneakers and forget looking cute. Sneakers and shorts are not the cutests combo, but our feet were saved! Loved taking my 3-year-old and 4-month-old this past April. It truly is a magical place!

    • sarah on July 18, 2013 at 5:57 pm

      Agree. California natives definitely wear tennis shoes & comfy clothing there…And don’t call California, “Cali.” I cringe.

      • Fitnessista on July 18, 2013 at 6:29 pm

        why are people fighting in a post about disneyland? haha
        i changed into lulu and sneakers after nap each day. i like wearing real clothes when i can since i work in workout clothes are wear them all the time

        • Fitnessista on July 18, 2013 at 6:39 pm

          and sorry i offended you with my cali comment….
          just wrote back to your email.

      • Laura J. on July 18, 2013 at 8:01 pm

        Seriously. What’s with the snottiness? It’s a happy post about Disneyland. In Cali.

  44. Cari on July 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    I cannot get over how adorable Liv is in Mickey Mouse ears!! So sad they were stolen, at least you were able to capture the cuteness before it happened!! πŸ™‚

  45. Theresa on July 18, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    This is SO great! I am in love with Disneyland, I act as excited as Livi when I’m there. It just makes me so happy! I can’t wait to someday take my family there. It will be magical. My sister had her first in March, and I’m looking forward to crashing their first trip too! It’s truly a magical place!

  46. Quinn on July 18, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    What a fun trip! Gina-seriously, hearing all of your stories with Liv and how in love you are with her makes my heart all warm and fuzzy! I don’t have kids yet, but I can imagine how incredible it is watching them grow into who they are.

    I love your hair with the waves! What a good looking family, Olivia is growing SO fast.

  47. purelytwins on July 18, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Peter Pan is a classic and small world πŸ˜‰
    we love Pirates!!
    love the pics! looks like a great time!!
    Liv is growing up soooo fast!!

  48. Nicole @crazyabouthealthy.com on July 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    I’ve never been to Disneyland, only Disney World in Florida. I imagine they’re pretty similar. My favourite ride at Disney World is “its a small world” πŸ™‚

    I got a tinker-bell alarm clock at the gift shop, which I still have!

  49. Alissa on July 18, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Super cute! I love it!! I can’t wait to go to Disneyland in January for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon! I feel that you took Liv at the perfect time! Nap time is HUGE bonus & worth doing!

  50. Beverly Aragon on July 18, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    I think it’s awesome you took the plunge and made the trip even though Liv is such a tiny tot. The beautiful family memories (hello, 4 generations!) and fun photos are priceless treasures for her to reflect on when she’s older.

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