Today was our last day at Disneyland. I had prayed really hard that Eric would be able to join us at least one day. My prayer was answered and he felt like he could at least come with us, though he’d be in a wheelchair all day. I didn’t care, I just wanted him with us. I hadn’t felt whole the whole trip and I just needed my best friend with me.
I texted my Mom to see where everyone else was and they had all gone to the park for early entrance. We were already an hour after opening, but I had wanted the kids to wake up on their own time. So after getting everyone ready we headed to the car. I drove us to the parking lot and then we took the shuttle to the parks.
After we got through security I went and got the wheelchair for Eric. And we were ready for our day in the parks. I had decided earlier on in the week that if Eric was able to make it with us one of these days, I was going to make the day all about what the kids wanted to do. And that’s what we did, for the most part. I also made sure I got pictures of the kids where I wanted to get pictures.
With Eric’s input, we decided our first course of action would be to meet Elsa and Anna from Frozen. We were kinda surprised that it was a 3 hour wait, but all the kids – except Lex, wanted to meet them. So we stuck it out. The workers kept telling people that Elsa would be in and out that day so there was no guarantee that you’d see her. Well our 3 hour wait paid off and we got to see both Elsa and Anna. We were sad that Ailey got nervous though and didn’t want to get into the picture.
When we had finished with the Frozen characters, we headed to the ride Nate had wanted to go on since the first day in Disneyland. That was the boat ride at Storybook Land or something. When we actually got on the ride he was worried he’d get wet and I had to convince him that he wouldn’t get wet on this ride.
We then took time out for lunch. Eric had a friend that was talking up the corn dogs, so Eric wanted to find them. So we found the corn dog stand and got everyone but Lex and I a corn dog. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but I knew a corn dog wasn’t it. After walking a little bit Lex and I decided on a pretzel. Not very nutritious, but it tied me over and wasn’t heavy on the tummy.
Our next step was to the Matterhorn per Lex’s wish. On the way we saw that Star Tours only had a 20 minute wait, so I took the kids and we went on that. Thankfully, Eric’s genes paid off once again and Ailey was able to come with us. It was so much fun and I was glad to have had a ride where I could see all my kids expressions at once. The little kids laughed so much during that ride and I was thankful we took the short little stop.
So then we head on over to the Matterhorn. Tanis and Ailey stay behind with Daddy and I take the other kids and we are off. After the Matterhorn we have requests to get light sabers. The kids had been really good the whole trip as far as asking for things, knowing that the last day would be souvenir day. We decided since we were right there, we might as well let them make their light sabers. Everyone but Ailey made one. And they were super awkward to carry the rest of the night, but having the wheelchair helped a bit. And don’t think I wasn’t super thankful for the cashier – who was really only doing her job – but told the kids to keep the lightsabers closed until they weren’t in the parks. She even taped them down.
I had wanted more pictures in Toon Town, so that’s where we headed next. I figured the kids could have a little bit of fun and I could get my fill of pictures.
…Shaylyn insisted on this picture…
We would’ve visited Mickey (Ailey really wanted to see him) and his friends, but our timing was off and they had closed off all those meet and greets because it was about time for the parade. We were also running out of time as I wanted to get over to Radiator Springs and we needed to eat some dinner. We also needed time for dinner.
On the way over to California Adventure, we let the girls stop in a few shops as Shaylyn was looking for a certain toy. Eric thought he had overheard people say where they had found this toy, so we went in that store first. Well that toy wasn’t in the store, but Ailey found some cute little princess figurines to buy.
There was another store in the area that we had Shaylyn just go in to look around. The rest of us waited outside by an entrance and the entrance just happened to be where the gatekeeper person might be in a fairy tale, so we let the boys channel their inner gatekeepers.
We made our way over to California Adventure and to Cars Land. I had wanted to see it all lit up at night and get some pictures in that atmosphere. We looked for food to eat there, but the only real place to eat there was a little more fancy that we were looking for.
Eric was starting to get cold and I had forgotten his jacket back in the hotel room, so we went in search of a hoodie for him. I felt so bad for forgetting because he was literally shaking and actually was very cold to the touch, even.
We tried one store out in Radiator Springs, but the clothes were for little kids. Nate did find a Cars set that he got as part of his souvenirs, but we had no luck in finding anything Eric’s size. We make our way a little down the street and find another store, so we try that store. Thankfully we find a hoodie, in Eric’s size, though the price was more than we’d normally pay. Eric was just glad to get warm again.
Seconds after leaving the store Lightning McQueen drives by. I was literally inches away. Eric had wondered why I left him in the dust, but then he figured it out. I got a little excited. Don’t know why, but Lightning McQueen and Mater have been favorites of mine for a long time.
I see that Luigi’s Flying Tires is also only a 10 minute wait, so we get Eric parked in a place where he’ll be able to see us and run to get in line. As we’re getting in line, Mater drives by. I was so sad I didn’t have the camera on me. We have a lot of fun on the ride, but decide we should probably head out to get dinner and let the kids do some shopping.
On our way out of Radiator Springs, we passed the small Mater statue thing and no one was around it. So of course, we took pictures.
Right next to little Mater was another ride with a short wait time. We jumped on that ride real quick before heading out. Before leaving California Adventure all together we stopped by a shop completed about Oswald. Tanis was adamant about getting something Oswald. After looking around a bit he settled on a knit, stuffed Oswald.
We were losing time and daylight, so our next step was to Downtown Disney. We tried to take the wheelchair out to Downtown Disney not really realizing it wasn’t PART of Disneyland Parks. So we had to turn in the wheelchair and Eric had to walk through Downtown Disney. It wasn’t so easy for him, but he loves his kids enough that he sacrificed for them.
We hit the World of Disney store first. Hoping it might need to be the 2nd to last stop of the night. Tanis found a Jack Skellington stuffed thing that he grabbed almost right away, Shaylyn decided on a lanyard with trading pins of the princess’ shoes. She also found the item she had been looking for all day long, and yes we grabbed one for Ailey as well. It’s an Anna/Elsa doll. You flip the dress and the other girl is under it. Kind of a cool idea.
We finish looking through the store and Lex finds a hat he just loves. Eric and I aren’t crazy about the style of hat, but it’s what Lex wants. At one point we realize Nate is missing. I couldn’t believe it. We had gone through 3 days of adventure parks and hadn’t lost a child, but we go into a store and within a 30 minute time period a kid is missing! My heart starts racing and I’m not in a good place mentally. I was like we’ve already had a pretty crummy vacation all things considered and now, I’ve lost a kid! When I got back to thinking a little more calmly, I made sure the other kids stayed with Eric and retraced our steps. At one point I had a feeling to turn and saw that Nate had just passed. He was crying so hard and I almost started bawling. I gave him a super big hug and made sure he understood why it was important to stay close to Mommy and Daddy.
We check out and time is really running short. We only have x amount of time to get back to the shuttles before we’re walking blocks to our car. I was really unhappy with the selection of Tinkerbell things they had in the store and still had nothing for Jace or for me as a souvenir. Ailey also had a good chunk of souvenir money left.
The boys and Shaylyn had all wanted to go to the Lego Store from the beginning. I decided that it would be more beneficial time wise if we split up. Eric took the boys and Shaylyn to the Lego store and I decided that Ailey and I would head to Build A Bear. I could get something soft for Jace and Ailey loves Build A Bear. We quickly decide on our animals and wait forever to get them stuffed. I swear this store had the slowest workers ever there was. After getting our animals stuffed we quickly grab the outfits. I didn’t even have time to get them dressed. We stand in the checkout line for almost 10 minutes and I have the thought that people in California must be used to waiting in line.
…Ailey got the little doggie and dressed her as Rapunzel (big surprise), I got the Panda bear and dressed her as Tinkerbell (duh!) and I chose a nice soft bear for Jace and dressed him in another character I’ve always liked…
We meet back up with Eric and the other kids and book it back to Disneyland Parks area. We realize we’re going to have to go back through security and laugh because of all the bags we have that they are going to have to go through. Just before it’s our turn to go through security, one of the worker’s says, “It’s 10:00, Disneyland is closed.” and he opens up all the marked off area so that people can just go through. YAY! No waiting forever while they search through our bags.
We are heading to the shuttle line when I hear a voice say to Shaylyn, “Are you sure you have all your souvenirs?” I look and see some person kind of heckling Shaylyn. She didn’t quite understand the question and is like, ‘Yeah’. The lady then explains she was just teasing her and starts a conversation. These types of situations make me nervous and I was a little nervous for my daughter’s safety, but before too long I can tell this lady is just overly friendly and is trying to make conversation.
It’s a good thing that Eric and Shaylyn can talk to strangers fairly easily and they kept the conversation kind of flowing. She tells us she’s been coming to Disneyland for years and videotaping the rides or something, then she gets all scientific on me and I kind of space out. She realizes we’re from Utah and then seeing our number of kids, makes the correct assumption that we’re Mormon. You never know how someone is going to respond to you in that situation, but she was very complimentary. She said how much she admires our sense of family and religion. I was floored.
We get on the shuttle and she continues talking to us. She asks our kids names and we tell her. She then introduces herself as Stefka. Not sure where her family is from, but she doesn’t really talk with an accent. She shares a little more about her life on the way to the parking lot and when we get to the parking lot we get off the shuttle without really any other words shared.
We find our way to our car and believe it or not, Stefka has parked next to us. She had went to start her car and then she stopped it. She got back out of the car and because we were still loading kids and souvenirs she asks if she can use a phone. Her phone had died and she wanted to call her mom to let her know she was on her way home.
Eric gives her his phone and she dials away. Before too long she’s speaking in some other language and finishes the conversation with her mom. She tells us thank you and that she told her mom how she had met a wonderful family who had been so kind to her. She felt that God had put us in the situation for a reason. Had she not parked next to us or had either of us left at a different time, so wouldn’t have been able to make her call.
I was honestly amazed at the testimony she had of God and his influence in our lives and how he places certain people in our lives at certain times for varying reasons. This is what touched my heart. Though she wasn’t of our religion, she still had such a strong faith in God that she could testify of him being thoughtful of us all and being in our lives at times when it is necessary. I don’t think I’ll ever forget Stefka, even if I didn’t have the best opinion of her in the beginning.
We get in the car and start to head back to the hotel, but we are all still hungry as we had no time to eat. We pass by a strip mall that has a burger place next to Subway and they are both still open. I’m spoiled and had Eric get me a burger, then he went to Subway to get him and the kids some food. Because he was wearing one of his BYU hats the worker at Subway mentioned something to him. They have a good, fun sort of conversation and even though I don’t remember what Eric said they talked about, you could see they were having a fun conversation.
We get back to the hotel, eat our late dinner and call it a night. Eric says he hopes he can drive tomorrow and I second that motion. Before we go to bed, Lex insists that I take a picture of him in his hat and send it to my little brother, Logan. This is because I blame Logan for the influence of this style of hat.