Last Saturday, we went to California! We left Friday morning at 4 am, and drove down to Vegas. The girls slept all the way to Cedar City, where we stopped for breakfast and then continued on. We got to Vegas around lunchtime. We had lunch, and then took the kids to the Shark Reef Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay resort.
The girls in front of one of the viewing walls.
Natalie really loved the Aquarium!
After the Aquarium, we went over to the Venetian and had dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant, "Tratorria Reggiano" and then stopped at this gelato stand for some insanely delicious gelato!
Saturday, we left Las Vegas after breakfast and drove 4 1/2 more hours to our resort at Newport Beach. We were all very happy to get there and be done with driving in the car! The resort was absolutely gorgeous!
We were greeted at the welcome desk with assorted petits fours. Here is Rachel enjoying her raspberry cake!
The condo had a clear dining room table, and it was just a tiny bit taller than Natalie, and she kept trying to get food from underneath the table! It was hilarious! We ate every meal in our hotel room, because it is just not fun to eat out with 3 small children! We ate all our meals out on the road and in Vegas, and we did eat lunch the last day at the resort at the poolside grill, and of course we had to eat out while in Disneyland.
The boardwalk to Newport Beach. This was actually down to a state park, and not the public beach. You have to pay a state park entrance fee, but there was no one else on the beach, so it was great!
A view of the beach from the top of the stairs leading down to it.
Natalie LOVED the beach.
Rachel here with a forced smile - she thought the beach was dirty and yucky! There was a lot of seaweed on the beach and in the water (you can see it in heaps behind her) and she was terrified of it.
Lizzy soaking up some sun on the beach!
Daddy and Rachel don't like the beach!
The resort had 3 pool areas. We stayed at this pool area the most, because it had a little kiddie pool, and there was never anyone at this one. We had the whole pool area to ourselves every day! The main pool area has the pool grill, 3 large pools, and 2 hot tubs, and it always had a bunch of people.
Lizzy learned to swim with water wings this trip! She did a great job, and even learned to swim with her face under water! The pool water was beautifully warm... just perfect for hours and hours of swimming!
On Wednesday (supposed to be the least crowded day according to the internet), we went to Disneyland! This is one of the "low" seasons, since kids are at the end of school and can't miss right now, so it was not too crowded. We walked right on to a lot of the rides, and our longest ride line was 20 minutes. We rode 19 rides and attractions! Disneyland railroad, Haunted mansion, pirates of the caribbean, winnie the pooh, jungle cruise, Gadget's go coaster, Mickey's house, Minnie's house, Autopia, Buzz lightyear astro blasters, finding Nemo submarine voyage, Star Tours, Alice in Wonderland, Disney Princess Fantasy Faire, It's a Small World, King Arthur Carousel, Mad Tea Party, Peter Pan's Flight, and Snow White's Scary Adventure. The kids' favorite was "It's A Small World." The grown ups' favorite was "Star Tours." It's 3D and totally awesome!
The teacups! Rachel loved it, and wanted to go again and again!
Autopia - the kids loved being able to drive their own cars!
Waiting in line for Star Tours!
At the Princess Fantasy Faire - this actually had the longest line of anything, and we had to wait an hour to see the princesses. While waiting in line, I asked Rachel which princess she wanted to see the most, and she answered, "Princess Leia!" When we actually got in, she was too scared to go up to any of the princesses by herself, so I'm in the pictures too, holding her hand! Here is Cinderella!
Aurora! By this time, Rachel was brave enough to let me not be in the picture, but you can see she's still standing a little apart, and wouldn't get any closer!
We also saw Mickey at Mickey's house. Rachel was terrified.
Natalie's not too sure if she likes Mickey!
Here's Rachel and I riding the Gadget's Go Coaster! I was really proud of her for going on her first roller coaster! She liked it a lot!
Friday morning, we got up at 4 am again and started home. We had to do it all in one shot, because Jason had to be back to work Saturday. The baby is the worst in the car, since she's too young for movies or to be lured by snacks, so she and I actually flew home, but Jason, Lizzy, and Rachel all road-tripped together! The girls did really well on the drive, and got Happy Meals for lunch, and watched 5 movies on their portable DVD player! It was a really fun trip!