Bug,  Family Matters,  Super Dad


this big!

Disneyland was so awesome. It wasn’t crowded, it wasn’t too hot. We got to do everything we wanted to do. Our tickets were free (thanks to a friend who works there who signed us in, SCORE!). Our packed lunch was delicious…I couldn’t have asked for a better day! It was just great! Toby and I didn’t even really squabble that much which was really really awesome since I thought Disneyland was pretty much everything Toby hates about everything and I was dreading his ongoing commentary. He was on his best behavior all day and so was Bug!

it's late!

We got a bit of a late start but it was fine! Because Disneyland wasn’t crowded! I don’t think I’ve ever been on a better day. If you’re thinking of visiting, I cannot recommend an odd Thursday AFTER spring break enough. Guess how long the wait was for Pirates of the Caribbean? Five minutes. Small World? Ten. That NEVER happens! At least not to me.

obligatory family portrait taken by random person

Obligatory family portrait taken by a total stranger. He didn’t even cut off our heads!


We met Ariel right off. Bug was enthralled.

sweet spot

Then we hit the teacups. This is my favorite photo of the whole day.


And I was there too! It’s kinda nice having Toby around to take photos of me. I get tired of taking the hand-held self-portraits sometimes.

let's do it!

We kinda sprung Matterhorn on Bug which was not really very smart. Prepping a kid for a roller coaster is tricky. You have to tell them how scary it is so they aren’t traumatized but you have to tell them in such a way that you don’t scare them into not going. Bug was pretty brave but Matterhorn was a little too dark and fast for her. Thankfully she seemed to get over it pretty quick and it didn’t scare her off roller coasters for good. Of course we praised her to high heaven for being so brave so maybe that helped.

blur twist

Toby had fun challenging himself with my camera. (Shot while twisting. He had the camera strap wrapped around his wrist about eight times, don’t worry.)


Next up was the underwater Finding Nemo submarine ride. This is my least favorite ride up there next to the Haunted Mansion and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Dark, claustrophobic and it takes forever to load and unload. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the new Nemo features but Bug seemed to like it. Except for the pretend crash and all the electricity sparking. I think she’s taken our “Don’t play with the electrical cords” sermons to heart.

I don't see Nemo

Meh. We promised we’d take her to Catalina and show her some real fish on a glass-bottomed boat.

Nemo land

It looks pretty from the top though.

put put

Autopia was a huge hit. I’d talked it up before we got there and Bug couldn’t wait to drive a car. She was pumped.


Unfortunately the steering wheel in our car was useless so she ended up letting Toby drive and just enjoying the scenery.


We wished we had bumpers like these cars (especially after my recent bank-parking-lot incident).


We waited 45 minutes to see the princesses. Normally I would think that was ridiculously stupid but then I had Bug and she reprogrammed my brain. We love princesses now and I am eating all my words one by one with salt. I’m so glad Aurora was there, Bug’s favorite princess. Bug was so shy. It was kinda like how I acted when I finally met Dooce in person.

Snow White Jasmine

By the time we got to Snow White and Jasmine she’d lost her timidity. She loved the princesses and I think they loved her right back. It was really sweet.


Then Toby bought her her own crown. I had stupidly stepped on her old pink plastic one a while back and she’s been mourning it for months now. As you know, Bug loves her crowns—sharp, hard, plastic crowns jammed right down on her ears. It was kind of nice that that was all she wanted. I was prepared to shell out major bucks for souvenir crap but she didn’t seem that into the merchandise. Good thing too ’cause it looked kinda cheap for the dollars they were asking.

Small World

Then we hit Small World. I thought for sure Toby would rather die than go on this ride since he suffers from earworms that will last up to a week. But he was a trouper and really enjoyed himself by taking photos in challenging lighting situations. Who knew Disneyland was such fun for photographers?! Also, my camera rocks. I’m so glad I bought it. (Thank you, again.)

it's a...

pink awe

Toby mocks
(Toby pretending to be in awe.)

tick tock

Tick tock, what an awesome clock.


I just thought these balloons were pretty. No other reason.

silly mask Tarzan's Treehouse

We didn’t do much in Adventureland/Frontierland. They were preparing for the premiere of the latest Pirates movie and a lot of stuff was blocked off. Bug wanted to go see the singing plastic flowers in the Tiki Room but I promised Bug we’d do that next time.


But we did ride Pirates of the Caribbean! Five-minute wait!!! Bug wasn’t scared at all. She’s braver than I was at five.


Then we passed by Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, my favorite ride of all time. I just figured she’d be too short for it but she wasn’t!!! Then I had to talk her into going. It took a lot of negotiating.

getting up the guts to go on Big Thunder

major negotiation

We pretty much just walked past it and gave up. She wasn’t into it and you know how stubborn Bug can be once she makes up her mind.

Toontown at sunset

We wasted some time at Toon Town, which she loved but we hated. And then right before the park closed, she changed her mind and we ended up going on Big Thunder at dusk!! I have no photos but that seriously made my day. And! She liked it. Best. Day. Ever.

even big kids can ride on it!


The rest was cake.

pretty lights

night settles

end of the day

Then we called it a day and took our tired selves home. I can’t wait to go back.


  • whoorl

    I can’t BELIEVE how uncrowded the park was!! I don’t think I’ve ever seen it that way! (Do you know Mondays are the busiest day at the park? Isn’t that weird?)

  • Sarah

    What a fabulous full day. It must be quite fun to be one of the princesses, dressed up in a big frock and surrounded by adoring little girls all day.

  • bethany actually

    The picture of Toby pretending to be in awe is the BEST. I am still giggling. Tell him I said so! :-)

    And I will totally agree with you about picking a random Thursday after spring break (or in the middle of February) to go to Disneyland. It’s SO MUCH MORE FUN when there are no lines or crowds. I’m happy you guys had such a great time! Now we just need to come visit when it’s not summer and take Annalie and Bug together!

  • bethany actually

    Also, please tell Bug that I think she’s SUPER brave. I never, ever, ever-in-a-million-years would have gone on the Matterhorn or Big Thunder Mountain when I was five. I didn’t go on a roller coaster at all till I was almost 10 years old! So I am really proud and impressed by her bravery! (And we’re honored she wore that dress for her first trip to Disneyland!)

  • Erin

    Great descriptions of Disneyland! I wanted to go when I was down there, but couldn’t talk Rocco into it, so this makes me get over it!

    Also – my looney toones sister flew her 18-yr-old self to CA from DC to go to that Pirates Premier. She called me at 8:00 AM (woke me up) today to tell me she’s been in line, sitting on the red carpet since 2:00 AM.

    Anyway – I especially liked the Small World photo Toby took. Great family day!

  • Melissa

    This post makes me want to go to Disneyland even without a little princess of my own to take. The photos are fantastic and I would agree, the pic of Bug chilling in the spinning teacup is the best!

  • Cathy

    Aww thanks for sharing your trip. The looks on Bug’s face with the Princesses reminds me of when my little girl visited them too (her favorite was Ariel!) So brings me back. You should go at Christmastime – more crowded but so enchanting! We just might.

  • HoboMomma

    What an awesome visit! I cannot WAIT to take Avelyn to Disneyworld/land and take her to see “the pwincesses AND the castle where the pwincesses live!!!”. She’s reallllly excited. Also, why oh why do my pictures in low light NEVER EVER EVER look like that. I need a cheat sheet or something, geez.

  • Wendy

    We always go on a Wednesday in the “off season”- and try to time it so it is not too cold and not too hot! So glad you guys had a great time, your photos are great. I can’t wait to go back myself! Enjoy those princess years, they go too quickly. My princess is now 12 and I miss those fun princess times at Disneyland. Meeting Ariel would make her whole day! The best was a special birthday lunch at Paradise Pier with all the princesses, priceless….

  • MintTea

    What a fabulous display of co-parenting! You guys are an inspiration. And great photos by both of you! Looks like a really fun day. :)

  • Madge

    Toby in Awe, hahaha. That is a great trip to Disney! I love the pictures with the Princesses. All the characters work really hard and I love how they make all the kids feel so special.

  • Kate

    Thanks for sharing your trip. The photos are fabulous. I really feel like I went with you!

  • The Bug

    I grew up in NC so we went to Disney World in Florida. My mom & I enjoyed It’s a Small World so much that we decided to go again – and got stuck in there! I still can’t hear that song without feeling slightly insane :)

    Glad you guys had a good time!

  • Jill

    My husband and I were there on Tuesday… seriously uncrowded then too! It was nice.

    Great pics and I’m glad you had such a nice time!

  • Kj Dell'Antonia

    We just dragged ourselves to Disney, too! World, in our case. And what you say about Toby just killed me, because my husband expected to hate it. I expected him to hate it. And then, somehow, he loved it. And he, too, took about a thousand pictures in those challenging low light conditions in what is apparently the exact same “It’s a Small World” ride.

    Both my 5-year-olds rode Big Thunder. Twice. Love it. It was the 9-year-old we had to drag on!

  • Ninabi

    Aw…she’s so cute. I’ve been reading your blog for years and in that sweet picture of your daughter in the teacup, I could see the grade school child she’s soon to be.

    I’m so happy that you had a wonderful time. I know a lot of people complain about Disney but I love it, too. We had lovely vacations there and someday if I am very lucky we can take a grandchild or two there.

  • amy

    Hmm, maybe we should plan our next (much anticipated by my daughters) trip there for Feb. Not sure they will go for it though, we promised next Oct. Anyone know if it is relatively quiet then?

    Thanks for the Small World pics :) I lost my family outside that place. Never went in but spend a good hour outside of it listening to the song. Over. And Over. And Over. Again.

  • Jeanie

    Nice photos! My sister married a Californian and lives in the Bay area. She wants us to come out when her twins boys and our son are all about 5 years old (in another 2 years) and meet at Disneyland. I will mention the weekdays mentioned here. A good friend of mine lives in NC and she and her family love Disney World in Orlando. Oh my word – I hear about Disney almost daily from her, LOL!

  • Jeanie

    Oh yeah, not that Disney World isn’t cool, but I was only there one time, and was 15 years old so I was probably a little too cool for Disney at the time (in my own mind).

  • Kuky

    Hey how did I miss this post? Anyhoo, we’ve been talking about Disneyland. We’re thinking of coming in September. We haven’t decided yet for sure. But I think I’d rather do that than throw another big party. And your photos just make me want to even more. And how very brave of Bug. I didn’t ride roller coasters until I was much older.

  • Clownfish

    You know me and how much I love Disneyland. Needless to say, I was wearing the biggest smile as I looked at each picture you and Toby had captured. I’d love a camera that was more “low-light-friendly” so I too could capture shots in Small World. It looks like it was a great day for all of you! Happiest Place on Earth!

  • BeachMama

    Wow, looks like you had so much fun!! And the castle is much, much bigger than when I was there or its a different one :). Your camera does Rock and I am so glad you got it :)