California Dreamin': Day 3...

As I was going through all the pictures to include in this post, I noticed that I didn't take very many. Less than 200 -  I take more pictures at birthday parties or random events on campus. And you know what that tells me? 

That I just enjoyed it. 

That I put my camera down to capture memories in my heart instead of through a digital lens. 

And, I don't even regret it. Not even a little bit. 

Monday morning we got to sleep in a little - wahoo! Disneyland didn't open until 10am and we were one of the first ones in the park. And who did we run into as we walked inside those beautiful pumpkin-Mickey decorated gates....


Please note that Radley wore his pirate pants to match his shirt. His pirate pants that he wore as 2 year old. I'd say we got our money's worth! ;)

(side note: Kids shirts are from here. She was so easy to work with and has a TON of Disney options. She is on a break right now, but her shop says she will be back next week)

One quick family picture in front of the flower Mickey and we were on our way!!

First stop: Breakfast with Minnie and Friends arranged by Jody and Sonya! This was awesome! We ate a delicious brunch and were greeted by some of our favorite characters like Minnie, Eeyore and Tigger. The kids had their autograph books for all the characters to sign (that Emmy insisted on signing herself, because, well, "I'm a 'pincess', Mommy.") and it's fun to see all the different signatures!

Captain Hook, Pluto, and Dale - that Landry even graced with a kiss on the nose!

If you have Disneyland plans in your future - I highly recommend this! Jody and Sonya were so smart and we are so grateful for this! The characters come to you, so you aren't rushing around trying to meet everyone. It's so fun to see all the silly things they do to put the little ones (Landry) at ease, and you are with your family. 

Win. Win. WIN. 

Not pictured: Chip, The Fairy Godmother (even I was star struck. I mean...Bibbity.Bobbity.Boo.), and Pooh. 

But, the biggest guest of honor was waiting right outside those gates...


Mickey the Mouse. 
(Landry wasn't really interested in meeting him)

Then the magic continued in Tomorrow Land where we rode rockets (please note Emmy's bow sticking out of that "giant" rocket), took a Star Tour, met a robot, and made our own lightsabers.

Emmy was too little for Star Tours, so she and Pops hopped over to Fantasy Land to ride Dumbo and then she had the pleasure of meeting a Storm Trooper on her way back. She was clearly impressed. 

And as we headed over to Tom Sawyer's Island we crossed the one item off on my Disney bucket list: a picture in front of Cinderella's Castle. 

Smack dab in the middle of the day. Radley and Emmy just couldn't open their eyes...ha!
(Sarah - how do you feel about photoshopping a few eyes on them?)

We 5 Kings... I am including all of these to show you that we don't always take "perfect" pictures.... but you know what? Life is still pretty darn picture perfect!

Then we became pirates on the high seas on a hunt for Jack Sparrow! Radley and Owen got completely into character, Emmy took a nap, Landry ate some snacks, and Gigi started a conversation with a sweet lady (the one in green). AND. She is married to an ORIGINAL Mouseketeer. 


She is married to an ORIGINAL Mouseketeer.


Annette's partner.

As in the great late Annette Funicello. 

They have free lifetime passes to all Disney parks. 

That's pretty amazing.

Then we docked the ship and our hunt for Jack Sparrow and his treasure continued....these group of pirates were successful in their hunt. 

Please note the "arghhh" faces bottom right. 

And then it happened.

A moment I wasn't even expecting, because, to be honest, this trip was focused on Radley and Owen - the big kids. The littles and grown ups were just along for the ride.

But it happened.

Her {dreams} came true. 

In an instant. 

And then, even more unexpectedly, our dreams came true too.

Every single adult had a tear in their eye as we watched her meet Tiana. Her favorite "pincess". 

They talked and laughed like two "pincesses" should. She could have stayed there forever.

But someone else was anxious to get a picture, too. 

On our way around the park to discover more adventures, we gave the castle another try so eyes could be open! Success!

I love my family. 

After the short pause - our adventure continued to... SPACE MOUNTAIN.

This was it. The ride Radley had been waiting for. He was ready to be in space. He was sure he was going to LOVE it. We were sure that he would never forget his first REAL roller coaster ride. And because I didn't lose all of my "take pictures of everything" way of life - we documented the occasion with a before and after. 

Before on the left: How excited we were about the ride!
After on the right: How we really felt after the ride! (That is the face he made the entire journey through space!)

We walked outside as the sun began to set, signaling that our time would be ending too soon. Gigi and Pops wanted to ride "It's a Small World" so we made our way around and I looked up to see them. All 44 years of marriage worth of smiles and memories and accomplishments. And I love that we get to be here with them to celebrate the big and small in life.

That they taught me to spoil the heck out of your kids, to love them like crazy, and to pray for them always. And part of me wants a glimpse into what 44 years will look like for me and Ryan. I hope it's as thrilling as theirs!

As we arrived at It's a Small World, we noticed that people were lining the street, so we asked what was going on - and the parade was about to start. We had the PERFECT seats. And again, unexpected squealing, laughter, joy, and magic ensued. I wish this storyboard of pictures could come to life so you could see their excitement. Their eyes grew as each passing Disney legend paraded by. 

"Mom, look - ALADDIN!" 
"DAD, it's SIMBA!"
"Gigi, Gigi - TIANA!!!"

They clapped. The laughed. They danced. Their whole world was it should be - perfect.

As the parade came to an end, we made our way to the final ride of the trip - a Disney classic. A ride that is 15 minutes of the same song... that we were all singing by the end. :) 

And then it was over. Two magical days that created a lifetime of memories. 

I am so glad that we could celebrate our boy as a family. That the only gift he really wanted was to spend time with his family. That Disney could add to the magic of our blessed lives. 

Happy Golden Year, William Radley King! 
We love you!!

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