Throughout 2009, Disneyland is offering free admission on your birthday. You have to go to http://www.disneyland.com/ and register first, but it's a great deal. The only bummer is that you have to go on your actual birthday. My birthday was Monday and even though it was Martin Luther King's birthday and school was not in session, we decided to take a chance and go. Kendall was at winter camp with the youth group, so Jay and I went alone. By the way, Kendall had an amazing time at youth group. A local band DSM played at all of the sessions and Kendall went tubing on Saturday and go to try snowboarding on Sunday. She took lessons in the morning and I talked to her at lunch time and she was having a blast, but apparently things went downhill (pun intended). When we talked to Sunday evening, she was frustrated with a sore wrist. We tried to comfort her and explain that snowboarding is tough and no one is completely successful on their first day. Fortunately, she has bounced back, the wrist is healed and she didn't let it ruin her vacation.
On to Disneyland! We got up at 4:15 and got ready for our long drive. We ate a quick breakfast then stopped at Starbuck's for some energy and go to the park a little after 9:00. I recently reconnected with my friend Leisha from High School on Facebook and when I posted a status update that we were going to Disneyland she commented that her kids got passes for Christmas and she needs to take them, so I told her to come on Monday and she did! They were running a little bit late, so Jay and I rode Space Mountain and then caught up with Leisha, her daughter Taylor and her son Zachary on Star Tours and spent the rest of the afternoon with them. It was so much fun to catch up and spend my birthday with an old friend. She hasn't changed a bit and we really enjoyed our conversations and her kids are very well behaved and so sweet! Zachary must have felt very comfortable with us, because he wanted to ride on Pirates with us and come with us to our locker.
We packed a lunch to save money and save some calories so we went and picked up our cooler at the locker (with Zachary) while Leisha and Taylor got a table for lunch. We were able to bring our little picnic to the restaurant and eat together, which was really nice of the folks at the Magic Kingdom (especially considering how much they charge for admission and parking.....). After lunch we rode a few more rides and stayed with our friends until around 3:30. The lines were not too long and we got to ride just about everything we wanted to, with the exception of Small World and the Haunted Mansion, which were both closed.
At 3:30, Jay and I went over to Splash Mountain and used our Fast Passes, then went over to the Blue Bayou for dinner. We called two days before and were able to get reservations, but our choices were either 4:20 or 8:00, so we took the early reservations.
It was Jay's first time at the Blue Bayou and I hadn't been there since I was about 10 years old or so, so it was a real treat for both of us. We got seated right against the railing and got to watch the boats go by. I think we got the best seats in the entire restaurant! We both had steak since they were only serving dinner and the prices were pretty high, but since we brought our lunch and got one ticket for free we decided to splurge a little. Plus, we had an Amex gift card from Grandma Willett for Christmas which came with strict instructions to do something fun or romantic and this fit both requirements, so Grandma helped pay for our dinner.
After our meal, we rode a few more rides and then went and got a scoop of ice cream and got on the road a little after 8:30. We didn't get home until midnight, so we were completely exhausted, but it was such a wonderful day that it was worth being tired and useless all day on Tuesday.
It was a wonderful birthday indeed! The only thing that would have made it better would be to have the girls with us and all of my family and friends that I miss so much, but that's just being selfish ;)