Downtown Disney


When we left the beach we headed 20 minutes away to our RV park; home for the next five days. Located only a mile from Disneyland, this RV park offers everything we could possibly want from a swimming pool to laundry services. It even has shuttle service from the campground to Disneyland, which means we don’t have to worry about unhooking each day for the drive to Disneyland.

It felt good to park the bus, hook up, and get settled for a longer stay.


I know Toby is excited that he will get a five day break from driving.

Our stop at Disneyland was the big secret of this cross country trip. We wanted to surprise the kids so we didn’t tell anyone about this magical detour until the night before we left when we surprised the kids with their tickets.

Being HUGE fans of Disney World everyone was beside themselves with excitement, but none more than Rusty who is the biggest Disney fan of us all. His dream is to one day work for the Disney company and considers Walt Disney his greatest hero, so to be able to visit the park where Walt walked and where he personally led the creative process, is thrilling for Rusty.

The big kids have been to Disney World twice, and the little boys have been there once, and it is always a tradition to visit Downtown Disney the night before our Disney vacation begins.

There in Downtown Disney, an area of Disney filled with stores and restaurants, the magic of Disneyland can be felt. It is a fun way to soak up the energy and get excited for going into the park the next day.

After showering and eating dinner we caught the shuttle to Downtown Disney. The kids wore their trading pins so that they would be able to trade with employees they met along the way.


When we arrived, after our 5 minute ride, the energy and excitement was palpable.


There in the plaza that connects Disneyland, California Adventure, and Downtown Disney, Disney music was playing, Mickey hands were waving and the smiles stretched on for as far as we could see,


We had stepped into a world of princesses and pirates and mouse ears.


We spent the evening strolling around Downtown Disney and enjoying the sites and shopping available.


The boys loved the Lego Store. The large, Disney themed Lego creations were amazing and the boys loved the racing station outside where they could build their own race cars and race them against other guests.


The biggest hit of the evening, however, was the Build-A-Bear store. My older kids have fond memories of making a Build-A-Bear creation when they were little but we haven’t been back to one in 10 years, so you can imagine their squeals of delight when they saw this:


They stepped inside and discovered that it wasn’t an ordinary Build a Bear store, with the typical stuffed animals and outfits. It was Disney themed with creations and gear not found in their typical stores.

Then they discovered that many of the stuffed animals were on sale 50% off, Well, that was all the incentive they needed to use some of their hard saved money to buy a special sort of Disneyland souvenir.

The process began with choosing their critter:


Once they knew what they wanted they got in line to have it stuffed. It was fun watching them relive a special childhood memory, as overgrown teenagers.

After stuffing their bears,


Making a wish on their hearts,


and sewing them up,

it was time to dress them. The girls opted to just buy the stuffed animals. (Grace picked Nemo, and Molly bought a 60th anniversary Disneyland bear with special markings on the paws and feet.)

But Rusty wanted a Disneyland outfit for his Build a Bear, so he picked a Disney t-shirt and mouse ears.

Here are the completed creations:




Then it was back to the campground so that every one could get a good night sleep before our first day at Disneyland tomorrow!!

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