Tag Archives: Downtown Disney

Vacation Highlight Video #2


Grace has completed her second highlight video of our amazing journey, stealing snippets of time between schoolwork and touring to work on it.

This video highlights Week 3 of our trip, covering our time at Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, Salt Lake City, Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, Newport Beach, California and Downtown Disney.

 The next video will be of our five days at Disneyland

We hope you enjoy reliving some of the highlights of  Week 3 with us.

What a trip it has been.

It has been a marvelous journey!



On our first day at Disney, when we spent the evening at Downtown Disney, the boys spotted this:


And while the three older kids were clamoring at the chance to relive their childhood memories at Build-A-Bear, the two youngest were begging to use the last of their saved allowance money at Ridemakerz:

“Calling all speed demons and concept “car-tists”: Customize a vehicle with your choice of body, color, rims and more!

Cruise into RIDEMAKERZ and create a 1:18-scale model car that’s truly one of a kind! Select a body style and chassis then decide whether you want your racer to be radio-controlled or “free wheel.” Then kit it out with colors, paint details, rims and tires, real working lights, sounds, sporty accessories and decals—a staggering 649 million combinations are possible, and that’s not even counting individual decal placement!

Choose the exotic car of your dreams, a truck just like dad’s, a Batmobile, or even Tow Mater, Lightning McQueen or other characters from Disney•Pixar’s Cars. You’ll also find RIDEMAKERZ vehicles and accessories sporting the designs of custom legends Chip Foose and Fireball Tim Lawrence as well as popular body styles including:

Ford Mustangs

Dodge Vipers

Chevy Corvettes

Hot rods

Pickup trucks

Concept cars

The expert pit crew at RIDEMAKERZ can help you pick out and assemble your parts at your own hands-on machining station, and you can even try out different combinations to see how they look and work together before deciding on a final product. Once it’s revved and ready, take your custom creation for a spin around the store’s test track!

Welcome to a wonderland of chrome, horsepower and pulse-pounding sound where the only limit is your imagination.”

Knowing my sons, and knowing how fleeting the “must have” items on their wish list are, I made them a deal. I told them that they couldn’t use any of their saved allowance money on a Disney souvenir until Friday, our last day at Disney.

I figured this would help prevent buyer’s remorse and cut down on impulsive buys that they would regret later.

I told them that, after a week of seeing all that Disney gift shops had to offer, if they still wanted to build a custom car at Ridemakerz, we would take them.

Friday morning arrived and Tyler and Ozzie both woke up with one question on their lips:

“Can we go make our cars?!”

We decided to do it first thing, before going into the park for the day. So as soon as the store opened we were waiting at the door.


It was a very cool store, and a regular wonderland for little boys, but very pricy.

The boys soon learned that their $40.00 was not going to stretch as far as they first thought. With every custom detail comes an increase in price, but that didn’t change their mind. This was the memento they wanted from Disney.

So we began.


What made this souvenir neat was that you weren’t just getting a toy truck, you were also getting a unique experience.

Step one was to pick out the body of the car you wanted. They had Disney themed cars like Pixar Cars characters or Marvel themed trucks, as well as dozens of sports cars and street cars to choose from.


It was interesting to see the thought process of both boys as they picked out their cars. Tyler really wanted a remote control car (which was an extra $25.00) so he picked the least expensive body with no customizations to have enough money to afford that.

Ozzie was much more interested in creating his dream vehicle and gladly sacrificed the remote control feature for his dream “push car.”


He wanted a truck.

He hemmed and hawed over the make, model, color, and customization.

He was in heaven!

Once the boys had decided on their vehicles and picked out their tires and rims, it was time to assemble their cars.


Both boys LOVED using the “power tools” to construct their vehicles.

The store concept was clever and the experience was one that will be remembered. Both boys made it out of the store on budget, spending $40.00/each…a miracle since it would be easy to spend hundreds on a customized vehicle.

But the boys were more than pleased with their “inexpensive” versions of Ridemakerz.


These smiles speak for themselves. They love their customized cars.


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!!

Downtown Disney


Yesterday morning we checked out of our hotel and had a little bit of time to kill before we were allowed to check in at our Disney resort. We decided to take advantage of our free time and we headed to Downtown Disney.

You can imagine the cheers that echoed through our car as we approached this…

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Downtown Disney is a collection of some of the coolest shops you’ll ever see. We knew a few shops in particular were going to be HUGE hits…namely, the Lego Store.

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My Lego lovers were blown away by all the Lego sets for sale as well as the bins of all colors of Legos that you could purchase by the container.

In addition to shopping there were also play areas available where you could stand and build. The car building station was the biggest hit with my family.

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You could build your own car and then raced against other cars. Toby won the Lego car race. 🙂


Other popular stores, with my kids at least, included:

Goofy’s candy shop

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Rusty love the left-handed store that sold everything a lefty might need to survive in a world of righties.


The biggest hit, however, was probably Once Upon a Toy…the coolest toy store ever!

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Here Rusty helped Tyler make a lightsaber.

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Knowing that we were going to Disney in September we made the kids save their allowance all summer. They didn’t know what they were saving for. At the end of summer Toby took the money that should have been their allowance and bought them each a Disney gift card to spend on a souvenir at Disney World.

Tyler wanted to make a light saber.

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Downtown Disney was a hit!

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