May 04, 2011 by Victoria Strong
I can't believe we haven't posted about this yet because -- it was AWESOME!

Last Monday we packed up for four days of Disneyland fun and we met the Calafiore family for some BFF fun -- a sequel to Gwendolyn's birthday trip in October, only this time it was a "just because" trip. Gwendolyn is now the complete Disney pro and just hearing about the plan got her fingers tapping. When we arrived at the hotel she no longer had that wide-eyed look of the unknown; her eyes were now filled with certainty that this was a good thing -- a very good thing and she wanted to find Hayden asap so the fun could begin! The girls were so excited to be together. It has been months since we saw the Calafiores and as soon as Hayden and Gwendolyn saw each other they both gave us the "Uh, uh" (translation: Let's Go!). So we got right to it and headed to "It's a Small World" and they, of course, loved it.

When we went to Disney for the first time last October, Bill and I were nervous -- so much unknown, so many people, so many new factors to consider. We felt really comforted to be with the Calafiores who had already been to Disney and knew what to expect. This time, we didn't feel nervous at all. We knew Gwendolyn would love every second and we walked through those Mickey ears determined to try even more new things and specifically to go on the rides! Rides and Disneyland are pretty synonymous, but navigating medical equipment and supporting Gwendolyn's limp body securely on a jerky ride is daunting to say the least. And last time we truly had a magical experience while going on just the one "It's A Small World" ride. I never felt we'd missed out by not doing too many last time because Gwendolyn and Hayden were so mesmerized by the lights and the princesses and Mickey Mouse and, well, the Disneyness of Disney. But we were ready to be brave and push ourselves because we knew our little dare-devil would get so much out of a new experience.

Our first attempt was the Dumbo ride. It seemed a good place to start since it is outside and we could see clearly what we were getting in to. The girls spied it with amazement and when we asked if they'd like a turn, "Guh, guh!" was very clear. Gwendolyn was filled with anticipation and I could see her heart pounding with excitement. When the ride started she couldn't believe it. And when Daddy showed her she could control (with help) going up and down, well, up and down we went. And we waved at Hayden over our shoulder. It was an amazing feeling to do this, to see the girls so much braver than we are, so trusting in us, and so fully ready for the next adventure! We all felt like we could do anything after that. We tried Peter Pan and the Storybook Cruise and Buzz Light Year and then we even went on Pirates of the Caribbean! And then we did them all again! And the girls loved every single second!

And no Disney trip is complete without visiting the princesses and the characters. Gwendolyn loved getting kissed from Mickey and getting a tickle from Goofy. She was in awe when she got to see Princess Tiana, Jasmine, and Belle at the Fantasy Faire and meet Tinkerbell and Silvermist at Pixie Hollow. And for our last day we went back to Ariel's Grotto for their breakfast with the princesses and Gwendolyn and Hayden got to learn a princess dance and do it together (arms right and then left and then twirl) -- they were in heaven!!!

We just love spending time with the Calafiores. We ate well and talked into the night and enjoyed every second as much as the girls did. And when it was time to say goodbye, Gwendolyn and Hayden held hands and cried and that got us all.

Talk About It

Wow, what a magical experience! I am so glad you were able to share this time with such good friends and the tears at the end just shows how much the girls loved and appreciated their time together. You all continue to amaze and inspire....hugs, Em
Posted by Emma on 2011-05-04 08:53:55
We just missed you guys there!!! I love seeing those girls together in the best place. Tears came when I saw the goodbye picture. Way to go guys being brave and trying more of the rides. Oh this post just makes me so happy to see!!!
Posted by Lindsey on 2011-05-04 11:08:03
Aww, so sweet! This one brought tears to my eyes. So glad the girls had a good time....what a fun experience for besties!
Posted by Tammy Duke on 2011-05-04 12:30:30
I looooove going to Disneyland. I haven't gone this year yet, but I'm definitely going to make an appearance. It's such a great place to share memories with your kids and still appreciate the park as an adult. The pictures are fabulous! Ava
Posted by Mixed martial arts los angeles on 2011-05-04 16:32:21
I just love the fact that she has such a special friendship with Hayden!!! Glad Disneyland was so much fun the second time around!!!
Posted by Jessica on 2011-05-04 21:20:04
I've never seen Gwendolyn crying before! I immediately started tearing up too!! I cannot believe you went on all the rides - fantastic!!! Pirates, and she wasn't even scared - she IS so brave!! I'm so thrilled that she gets to have the Disney experience, and such a close bond with Hayden - they are adorable together - I love their creamy, beautiful hands together.
Posted by Sheri on 2011-05-04 23:58:37
You (and the Calafiores) are super mom and super dad...I just have no words...too many emotions reading this!
Posted by Marcela Vallarino on 2011-05-05 20:39:25
We have the BEST time EVER with you guys! This trip made us feel like we passed a milestone by getting on the more adventurous rides. Its was more about Chris and myself putting on our 'big girl pants' because Hayden and Gwendolyn were ready to 'GO!' We just love seeing the girls together. Its such a unique, special bond that they have. Hayden becomes so expressive and happy when she's with Gwendolyn. It is so wonderful for Chris and myself to be able to spend time with you and Bill too. Can't wait till the next trip. Gotta a feeling the new Ariel ride is gonna be a BIG hit! See you SOON!
Posted by Jennifer Calafiore on 2011-05-06 09:57:04

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