Saturday, December 10, 2011

Santa's Village

Christmas came a couple of weeks early for us this year!  Grandma and Grandpa surprised us with a little vacation - a trip to Santa's Village!  I don't think they could have spoiled us more!  We started by pulling the kids out of school early on Friday and heading to The Royalty Inn.  There, we spent the evening swimming (for 5 hours!), playing games, watching a Christmas movie, and enjoyed a "room service" dinner in our room.  (I've never really ordered room service, but I always pack picnic dinners for us to enjoy in our hotel room.  Room service on a budget!) :)

Our new GPS - also a Christmas present - showed us the way!!

This picture is horrible - but the view on the drive up through the White Mountains was INCREDIBLE!  I must have taken 20 or more pictures trying to capture it....and couldn't.  But it truly was amazing.

Little snow flurries as we drove created the perfect "Christmas" drive through the mountains!

Watching our new Christmas movie from Aunt Rachel and cousin Ryan!

Grins' face = That gust of wind was FREEZING!  Wiggles' hair = just woke up from a car nap.

The Royalty Inn
Room Service :)

We love to swim!!!

The next morning, we were the first ones at the pool again!  Angel and Grins kept jumping back and forth between the hot tub and large pool - a feat much to difficult for their parents because of the wide temperature gap!  We swam from 7 to 10, and were only able to finally convince the children to get out of the pool with the promise of Santa's Village which awaited them.

Our room at the Royalty Inn came complete with a scrumptious breakfast at Welch's Restaurant.  So we stopped by on the way to Santa's Village, and we certainly ate like Kings!  Wiggles' Mickey Mouse pancake was larger than her head!  And all of our food was delicious!

Wiggles was so starving while we waited for our food that she opened up a jam container and dug right in!

Sipping hot cocoa....
....and dribbling down her chin.  Nice!

We finally made it to Santa's Village just after they had opened at 11am.  We had no idea we would have to wait half an hour in line just to get in!  Mr. and Wiggles dropped us off to stand in line, and then went to park. Knowing we each had a cell phone, we figured it would be easy to meet up.  But unfortunately, the Mr. made it into the wrong line and they wouldn't let him in (since I had his ticket, and had given it to the woman in the OTHER line).  When we tried to call each other, we discovered that the Mr's cell phone was out of range!  So, finally, after an hour of looking for him, the kids and I went to the front entrance and found he and Wiggles waiting outside. :(  A bit of a rocky start - but things only got better from then on!

We started with a treasure hunt.  There are 26 elves hidden around the village, each with a particular stamp.  So the children had a lot of fun finding the elves and stamping their 'passport'.  I think it was one of their favorite activities of the day!
Elfabet University.  I love Wiggles' hat! :)
Then, to the childrens' great delight, Grins and Angel got to drive their 'own' cars! I remember this being my favorite ride at Disneyland as a child, and they loved it (especially Grins!)

The reindeer carousel was a big hit as well!
Wiggles kept saying "Look! I'm riding Rudolph!"
 The bumper cars did NOT go so least, the first time around.  The Mr. took Grins, Wiggles went with Mommy, and Angel went on her own.  But after a time or two around the ring, I couldn't find Angel anywhere.  I finally saw her spinning circles, crying.  She couldn't figure out how to steer- and apparently if you turn the steering wheel to quickly it spins you in circles.  So there she stayed, spinning circles, crying, while other cars bumped into her.  It was just about the saddest thing I've ever seen.  Of course, for safety reasons, neither the Mr. nor I could get out to help her, but we surrounded her and managed to sort of push her car off to the side of the ring where we sat with her until our time was up.  She insisted that she NEVER wanted to go on bumper cars again.  But the Mr. and I wanted her to try again for a more positive finally, at the end of the day, we convinced her to give it another chance.  This time, we had Wiggles sit out (the worker graciously let her sit on his bench where she miraculously stayed the whole time!)  Grins and I went, while the Mr. took Angel.  And our plan worked.....she ended up liking the bumper cars after all!

Of course there were several fun photo-ops that the children simply couldn't resist.  For example, some cupcake chairs:

Yes, Wiggles is wearing a PINK coat with RED snow pants.  She refused to wear her black coat.

It was bright and sunny, as Grins' wink shows.
 These two weren't sure about the Chimney Drop, but they gave it a try:

And we had to check out the life sized Nativity, of course!

The kids especially enjoyed the "Bah Humbug" ride, in which they each got a lazer gun with which to shoot the various bugs throughout the 'haunted house'.  Wiggles got 1 point, Grins got 2 points, and Angel got 3.

The ride we rode first, last, and many times in between (it was Angel's favorite ride in the whole park!) was the "Pixie Mix".  The children simply sit and spin while the ride rotates around.  They loved trying to give me a 'high 5' when it came around near me.  Oddly enough, though Wiggles was the only one brave (or clueless) enough to join me on the roller coaster (she didn't even cry!!), this, one of the mildest rides, was her least favorite.  Perhaps she prefers the adrenaline rush brought on by the more exciting rides.  

Angel trying to 'high 5' me.

One of the highlights of our visit by far was interacting with Santa's reindeer.  I think it was a first for all of us, and it was truly magical!  We were able to feed them some treats, pet them, and try tossing rings on reindeer antlers.

Of course, our trip to Santa's Village wouldn't be complete without a visit with Santa!  We didn't even mind the hour long wait, since most of it was in his warm house by the cozy fire, sipping on apple cider!

Santa called each child by name and asked if they would like him to bring them a surprise on Christmas Eve.  Grins just couldn't believe that he gave each child THREE candy canes!

After enjoying a fun 3D Christmas movie (neat and WARM!), some dinner, and some additional rides (Ferris Wheel, Drummer Boy, Peppermint Twist, etc) we finished up with a Skyway Sleigh ride, on which we went around the park and were able to see the thousands of beautiful Christmas lights throughout the park and beyond.  It was an incredible view, and a fantastic way to end a very fun-filled day!  (None of the dozen plus shots I took did the lights justice, but these 3 always look cute:)

When the park closed at 7, we (some of us, tearfully) left the park, and after nearly 20 minutes in the warm car we finally got some feeling back in our toes. :)  The children slept peacefully for most of the 2 1/2 hour drive home, and the Mr. and I enjoyed some lovely conversation.  A perfect end to a practically perfect little getaway.  Thank you, Mom and Dad!!!
Wiggles' pout is because she was cold and tired and did NOT want to stop for a quick picture.  :)

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