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My family has been desperately trying to plan a family trip together. Finally, all the stars were aligned and it was decided that all thirteen of us would go to Disneyland in February.

Our flight was the thing I most dreaded, because Emily has never been on an airplane before. But we were prepared as much as we could. We got a portable DVD player especially for this trip. We also brought on lots of toys on the plane. And we gave her a big dose of Gravol, which "may cause drowsiness." May? I want certainty! I want "will definitely cause drowsiness"! Oh well. She actually was pretty good on the plane. She was only restless a little while.

Our hotel was The Best Western, directly across the street from Disneyland. In fact, if you looked out our hotel room, you could see that the Disneyland gates were literally across the street. The hotel room was fairly large, with both a king-sized bed and a sofa bed. Since Emily managed to sleep between Julie and myself, we didn't use the sofa bed for anything except storing our luggage. I had requested a crib, but the crib that they gave us had more rust on it than the remains of the Titanic. The hotel had a lot of amenities, including a refrigerator, a microwave, and free continental breakfast at the restaurant next door.

We arrived at LAX a few minutes before 8:00 PM. I had prepaid for a shuttle to take us to the hotel. When I read the fine print on the shuttle passes, I noticed that the "hourly shuttles" stopped being hourly at 8:00 PM, and the next (and final) shuttle was at midnight! So I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of our luggage on the luggage belt, while eyeing the second hand on the clock as the time inched closer to 8:00. Our luggage finally came out at 7:58, prompting me to grab both suitcases (along with the 5 carry-on bags strapped on my body) to the shuttle waiting area. We just barely made it, and the shuttle took its sweet time to the hotel (about an hour).

Our first full day at Disneyland, we all walked around as a big group, until this got too unwieldy. Then we split up into two groups; one for the good rides and one for the kiddy rides. I chose the good rides. The Matterhorn Bobsleds rocked! I can't remember ever being on that ride before, even though I had been to Disneyland a few times. We later met up with the rest of the group.

That night, we went to the ESPN Zone for dinner. Afterwards, we went upstairs where all the games were. I was compelled to try the rock-climbing wall. Since it was my first time climbing, I chose the easiest wall to climb. After watching an 8-year old girl climb the wall, I followed her strategy. I even beat her time! Although I felt bad gloating about it right in front of her afterwards.

Our second day, we went to the California Adventure park. We went to the first showing of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. By luck, or skill, or perhaps witchcraft, my brother had the fastest finger out of everyone in the audience (about 200 people). He got pretty far, with my Mom looking on, beaming with pride. Afterwards, we went to the Paradise Pier section of the park, where a few of us went on the California Screaming Roller Coaster. This is a magnetically-levitated ride, so it accelerates pretty darn fast (I used the word "darn" in place of a different adjective that I had in mind). Dave and I also went on the Maliboomer, which basically shoots its inhabitants straight up into the air, then drops back down.

As luck would have it, the Edmonton Oilers were playing the Anaheim Mighty Ducks that week. So we managed to get tickets to the game at Arrowhead Pond. All the boys (with the exception of Joshua) went to the game in full Oilers attire. We thought we would be the only Oilers fans at the game, but I'd say about 20% of the people there were Oilers fans. What's up with that? I was hoping that we'd end up on TV.

A few years ago, in Las Vegas, I swore never to eat at The Rainforest Cafe again. Well, we ended up eating at The Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney. End of story.

It was a fun trip, especially since I haven't travelled with my entire family in a bazillion years. And it was also special because it was Emily's first time on an airplane. Even though she was only two, she still remembers lots about the trip, including meeting Minny Mouse, the roller coaster that I took her on in Toon Town, the airplane ride itself, etc.