Two weeks ago, we spent five days in California at the Disneyland Resort. We left cold and rainy Seattle on Monday afternoon, and ended up in a place so sunny that we needed tee-shirts and sunscreen. Sunscreen, by the way, that my son was afraid to put on because it had been so long since he’s worn any that he wasn’t sure what sunscreen would feel like, and was worried that it would hurt.
So let me take you through the trip, with all the highs and lows and in-betweens.
DAY 1: Getting there, Or, Meredith gets punished for happiness
I learned three lessons on Day 1:
First, although it seemed like an awesome idea to leave at 2:30 in the afternoon instead of super early in the morning, by the time it was 8am the kids had been wearing their shoes and backpacks for two and half hours and were asking every ten minutes how many hours we had left. It quickly became clear that that was a huge mistake.
Second, no matter how short the flight or how many adults will be on the plane, never, EVER, leave the DVD player at home. “It’s just a two hour flight! They’ll have activity books and Leap Pads! It’ll be a breeze!” Yup. And maybe you can play some fun travel games and teach them how to play Uno and sing “The Wheels on the Bus” while the other passengers marvel at your parenting.
Next time, no matter how short the flight, I will bring the DVD player and my 100 DVD case. An airplane with two kindergarteners is not the place to be a hero.
Third, just because your kids have never had an issue with their ears hurting on descent during the past three years of flying does not mean that for some godforsaken reason they won’t suddenly experience loud, screaming agony for the first time on this particular flight. Bring some gum. And your sense of resigned despair (it’s a real feeling. Every parent has had it.)
Day 2: The kids are psyched to be in Disneyland, a wondrous place where they can play in the hotel pool.
It turned out that the biggest draw at Disneyland was the hotel pool. Nothing excited my children as much as the idea of getting in that pool — not the Jungle Cruise, not Star Tours (which made me so nauseous I almost puked into my 3D glasses), not Alice in Wonderland. Nothing. All day, every day we were there, they would say things like, “Boy it’s hot. It sure would be nice to cool down in a pool.” Or, “Mom, wouldn’t you like to relax for a little while? Maybe in the hot tub?”
They’re wily little buggers.
But we hit the park hard on Tuesday and saw and learned many things.
- We saw Downtown Disney (Buy Things! Eat Stuff!) and a family of Amish people waiting in line to drive the cars in the Autotopia ride.
- We discovered the inverse relationship between the size of a person’s Mickey Mouse ears and the size of that person.
- We met a man in line for Star Tours who knows Rocky Seto, the defensive passing game coordinator for the Seahawks (I might have jumped up and down a few times. I’m not proud of that.)
- We learned a little too late that my son is terrified of the characters that wander around in some of the restaurants; nothing like a little boy crying into his menu to make the Mad Hatter wish he hadn’t come in to work that day.
- We also learned that Alice from Alice in Wonderland does not have a script for how to talk to dudes sitting by themselves in a restaurant while the rest of their family is at the buffet. Apparently, it was pretty awkward. And he did not get an autograph.
Day 3: “Make that two complete bedding sets.”
Wednesday turned out to be a pretty quiet day for the Blands, mainly due to all of the vomit from the night before. One of the kids started puking at 1:30 in the morning, all over the pristine white bedsheets. I called housekeeping with the fantastic news while my husband took said child to the bathroom. During the wait, we assumed the child was puked out and put them into the second bed so they could go back to sleep. All nestled in under the covers, they closed their little eyes and puked again. I called housekeeping back. “So, remember when I called a little while ago for a new set of bedding? We’re gonna need to make that two.”
Needless to say, Wednesday involved a lot of hotel room time for one child while I took the other child back to the park for a few rides. I did get to go to the Tiki Room that day, however, which was the very best thing I have ever seen. I could have sat there all day. In the tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki room…
Day 4: Can we go back to the hotel? And perhaps its magnificent pool?
Oh man did we make up for Wednesday on Thursday. We ran those kids ragged. We hit one park, then we hit the other park, then we hit the pool, then we went back to the parks. They were soooooooo cranky at the end of the day. That’s how you know you got your money’s worth.
I want to make sure I mention our visit to Tom Sawyer island, because from the day we arrived Mike would not stop talking about how we had to go to Tom Sawyer Island because he went when he was a kid and it was the best. So we did. For me, the highlight was when I yelled at a teenager on the raft ride over to the island to stop spitting on the ducks. There’s not a lot else going on at Tom Sawyer Island.
To get a real feel for it, I encourage you to scroll down to #2 in this Cracked article “6 true stories about disneyland they don’t want you to know.” They sum it up quite nicely. (and read the rest of the article too — it’s high-larious.)
Our last ride was at 7pm, in the dark, when we went on the Grizzly River Run. River rafting and getting soaked in the dark was really the best way we could have possibly ended our trip.
Day 5: Going home
To sum up: Disney was awesome. We had fun, we rode almost everything we wanted to, never waited in line for longer than 30 minutes, the kids did much better than expected overall, and the churros were the bomb. We might never go back because the many, many dollars it costs to enjoy the most magical place on earth, but it couldn’t have gone much better. We had a blast.
I will say this, though: if I could go back, I would pack a loaf of bread and some peanut butter. Although it seems like it would be great fun to go out to eat for every single meal, it is actually exhausting for some of us. And by some of us I mean me. And by me I mean my colon.