I haven’t been saying much lately. Nobody listens anyway. After years of promising my wife we would go on vacation to Disneyland with the kids, we finally made it. Some people make this trek frequently – one of Callie’s mom’s friends goes 4 times a year.
That’s a bit too happy for me.
I had been to Disneyland once before. I was in high school and our jazz band performed there. Afterwards they gave us a food voucher and admittance for one day. I think I rode two rides and searched high and low for a place that would take the food voucher. If I remember correctly, I went hungry because we couldn’t find anywhere cheap enough to use the food voucher.
Disneyland is the ‘happiest place on earth’. They go to great lengths to make that fact true. If you so much as drop a candy wrapper or sneeze there is a team on site, dressed in white and looking cheery, to ensure that mess is cleaned up within nano seconds. There aren’t even any bugs around. Not sure how they pull that off and I’m not sure I want to know.
During my time in college, I stood in some long lines. These were to pay tuition or to get into a class. They were nothing compared to the happiest lines on earth. Disneyland is a place where you spend the majority of 3 days standing in line for the opportunity to ride for a few minutes. Wait time to play time is somewhere in the range of 1 hour riding to 24 hours waiting. At least they make it a happy wait time, you are usually in the shade and frequently surrounded by something that is spinning, blinking or talking. If that isn’t entertaining enough then you can just look around. The characters attending Disneyland are as amusing as Mickey and sometimes as scary as Maleficent. I didn’t really feel like I could let go of my kids hands very often. I don’t love large crowds, and I am pretty sure if your kids managed to get very far away from you they would be lost forever. Although I didn’t notice security people stationed around and I am sure they would help you out with a smile. Of course, if you broke down into tears they would quickly whisk you away to a happy place so you didn’t spoil anyone else’s happiness.
We went to the Haunted House first. This was to be my daughter’s very first experience with Disneyland. Aubrey left the place in tears. I was pretty sure they were done with Disney at that point. To really make them hate life we took them on Splash Mountain next. Aubrey didn’t trust us much after that. Maybe with a lot of therapy sometime around college graduation she will love us again. After those rides we stuck pretty much with Pooh Bear, the Tea Cups, Alice in Wonderland and Astroblasters (a Buzz Lightyear thing). Of all the rides the girls liked the Astroblasters the best. We rode it 5 times. That gets boring, but they loved it. I don’t get why there are older people on some of these rides. Seriously people, after they age of 12 or so why are you standing in line to ride Alice or Astroblasters or Pooh Bear if you don’t have kids? I don’t get that, but then I probably wouldn’t be at Disneyland if I didn’t have kids. I would be in Moab or Europe or in bed. I think I would probably be in bed. That would be an awesome vacation. Disneyland makes you very tired.
The girls loved the Tea Cups. They were very funny on that ride and surprisingly I didn’t puke even though I rode it quite a few times. They were terrified of the Story Book ride because you float into the mouth of a toothy whale. (Whales don’t have teeth, what is Disney teaching our kids?) We rode it once and then they wanted to go over and over. The lines to Snow White and Pinocchio were short so we rode those. They are the same ride with different disturbing images from a couple of pretty creepy movies. I’m still glad the lines were short.
We rode on Mr Toad’s wild ride which is just like the Snow White and Pinocchio rides except that at the end you go to hell and it is very hot. I guess I need to do some research. Maybe the ride should be called Mr Toad goes to hell don’t ride this when it is hot outside.
Aubrey desperately wanted to ride Peter Pan so we stood in line for 4 hours (45 minutes, but it feels like 4 hours). That ride is a bit more interesting than they previous 3 simply because you fly in a ship over lots of Christmas lights that look like stars. The girls loved it. I say they can put up the Christmas lights next year and hang off a ladder while reaching for the next hook. The adrenaline rush is similar and you still get to see Christmas light stars.
Its too bad Jenna wasn’t taller. She was brave and up for pretty much anything but the height restrictions kept her of a few things. We went to California Adventure. They have a Brother Bear tree house, hike, wilderness area where you walk around on ropes and feel like you are in the woods (as opposed to going to the actual forrest). They do a tire swing (jumper training I think they call it.) They wouldn’t let Jenna ride because she was an inch to short. They will let her ride on roller coasters, but heaven forbid she swing from a tire six inches off the ground. She cried. In Toon Town I stood in line with all the girls for 30 minutes only to have Aubrey and Alyssa refuse to get on at the last second. Jenna rode it with Leslie. At the end Dave and Leslie said she was lit like a candle. We might have to come back someday just to let her ride some of the more thrilling rides.
I paid the most I have ever paid for a meal at Ariel’s grotto. It was a Disney princess breakfast. The girls loved it. It was a good meal and I didn’t have to stand in line or haul food around. It was worth it for those last two facts and hey the girls got buttons. We took the girls to the Bug’s Life rides. Aubrey got to ride bumper cars there (that go .00001 mph). They wouldn’t let Devin ride. Pirates of the Caribbean is fine, but Grandma’s Florida bumper car experience is to dangerous.
We did make it to Soaring over California which is a cool experience. They freak you out by buckling you and hauling you ten feet off the ground. It successfully freaked Alyssa out. She cried through most of it, but the visual effect is impressive. They even spray smelly stuff in the air so when you fly over an orange grove its kind of like replacing those little tree things in your car. Very special.
All the kids loved the Carousel which was great because that line is short. If you want to ride Pirates of the Caribbean go during Fantasmic because you will be pretty much the only one on the ride. If you are going to eat in the park which you may as well do because leaving means walking a long ways then there is a Mexican place which isn’t to bad and the New Orleans area is decent. Downtown Disney has some places we walked by that smell nice and California Adventure has nice restaurants (the food at Ariel’s Grotto was good). Expect to pay somewhere around what you make in a month for food. It really isn’t cheap, but at least you will be happy to give them your money because after all it is the Happiest Place on Earth.
Before I forget here’s a time breakdown:
Standing in line 5 hours
Riding rides 1 hour
Shopping 6 hours
Figuring out where to go next 8 hours
Walking 100 hours (ok 10 hours or so, but if feels like 100. My feet still hurt)
Using the happiest bathrooms on earth 4 hours.
There were shows, fireworks and characters mixed in there as well.
I and my wife had fun but more important my kids had a really great time.
I guess we are happy now.