First, let’s get one thing straight about Disneyland. It’s not a vacation. It’s a trip. An exhausting trip. So exhausting that I fell asleep last night at 7 p.m. and didn’t get up until 7 a.m. this morning.
That being said, I will begrudgingly admit that it was fun. I had fun. The kids had fun. My sister-in-law had fun. My husband, even with a bum neck which prevented him from going on most of the rides had fun. The good people at Disney really have it down to a science when it comes to making it the happiest place on earth for kids. Since this was not our first Disney trip, (or probably last) we did things a little different this time.
First we stayed at the Disneyland Hotel. OK, yes you pay a premium to stay on the property, but it makes things so much more convenient that to me it’s worth the extra cash.
Sleeping under the fireworks headboard made going to bed relatively easy for the kids. They needed every wink of shut-eye they could get since we had a 6 a.m. wake-up call to get into the park at 7 a.m. the next morning. Yes, you read that right. 7 a.m. This being Spring Break, it was beyond crowded, so to get in as many rides as possible we got up before sunrise to take advantage of the “magic hour” guests of the Disney hotels get. I didn’t think it was a magic hour, but considering all the kids got up without complaint, there may have been some fairy dust sprinkled on them while they slept.
On the first full day, we headed into California Adventure to check out the new CarsLand attraction.
We weren’t the only ones. Not by a long shot. People weren’t just waiting for the Radiator Springs ride, they were waiting up to 45 minutes just to get a Fast Pass for the ride. We didn’t end up going on the ride until the following day, and while it was cool, I wouldn’t wait 3+ hours like many people did.
Since we started our days so early, we left the park each afternoon and went swimming in the hotel pool. This was another advantage to staying close. The kids seemed just as happy to swim as they were to be at the parks.
That’s not to say the kids or adults were always happy. But since I’m the one writing this blog, I’ll only point out when my kids were less than perfect.
Carrie had an epic meltdown on the first day for no apparent reason. Her sisters (at least to my knowledge) didn’t set her off. She simply wasn’t happy. Luckily it was short-lived, and she was out of her funk by the time she got onto the merry-go-round.
Yes, it’s hard to believe this is the same kid.
Olivia lost it one night too. I’ll blame that on Space Mountain. It’s probably not the best ride for a kid who suffers from migraines. Luckily, she had no problem on any of the other roller coasters or thrill rides. And she went on all of them. She even managed to talk her friend who came with us, into going on the scariest rides. She must have been pretty convincing because her friend is not usually one for thrill-seeking rides.
You wouldn’t normally think of a ferris wheel as a thrill ride, but instead of a nice leisurely ride in a circle, our ferris wheel car swung, which is why Olivia’s friend has the sheer look of terror on her face.
We also celebrated Olivia’s 10th birthday on this trip. Disney is a pretty cool place to be on your birthday and even though she didn’t get a birthday cake, she did get a pretty memorable breakfast with Pluto and his friends.
So while I would have preferred a nice relaxing vacation on a beach this wasn’t bad. Not by a long shot. I may even be ready for a return visit in about five years.