Well, we survived! Shadd, Gracie and I took a quick trip to Disneyland last week. Our adventure was almost derailed by Gracie coming down with strep throat two days before our departure. But, thankfully she was totally back to normal within 24 hours, so Shadd and I kept our fingers crossed we would stay strep-free, pounded Emergen-C for a few days and hit the road!
I visited Disneyland throughout my childhood; in fact, I’m pretty sure the Bird and I had our first trip to Disneyland together…I’m guessing this photo is from 1983 or so. Obviously, Bird was having a grand ol’ time, while I was very disappointed in my mother’s outfit choice for me. Those green overalls did nothing for my figure.
This trip, however, I was in uncharted territory as my last visit was over 10 years ago, and I’ve never braved the park with a young child. And Shadd had only been once when he was 9, so he was practically a Disney born again virgin. We stayed at the Best Western Stovall’s Inn across the street and about a 10 minute walk to the park. I mentioned in my recent “What I’m Reading” post that I’d done my research, studying the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland as well as consulting with many of my friends that have recently visited with their young ones. I was also a frequent visitor of the DIS Forums…I know, I’m a little excessive with the researching.
My good friend Trish is a Disney manic. She has three kids, and makes a yearly trip with the whole family. She had prepared me well, and her first suggestion was to stay at the Howard Johnson Anaheim. If we had been there more than 48 hours and could have taken advantage of the HoJo’s amazing pool area, I totally would have. But, I knew we probably wouldn’t have much downtime, so I went with the cheaper hotel with the free breakfast. It was clean and close, so I’d definitely recommend it for quick trips.
I’d specifically chosen to go during the week while school was in session, and I’m so happy we did. It still seemed like a mass of humanity, but we never stood in line for more than 30 minutes. And that was only for the silly Peter Pan ride in Fantasy Land-it had a long line every day, all day. We took full advantage of the Fast Pass system, including the 2nd morning when Shadd ran over to California Adventure to stand in the Radiator Racers Fast Pass line for 45 minutes. Yes, you wait in line to get a ticket to wait in a shorter line. Seemed a bit ridiculous, but honestly, that ride was awesome.
My daughter wasn’t that into the rides. She really disliked the dark track rides in Fantasy Land such as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Pinocchio, and Snow White. And honestly, experiencing those rides as an adult, I realize Pinocchio’s Pleasure Island is pretty dang creepy. She was a good sport and went on a few of the “big kid” rides like Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Star Tours, but what she really loved was meeting the characters and seeing the shows. We went to the Rapunzel show at Disneyland and pushed through the 5pm slump to make it to the 8:30pm World of Color show at California Adventure. She was mesmerized by both. I even got a little teary eyed watching her up on Shadd’s shoulders during World of Color singing along with Ariel to “Part of Your World”.
All in all, it was an amazing trip. I was thankful to have some time with just the three of us. Don’t get me wrong, we love our friends and family, but the social butterflies that we are, we seldom are on our own. It was special. I’ll be back soon with part two, including my top ten tips, our overall favorites, and more!
Bear “McKenzie P.”