Posted on March 22, 2010
We got back Friday night from a few days spent in southern California. Our destination was the Disneyland resort. I believe half of Arizona had the same idea judging by the U of A and ASU apparel we saw during the week (last week was spring break for Arizona). While I was not able to solve the puzzle I had brought up on Facebook as to what was so unique about Cinderella’s feet (I faced two obstacles between me and the answer: 1.) Disney frowns on moving character’s dresses to look at their feet, a fact that, I informed their security, would be nice to have posted around the park, and 2.) the “Cinderella” we met was actually a very clever imposter) we had a great time nonetheless.
Both Ashton and Lynsey were tall enough to ride every ride in both parks except for two, so it was a blast watching them enjoy their first big thrill rides. Ashton’s favorite was the Tower of Terror and Lynsey really liked Splash Mountain. Hearing the kids laugh and giggle on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was really worth the price of admission.
Alyson did super good the whole trip despite having only a few short naps. She hung in great. It was great to watch her on It’s a Small World as she smiled and waved to all of the animatronic characters. Every once in a while we had to find a secluded corner to let her crawl around and get her fill of putting random objects in her mouth (random fact: I learned in a book bought at the park that most of the plants in Tomorrowland are edible).
During our trip I learned a few things:
Disney knows how to treat guests. After finding out it was Lynsey’s b-day, the hotel gave her an 8 X 10 autographed by the Disney princesses and a birthday button. Anytime any Cast Members saw her “Celebrating a birthday” button, they would always acknowledge her and say “Happy birthday”. (Minor side note: she is going through an anti-social phase. When we told her she can’t ignore people who wish her happy b-day and must say “thank you” instead, she elected to remove her birthday button.) Additionally, after Lynsey was made over as Sleeping Beauty in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, every cast member we came across said “Your Majesty” and bowed/curtsied…even the Captain Hook character.
Taking kids to Disneyland means checking your cool card at the gate. Besides having to enter shops named the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, due to the height of my kids (or lack thereof) I needed to accompany them on most rides. Definitely a plus on rides like Space Mountain and the Matterhorn. Not so much a benefit when the ride we are waiting for is Snow White’s Scary Adventure (not exactly scary…more loud/menacing) or the Jumping Jellyfish (not exactly jumping…more like timed hydraulic altitude increases). Thankfully, anybody else around who could possibly judge are in the exact same position with their kids.
As an aside, I found it even more awkward than normal to wait for my son to do his “business” at the park. Anytime he had to make a “Winnie the Pooh” I would have to stand around the restroom waiting for him. I felt very uncomfortable in this situation. Anywhere else I would occupy my time by looking around, however, since 45% of my view was typically at occupied urinals and another 45% of my view was towards mirrors providing reflections of occupied urinals I could not use this tactic. In order to avoid the perception that I was staring at someone as they relieved themselves I had to either check my phone or stare at the other 10% of the view which consisted of the garbage can and the floor. To make matters worse, I was just standing around the bathroom with a giant camera around my neck. A camera that, as it is only fitting, has a pink neckstrap. I think this caused some concern to patrons of the bathroom who must have thought I was a pervert or pedophile taking pictures of people in the bathroom, but I casually explained it away by letting them know I was waiting for a little boy.
Those of you who like Monte Cristo sandwiches are high. I had heard rave reviews of the Monte Cristo served at the Blue Bayou restaurant. As we were on vacation, I decided to give it a whirl (at $21 no less!!). While it didn’t taste bad per se, it was just a little weird to me. Egg batter, powdered sugar, and grape jelly go together, and ham, turkey, and cheese go together, but lumping ALL of them together just didn’t taste right. Kind of like mixing dinner and desert. In my opinion, this odd mixture is why meatloaf ice cream hasn’t taken off yet.
I do not have the ear for lyrics I thought I had. After coming down the main drop in the Splash Mountain ride there is a little celebration area where several characters sing the “How do You Do” song from the Uncle Remus cartoon. I recommend Youtubing the song right now so you can fully appreciate the lyrics.
No matter how hard I have tried to decipher the lyrics, I hear “Pretty good, show us your bum” during the chorus. While I do have a hard time seeing Disney incorporating lyrics such as this in a movie and ride, I was not able to hear anything other than those words. Thanks to the magic of Google, I tracked down the lyrics and found out they say “pretty good, sure as your born”. That makes a lot more sense. I am a little embarrassed about all of those times I had tried to comply with the instructions I thought I was hearing.
I am never taking kids to Disneyland again. Our previous trip to Disneyland (about 3 years ago) had turned into a disaster when 80% of our party (we had gone with my sister and parents) came down with a stomach bug. For a full day we were holed up in the hotel with partially digested food coming from both north and south exit portals (Ashton and Lynsey were the first ones hit, Karina came down with it on the drive home, and I somehow managed to avoid it…thank you obsessive compulsive handwashing habit!). We went through countless sheets and pillow cases and had to use a hotel washing machine to wash several pajamas that were covered in chunder. While being sick at home is no fun, it is still preferable to being sick and stuck in a hotel 450 miles from home. After that incident, we were a little gun-shy about heading to Disneyland again. Well, after 3 years, we figured we had nothing to worry about (also considering the family had the stomach bug already a couple of weeks ago).
The first portion of our trip went flawlessly. Nobody got sick or hurt and, as the sun began to set on Thursday night (our last night at Disneyland), we thought we beat the “curse”. How wrong we were! As Ashton and I took a final ride on Space Mountain before heading over to Splash Mountain for our trip finale, Lynsey, Alyson, and Karina hung out in Tomorrowland waiting for us. The preferred waiting spot in Tomorrowland during the trip was a giant brown water marble, for lack of a better term (no idea how else to describe it, but apparently we will be seeing plenty of them in the future). It sits in a big open area in Tomorrowland and kids are always around it trying to maneuver the marble around on its base (it’s about 4-5 feet in diameter…for those of you who are bad with geometry, it is like the size of a blue whale eye). As Lynsey was working with other kids to turn the marble thingy her new shoes slipped on the water at the base. In an effort to avoid ruining the manicure she received during her Bibbidi Bobbdi Boutique makeover from the previous day, she bravely avoided catching her fall with her hands in favor of using her lower lip. The subsequent impact split her lip wide open. Thankfully, some of the parents in the area sprang into action to help Karina by calling medics and bringing napkins and ice. By the time Ashton and I got there, a Disneyland nurse was attending to Lynsey who, as a side note, is not a fan of bleeding. We were whisked away to a heretofore unexplored section of the Magic Kingdom known as the backlot to get to the First Aid station. The nurse told us that the cut would need stitches and we would need to head to a hospital. I immediately headed out to run to the hotel room for my keys so I could pick up the family in the van. As Murphy’s Law is unbreakable, I had to run through the park as everyone was setting up for the parade, a very difficult task indeed. And to make matters even worse, by the time I made it to the van, the battery was dead. Thankfully Disney security showed up AMAZINGLY fast and I was up and running in no time (they were there within about 3 minutes with a portable jump-starter contraption).
We decided to drive about 6 miles to a teaching/children’s hospital nearby. Thankfully the ER staff was very responsive and we were done with the whole procedure in about 2 hours. A doctor from the children’s hospital came to the ER to explain to Lynsey everything that was going to happen to her and to let Lynsey pick out a movie to watch while they worked on her. Lynsey was a super champ and acted very bravely. She now has three stitches in her lower lip (or, as she says it, they put a string in her lip).
Even thought the situation, like our last trip, turned out fine, Karina and I will seriously have to think about other, less cursed vacation destinations.
Overall the vacation was a needed breakaway from everyday life. We loved watching the kids take everything in (except most of their $8 kid’s meals incidentally) and see their favorite movie characters in real life. While much of what I mentioned in the last blog I wrote about Disney holds true (check the archives), it is a different experience entirely when you have kids who can enjoy the trip. Based on our luck though, I think we will be finding some other kid-themed vacation destination for the future (a Nickelodeon park, SeaWorld, Vegas?).