Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Merriest Place On Earth, Brought To You By Grandma Goob

It's been about 6 months since the Pearl family's last Disneyland trip and a couple of weeks ago, the alarm went off reminding us that we were due for a return trip. Actually, this particular time we'd been planning it for about 6 weeks. What made this trip extra special was that we left poor little Mr. Bunch home with the fabulous Grandma Goob (what is it about our family and these strange nicknames?). Although we certainly enjoyed our last trip in July, this time we had in our favor the two components that determine the success of any day at Disneyland: small crowds and great weather. Plus leaving the baby at home gave us a lot more freedom and a lot fewer feeding and changing stops. This day was perfect.

We started the day as if it was any regular school day. Julia was mildly alarmed that we were running late, but didn't think it was strange that all of us were driving her to school since my car was out being serviced. When we dropped Brady off at her Grandma's, she was a little confused but even then she went along without asking too many questions. Soon she figured out that we were definitely not heading for school but didn't know where we were until she saw the signs as we exited the freeway. Her reaction was also perfect. We got a whole lot of "I Love You"s along with proclamations that we are awesome parents. She has since changed her mind about this a couple of times, but never for long.

Ray had to work when we first got there, so the kids and I licked lollipops as we rode the train all the way around the park. By the time we got back, he was almost finished with his conference call (damn cell phones can reach you even at Disneyland) and we headed for food and ride after ride after ride. We wisely decided to skip Toontown, which gave us time to do other things. Ethan loudly protested every ride because it was too scary, then when we ignored him and dragged him with us anyway, he walked off bragging about how brave he was.

Not having Brady with us meant that we could go on some of the rides with height restrictions so a highlight of our day was taking our kids on Splash Mountain for their first time. We were so excited that the line, which can take up to an hour and a half, was only about 10 minutes long. Well, duh! You get soaking wet and it was 50 degrees out! No wonder no one wanted to ride it. Poor Ethan got soaked but he was a trouper through the whole thing. Our scaredy cat kids also loved the Haunted Mansion, decorated in all its holiday glory.

Of course, the holiday decorations and fireworks did not disappoint, and the pin collections continue to grow. It's A Small World is as magical as ever. There must be a million light bulbs in that ride, but they're almost superfluous: the real light in there comes from the eyes and faces of the children riding the boats. Ethan hasn't stopped singing "It's A Small World" since we got back, and I know how he feels as he belts it out, as loud as he can, with pure joy in his voice.

One thing I discovered for the first time on this trip was the Disneyland Baby Care Center. Thanks to the folks at Mouseplanet I learned about this great resource for families traveling with babies and toddlers. Located just off Main Street, this quiet, well-equipped facility has everything you need for feeding (nursing, bottles, even pumping) and changing diapers, even little baby toilets for the potty training set. Way to go Disneyland!

For better or worse, we live in a town where kids have a lot of stuff, do a lot of stuff, and go to a lot of places. Many of my kids' schoolmates travel extensively, with annual trips to Hawaii, Disney cruises, and the like. Because of logistics and finances, we have cut down heavily on travel in recent years. However, it means a lot to me to be able to take our kids to Disneyland fairly regularly and hopefully create some great happy memories for them. It was special to be able to concentrate only on the big kids with no baby care duties. To be honest, we all needed that. Once again, Disneyland came through and got our holiday season off to a very merry start.


skrpndiva said...

Isn't living in so Cal great for that reason? Disneyland?

Tracie said...

Wow it sure sounds like one of those Best Ever Trips! I hope to one day be able to take my kids to Disneyland or World depending... I have been to Land back in '94 (I was in my 20s) and paid for the trip myself! I hope my kids won't have to count on their own dime to know us crazy Gen-X parents want to do and get everything for our kids.