Instead of getting to the park early, we decided to get there later in the afternoon so the kids could take a nap in the car during the drive to Anaheim. I believe living in Los Angeles takes an edge off Disneyland trips because when you're out of town, you have to get your money's worth. If you're visiting Disneyland from out of state, you're spending thousands of dollars on hotel, airfare, theme park tickets, mouse ears, and churros. But as a local Southern Californian, you don't feel the need to see every parade and get on every ride because you can always visit another weekend. So with the thousands of dollars Angelenos can save, we can spend it on other things like botox, tanning booths, and boob jobs.
The first thing that made the happiest place on earth a little crappy was where we had to park. If you're not familiar with Disneyland, it has one of the largest parking structures. It is six-levels and can park almost 11,000 cars. We parked on the fifth level and literally parked the farthest away from the elevator as possible. We parked on the very last aisle in the very last space in the farthest corner. To gain a little pity from you, here's a picture for you.
But once we got out of the parking structure, the rest of the way to the Disney Parks was a piece of cake. We just had to wait in line for a tram, take the kids out of their double stroller, squeeze into the tram with the kids and the folded double stroller, get out of the tram, put the kids back into the stroller, walk to the security checkpoint, wait in line for tickets, and then wait in line to enter the park. Yup. Happiest place on Earth...
Between Disney's California Adventure and Disneyland, we spent about seven hours at the parks. Here is a brief rundown of the attractions we did and Emma's and Andrew's reaction:
1) Playhouse Disney -- This was a 20 minute puppet show that showcased a bunch of Disney Channel television shows. Emma and Andrew enjoyed the music and the energy of the show quite a bit, but because of stupid me we almost missed the performance. I didn't take a good look at the map, and instead took the kids into the Playhouse 90 ride and watched animatronic performances of "The Miracle Worker", "Charley's Aunt", and "Massacre at Sand Creek".
2) Toy Story Midway Mania -- You take a 3-d ride through an interactive video game starring Toy Story characters. At first, Lisa and I were going to take turns riding this attraction, but the Cast Member at the front of the line said there's no height requirements and kids love the ride. So, Lisa and I looked at each other and had a telepathic conversation in which we both said, "Fine. We'll take the kids on the ride, but if it turns out to be a disaster, it's your fault." Amazingly, the kids were pretty good waiting in line for twenty minutes and the ride went off without a hitch. I don't know if the kids enjoyed the ride, but there were no tears or blood so I'll say it was a success.
3) Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage -- You board a submarine and go on an underwater adventure with all of your Finding Nemo friends. Once again, the kids were really good in line. And the kids really enjoyed the beginning of the ride when it was bright clear water with colorful fish. But then the ride got dark and noisy and actually scary. This was a big disaster. Andrew wasn't too bad, but I was holding Emma and she started to shout, "OUT! OUT! OUT!" I tried to calm her down, but this just further aggravated her and she shouted, "OUT, YOU SON OF A BITCH!" What I eventually did was turn Emma away from the portholes so she would not see the scary sharks. Pretty smart, right? Unfortunately, I forgot there were portholes on the other side of the submarine so Emma screamed nonetheless.
4) King Arthur's Carousel -- This is your typical merry-go-round ride, but since this was a new experience for Emma and Andrew, they loved it! Andrew loved the ride so much that he threw a fit when we had to drag him off the horse. Nothing says approval like a two year old's temper tantrum.
5) The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh -- You board a beehive and travel through a series of scenes depicting the many adventure of Winnie the Pooh. This is a pretty harmless ride that the kids enjoyed. The ride vehicles bounced up and down, so they liked that movement. And unlike many of the Fantasyland dark rides, there's not a nightmarish scene like the Witch from Snow White, the whale from Pinocchio, or a naked Roseanne Barr from Home on the Range.
6) Space Mountain -- This is one of our favorite rides at Disneyland, but in retrospect, we probably shouldn't have snuck the kids on the ride in our fanny pack. The good news is that the bruising is almost all gone!
Overall, our first trip to Disneyland was much better than I expected. I suppose the one thing I learned from taking your kids to Disneyland is that they set the pace. You've got to be aware of their mood. Are they hungry? Are they thirsty? Are they tired? Are they afraid of the 7 foot tall Jafar character staring down their neck?
Finally, when taking your children to Disneyland you hope they had a good time. The day after, we asked the kids if they had fun at Disneyland. And they both said a resounding "Yah!" Emma even said for a few days, "I saw Mickey!" She also said, "Why the hell did you take us on that Finding Nemo ride, you dumbass?" But I'm just going to ignore that...
Here are a few pictures!
While waiting for the Playhouse Disney show to start, I challenged Lisa and Emma to see who could make bigger eyes.