Its been a long time coming. Things kept getting in the way. I have been totally distracted by the Olympics amongst other things including a trip to Colorado. But finally it is time. Time for the great Disneyland post of "08.
I grew up going to Disneyland. Most of my childhood I lived in Simi Valley and it seemed like we made the journey to the "happiest place on earth" annually. It was only $20 for Southern California residents back then. Not the sixty something dollars per person it is today. I even chose to spend my sixteenth birthday at Disneyland. I have so many memories of that place. I remember crying in line for Thunder Mountain because I didn't want to go on such a scary ride but my dad insisted that we try it. I remember going on Space Mountain for the first time and being so proud of finally conquering a roller coaster and loving it. I remember waiting forever to get on Dumbo and feeling like it was worth every minute of extreme boredom in line as I soared through the air. I remember Grad Night and having a strange boy hand me a rose because he thought I was pretty (this was huge for a not so confident 18 year old). And I remember going to Disneyland in college and getting stuck half way out of Small World in the rain. Our boat was poking out far enough to keep us wet but not far enough to keep us away from the continuous singing. Enough to drive anyone mad.
I couldn't wait to make some new memories. It had been a long time since I had last been to Disneyland. About 10 years. I guess most childless people in their 20's don't put going to Disneyland for the 20th time high on their priority list (unless their name is Chrissy...) I was so excited to bring my little munchkins and even more excited that they would be getting in for free. Grandma was nice enough to treat me, Paul, and my brother Chris to a day at the park. She really is a great grandma. Chrissy tagged along with her season pass in hand to be the ultimate tour guide and experience her favorite place with her godchildren for the very first time. The first thing I noticed was the parking structure. When I was growing up you parked in Goofy and huffed it to the entrance. Nowadays there is a state of the art parking structure and you have to take a tram to the entrance. The former Disneyland parking lot that I remembered was now California Adventure and Downtown Disney. My how times had changed. Luckily when we got through the entrance I was instantly taken back in time . They still had the same entrance to Disneyland! Some things don't change. And honestly, much of Disneyland was just as I remembered it.
We headed towards Tomorrowland for the kid's first Disney ride. The rockets had a relatively short line so we decided to take those on first. I was disappointed that the rockets were no longer on top of the building housing the People Mover (the People Mover no longer exists!) but they still looked like a pretty fun ride. It was the kid's first experience in waiting in a substantial line because when we go to Marine World there is barely a line to speak of. They actually did quite well. Once they realized the pay out of standing in line they did extremely well in the rest of them. Here are some waiting in line shots:
And here are some shots of our first ride. Note the terrified look on Grandma's face in one of the pictures. Priceless.
The kids had a great ride and were geared up for more. We used our fast pass and got on the Buzz Lightyear ride next. It is so fun to shoot all the monsters and gather points but the kids were way too awestruck to participate. So many lights! So many colors! So many sounds! It was toddler sensory overload, but in a good way.
From there we headed over to Storybookland (some of us at a more brisk pace than others) and checked out all the miniatures on a boat ride that is one of the original rides from when Disneyland opened back in 1955. They had updated some of the displays by adding more recent movies such as Aladdin and Little Mermaid but it was nice to see alot of the old ones still there. The kids were highly entertained.
I won't bore you all with a ride to ride rundown but I will give you a few highlights. The kids went on Pirates of the Carribean and did so well. I was worried that the drops or darkness would scare them but they really enjoyed it.
They were actually tall enough to go on the Matterhorn but I think that would be a little scary for a not even two year old, regardless of how giant they may be. One of the most fun rides I went on was Splash Mountain with my brother and Paul. We got in the log with two other sizable people and I was up front and in trouble. Chris and I didn't just get wet. We got drenched. I literally saw a wave of water go over my head and on to us. The weight in our boat made for one spectacular soaking. Luckily it was warm out so it felt great. During this time my mom and Chrissy took the kids on Winnie the Pooh where they fell in love. They really liked the ride and afterwards they saw the people dressed as the characters and actually wanted to go see them. Normally my kids will not get close to anything dressed in a giant fur suit but this time they wanted to. So Mom and Chrissy got them in line for pictures. Luckily I got off the ride just as the kids were getting their turn. Note the drenched version of Sharlene in the pictures. Mari slowly warmed up to the critters as we went from Pooh to Eeyore to Tigger. She even ran to Tigger and gave him a hug! Ben was so excited that all he could do was run in circles around Tigger, squealing. It was so cute.
We tried to get a shot of the kids in front of the castle in the mouse ears but this is the best we got
because this is what they did as soon as we put the ears on.
Here is a shot of them passed out during nap time. Nap lasted about 45 minutes which isn't bad considering they were surrounding by so much activity and even with the lack of sleep they did great the rest of the day. They didn't even fall asleep again until we got home that night.
The kids got to do a few rides in Fantasyland that didn't have a huge wait. These included the always popular Carousel,
Snow White and Pinnochio. I especially enjoyed these four shots of Ben's experience with Uncle Chris waiting in line for and riding Pinnochio:
They remind me of some sort of demented photo booth.
And since we are showing Uncle Chris bonding with the little ones I can't pass up on this gem of a shot in which Mari wants to get away from Chris ASAP but it was the best shot we could get of the two of them together and I think its rather cute:
I would like to give the final shout out to the Disneyland parade. The kids loved it. They sat still as statues the entire time. Wide eyed, completely amazed little statues. Ben got the best seat in the house on top of Daddy's shoulders while Mari took shifts with Grandma and Mommy. That girl is getting heavy! Anyhow- these are some of my favorite parade shots:
To those who say 22 month olds are too young to get anything out of Disneyland I say hogwash! My kids had a great day. They loved the rides and the parade and truly gained alot from their first Disney experience. They were able to spend the day with their family in the "Happiest Place on Earth" and learn that waiting (in line) can lead to great rewards. They were able to give giant stuffed animals big hugs, ride in rockets, watch pirates fight on either side of their boat, and a see their favorite Disney movies come to life right before their eyes. Just think of all those little brain cells they created that day with all those new experiences. Too young for Disney? Never!