Thursday, January 22, 2015

early bird gets the worm [and other thoughts about Disneyland with a toddler]

We have never been very good about getting to Disneyland as soon as it opens.  One time we tried, and they happened to have a marathon that morning, and the park opened late [seriously, bad timing on our part].  But this last trip we knew we only had one day, and we weren't going to be staying until closing because of my teaching conference early the next morning, so we were walking through the gates just as it opened.  Man, it was magical.  Many cast members were out waving with Mickey hands, and I think Everly really appreciated this gesture.  About a week or two ago I introduced Everly to Peter Pan, and she has been pretty smitten with the movie ever since.  I had intentions of making this her first ride of the day.  Reasons included that she is now entering the age where things can be scary, and I sure didn't want to traumatize here right off the bat, and not get to enjoy the rest of the day.  Also, she has been on Peter Pan several times before, but never awake for it, because in the past it has always been saved for one of the last rides once the line dies down because the littles have gone home, but that doesn't work too well when you now are one of the people with a little.

I made sure to really explain what was going to happen in each ride before getting on.  I know that Everly understands pretty much everything I say to her, and I figured less surprises would be better.  For this trip, this technique worked like a charm.  We talked about the 'drop' on the Pirates of the Caribbean, the witch on Snow White, and if the ride was going to be overly dark, or hot, or fast.

It seemed like Everly's favorite ride this trip was the teacups.  I personally love the faces she made in between loving it, and then feeling an extra fast spin that made her think twice about the experience. I think one of the cutest moments about the teacups just happened the other day when she saw a picture on my phone of her inside the pink teacup we chose to take a spin on.  She started exclaiming 'tea party' and then jabbering about her experience on the ride.  Maybe she could tell I wasn't catching everything she was reliving because she then put her index finger on the table and essentially drew the motion of the teacups, spinning around and around.  Yes, that must have been what she was enthusiastically explaining.

Here is her - "wait, this thing is really moving" face.  And a few new toddler tips from this time around!
Bring snacks, Minion Grahams were her favorite.
Play in line, respectfully, and please folks, leave the video games at home.  However, I do make an exception for the Heads Up app, because it is good family fun.
Know what and where different types of food are sold, and then eat according to your kids.  Pizza for lunch is always a hit for us, and it even comes with carrots, apples, and water.  Double score.
Minor splurging on souvenirs is okay, these $14 glasses pretty much defined this trip, they were worth every penny.
Get there early, see what I mean, you can actually see the ground.  This photo wouldn't have happened three hours later.
Searching for princesses?  They are now located just left of the castle [when facing from Main Street], in a little area designed after Belle's French village.  Oh, and while you are there, do yourself a favor and buy one of Maurice's bread twists being sold at the cart.  These carb 'inventions' are pretty much going to kill you, and you will be happier in the afterlife because of them.  
For the record, she really loved Merida's hair and dress.  I liked the accent, acting classes are paying off for this gal.
Don't miss additional princesses tucked inside the buildings.  We had NO wait, and turns out, because there is no mask involved, they are way more toddler friendly then say someone else...Mickey, I hope you have no hard feelings about our reaction to you this trip.
When you see the perfect spot for a picture, don't hesitate to stop and take one.  The park is huge, you will most likely not 'see' it in this exact way again.  I'm glad I took advantage of this potty break to look crazy posing my toddler by a tile wall outside the Mexican restaurant near Thunder Mountain Railroad.  
Napping on the go, always.  Still no strollers, sorry folks, not going to join that craziness.  Oh, and to the women who left their $300 designer diaper bag hanging off your $800 designer stroller, please don't, it is a magical place, but seriously, don't.  Also, don't forget the train is a nice way to get around the park in the late afternoon.  Main Street seems to be the easiest stop to get on at, because it is the end of the line.  Don't try New Orleans Square, first stop on the line = longer wait to get on.  
Don't be afraid of germs, but do bring sanitizer, and wipes, and wash your hands, regularly.  And no, this doesn't have anything to do with the measles scare.  For that one, I suggest you vaccinate your kids.  Okay, enough of that.
Never delete digital photos while in the park.  You never know when that shot you thought sucked, because no one was smiling or was looking at you, turns out to be a pretty special image.  I caught these two looking an awful lot alike this trip.  Seriously, they are pondering, 'to board donald duck's ship, or not, that is the question?'.
Ride Its' a Small World, even if you hate it, they won't.  Promise.  Seeing it still decorated for the holidays in the middle of January, well, at least it smelled like gingerbread inside.
And finally, match.  Because it is the best.  And I hope even when she is an adult, she will want to match when in Disneyland.
Until next time Disneyland...thanks for being pretty amazing.  And thanks to everyone who 'gifted' us this experience, we are pretty lucky!

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