For the past three years, we have made an annual pilgrimage to Disneyland, and–I kid you not–I probably spend at least five minutes a day for the other 364 days of the year daydreaming about Disneyland. Having kids has totally transformed my attitude about that magical, wonderful place. I am addicted to the expression of slack-jawed wonder that constantly shows up on my kids’ faces while we are there. I love it.
On Friday before we left, Abe worked a full day and I had a play date with Chelsea. It was a great way to take my mind off of the trip–otherwise I would have spent the whole day ticking down the minutes until we left.
Karin was so sweet to let us stay in her time share right by Disneyland. That meant that even though we got in late, we could leave after 9 am and still be in the park almost as it was opening.
I have a video of the teacups ride here. I expect that the girls will rewatch this video many times and relive their teacup experience over and over this year.
We took the girls on the carousel, rode Dumbo, met Ariel (since the line was less than a minute and she was right next to Dumbo), did the Pinnochio ride for the first time, went on the teacups (well, Abe and the girls did…my stomach can’t handle those!), and enjoyed my favorite ride, “It’s a Small World.” It’s dark in there so we couldn’t take a picture of Mary’s expression, but it was exactly what I love about Disneyland: Open-mouth awe. Lydia contains her joy more discreetly and expresses it after the fact by talking non-stop about the experiences that excited her. We never know which ones made the deepest impressions until the day after.
This is a video of our pretzel break right before “It’s a Small World.” Nothing exciting happens in it except that the girls eat pretzels, but Abe took a video because he loves the children and thinks everything they do is cute.
After the parade, we did the jungle cruise. Then Abe took the girls to Tarzan’s tree house and they played there for a while. I sat in the shade and studied the map. I tried to people watch, but there were so many people there that people watching was slightly over stimulating.
Then we rode the train, returned to the French Market for dinner, and then watched the Paint the Night parade. We weren’t intending on watching it, but one of the park workers told me that it was even better than the day time parade, and, well, the day time parade is one of our favorite things at Disneyland. Abe hunted down a great spot for us, and we were appropriately awed by the nighttime parade.
After the parade, we headed over toward “It’s a Small World” for the fireworks. They coordinate the fireworks with a Disney song medley, and during Frozen’s “Let it Go,” it actually started snowing. As in, Disney somehow blew real snow over all of the spectators. Abe and looked at each other in amazement. Disney pulls all the stops. And that wasn’t even the finale!
Even our walk to the car gave me fodder for my coming 364 days of Disneyland daydreams. Abe carried our sleeping Mary on his shoulder while Lydia followed us and munched on a chocolate covered Mickey Mouse rice crispy treat. I had some fudge, and it felt so peaceful and happy to be walking together through downtown Disney back to our car.
I love being with my family at Disneyland. I know this is cliche, but it is actually one of my “happiest places on earth.”