Last month we took our biennial (that means every two years, folks) trip to Disneyland/California Adventure with Rob's family. Isn't Disneyland the best? This trip's highlights include: June's first visit to the parks, lots of time with cousins and other family - especially the "big" (teenage) cousins, June demanding to ride the carousels - we think she rode about a dozen times, having an extra day at the park with Grandparents all to ourselves, not being pregnant so being able to ride the thrill rides for the first time in 5 years, boycotting Dole whips but drinking lots of apple freezes, perfect weather, cousins playing hide and go seek in a small condo, not losing any children, and the kids just being close to 100% awesome.
Favorite moment: when I look back I think my favorite experience was standing in line for Pirates of the Caribbean late one night with a ton of our family, including Jerry and Linda (G'ma and G'pa) who snuck into line with us at just the right moment. We must have waited close to 40 minutes but it was a lot of fun. And New Orleans Square is so magical at night.
This brings up something about Disneyland I was reminded of while there, but had forgotten while I was over-preparing before the trip: the lines are not big deals, even when they're long (and with the biggest crowds we've experienced for this time a year, the lines really did get long). The kids don't get bored and they don't run away... well June actually did quite often, but was always easily recovered, if even by strangers/line neighbors. And, as demonstrated above, time spent in line can make up the best memories.
Another small but related realization is that people don't steel your stroller and you don't totally lose it, I didn't need that big neon sign marking that our stroller was our stroller that Rob had convinced me not to make.
There are more realizations/reminders that all boil down to the point that spending a day at Disneyland isn't a big deal - I mean, not the bad kind of big deal. You don't need bubbles or creative activities to occupy the children in line, nor do need that big neon sign. I guess what I'm saying is that Disneyland can totally be done in a more "chill" manner than Pinterest would have you believe.
What we would have done differently, and hopefully will do differently in two years is to recapture more of the Disneyland Magic by letting the kids dictate the day a little more. Rob observed that Disneyland can be like a sport for parents and you're a champion by perfecting the agenda - you know which rides to go on when the park first opens, how to get a good spot at the parade without sacrificing time for rides, which rides to skip and which to make sure you fit in 2-3 times. I guess it's hard to avoid it entirely, especially if you've only got 2-3 days at the park, but we enjoyed our experience more when we let go of our "perfect" agenda and let the kids decide which rides, when, and how much. I'm guessing the formula in action here is that in order to feel the magic that the kids feel, you need to follow the kids' lead.
Whoa, ramblings. Here's part 1 of how our trip turned out... magic included.
Nyland & Disneyland 2015: Part One from New Land Media Works on Vimeo.