So once again we find ourselves vacationing at the Happiest Place On Earth. It feels like a cop-out vacation idea; the place my family goes when we can't be bothered to come up with an original vacation plan. "I know - let's go to Uganda and dig wells for impoverished Africans!" "Nah, that's too much work; let's go to Disneyland." But as it happens, we truly love the Disney family of theme parks.
The last time we were at Disneyland was in October of 2006. Zack was two and had to be leashed pretty much the entire time. (It was for his own good, trust me.) I had just found out that I was pregnant with Darcey, and it was on the flight home that I started feeling the morning sickness that pretty much did me in for the next eight weeks. So Disneyland turned out to be the last fun thing I did for a good long time.
In June of 2008 we went to Disneyland Paris. It was one of the highlights of our trip to Europe. Then last year, June of 2009, we did Walt Disney World in Florida. It was hot, and that's all I'm going to say on the subject. And now 2010, back to good old Disneyland in Anaheim. This is starting to be a fun tradition. I'm already trying to figure out how to get our family to Hong Kong or Tokyo to try out those parks.
This trip is turning out to be something different, and that is mostly due to Darcey. The two times she's gone to Disney parks in her life, she was too young to really understand what was going on. Last year our trip was about three months before she truly discovered Disney Princesses. This time she is all about the pink. She's got her Sleeping Beauty costume in her suitcase, a Tinkerbell backpack, a Minnie Mouse doll, a Snow White autograph book...the list goes on and on. While the boys are all about the thrills that Disneyland offers, Darcey is the first of my children to be completely sucked in by the magic.
We drove ten hours straight from Orem to Anaheim on Monday afternoon. The kids were perfect the entire time. No, honestly - perfect. I know, I couldn't believe it either. Darcey whined once or twice and Noah got a little testy on occasion, but it was actually less whining and testiness than if we were at home. Granted, at home I don't let them watch tv for seven solid hours, breaking it up with ice cream breaks and fast food dinners. How did we survive all those childhood road trips with our siblings in the back of the station wagon, with nothing more than the radio to keep us entertained? How did we not kill each other with all that family togetherness and nary a DVD in sight? I'm putting my parents up there with the pioneers, with what they had to endure.
I'm sure the pressing question on your mind is, "Did you decide to bring the laptop or your new iPad?" When I got the iPad, I thought, surely it would be most convenient to use when traveling, so I didn't have to lug around the big ol' laptop. But then I realized, there's no way to use my iPad to take photos from my camera and upload them to the internet. So I decided it will be up to some other philosopher to answer the age old riddle, "If you own a gadget and don't take it on vacation, does the gadget still exist?" I brought both.
This morning we got to the park around 9:20. Ryan took the boys to hit all the big roller coasters. Darcey and I did a couple of turns around the carousel, joined Pinocchio on his Daring Adventure (Darcey's verdict: scary. She wants to do it again tomorrow.) then went over to California Adventure to get our Fastpasses for World of Color and do the Bug's Life kiddie rides. My cousin Jenny met us then for a few hours, where we watched our kids play while we commiserated about how old we are getting.
After lunch, we joined Ryan and the boys for the rest of the day. We did Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters and Finding Nemo Submarine then crossed back to CA Adventure for Soarin Over California. I was worried about Darcey on Soarin' - she hadn't done anything really adventurous yet (Pinocchio notwithstanding) and I didn't want her freaking out when we lifted off the ground and our legs dangled in the air. I shouldn't have worried, though. We lifted off and she said, "We're flying!" She loved it. Plus I forgot that she's so short, her feet barely make it off the edge of the seat - there's no dangle action there. Soarin is on my list of rides to do again before we leave.
Later we watched Aladdin: The Musical, which was not only entertaining, it was also a good 45 minutes of sitting down. Frankly, I would have endured 45 minutes of Congress: The Musical if it meant sitting down the whole time. Dinner was next, and while we were eating I realized that even though it was only 6:30 and we had tickets to the 8:00 World of Color show, I was done and so were Zack and Darcey. This was the triumphant moment of the day - there was still great stuff to be done, but I restrained myself and took the kids home instead. No Vacation Nazi for me, no sir. This is about as low-key as I get on vacation, and boy am I proud of myself. (Tomorrow we'll watch World of Color if I have to strap my kids to the pavement and duct tape their eyes open. I can only let laid-back go so far.)
Tomorrow's plan: Darcey is dressing up as Sleeping Beauty and we are going to hit Fantasyland so hard, there's gonna be princesses crying. Yeah, I'm excited.
[caption id="attachment_1419" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="In front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1420" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="She thought these were the same horses as in Mary Poppins. Fortunately they stayed in place."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1421" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="On the carousel. "][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1422" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="This was on Flik's Flyers, a ride in Bug's Land. Darcey thought it was great. I should have bought a wide-angle lens before we left so we could have some background in these pictures."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1423" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="At the Disney Playhouse live show, the girls chased bubbles."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1424" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Darcey and her cousin Anna. Or first cousin, or something like that. Anyhow, Darcey and Anna."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1425" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The boys, climbing on something that they shouldn't have been. "][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1426" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="We took the double-decker bus from the castle to the park entrance, just to save our aching feet."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1427" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="3:00 Ice Cream, my family's new favorite vacation tradition (thanks, Dad!)"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1428" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Darcey and Zack, "posing" long after they have gotten tired of getting their picture taken."][/caption]