Saturday, September 10, 2005


I promised to write a little something about our trip to Disneyland, so here it is.

Our oldest daughter has been to Disneyland twice with us. The first time for her third birthday. The second time for her fourth birthday. She is almost 13 now and doesn't remember either trip. My grandparents took her about 6 years ago when she was 6. She doesn't remember that trip either. She went with a classmate and her parents when she was 11. She remembers most of that trip. So while she seemed to have a lot of fun there when she was little it wasn't a lasting memory for her.

This is why when my parents wanted to take the twins when they were two we refused to let them. My mother and dad were here about 6 years ago with three of my sister's kids and they wanted to take all 6 kids to Disneyland. We made them leave the twins here. We were afraid that trying to keep track of all 6 kids in disneyland would be just too much. They will never admit it but I think we were right. Especially since they went during the summer when that place is really a zoo.

Which brings us to this trip. We had gone down to Anaheim in March to meet some friends who took their children there for spring break. The place was really crowded. We didn't even go into the park. Just the commercial area outside the parks called Downtown Disney was a real zoo. Our kids were disappointed but we told them that we would come back again sometime when it wasn't so crowded.

Seeking a non crowded time at Disneyland is a lot like trying to find a kid that doesn't like Santa Claus. It is always busy there. But we were thinking that if we waited until after school started and then went on a school day that it wouldn't be as crowded as usual.

It worked.

Going on a school day friday was a good idea. The park was open from 9 AM to 10 PM with all rides open and opperating. We wandered into the park at 8:45. They open up main street early for shopping so we wandered through the shops to get ideas of anything we might want to buy later. At 9 AM they opened up the rides. We headed over to Pirates of the Caribbean. We had to wait in line about 1 minute. From there we did The Haunted House. No line, No Wait! We then did the Jungle Cruise and the Indiana Jones Adventure. We had been in the park only 30 minutes and had already done 4 of the major attractions.

We wandered through some of the smaller rides. Took the kids pictures with Winne the Pooh, Tigger, and Eyeore. Then we headed over to Tomorrowland. The refurbished Space Mountain had opened this summer so I was anxious to try it. I had always loved the original ride. The new one is much better. The coaster is faster, smmother and more exciting. The building is much darker with more stars. In the old original Space Mountain if you looked hard you could see the track ahead of the coaster. In the new version you can't. You are literally flying through the dark with little points of starlight all over the place. The new Space Mountain was our longest wait in the park all day - 30 minutes. It was worth it. Even my son who is afraid of the dark enjoyed the ride. His twin sister however was less than thrilled. She got out of the carriage talking about how much fun that ride was and how she wanted to do it again. But when we looked at the video screen on the way out that showed a picture of us right at the end of the ride, the look on her face was one of sheer terror. She was NOT having fun during that ride, regardless of what she said afterwards. Later that day I asked if she wanted to go on Space Mountain again. She decided that she wanted to rest.

We spent the rest of the day trying to ride every ride in the park. We only missed 3 rides that were not in Toon Town. My kids looked at the rides in Toontown and decided that they were too young even for them. We didn't manage to ride the rockerships, the dumbo ride nor the monorail. Everything else in the park that moved, we rode. We even managed to double up rides on Pirates, Haunted House and Indiana Jones. It was a good day at Disneyland.

The day ended with a really nice fireworks display. The coolest job in the park has got to be playing tinkerbell. In the middle of a fireworks display this girl, suspended from a zip line comes sliding out of the top of the Matterhorn and swings across the park over the top of Cinderella's Castle. She swings back and forth and up and down a lot. It looks like a blast. Heck if they's let me try it I'd even wear the tinkerbell costume. But that would probably scare all the little kids.

I got a pretty shocked response from the people standing around me during the fireworks. Tinkerbell was swinging around above the castle when a particularly spectacularly fireworks burst went off. Apparently they lowered tinkerbell down out of sight behind the castle to keep her out of the line of fire of the fireworks. As the firesworks burst overhead I exclaimed "They shot down Tinkerbell!"

Fortunately there were no little kids besides my own standing around. My kids just ignored their silly old dad. Most of the adults around be varied between shocked and outraged. Fortunately for me the fireworks contined and they all went back to watching the pretty lights in the sky. A few minutes later tinkerbell reappeared. A guy standing behind me poked me and said "Looks like they missed afterall."

We left the park when it closed at 10PM. 13 straight hours in Disneyland. The kids were exhausted and so were their parents. We walked the two blocks back to our motel and all crashed. We got up about 9 this morning. Just enough time for a breakfast at IHop and then a three and a half hour ride home.

I don't know if a trip to Disneyland is considered a good enough reason for kids to skip school. But I think I would do it again. We had a great family day together, and that is a good reason to skip a day of school.

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