Monday, August 15, 2011

Ten Things I Learned At or On the Way to Disneyland

1. There are two kinds of people in this world: those who like road trips, and those who’d rather subject themselves to brain surgery without any anesthesia. (I’ll let you decide which kind I am…)

2. If you need to get from Vegas to L.A. and you can’t get a flight, do not--I repeat, DO NOT--make the trip on Sunday. There’s nothing more discouraging than being stuck in traffic in the middle of nowhere.

3. If you need to stop in Barstow, take the Lenwood Avenue exit. The others are kind of lame.

4. Disneyland isn’t always the happiest place on earth when two- and four-year-olds are involved.

5. Just because you paid for two full days in Disneyland doesn’t mean you can’t go back to the hotel to take a nap.

6. If you want to ride the new Star Tours, you’d better get your FASTPASS by, like, ten in the morning. While waiting in line for Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, we noticed that the FASTPASS Return Time was already up to eight o’clock that night.

7. And speaking of Astro Blasters, if you have a four-year-old boy, that will probably be his favorite ride:) (We rode it three times in two days.)

8. Sunburns on your scalp are painful. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your part.

9. Sea World isn’t worth the hour-and-a-half-long drive from Disneyland. It’s not as cool as I remember (especially since they’ve added a ton of cheap carnival rides and games).

10. On the other hand, the beach is as cool as I remember. And it’s free. (You just have to remember to touch up your sunscreen, like, every twenty minutes.)


Christine Sarmel said...

I salute the bravery of anyone who took a vacation with a child younger than eight! You're a better woman than I am.

Ben Spendlove said...

We spent upwards of 48 hours driving on our recent trip. I don't ever want to do that again, but mostly because driving is exhausting and boring. Our kids were really pretty good. (DVD players in cars are a wonderful thing.) On the plus side, all the national parks around here seem ridiculously close by. We're thinking Zion or Arches next summer.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Ouch - I'm way too familiar with that sunburn on your part thing!!! Hope you had a good time :)

Esther Vanderlaan said...

Thanks for the tip! I'm headin' over there in October ;)

Kelley said...

If I went to Disneyland with little ones, I'd need at least an evening or a day wherein I got to go to the park without them. (Because I'm like a big kid and enjoy going on everything, too!)

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Oh how I love Disneyland. I can't wait to take my kids there. It sounds like you had a great time! :)

Bittersweet Fountain said...

When I was in high school, I worked at Disney World (Magic Kingdom, Space Mountain). I'm pretty sure I could right a book just on "Things I learned working at Disney world."

Number One: When people cross the threshold of a theme park, they check their brains at the door.

And I completely agree with your number four. And I cannot for the life of me understand people who bring infants to theme parks. I saw more than one barely three month old baby at Disney when I worked there.

Oh and Buzz Lightyear is a fantastic ride. I think the one at Disneyland is slightly different but if you ever go to Disney World let me know--I can tell you all the secrets and you can impress your husband/kid/whoever-is-sitting-next-to-you with a 999,999 score. :)

Elizabeth Briggs said...

Can't wait to see the new Star Tours. And I think you're right about Sea World. Last time I went there it had been taken over by Anheuser Busch and turned into the Budweiser Beer Garden, or some nonsense. Not what I remember from when I was a kid!

E.R. King said...

Sea World has taken a dive? (Did you see what I did there?) Bummer. I was so looking forward to going back. Hey, did you go to California Adventure? Haven't been there since it opened and I'm wondering if it's still fun.

Heather Kelly said...

We're thinking about Disney World for this winter. Of course, we're really thinking about Harry Potter world, but my five year old is really into princesses (I so tried to avoid that whole thing). So, I'm eating up all your advice!

Krista V. said...

Christine, I wouldn't go straight to "better." "Crazier" sounds about right to me:)

Ben, I salute you. Forty-eight hours of driving is crazy-long, kids or no. And I've heard Zions is lovely. (Even though I've lived about an hour away for more than five years now, we've still never gone...)

Susanna, sounds like you know exactly what I'm talking about:)

Have fun, Esther! And yes, that tip about Star Tours FASTPASSes is a good one - that line is crazy-long, so you'll definitely want to get one of those, and EARLY. (Crazy-long is the Word of the Day, apparently...)

Kelley, I know what you mean. I'm a thrill rider, but my husband isn't, and neither are my two little ones. Since I was outnumbered, I decided to not even attempt any of the big-kid rides. We ended up having a more leisurely trip because of it (well, as leisurely as you can have at Disneyland, anyway).

Chantele, it was fun to experience Disneyland again through a little kid's eyes. But I do think my four-year-old was still a little too young to really appreciate it. I'm not sure it ever sunk in that he was in DISNEYLAND.

Mandy, I NEED TO KNOW THOSE BUZZ LIGHTYEAR SECRETS! My best score was just over 50,000 points, which, I'm pretty sure, is the near side of lame. I felt like such a Buzz Lightyear lightweight... :)

Elizabeth, it was so disappointing to see what Sea World had turned into. After I visited it as a kid, I wanted to be a marine biologist. I think kids these days would be hard-pressed to have the same experience.

E.R., we did pop over to California Adventure for a bit, but since there wasn't as much for little kids to do, we didn't stay long. I went there a few years ago, before we had kids, and I remember LOVING the California Screamin' roller coaster. They do have a new Little Mermaid ride, but it seemed more like a Fantasyland ride than a California Adventure one. (Oh, and my cousins mentioned that the new Toy Story Mania ride over in California Adventure is pretty cool, but the line was too long and it was naptime, so we didn't get a chance to go on it.)

Happy to be of service, Heather! And I hope you get a chance to check out that Harry Potter theme park. Sounds awesome.

Bethany C. said...

You're just doing Disneyland wrong, that's all. BEFORE you go on any ride, you hit the Karl Strauss beer cart in CA. Adventure. A couple of $7 drafts and Disneyland IS the happiest place on earth!!

(This also applies for Sea World. Though their beer selection blows)

Lorena said...

Loved # 4! Ha ha ha! And I may take the brain surgery instead of the road trip, ha!

Thanks for the tips, Krista, you're a better mom than I am. My kids are already 8 and 10 and I still haven't gotten the courage to take them!

I'll mark this page to remember your tips when I do decide to go... :-)

Krista V. said...

Alas, Bethany, I don't drink. Of course, beer probably doesn't make it the happiest place on earth if you're not a happy drunk... :)

Well, when you work up that courage, Lorena, you'll have to let us know how it goes:)

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Well, you're home safely -- that's the important thing. YOU SURVIVED! I knew you would. I will take all these points into consideration on my next trip to the Big D. :)


Jennifer E. McFadden said...

We just came back from a long road trip, so I know the feeling!

Liesl said...

Oh, bless your heart! But if it makes you feel any better I had the worst vacation in the world last week and I can't even say I took my kids to Disneyland. I'll tell you about it, just not here. :)

The best vacation in the world is renting a beach condo for a week and just bumming on the beach. We've done that in California and Florida now and both times have been pure bliss.

Better luck next time.

Krista V. said...

Amy, yes, we're home, and the kids didn't get lost. I was really worried about that before we left - that my kids would wander off in Disneyland and we'd never see them again. SO glad that didn't happen.

Jennifer, where did you guys go?

Liesl, that's my dream vacation, too! On one of our last days in California, I told Honey Bear, "Can't we just rent a beach house in, like, Cannon Beach, Oregon, and be lazy all week?" That would definitely be my idea of a good time - I might even get some writing in:)