Disneyland was absurdly expensive and worth every penny.
I love everything about Disney. Sadly, I’m married to a “non-Disney.” He didn’t grow up spending half the year looking forward to a yearly trip to Disneyland and the remainder cherishing every detail of the memory.
As a tween, I went with my new best friend and all she wanted to do was look at cute boys. I was horrified by her blasphemy. Who cares about boys when you have Disneyland? Freak.
A bit later, I went with my first real boyfriend. He wanted to make out and feel me up on all of the rides. What kind of scum thinks sex trumps Disney? Pervert.
This trip on the eve of my 40th birthday was easily my best trip ever. It was Viva’s first “real” Disney visit and Pringles’ actual first. We took Viva when she was barely 8 months, posed for a photo in front of the Christmas tree and took turns on Space Mountain. At nearly three years-old, she was able to enjoy the sights, the food, and the rides. Okay, she didn’t touch any food. As usual. Once she found the chocolates that had been left on her pillow, nothing in the world existed but chocolate. “I want chocolate,” became her refrain. She paused for about 5-15 minutes between each utterance.
One of you suggested The Grand Californian Hotel was not worth the money. Wrong. It was everything I wanted it to be. If you ever have a chance to go visit the lobby, go. You need not be a guest. It looks like a Yosemite lodge with hundred foot ceilings, wooden beams, and mini Andirondack chairs for the kids to sit and watch Disney cartoons while you sip a $15 martini. True to my granola mom-ness, I breastfed Pringles (discreetly) right before I downed mine. Bliss.
The weather was perfect: cloudy and cool in the morning with a bit of afternoon sun. The longest line we waited in was for Dumbo. Viva preferred the rocket jets. Same concept, more speed. She’s a daredevil, to my surprise. When I pointed out the numerous characters walking around and posing for pictures, she was mellow.
“Look! There’s Minnie Mouse, honey!”
“No, that’s a person in a COSTUME.”
Thank goodness we got the kids in free this time. Viva’s favorite Disney attraction was throwing pennies in the numerous fountains and loudly declaring, “WHERE ARE THE FISH?” Pringles was her usual mellow self, chilling on Odie’s chest in the Ergo and taking in the sights.
We’re going back on April 3 because we got two-day passes, but didn’t feel up to another day on Saturday. I may still be young at heart, but the morning after spending 12 hours in the park (minus a two hour nap/lunch break) my feet felt every day of my forty years. I’ll definitely miss the hotel experience, but that’s a major indulgence for a family like ours.
When we got back home on Saturday, I had time for a nap with Pringles before my party. My best friends all showed up, and it was great fun. It still feels weird to let Viva run with the pack of kids, because I’m used to supervising her nearly all the time. It’s amazing how fast kids can get themselves in trouble. Yesterday morning, I was in the kitchen making coffee and Viva was playing alone. From the kitchen, I heard sudden crying and ran to my bedroom to find her. She got a “My Little Pony” toy in a Happy Meal and she’d managed to clip her finger to the laundry hamper with it. Hard to explain, but she managed to find a way. Her thumb was being pinched painfully and I had to rescue her. My house is well baby/toddler-proofed, but I could not foresee that happening. Similarly, Sunday morning I was chatting with my dear girlfriend about how I love that our babies are only six months apart and will grow up together when we heard a loud THUMP followed by horrible baby screams. Her 15 month-old had taken a tumble and scared herself to tears. No harm done. I’ve heard the term “helicopter parent” used as a criticism, but it’s necessary to hover over them for several years just to keep the little buggers alive.
Odie bought me this: http://www.amazon.com/McKleinUSA-Winnetka-94830-Italian-Briefcase/dp/B000PCS2CG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332911991&sr=8-1 because I told him I wanted a new briefcase for when I go back to work, only I wanted it to be my favorite color and make me happy whenever I looked at it. Orange makes me happy. The color, the fruit, the smell, and my current pedicured toenails with the white daisies painted on them. People like me need all the happy we can get.
Something occurred to me as I drove home from my dream birthday holiday, crying tears of joy and sadness together. The very best part of my vacation last weekend was when we arrived Thursday night, checked in, and walked to Downtown Disney for dinner. Viva was playing with the fountain while we waited for our table to be ready. Live music filled the air. A happy group of clean-cut teenagers asked me to take their photograph. I was full of excitement and anticipation. The joy was all in my head. The power to be happy and joyful is right there inside me all the time. It was like a Dorothy “a-ha” moment.
Only “The Wizard of Oz” is not Disney and therefore has no place in this analogy.