Lessons Learned at Disneyland

We spent the last week at Disneyland.  I hadn’t been there in some fifteen years, and my husband hadn’t been there in over twenty.  We enjoyed it, but we’re exhausted and need that proverbial vacation from the vacation.  Here are some of the things we learned on this maiden voyage that will make our next family trip to the Magic Kingdom more relaxing.

  1.  Do not ride Space Mountain directly after breakfast.
  2. If you’re traveling with a two-year-old, be prepared to be a spectacle.  I can’t tell you how many stares we got for her screaming, how many raised eyebrows we got during her tantrums, or how many exclamations of “Wow!” I heard from people awestruck by our double stroller packed with a cooler, diapers, wipes, blankets, and the like.  I began muttering at these people under my breath.
  3. Grown women in Minnie Mouse ears look ridiculous. (And they are EVERYWHERE in the park.)
  4. People tend to stop and consult each other or their maps right in the middle of a walkway.  Please move to the side of the traffic flow if you need to stop.
  5. California Pizza Kitchen at the Gardenwalk in Anaheim is not as good as the one near my home.
  6. My husband will always score the most points on the Buzz Lightyear ride.  I rode that thing three times before he did, and he still scored a hundred thousand more points than I did.
  7. A churro and a bottle of water will cost you an arm and a leg.
  8. Fast passes are the greatest feature of Disneyland since Captain Eo.
  9. Captain Eo is even more awesome now than it was when I last saw it in the early 1990s.
  10. Change all diapers in the restroom.  I thought I did a quick, efficient change on a blanket in the stroller, but a few hours later my husband’s lap and my toddler’s pants were soaking wet.
  11. The Haunted Mansion is too scary for my children, ages seven and two.  The seven-year-old hid her face the entire time, and the two-year-old tearfully proclaimed at the end, “All done!  All done!”
  12. The Hollywood Tower of Terror is anything but terrifying.  I walked out crying tears of joy because I laughed so hard.

The best resource we found is The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland.  The book details every aspect of the park and even has plans outlining which attractions you should visit in what order and when to get fast passes for the more popular rides.  There are one- and two-day plans that direct you against the flow of traffic and guarantee to have you waiting in line 2.6 hours less than people who just wander.  However, because we visited in April, we found that wandering worked out just fine.  We rode almost everything twice without waiting more than ten minutes in any line.

Now, because of some of the temper tantrums and tears, I am officially instituting baby boot camp this week at my house.  Time out is going to be my two-year-old’s best friend, and hitting, screaming for no reason, and pulling hair are officially banned and will be punished swiftly and decisively.  Once that is conquered?  Potty training boot camp!

What have you learned in your travels to Disneyland?  Or in your travels with children?

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