Thanks to the Disney Parks team, our family just enjoyed a few magical days experiencing the holidays at Disneyland and California Adventure. Be sure to check out these posts featured earlier in my Disney Holidays series: Don’t-Miss #DisneyHolidays Experiences and Tips, More Tips for Enjoying Disney Holidays at Disneyland, 5 Reasons to Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel & Our Family Just Got Merrier, Thanks to Disney Holidays
You might think that in all that Disney magic I’ve been writing about, the real me got lost. Oh no, my friends. That’s simply not true. As always, we did things the exciting way on this trip. And, in honor of Little’s 6th birthday which took place during our trip, I have six lessons—the most dramatic of which are thanks to him.
Lesson #1: When your kid gets sick mere minutes from home on your 6-plus-hour drive to Disneyland, it’s probably not a car-related incident (even if you spend 5-1/2 hours convincing yourself otherwise). And you should most definitely carry a baggie with you for the next few days—at all times. Even if he’s moving 100 miles per hour. Heck, especially if he’s moving 100 miles per hour.
Lesson #2: A stomach bug doesn’t care if it’s your birthday…at Disneyland. It does, however, care if you go on a bunch of rides without slowing down thanks to the line-free experience during extra magic hour. Especially jerky roller coasters like Goofy Sky School.
Lesson #3: It doesn’t really matter if there’s no line at Starbucks in California Adventure right when the park opens…you’re definitely not saving any time if you stay to order and send your husband across the park to get in line at Toy Story Midway Mania—with your wallet. Which, of course, you discover after ordering food and drinks for five people. (Though if he doesn’t answer after 13 panicked calls and 5 texts, check the backpack. You might have just had his wallet the whole time.)
Lesson #4: When your kid runs out of the Grand Californian elevator as the doors are closing—saying he’s going to take the stairs and meet you at the top—you may get to know the friendly and helpful security team quite well. Not only will they give your other little one pins and stickers (which Lenny is convinced is the Disney version of the scarlet letter, alerting cast members to the fact that you’re one of those parents who shamefully loses your most precious loved ones), they’ll politely suggest that you write your cell phone number on your child’s arm in the future. (You know, the great tip you like to share with others, but don’t actually do yourself?) All this while remaining bizarrely calm and friendly as you’re hyperventilating—panicked that your birthday boy has been missing for ten minutes now. But when he does finally makes his entrance? Of course it’s going to be down a grand staircase. Because, well, Disney loves a dramatic, but happy ending.
NOTE: After telling a friend this story, she suggested looking into Road ID bracelets, which she uses for her kids at airports, amusement parks, and other crowded spots. (Merry Christmas, kids!)
Lesson #5: You can’t remind your kids about what they should do when they get lost too often. Really. When I asked Big what he would have done if he’d been lost—sure that he’d know exactly what to say, thanks to all of our talks, as well as the talks he’s heard at church and school—he answered, “Cry.” (So I guess Little nailed it.)
Lesson #6: Your little Frozen lover can sing and dance all evening, absolutely thrilled that she’s going to get to meet Anna and Elsa at a private party, but when push comes to shove, she might just walk right up to them and cry (and I’m not talking tears of joy). Luckily, in our case, she had the next hour to find her smile while rocking the dance floor with some cool new break-dancing moves to great beats (by a DJ who, nope, really and truly is not a character on Austin & Ally…and you know, because you asked).
All in all, for three days of park adventures, that’s not so bad. If you’re our family, at least.
Have you had any travel mis-adventures with your family? Do share!