Tag Archives: Disneyland

The happiest place on earth is out of reach

“Disneyland is a work of love. we didn’t go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.” Walt Disney

 

I can’t remember riding on the top of the double decker bus as it goes up and down Main Street before.

So we sat there on Mother’s Day, my carnation corsage already crunched from an 11-month-old’s loving grasp, and Wonder Boy was talking excitedly to some boys sitting next to us on top.

It was their first time, and I congratulated them on their first time and talked with their mother a moment.

Disneyland is my happy place. I truly leave the outside world behind and immerse myself, no matter the crowds, no matter the heat.

With two small children I’ve just made it on a ride or two and it has still been a successful day.

Disneyland just announced higher ticket prices. For instance, the price of a one day, one park ticket rose another four dollars to $96.

The last time I bought a single ticket was back after high school and it was $35. Parking was also like five bucks then or something, versus now it is $16.

It also blocked out the pass we just got a hold of ( through a serendipitous Christmas gift of park hopper tickets and a generous offer for the rest of the ticket price) meaning anyone who wanted to buy an annual pass that wants to go on the weekends- can’t. The crowds were so massive on a Sunday – a day I remember used to be a great day to hit the park – that they couldn’t keep the lines short enough to handle all of those people.

I’ve been marveling at those lines lately. The same as I marveled at the intricate planning of crowd movements in the park. Even where they guide you after a show is carefully planned out, causing that massive swell of guests to flow, creating a virtual roundabout in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

It saddens me that Disneyland, which is such a big part of my life, is something unattainable for so many.

I saw someone say on Facebook it takes 13 hours for a minimum wage employee to make the money for a Disneyland ticket. Even thought it’s being raised in July to 9 dollars, for a family to go, pay the 16 dollar parking, buy dinner at the park but not lunch – that’s easily over a week’s wages.

And I totally feel for those families who work hard and save up for a day at Disneyland or a small family vacation, the stress and pressure of getting their money’s worth.

I’ve seen it way too many times, parents yelling at children about eating the food they bought, no you can’t have that toy, yes, you DO have to go on that ride with us.

I recently stood in line for the meet and greet with the Frozen princesses, and felt luck and elitism because of the only two-hour wait time.

This summer could be hell as parents brave four-hour lines juggling hot children just for a magical chance to meet them, but woe to a parent who doesn’t make line cut off ( when I went it was at 4 p.m.).

I saw tears, I saw frustration. I saw parents try to cheer up kids, I saw little girls hearts break and tears fall.

A float before a parade might make it a little better, but its a summation of what Disneyland has turned into.

Elite.

“Disneyland is a result of love, we did not go into Disneyland to make money,” Walt Disney

I truly do not think Walt Disney meant for Disneyland to become what it has – unachievable. Unreachable.

Unaffordable.

While I try to not think about what lies ahead for us regarding my happy place, instead I am savoring the act I can give the magic to my kids. We can go and walk around and hardly ride anything and be happy.

Just because we’re there.

The only way Disneyland can become attainable again is for it to go downhill some, which I hate to see. But the bubble will someday pop, as more families stop being able to afford the 500$ for a DAY, including parking, tickets in and a souvenir. Not even food, not even drinks.

Not even that Dole Whip which seems to constantly have a 20-minute line.

And not everyone wants or needs a day at Disneyland. It is a business first and foremost, it is not a right by any means.

But it is so deeply embedded in our culture, along with Coca-Cola and Starbucks and Jell-O, that it is something everyone wants to experience at least once.

I hate to see the door closing in front of me.

I hate to look back and see all the people who cannot give a day like this, to see characters who generations have been raised on, and enjoy a day without understanding the vast amount of work that goes into every moment, from clean bathrooms to picked up trash to the cast member handing that special sticker over after a sweet conversation with a toddler.

I don’t know if the high ticket prices are because of all that hard work, or if it really is ‘just’ to shut out some of the crowds.

For now, I’ll keep packing lunches and driving down, glad I added parking onto my pass when I could and for a few hours leave everything behind and enter the worlds of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.

And make memories, because memories are forever, but annual passes are only a year.

 

Tips for an egg-cellent egg hunt at Disneyland

Spoiler Alert: This post has two photos of locations for the Eggstravaganza hunt at Disneyland.

 

As we stood on the far side of it's a small world, the corner reserved for service dogs taking a break and a wide expanse of running room, Wonder Boy and I spied a familiar rabbit-faced egg peeking from a sea dragon topiary.


Turns out the Egg-stravaganza had just started yesterday, and we decided to play along as part of our first time attempting the parks as a three-some. (Let's say on that note I learned everything NOT to do the hard way.)

Instead of standing in lines for any ride we as a three could possibly pull off, yesterday Wonder Boy, Lil' Wonder and I instead grabbed a $5 map for each boy and spent the day winding around Disneyland looking for Easter Eggs.

But with a full park for spring break, it was a lot of work for myself and my four year old. Castmembers aren't supposed to give you hints, though they helped verify things like, yes, that shop is on Main Street.

Start early and try to keep a lookout for stuff in you area – but we did it with just going from place to place for eggs and a couple extra adventures in three hours.

At the end you don't get to pick which egg you want- part of the fun!


So, if you decide to do your own Easter egg search, here's some tips and tricks to get you going.

 

  1. Stuck? Look for other people holding their maps. They're probably standing right in front of it.
  2. Look up. There were several eggs hiding up high in trees or on signs.
  3. The locations are pretty literal.

…and some location-specific advice for the harder ones for us…

 

 

  1. The Fortuosity Shop is where they make the custom watches – and this egg likes to be able to see the action.
  2. The locker area on Main Street have some lovely flowers in boxes above it.
  3. One egg has a bird's eye view of a tea party.
  4. One egg is watching people in line to go on a trip around the world.


And one last photo for the HARDEST one for us- it took three laps around the area to finally find someone at just the right angle.

Let me know if you too go on an egg hunt!

 

Small World Celebration

Disclaimer: I am a Disney fan just spreading the news because I love it that much.

It was a ride my son had ridden on several times  before he was even born, and one he rode on during his first trip to meet Mickey Mouse.

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It was the first app I downloaded on my phone for him to play, and he still chills tapping all of the different characters, singing the song quietly as he plays.

Our last trip to Disneyland he sang it over and over and over even though the ride was closed.

For Wonder Boy, “it’s a small world” is one of the highlights of a trip to Disneyland. Shelter from the sun, a calm longer ride with plenty to see, a respite out of the stroller in a safe place.

And now it’s time for someone else’s first ride.

This Thursday marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic ride, which was first at the 1964 World’s Fair. Thursday there will be a celebration at Disneyland park and voices from Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Tokyo Disney Resort will sing that song that is a global earworm, whether or not you’ve ever ridden the ride.

You can even join in at home, by joining a Google + hangout  (which I can watch from my phone while we’re there) and submit a question for Disney Legend Richard Sherman,

Earlier today I finally got a chance to make a doll, which I will have my son also do as we gear up for our trip to Disneyland for the 50th anniversary.  For every doll made on the site, Disney will donate $1 to UNICEF on top of the $150,000 it already donated. It’s still less than halfway to their max of $100,000 so go make one!

You can also film a sing-along on the SmallWorld50.com site – and the singing, I’m sure, will keep going the rest of the day!

I also encourage anyone with a free afternoon to check out a participating Disney store (call ahead and ask)  from this Thursday to Sunday, where children are invited to take a journey on an imaginary boat ride around the globe, learning how to say “hello” in various languages and singing “it’s a small world” along the way.

Will you be celebrating this week too? What’s your favorite section of the ride?

I ditched my kid on Easter

My mom walked out to the car to greet us. I handed over everything he would need for the day.

His backpack.

His little sweater vest, carefully kept clean.

The iPad, just in case. (He is the only little one at family gatherings).

I watched him walk into the front porch, then shout from the door “Goodbye Mommy!” after a quick prompt to do so.

It was Easter.

I was going to Disneyland.

My son was not.

We got the offer from one of my husband’s coworkers to go to Club 33 for Easter lunch. Now, being an avid Disneyland fan this was a dream come true. So many times I had paused in front of the door- well, this time, I was the one who got to ring the doorbell.

club33

It was hard making this decision, as easy as a choice it came to be.

3-year-old Wonder Boy was old enough to be excited about Easter. The bunny ears he hopped from preschool in, the anticipation of seeing the Easter Bunny.

I was afraid he would realize we were missing and want us.

I was afraid we would miss out.

Then I realized that it was only one year.

One day in a year of days, a lifetime of days that would most likely never be replaced.

I would probably never get this chance again, to eat at Club 33.

My heavy belly was reminding me that soon I would be tied down even stronger to home and family, working the balancing act between myself and parenting two small boys.

So Easter was a day for my husband and I to walk around, hand in hand, just enjoying the beautiful weather.

And visiting most of the bathrooms we saw (heck, I am pregnant after all).

Have you made a similar decision after you had children?

 

 

 

Disney’s Halloween treat

Last night my mom, Wonder Boy and myself went with a small group to Disneyland for their annual trick or treating event. We’d never been before, although since my birthday is just around the corner, I’m very familiar with the park during the fall holidays.

Me. It’s amazing what a few bucks and slight inspiration will do for a costume. I was the only ladybug I saw. There were about 1,000 pirates and Jedi though.

 

Best friends. Note the plaid shorts- it was blazing and Wonder Boy would get hot very quickly in his costume. He wore it total of an hour- the rest of the time he was Buzz Lightyear on vacation, I guess.

Wonder Boy’s first time in the treehouse.

 

My favorite time of year is Haunted Mansion Holiday. We even have a CD of the old queue music, the Christmas carols done up Halloween style. Unfortunately, Wonder Boy did not make it to the Doom Buggies so we left via a sneaky exit.

Do these guys do parties? Seriously. taking old barbershop quartet songs and making them morbid.

My favorite pumpkin in the parade.

Cheese!

 

 

And for those who do not know, you get to trick-or-treat for candy and healthy snacks at Disneyland during the event. Here’s the loot.