February 18, 2016

The Challenges of Going to Disneyland

"Roller Coaster at the Park" by Alex Grichenko
My husband's work sent a group of employees who were "finishers" to Disneyland with a guest. They pick someone from each work team and his work team has only 8 people. Everyone takes turns on his small development team. If his work hadn't paid for everything, we wouldn't have gone anywhere.

My husband and I debated whether he should take our oldest son or if I should go. We decided I would go, so we could have an 10th anniversary trip six months after the event.

Finding Childcare

My mother-in-law flew out to take care of our boys, but she wasn't coming until 15 hours after we left. Who could I find to watch my boys for 15 hours?

It took several weeks talking with friends and family to finalize that 15 hours of care. I wanted someone who I trusted absolutely (and could drive) because my husband and I would be too far away to take care of any problems. We found two people, but they had to switch the boys from one house to another. The switch worried me because of several factors.

In the meantime, I chewed my nails to the quick and pulled on hangnails. (I had an infection develop from it.) Just thinking of this, I feel stress again.

Well, after we left everything went mostly fine. The switch went off without a hitch. Once Grandma came, I stopped worrying about my kids. Grandmas are great!

Separation Anxiety

Two days before we left for Disneyland, my oldest son had an upset stomach and stayed home from school. He seemed genuinely sick because he lay on the couch for 5 hours and never asked to get on the computer. He felt better later in the day when he was surrounded with family.

The next morning he woke with an upset stomach again. At that point, I was ready to take him to school. He'd been fine the night before.

Suddenly an idea clicked in my brain. He felt sick because of separation anxiety (and jealousy). I proposed Dad spend the day with him (and the two other boys).

The next morning, my son reluctantly let us drop him off at the babysitter's house. The two other boys did just fine.

At the airport, the school called and put on my crying son. We told him he needed to do his best to stay at school and everything would be fine. We were already checked in at the airport.

Over video chat that night, my oldest wouldn't speak to us. He was too mad and too jealous. Yet he wanted to stay in contact. Emotions cause such ironic actions.

What's Continental Breakfast?

Five-star hotels--like the Disney Grand Californian--provide continental breakfast, right? No, they don't. For all you pay, they can't provide a breakfast that a two-star hotel would! They assume only rich people go there. We ain't rich--but we ain't poor.

We figured the gift cards from my husband's work would cover our meals with some left over for souvenirs. First place we stop for brunch, we had to rethink the costs. 

We entered the first restaurant in the hotel, The Storyteller's Cafe. The hostess said $31, but we weren't sure. We had the breakfast buffet, unsure how much we'd have to pay. I calculated $62 plus tip, while my husband figured it was $31 for both of us. Yea, it was $62+.

At this rate, we may not be able to cover all our food expenses with the gift cards only useful at Disneyland (not at Downtown Disney). We only had walking access to dining in the parks and hotel. The hotel room had no microwave or fridge. No, you can't make your own meals easily.

Once we entered the park, we found other places only cost $10-$15 per meal. We could afford to eat! The second day we found a snacks place tucked out of sight at the hotel. I wonder why it's the furthest place to walk to get food...

We bought peanut butter, jelly, and bread, which fed us for two meals and snacks. The gift cards covered our food expenses and a few souvenirs.

Wonderful Weekdays!

On Thursday, we walked right into the Grand California Adventure and had no wait to get on the River Run and a few other rides.

We wandered around to other rides and places. My husband got a fast pass to the Cars Race ride for later the night. Fun!

For some insane reason, I proposed we go on California Soarin' roller coaster. My husband and I screamed almost the whole time. I shut my eyes on the loop. I could fall out!

My husband felt comfortable on the loop because he knew gravity would keep us in. I technically know this, but that still doesn't compute when I'm afraid I may pee my pants. He hated the descents and the time getting to it. A picture that we may or may not get from Disney's website tells the story.

The anticipation is worse than the realization.

I was more worried on Soarin' Over California because my feet had nowhere to touch. I wanted a roller coaster again!

Friday morning we went to Disneyland and I felt crowded until the afternoon came. It was so peaceful before.

On the Star Tours ride, I didn't secure a water bottle. It rolled around my feet while I tried to keep it near me. Yea, right.

Don't Rain on My Parade!

Please, please rain on every single dratted Disney parade at dinnertime and nighttime. I used to love parades as a child and teenager, but times change. I want to go from point A to point B without detouring to Point Z. Actually, Disney should have better routes to get around parades!

On Friday night, my husband and I soaked ourselves on Splash Mountain and had to return to the hotel to change before his work dinner. (That picture was even more frightening than California Soarin'). Heading to the restaurant in California Adventures, we walked into a parade. We circled around but hit it again. We waited 15 minutes to cross the street.

Luckily, dinner waited until after the parade. I ate a salad with suspicious textured ingredients, but I couldn't see it in the low light of the restaurant.

We had a fast pass to the Indiana Jones ride for 8:25 pm to 9:25 pm. After dinner, we went back to the hotel room and then headed to Disneyland.

We get in and the color parade is going on. At the entrance we need to go left, but we are forced to go to the right. The way was clear, but "cast members" blocked the way. I griped while my husband took photos.

He said, "We might as well enjoy it." 

Never say that to a sleep-deprived woman whose feet hurt from standing in lines all day.

The parade ended and we could move forward, but on the wrong side of Main Street. All we needed to do was cross the street! We were able to go to the other side when cast members directed us the other way--the opposite direction of the ride.

Magical fireworks bloomed over the castle. We saw it from all angles as we circled around it only to run into more ropes and "cast members."

Somehow we found our way to the ride an hour later. I was cursing parades and fireworks heartily by now. Yes, they are magical for some. Open up the way across the street!

I was disappointed in the Indiana Jones ride when I realized it wasn't much of a roller coaster ride. For some reason, I craved the pit and scare in the stomach. Oh the thrills.

When we exited the ride, a "cast member" announced a parade in 15 minutes. I ran as fast as my sore feet could carry me to the exit.

Go Cougars

I wore a BYU shirt at Disneyland, but I felt it was such a subtle symbol. The shirt only has a Y in gemstones on a dark background. (I am not a sports fan, just showing where I graduated from.) I hoped to feel some solidarity with others.

Walking through Adventureland, a pirate cast member stage whispered "Go Cougars!"

My husband didn't get what the pirate said.

I have one regret though. I wish my family and had BYU-Idaho shirts since that's where we lived for five years while my husband attended. I have more Idaho pride despite my two years at the Y.

Home Glorious Home

I was ecstatic to go home. My own bed, pillow, and my boys. Food in a fridge and I can cook my own food. Home is more magical than Disneyland.