The happiest place on earth

On the day I defended lots of people asked me what I was going to do next. My stock answer was, “I’m going to Disneyland!” It was true, actually. I had to go to California for a wedding anyway, so we tacked on a couple of extra days and drove to Anaheim so that our toddler, Miles, could experience the magical world of Mr. Disney. So here’s how it went.

First of all, it didn’t go as planned – but since this is real life, and my life specifically, no one is surprised to hear that! My husband was sick, so I single-mom’ed it for the day. I have to pause and thank two strangers that helped me carry the heavy stroller and bags onto and off the shuttle from the hotel to Disneyland. You were my heroes. To the losers that watched me struggle with the stroller, diaper bag, disney assorted junk, and, oh yeah, the 18 month old, only to walk AROUND me in line to get on the shuttle on the way back to the hotel – thanks for nothing.

Here’s a brief review – which you can skip if you have no interest in visiting Disneyland. It covers Toon Town, New Orleans area, Tomorrowland, Main Street, uh…something western – Frontierland. So from the perspective of utility for taking an 18 month old, there are like NO bathrooms at Dinseyland, and there’s certainly no family bathrooms that I could find. Boo. I got about a million and a half funny looks for nursing my toddler at Starbucks (it’s called like Toonbucks or something there), but it was one of the only air-conditioned places. California is HOT, or at least it was while were there. Very few rides are ok for toddlers. So few in fact, that I suggest that you save your money and wait a few years before visiting. The best for this age were It’s a Small World and Mark Twain’s steamboat trip. Toon town also has some really good places for little ones – like Goofy’s house and Mickey’s house. Avoid the Roger Rabbit ride. It seemed like it was for all ages, but actually was dark, really loud, and really scary for my guy. I guess I forgot how dark that movie is – it’s really a film noir detective movie but with some cartoons. There was an excessive amount of evil cackling – I remember thinking, “Really? Another evil cackle? Get another gag. Lazy.”

I’ve never been to Disneyland before, but I’ve been told it is the happiest place on earth. If I were to guess my sons happiest place on earth, it would probably be nursing… while simultaneously watching Thomas and Friends…and driving a car…in a swimming pool…with crayons.

My happiest place? Well it’s not Disneyland! I know the trip wasn’t really for me, it was for Miles, but I don’t think he had such an amazing time (at least not like $96 worth of amazing!).  He really seemed to enjoy a couple of mellow rides, and I think he actually did recognize Mickey Mouse when we met him, which surprised me. Even if not the most amazing time of his life, it was exhausting for him. After 6 hours of theme parking, he slept for 13 joyous hours…out cold. That alone was worth the price of admission, because a good night’s sleep brings me a lot closer to my happy place. I couldn’t say though that he had an amazing time, because of what happened the next morning. I took him down to the hotel lobby the next day to wait for our shuttle to the airport. He had a BLAST! He had so much fun propelling his little cars through the lobby, dialing the phone (which I unplugged), and pushing the luggage cart. SO MUCH FUN. Giggles, squeals, ooohs, aaahs – all of which are mommy crack – I eat that stuff up. I am thinking about taking him to the Hilton now that we’re home, because hotel lobbies are spacious, air-conditioned, carpeted wall to wall, and have the right amount of stuff to keep toddlers in the happy-but-not-overstimulated zone.

I imagine that for an 18 month old, the world is already a magical, happy place. So maybe Disneyland is just more of the same. In that case, I vote Hilton lobby 1, Disneyland 0. What do you think is more fun for a toddler to play? Vote by comments 😀

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