Last week, for spring break, we did what I usually preach against. I typically seem to be the person trying to convince friends and family to expand their comfort zone, be creative, and skip the vacations in Southern California or Florida. There are so many other great places in this world that are less expensive, just as much fun for the kids, and everyone will even learn a little along the way. I am all about going to new places and exploring different cultures. I strive to teach my kids about diversity and history all while relaxing and enjoying amazing cuisine. So, I’ll get it out of the way now. I am a total hypocrite when it comes to Disney. I love the allure and excitement of the overpriced and crowded Disney parks, the fun characters and the thrill of the rides. That being said, I would go on a Disney vacation any day of the week.
The story began on Easter Sunday with church and our usual backyard egg hunt. This Easter morning egg hunt had a little curve ball thrown and did I ever surprise my kids. In between jelly beans and chocolate, the contents in some of the eggs had letters that spelled out the word DISNEYLAND. Before I knew it, the word scramble was completed, the kids figured it out, and they were shocked with the news of a surprise Disneyland vacation. My little boys screamed, my daughter pulled an academy award performance (with tears and fanning herself included), and my soon-to- be teenager “knew it”. He does know everything though.
I had packed during the days before (let me say I don’t recommend that stunt, it’s not an easy task) and we left on the spot. Off we set for a long drive with 4 kids, a dog needing to be dropped off with the grandparents, and 2 parents already exhausted from trying to pull off the surprise of the decade. After 2 days in the car and a quick overnight stop in Las Vegas, we arrived at the “Happiest Place on Earth”. The kids were over the top ecstatic and we didn’quite know what we were in for, as this was our 1st multiple day Disney adventure. Well, needless to say, we survived. We spent way too much money, ate about 10,000 calories of overpriced food, and were exhausted. But somehow through it all, I couldn’t get enough. This trip was great and the quality of the time with my kids was priceless. Great job Disney, you did it again!
I began thinking about this trip several months ago with my planning and research. I researched hotels and how to make the trip as cost effective as possible (tough to go “budget” when Disney is involved). I got a great rate on a family suite at the OC Hyatt and saved a few bucks on our park hoppers by purchasing them online (Getaway Today Vacations). The Hyatt was amazing and having the extra bathroom & comfortable king sized bed for my husband and I was awesome. We let the kids call the shots and spent a huge amount of our time at California Adventure. The rides are bigger and faster, plus they serve wine (huge plus for me while standing in hour long lines). We didn’t lose any kids, no one threw up from overconsumption of crap, and we were all still speaking after our last 15 hour day of adventure. I’d call it a success.
I’m not sure what it is about Disneyland that lures me into the magic. I spent 3 days navigating through over stimulating amusement parks, spent way too much money, ate horribly unhealthy food, and was totally exhausted. Somehow through all of that, battling crowds, and 4 bickering kids, we all had a blast. As I was watching the” World of Color” show at California Adventure, it all made sense. The classic music of Disney, clips from movies, and the perfection of the lights, fire & water, brought back years of memories from my childhood. It’s not a specific memory, but a feeling. A feeling that brought tears to my eyes. It was something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. There was something so amazing about revisiting my childhood and knowing that I was creating a memory for my children. This was the kind of memory that my kids will re-live someday with their kids too. So, I think I will add Disneyland as a “must do” trip with your kids, not once but at least a few times. Life is all about creating memories that will last forever. Right?