Why I Have Never Taken My Kids To Disneyland
There are many reasons, some of which you may think are legitimate, some of which you may not think are legitimate. Here are some:
1. It’s so ridiculously expensive. (I am cheap.)
2. They have never seen a Disney movie or TV show. (I hate crowds.)
3. They are very sensitive, especially my younger son, to lots of people, sounds, things, new things, newish things, scary things, overly exciting things, things. (I am very sensitive to lots of people, sounds, things, new things, newish things, scary things, overly exciting things, things.)
4. There are so many other things and places we enjoy that it just didn’t seem necessary. (I am cheap, hate crowds, and I am hypersensitive to people, sounds, and things.)
Why We Went Now
The ex and I work with someone in our business world who has passes and got us in for free. We ate with him and his lovely family at Club 33. And my older son just turned 8 and we figured why not. And my mother-in-law was coming to visit and it seemed the right thing to do.
What Went Wrong
Choosing the Nemo submarine ride as the first ride was very very wrong. It involves a closed space (which I hate), sirens, shouting, volcanic simulation, and a very startled 5-year-old.
The wall of people at every turn of the park is very overwhelming for a lot of people, not just me and the little man. It is unbelievable, the amount of people there. Most people were happy and nice, since it is the happiest place on earth, but still. It’s a lot of people.
I got super cumulatively overwhelmed around high noon and had to take a mommy time out. It wasn’t pretty and I’m not proud of it, but I did minimal damage and I hurt my pride more than anything else. I didn’t hurt anyone. I didn’t throw anything or break anything. I just needed a minute so I took it.
What Went Right
Club 33 was fascinating. I’ve never seen so many pieces of silverware at any meal in my whole life. Except for the giant Disney “characters” causing me to leave the restaurant for 15 minutes with my little man, it was great.
The waiting for big rides was bad, but neither of my boys wanted to do big rides, so we did all the fun littler ones with themes from books they have read (Peter Pan, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride) and the Safari Ride and It’s a Small World and such. And what used to be Tom Sawyer Island is now Pirate Island which you take a raft to get to and that was a big hit. And we did Pirates of the Caribbean with the elder son only. That was awesome.
We kept to our rule of souvenirs which has worked well for us. Here’s the rule we have for our boys: don’t beg and whine at us all day about souvenirs. You will get one or two souvenirs at the end of the day. Period. Enjoy the day! We don’t do any of that “If you aren’t good, you won’t get your souvenir” business. We just carry on with the day and it has worked for us their whole lives and it worked on Sunday.
We stayed for the parade (their first real parade ever, not counting watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV which is the only TV I have shown them) and they loved seeing all the dancers acting out movies they sort of knew of but haven’t seen. It didn’t matter that they haven’t seen those movies since they liked the music and the real people dancing, not just all the characters. And it didn’t matter that little man had me cover his ears the entire parade, it was still awesome and he really enjoyed it.
We ate popcorn for breakfast and dinner. We ate soft pretzels and there may have been cotton candy ingested by certain people (not me). I had a little Coca-Cola (party time!) but I tried not to stress about the lack of growing food everyone was eating and that made it pretty fun.
What I’ve Decided
I don’t love Disneyland. I know, to some, this is sacrilege. And I don’t begrudge all of the adults who go many times a year and wear matching sweatshirts and all the Mickey and Minnie ears (which now come in about two dozen varieties including sexy Minnie with lace and satin, wedding Minnie, and teeny tiny ears which I almost bought because I love all things small). I simply do not get it. It doesn’t do it for me. I am sure I will go again, probably numerous times, but it just doesn’t make me feel happy or at peace or one with my kids the way so many other things do. I’m a hippie and I like my kids to enjoy simple things, and let’s face it: nothing about Disneyland is simple.
But I know people love it and that’s OK! I’m happy for them! It’s all good!
I am thrilled my boys had fun. I am thrilled I went with the ex and his mom and that we got to see the boys experience it for the first time together, but I am also so thrilled that there was a glass of wine at Club 33 to be had. Because I was starting to lose it by lunchtime for sure and as we all know, I like wine.
We survived Disneyland. Just barely. I am grateful we did it together. Maybe next year, I’ll have the ex cover my ears. That might be the ticket.