Well, I broke down and took Emma and Annie to Disneyland yesterday. I should also note that I had three other adults with me as back up: My husband, sister in law, and brother in law. I may be on the edge of crazy, but I would never attempt this feat alone.
This trip has been a long time coming. Somewhere around six months ago Emma caught “Disney Princess Fever” and my house is slowly being consumed by Ariel, Cinderella, and the rest of those harlots.
The night before we left I got on the Disney site to try to map out our day. The site was, to say the least, totally unhelpful. I had heard that the Princesses were pretty elusive and that you needed inside information if you planned on a little face time with any of them. So I took it to Twitter and Facebook. Why do I even bother with “real” websites anymore?
I got some pretty good links, and there were plenty of helpful tips (apparently all the booze is at California Adventure Park- good to know), and people had a lot to say, but I still couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for.
Being the team player that I am, I thought I would dedicate a post to all those parents out there looking for info on how to take thier three-year old budding princess to Disneyland without loosing their minds.
1. Eat a good breakfast. I know, I know, shouldn’t we do that every day? Yes, technically. But on this day it will be a matter of life and death. You will need your strength to fight against the massive crowds (more on that later), ward off evil Jedi mind tricks (from Mickey Mouse), and resist the urge to buy a hat with Goofy’s head on top of it. Unless you like paying $25 for a salad, I suggest you try to get your fill of nutrients in the morning.
2. Get there early. Again, it’s common sense- so you think. It actually has more to do with Princess sightings. And again, more on that later.
3. Don’t bother with the shuttle. Park your car and walk your ass to the gates. It’s a simple as that.
4. It’s up to you on the whole ticket/pass situation. We just did the straight forward one-day Disney pass. Emma is only three and there was plenty for her to see and do at plain ol’ Disneyland. I don’t even plan on ever telling her that California Adventure Park even exists. Something I’m sure she will bring up in therapy later.
5. Once you get inside the park, hightail it to Fantasy Faire. That is where all the Princesses hang out. Seriously now, move fast. Don’t get distracted by all the shiny things. Those Princesses are high-maintenance beyotches with packed social calendars. One stop for a pair of mickey ears and you might miss them.
6. Once you get the Princess sightings out of the way, you can realx (sort of). This would be a great time to get a few rides out of they way unless…
7. Don’t go during a holiday vacation. I’m not sure exactly what we were thinking going two days before Thanksgiving. It’s wasn’t too bad at first, but by the time we started to think about grabbing some lunch it seemed like every tourist in Southern California was looking to eat an over-priced hamburger too. Which leads me to…
8. Bring your wallet. And fill it with cash. Disneyland is expensive. It starts out with a $15 parking fee and goes downhill fast. We’re talking $20 mouse ears, $7 balloons, and $50 sweatshirts (not that I would ever be caught dead on one of those). But don’t go and cash out your 401k just to keep up with the Joneses. Here are some ways to soften the blow.
9. Save some money by bringing food. It’s not like your toddler is going to eat that much anyway. I would rather spend $3 on a rainbow lollipop that gets a few decent licks than spend $10 on some chicken nuggets that she may or may not find edible. It’s your call though. Also, bring your own dress ups. Emma got one glimpse of a little girl dressed in a Cinderella costume, turned to me and said, “I’m ready to change. Where is my Snow White dress?” Crap. That little oversight cost me $65 at the Bippity Boppity Boo Boutique. One Ariel dress later, and we were good to go again.
10. Last, but not least, don’t talk about any of the rides and/or characters you are going to see. First, some of those characters might be on their day off. Second, some of the rides might be out of service. Third, the lines might be so long that there won’t be a chance in hell you will ever find Nemo. Your toddler will never know the difference. There is going to be so much distracting stuff to see, and do, and buy that it seriously does not matter.
There is one last little thing I have to mention. Little kids don’t last long at these places. This day should be about making memories and enjoying yourself through your child’s eyes. If you are one of those people that isn’t happy until you have ridden every ride and seen every sight, then you should think about leaving your toddler at home. Just sayin’.
That’s it! Follow every single one of these and you will have a fun-filled day without a single tear or meltdown. Bwah- hahahahahha! Good luck!
What are some of your best Disneyland survival tips?