July 29, 2012

Travel Journal: Disneyland 2012

Last week, Sam and I took the kids to Disneyland.

I was invited to help with an employee reward trip; it was a rare and wonderful opportunity to combine business with pleasure and bring my family along.

This was our first foray into air travel as a family of four. The flights to California went as well as could be expected. Thank goodness for my iPad, the game "Where's My Perry?" and Felix's propensity to fall asleep easily while sitting upright in a moving vehicle (a genetic blessing which appears to be linked to the Y chromosome).

I safely drove us from LAX to the Grand Californian Resort, where we were thoroughly impressed by our accommodations: bunk beds in the room, Bambi shower curtain, and a special entrance to California Adventure.

We explored the park that evening, under a sprinkle of rain that thinned the crowds but failed to dampen our spirits. At A Bug's Land, we learned that Felix loves rides but has a deep, deep fear of 3-D shows hosted by animatronic robots. Evie  showed her fearlessness on Soaring Over California, setting a precedent for many r
\ides to come.

When the park opened to hotel guests at 7 a.m., we were ready to go. Felix cheerfully climbed into his pink stroller, and Evie skipped along beside him.

Just over three years ago, we had brought Evie to Disneyland, along with the very same stroller.



She was just past her second birthday; Felix was just shy of his. Being at Disneyland with a 2-ish-year-old is pretty amazing.



You unlock a whole new level of Disney magic when you also bring a 5-year-old:

I don't mean to brag, but we really brought our A-game to this trip.

We followed the newly minted Wiant rules of travel:

  1. Stay together.
  2. No whining.
  3. Watch where you're going.
  4. Have fun!
We read up on the tricks of the park, like FastPass and Kid Swap.

We ate lots of protein in the morning and stayed hydrated throughout the day.

When the hot, loud, colorful park became too much for Felix, we grabbed his comfort blankies and retreated to a quiet, dark hotel room.

We didn't say Yes to every impulse purchase that was requested, but we did say Yes often enough to be fun.

We gave Evie lots of positive reinforcement for bravely attempting the big rides, and we let her stay up well past her bedtime. We threw some big-kid expectations her way, and she stepped up to the challenge. Here she is, shortly before midnight, soaked from Splash Mountain:

We went on rides together, we split up sometimes, we followed the advice of bloggers and websites, we followed our own bliss, we swam, we napped, we watched the fireworks and the light show and we hugged Mickey and Minnie.

The weekend was over all too quickly, and it was hard to leave.

It was sad to return to a world where we go to bed at bedtime, we eat vegetables at dinner, and afternoons roll by slowly without a single roller coaster or boat ride.

Disney, you haven't seen the last of the Wiants.

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