Disneyland, you love it, your kids love it, and sometimes even your husband loves it (get a beer in him and he’s fine for at least an hour! Kidding!) But just because it’s the “Happiest Place On Earth” doesn’t mean it’s always the easiest place on Earth to spend a day. The easiest place on Earth to spend a day would have been my Grandmother’s house, but she quietly passed away a few years ago when her cancer treatment center caught on fire. City of Hope? More like City of Faulty Electrical Wiring! Anywho, if your family is anything like mine, a trip to Disneyland is full of laughter, long lines, screaming kids, over-priced food, and trying to get Goofy’s attention! It’s easy to get overwhelmed but I’m here to share with your some helpful hints that make my family’s Disneyland trips memorable and more importantly fun (forget about magical, nothing’s magical after puberty, right ladies?).
TIP #1 - Bring Your Own Food!
Sure, those churros, Dole Whips, and bowls of gumbo look delicious, but they also cost an arm and a turkey leg! (Now who’s Goofy?) So skip the lines altogether and feed your family veggies and and dry cereal. Need a drink? Fill up an old soda can from one of the park’s plentiful water fountains. Yes, your children will whine and complain and say you’re “a cheap, emasculating shrew” but that’s the price of bein’ the mama!
One fun food experience is to go to a turkey leg cart, ask for one, take a picture with it and then hand the leg back to the cart worker. Same with churros! I have a lot of photos of me holding food that I’ve never eaten. I look back at them months later and remember when I took a photo of me holding that food. It helps me sleep.
TIP #2 - Don’t Go On Rides
This is so obvious, I don’t know why it’s Tip #2. To avoid the long lines, don’t get in them. Space Mountain is just a roller coaster in the dark, you can do that on the freeway and a couple blindfolds. And really what’s the point of rides any way? They’re two-minute long distraction machines that keep you from facing your real issues. Or is that my husband and alcohol? Anywho, your kids will hate this tip, but I’ve never known how to make kids happy. All they do it cry all day or sit sullenly, throwing lit matches at the cat. (Sound familiar ladies?).
TIP #3 - Admire the Greenery
The plants are pretty at Disneyland, take time to look at them. And since you won’t be going on any rides anyway, you’ll have plenty of plant-watchin’ time! I tell my kids to pick one favorite plant and then throughout the day I ask them, “What do you think your plant’s up to right now?” Funny anecdote: my husband didn’t want to buy any flowers for my Grandmother’s funeral. Called it “a waste”.
TIP #4 - Stay In Downtown Disneyland
This not only will save you tons of money, but there are just as many fun things to do in the FREE Downtown Disneyland as there are in the parks. Kids want to go to The Haunted Mansion? Take them to the ESPN Zone! See the ghosts of ten-year old arcade games! Jungle Cruise? Um, there’s a little restaurant called The Rainforest Cafe! It rains in there! How cool is that? Sure the menus are always sticky and the meals gave us all food poisoning, but it RAINS! INSIDE! It’s the kookiest thing! Big Thunder Mountain? Build-A-Bear Workshop! They both have B’s in the name!
TIP #5 - Don’t Go to Disneyland
Not only will this keep your family from getting on each other’s nerves but you’ll save tons of money! And the isolation is perfect for reflecting on how your family ended up not standing each other.
I hope these tips help you make the most of your time at the Disneyland Resort because it took me two months to write this. My husband doesn’t talk to me any more. My kids are glued to their phones. Life can be hard. BUT, you’ll always have your memories of Disneyland to keep you company during those long, empty nights. My favorite Disneyland memory is my first trip when I was eight years old. We parked the car and walked up to the gate where I could finally see inside Disneyland with my own eyes. That was the happiest moment, because I had yet to be disappointed by anything in my life. (Ended up getting a nasty sunburn and seeing a woman die on the People Mover).