What I Learned Today at Disneyland
2. The moment that you and your child declare, after waiting in line for an hour because there was something wrong with the boats, and after the church youth group ahead of you has all limped away in their matching red T-shirts, that you are done, finished, giving up on this stupid ride, is the moment that the line will start moving again.
3. However, after all that waiting, Pirates of the Caribbean is really not a good ride for a sensitive almost-6-year-old, however much she insists ahead of time that she won't be scared.
4. Nonetheless, it is very nicely air-conditioned. Which is helpful when you spend the entire ride with a child's head wedged into your armpit.
5. Bring water. Lots and lots of water. Or at least an empty water bottle.
6. And you know those little twirly electric fan things, with the spritzy water bottles attached? You probably have one, left in the van or the basement somewhere? Yeah, well, make sure to bring it with you. Because the Disney ones cost $16.00.
7. The King Arthur Carrousel almost never has a line, and it's a sure kid-pleaser. Likewise the Mark Twin Riverboat.
8. The lines at It's a Small World are not as long as they look.
8a. and yes, Small World is pretty reprehensible and trivializing. But! It's air-conditioned! (And honestly, once you get started worrying about that kind of thing you might as well not even go to the Mouse in the first place. Which is a totally honorable choice, more honorable than going, I think, this is all completely irrational, I'm not even sure how this happens but we all seem to love the place in spite of ourselves.)
9. However, the line at Dumbo is actually longer than it looks, and parts of it don't have any shade. In fact, there's no point in actually considering Dumbo until evening, preferably during the parade when everyone drains out of Fantasyland and the lines are practially clear.
10. (this is a really hot tip, I learned it from an enthusiastic "cast member") If you have yearned for years to go on the Peter Pan ride, remembering the transcendent moment of flying from when you went when you were 9, but have given up because the lines are always so long, day and night, here's what to do: position yourself right next to the "Mr. Toad" sign during the fireworks, while the ride is closed. When it opens up again after the fireworks, that sign is where they start the line, and you'll be right in front. (I didn't actually get to use this tip because I'd promised MG that she would finally get to buy the stuff she'd chosen after the fireworks and she was not waiting one more minute. But I'll be sure to remember it for next time.)
11. After you've spent hours waiting in lines in the blazing sun and you can feel your brain sloshing meltingly around inside your skull, and your daughter, who has put up almost uncomplainingly with several disappointments and a few scares (that pirate ride!) as well as the heat, asks for a pink Disney Princess mouse ear cap with a tiara and veil, you will throw decades of feminist political convictions blithely to the (nonexistent) wind (God, if only there had been even a breeze) (plus, see earlier parethetical caveat about Political Convictions and Disneyland, Incompatability Of) and buy it for her then and there.
12. A almost-six-year-old can infect her adoring almost-two-year-old cousin with Princess Fever simply by wearing the aforementioned hat, much to the dismay of the cousin's parents. Even if said cousin has never shown any signs of the disorder before in her life or during the entire previous 12 hours spent in Princess Heaven. Oh, well.
p.s. I turned forty yesterday! It was a wonderful day at the beach all by myself. About which more later, maybe.