Friday, June 30, 2006

What I Learned Today at Disneyland

1. There's really no point in trying to do *anything* between 12 and 4 PM. Best just to take cover and drink cold things.

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.


Anonymous peripateticpolarbear said...

Happy birthday! And about Rodentland.....bless you, you are a very good person to go there. In July. With small children. Extra adult beverages for you!

6:11 AM  
Blogger GuusjeM said...

Ah yes, the annual trips to the land of the mouse. Be forewarned that it can have life altering consequences. One of mine has it so bad that she choose a college in Florida, requested an annual Florida Residents Pass for Christmas and now goes so often she's on a first name basis with some of the cast members.

And she occasionally says she wants a Disney Wedding! Complete with Glass Coach. I hope she's kidding but at times I'm not sure.

6:39 AM  
Blogger heather said...

happy bday! and, way to make an oldtimer long to go to dizzyland again. i know, you complained about it a lot, and rightly so, but that place still has a way of charming me. i used to live in socal and went all the time... back when California Adventure was simply a twinkle in someone's eye.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

Happy birthday! And I second PPB's suggestion of an extra adult beverage. I start twitching at the mere suggestion of taking my Adorable Offspring to any destination beginning with Disney-.

8:18 AM  
Blogger liz said...

Happy Birthday!

We're taking Muffin Man to WDW in August. Thanks for the tips!!!

8:31 PM  
Blogger Psycho Kitty said...

Happy birthday!
And man, do I have a love/hate thing going with Disney. Sigh.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Genevieve said...

An alternate tip on Dumbo: if you're staying in a Disney hotel and therefore get to go to a park one hour before the hordes, and that park is the Magic Kingdom, go to Dumbo the very very first thing. Run to Dumbo. Because the reason Dumbo's line is so long is that it takes much more time to load and unload it than to ride, so the line gets exponentially longer with each ride. If you get to Dumbo first, you can ride it a couple of times and then be done with it.

2:39 AM  
Blogger Mary Tsao said...

hehehe. Giggling over #11.

And Happy Birthday!

9:14 PM  
Anonymous chasmyn said...

Happy Birthday!!!

I do not want to go to the Disney. We aspire to avoid it :)

12:33 PM  
Anonymous badgermama said...

OMFG I hate the place! I can't even get into the irony value. Give me a county fair instead, any day.

The mouse ears with veil totally cracked me up.

Happy birthday!

4:48 PM  
Anonymous rachel said...

When I was young, my grandma lived in Anaheim, so we visited The Mouse every time we went out. It's so much better in November or February, when the crowds are greatly reduced.

Do I dread taking my own offspring? Kinda.

Happy birthday, Els!

9:23 AM  
Blogger Baleboosteh said...

Sounds like you had a blast...maybe not.

Happy Belated Birthday!!

6:53 AM  
Blogger susan said...

Happy, happy birthday! And what a review--I love the way you mix your feminist politics with pragmatism and attention to MG's tastes and personality.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

Heh, I like your comment number five - Who woulda ever thunk an empty bottle could be useful.

11:29 PM  
Blogger Deanna Hoak said...

Here via Delia's blog. :-)

I live an hour from Orlando, and I dread it when family or friends want to come in and go to the parks. Now that they let you pay extra to skip to the head of the line, they're really awful if you don't have that extra money per head to spend.

I haven't seen a child yet who didn't have a better time at the beach for free. :-)

1:23 PM  
Blogger elswhere said...

Hi Deanna-- welcome!

They let you pay to skip to the head of the line!?! I have to admit that if I'd known that I might've done it.

MG insisted that Disneyland was the best part of our whole trip. But then the week we got back, she went to see Pirates of Penzance & delared that it was even better. So I think I'll skip it next visit.

1:28 PM  

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