As a gift to our family, my parents-in-law gave us Annual Passes to Disneyland (and by default to California Adventure as well). Who wouldn’t love such a generous gift? The girls went bonkers at the thought of going to The Happiest Place on Earth “anytime” they wanted.
So that’s been my life for the last 9 weeks. I have literally been to Disneyland and California Adventure nine (maybe 10) times. My Instagram and Facebook friends have noticed it too. They all ask the exact same question: “Do you go every week?!” Well, to be fair, it’s not every week. Sometimes we go twice (yeeesh!).
How can we not get excited about Disneyland? Who doesn’t grow up on Disney characters? Sam and Jamie know them all, as I did growing up. The tried and tested Disney Princesses, and the newer ones like Merida, Elsa and Anna. Even the Disney Junior Characters like Sofia the First permeate our everyday lives. The girls’ costumes and birthdays are often Disney-inspired. And this was further reinforced with the family’s Disney Cruise earlier this year. Disney is really fun for people of all ages.
While that may be true, this is too: It is EXHAUSTING for parents. Exhausting.
We live so close to the parks, the girls jump at every opportunity to go. I figure that while the kids’ school schedule is still manageable, we’d go when possible. And while sometimes I do get excited and I feel so lucky, I also feel the lasting effects the fatigue brings each and every time.
It’s a production number and a feat. From the time you get to the parking structure, to the time you’re able to set foot inside the actual park, you’ve already lost 30-45 minutes. Even the nearest lots require some effort getting children, bags and strollers up and down the escalators and buses. And Disney is never without people (even their non-peak days, the parks still have a crowd!).
Then there’s the ordeal of getting on sunblock – repeatedly. It’s that or the burning heat. I’ve gotten quite the tan standing in line for the girls. Of course once all is said and done, there’s the ordeal of washing it off hours later when the kids are cranky and tired.
There’s the walking, the carrying, the pushing of the stroller and the lining up everywhere.
Let’s not forget the multiple visits to the public bathrooms. Ay! I feel like I’ve stuck my hand in every single public toilet bowl there is. Thank goodness each stall now has potty seat liners and somehow the maintenance of it all has been quite good (so far!). Watch out though, the automatic flush is pretty strong… and it sprays. Eww!
At the end of each visit no matter how long or short, my body is aching in so many different parts. I don’t want to move the next day. I seriously hope I’m losing weight from all of these Disney trips. I don’t think the visits will end anytime soon as the girls haven’t tired of it. In fact… they may never tire of it.
The nice thing about the annual pass though, is that there’s no rush to see everything all at once. We get to explore each land in detail, and ride the rides we want to when we want to. (Quick update: Now Elsa and Anna’s Frozen Meet and Greet is only a fast-pass. You need to get to the park early enough to grab a ticket, which will tell you what time to come back. These tickets? They usually run out at 10AM every morning and that’s all they have for the ENTIRE day!). We’ve discovered some nice thing we’d never have gone on if we were pressed for time.
There have been days when we didn’t do any rides at all, and we just trekked to meet one character after another.
There’s always something new to be learned in Disney. On this last trip, the girls have recently added the Marvel Avengers to their repertoire.
It’s made Daddy ecstatic. I can imagine, he’s been playing with dolls all this time, FINALLY he can share his own favorites with his kids!
This Halloween has been quite interesting too with its Villains theme.
They are AWESOME. And so in character! We once witnessed an impromptu “agrument” between the Evil Queen of Snow White and Merida.
There’s a specific area in the Halloween Carnival where you can “conjour a villain”. It’s cool. I think we’ve been in line thrice in the last two weeks. In all of my memory of Disneyland, I’ve never seen a villain walk the streets. It’s always been the chipper protagonists and perfect princesses so it’s quite refreshing. I can’t wait to see what they do for Christmas!
Sam has also recently discovered Tim’ Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas.
These are things I’d never have thought to introduce to her.
As we go, I learn some new things too. I’ve found this app called MouseWait, which gives you the wait times in each ride and restaurant. I also found a Crowd Tracker Site which predicts the crowd levels on that specific date. I’ve learned how to work through some of the long lines especially when there’s more than one adult present. And when we ride “favorite rides”, I always try to find something new I never spotted before.
I’ve also found some hidden character spots! Jasmine and Aladdin’s oasis for instance, isn’t even on the map that they give out at the entrance. It took a little scouting around but eventually we found them. And Jamie is a happy camper for it.
An Annual Pass for those that live near Disneyland is definitely worth it. There are discounts too on food and merchandise (and we do save a lot when we flash the annual pass for food!)
The more we go, the more I appreciate the brand that is Disney. It’s amazing how everything just runs almost to perfection. Every single person you talk to, from the street cleaners to the parking attendants, to the ride attendants, it’s clear everyone knows their role and their place. And the customer service is excellent.
There’s always a new discovery to be made at Disney. I’m floored with how they’re able to keep it relevant and fresh each time… I cannot begin to imagine the planning that goes into each part of the park all year round. And it’s amazing how each experience (no matter how crowded) stays with you for life.
Disneyland really is a magical place.