We’re heading to Disneyland!

I’ve been reticent about taking my kids to Disneyland, even though I’m a big fan of the theme park and went there a ton as a kid. We even visit Los Angeles to visit family and generally stay within an hour’s drive of the theme park.
My concern? Single dad with three kids at completely different developmental ages, all of whom are used to the peace and quiet of a small town where a crowd of 30 is worth talking about = potential disaster at a super-popular place like Disneyland, with its mobs and queues that can take 30 minutes (or considerably longer!) to get through.

Disneyland Los Angeles California 1991

The heart of Disneyland: Cinderella’s Castle

Still, every time we visit Southern California we seem to go to SeaWorld and it was time to branch out, so thanks to some connections, I managed to get in touch with the PR team at Disneyland and ask them for some assistance. I mean, really, my kids can handle SeaWorld, they can handle Disneyland, right?
For my own part, I grew up in Los Angeles and from about the age of 10 until college, I went to Disneyland countless times. Every time anyone would visit us, I’d be their informal tourguide. I can remember having a shoebox of letter tickets. You know, “A” tickets, “B” tickets, on up to the most valuable, the “E” tickets. Now they’d be worth a lot on eBay, I suppose!

In the more recent past, I’ve really fallen in love with Walt Disney World in Florida, for its expansiveness and the sense that you’re leaving reality behind when you visit and stay on property. You can go for days and never see anything garish (other than tourist outfits!), and even if you don’t go to the parks themselves, it’s fun to cruise the monorail, rent a canoe or bicycle, and just relax at one of the many amazing pools on property.
But we don’t have family in Florida, they’re in California. So Disneyland it is!
I contacted the Disneyland PR team and they were kind enough to offer me four park passes to take the kids to Disneyland and write about it here on my blog. Of course their requirement was full disclosure — which I’d do anyway — so here it is: My thanks to the Disneyland PR team for giving us passes to the park so my kids and I can have a fun visit and write about our experiences.
It’s an expensive proposition to take three kids to Disneyland for multiple days, so I am most appreciative of the tickets and figure that (shhhh) I’ll probably spend the money on food and souvenirs anyway. 🙂


Cinderella’s Castle at night, with fireworks. Nice!

In fact, we’re moving hotels so that we spend two nights in Anaheim too. I figure that it’s going to be a whole lot more fun to walk to a hotel across the street rather than being stuck in traffic for an hour with cranky, tired, hungry kids. Further, a hotel in walking distance gives us the ability to schedule an hour of down time mid-afternoon if it seems necessary. Oh, and parking’s free at the hotel, a nice perk.
Anyway, I’m writing this from our little Disney command center. I picked up a copy of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2011 and have been chatting with the kids about dark rides, rollercoasters, and the like. My 7yo is eager but sensitive, so I know she’ll be adversely impacted (read “won’t sleep”) if we go on a ride like The Haunted Mansion with her, while my 10yo son — rather suprisingly — told me he’d never really been on a rollercoaster so didn’t know if he’d like them or not.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

“Big Thunder Mountain”. Yes, it was more than I could handle.

Yesh. And I’m a total wimp with these sort of rides too. Heck, I went on Big Thunder Mountain last time I was at Disneyworld and thought I was going to die. Yeah, not such a fan of fast, jerky, dark rides like that. So having a 7yo will be perfect cover for me! 🙂
Anyway, my hope is that the kids will skim through the book and start to identify rides they’d like to check out. We have one day at Disneyland and one day at Disney’s California Adventure, the latter of which I’ve never experienced at all.
So, dear readers, that’s the background. What should we check out? What will my kids think they’ll like but actually hate or be freaked out by? What do YOU like to do at Disneyland or DCA when you’re there?
Meanwhile I have to admit, yeah, I’m excited!

Thanks to the photographers at Flickr.com who mark their photos Creative Commons. That’s where these images came from. Once we’ve been there I’ll have my own pics to share…

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