One thing I had asked in my Disneyland Advice post was if people had ever done the babysitting thing at Disneyland. I saw a tweet on Twitter where someone said that was overlawyered. Apparently you have to give permission on some card through snail mail. I saw the tweet maybe five days before we left. So we did not do babysitting.
I only considered it because I thought Gwen wouldn’t be able to go on hardly any rides. I thought it would be nice to let the kids rest at the hotel while we did some big rides they wouldn’t be interested in. It ended up not being an issue. There were only two rides Gwen couldn’t go on. The train roller coaster I talked about earlier and Mickey’s Fun Wheel. That was a Ferris Wheel I have to talk about in a minute.
I was impressed with how the rides worked. Remember, my only experience was Lagoon. Most of the rides at Lagoon require real shoes. No open toed shoes. And forget about taking your purse on a ride! Disneyland was totally different. Babies were sitting on parent’s laps. People took bags and purses and all kinds of stuff on rides. The only ride I worried about having Gwen go on was the Autopia ride.
They let her on. Gavin was with me and Heath had the rest of the kids. He couldn’t have Gwen on his lap for that ride. So she was squished between Heath and Parker. Heath said it would have been a lot easier for him to help Parker drive if he didn’t have to maneuver around Gwen.
That ride killed my leg. We climbed into the car and as soon as we were buckled the girl was telling us to go. Gavin couldn’t reach the pedal well enough and I didn’t trust him! I didn’t have time to get my right foot on the gas pedal so I drove with my left. I was pretty good. The car didn’t lurch like other people. I was smooth but that was harder than I thought it would be. Gavin steered well when he was paying attention. At one point he stopped caring so he was jerking the wheel around for the fun of it. I was getting a headache! Yep, there’s a reason why they make kids wait until they’re 16 before they can legally learn to drive!
Parker gave up or something. Heath said he took over driving about halfway through the track. His legs were bruised because he could barely fold his tall self into the car and every time Parker missed the turn the car would bang along the track. Then Heath was trying to reach the steering wheel in front of Parker while reaching around Gwen. Poor Heath. The kids were asking to go back to the hotel to take naps after that ride and we were happy to make that happen!
The Ferris Wheel was a hilarious experience. Gavin may need counseling after that one! So we’re in California Adventure and had just finished doing the Midway Games ride with the Toy Story characters. Very fun. Across from the Midway Games is the Ferris Wheel. I suggested we go. Parker wanted nothing to do with it. Gavin wasn’t so sure. I talked him into going with me. There was no line. It was a Friday morning and apparently everyone was at Disneyland.
We work our way through the line obstacles for when it is crowded and as we walked around one corner I see a sign that says something about non swinging gondolas. My agoraphobia makes me have tunnel vision most of the time. I don’t like being in charge when I’m trying something new. I had no idea where to go because there wasn’t anyone to follow! Non swinging gondolas made no sense to me. All the gondolas were swinging. That’s a Ferris Wheel! I didn’t realize there was another line to stand in to get a “non swinging gondola!”
We get up there and a family climbs into a gondola. Then it’s our turn. We climb into a green one. Gavin sits right next to me and is visibly nervous. I’m nervous too but I can’t tell him that! We start going up and the gondola starts to swing. Gavin starts to panic. I hold his hand and reassure him. We go up higher and he’s still ready to die each time we move.
Then the end of the world happens!
The gondola slides back and forth on this squished oval shaped track thing. Gavin loses his mind. I’m looking at all the other people wondering why we seem to be the only ones sliding. I saw some guy holding his infant in a snuggly on his chest. That seemed safe until we started sliding all over the place. What is going on? My fears were only squashed because I had to be brave for my 6 year old who looks like he may pee his pants he’s so freaked out!
Every time we move the gondola either swings or slides or both. Gavin is screaming at the top of his lungs. “MOMMY! THIS IS SCARIER THAN THE LAST TIME! THIS IS SO SCARY! I’M GOING TO DIE! WHEN WILL IT BE OVER?” And other similar things. Every eye is on us. Couples stop making out long enough to stare at us, the Ferris Wheel spectacle, and laugh. Then they resume kissing. Meanwhile Gavin’s fingers are blue because I don’t know what else to do but squeeze his hand and say empty words like “It’s going to be ok. You’re fine. Just relax, you’re fine. We’re almost done.”
Mercifully the ride ended after we went around twice. I couldn’t stop laughing. What else could I do? I am the worst mother in the world scaring the pants off my kid, who I know darn well is easily scared by anything a smidge off of mellow! As soon as I saw Heath I said, “He may need counseling.” Heath just looked at me. I said, “Didn’t you hear him screaming?” More confused stares. Then I said, “Who didn’t? That poor kid hated the ride.” I apologized to Gavin and we moved on to something really tame. A firefighter playground.
We rode the carousel twice without having to wait either time.
Toon Town was a lot of fun. I especially loved being an honorary citizen because we got there early. Heath convinced Gavin to go on the roller coaster in Toon Town. Gavin wasn’t so sure about it. When he was done he decided it was ok. Parker was still anti roller coaster so I was out of luck since Gavin didn’t want to go again.
We went on the Jungle Safari and that was a blast. The tour guide was hilarious. Gwen loved every second of that ride. When we were done she kept saying, “Jungle! Jungle!”
Gavin looks nervous. I don’t know if he was or not. I admit I was nervous in the Storybook boat ride that goes through the whale’s mouth and shows all the miniature towns the fairy tale characters live in. I was nervous because of the way the boat was. It felt like we were sitting right on top of the water. That was weird to me. The jungle safari was great.
The Finding Nemo Submarine ride was really cool. It was well worth the very long wait.
Another ride worth mentioning was the Monsters Inc. ride. Gavin has been terrified of Monsters Inc. for years. We figured it was because of the monsters. Parker likes to watch that movie but he usually has to wait for Gavin to be at school or something. Gavin knew about the Monsters Inc. ride and agreed to be brave.
We let the kids watch movies on the drive. Parker had chosen Monsters Inc. and Gavin agreed to have the movie in the van. But when Parker chose to watch it Gavin threw a fit. We had to do a lot of talking to get him to be ok. We learned that what he was afraid of was Roz, the mean lady who collects the paperwork. He watched the movie, closing his eyes when she was on. By the end of the movie he was ok with her and realized she wasn’t that mean or scary.
So we get the chance to go on the Monsters Inc. ride. All five of us could go on it together but we had to be spread out among three cars in the train. I don’t know what possessed us to do this but we had Gavin sit in his own car. Heath had Gwen and I had Parker. Gavin was fine with the ride. He really enjoyed it. At the very end the train kind of stops. There is a huge, larger than life statue of Roz right where the train stopped and we were waiting for other trains to empty out so we could go.
We’re looking at her and suddenly she says, “Young man in the second row . . . I’ve got my eye on you!” That was when it dawned on us that we were idiots for letting him sit alone. But he giggled. Ever since then he has felt a lot of pride for being singled out by the one character who caused him such mental turmoil. That was a great moment.
Some of those rides have the capability of reacting to the crowds. We don’t know how but it has to be true. Roz talked to another family by saying, “Young lady . . . Is that your brother?” How else could she have known to say it unless she saw a young boy and girl sitting together? Mr. Potato Head would say things to people in line for the Midway Games. Some teenager walked by and yelled out, “Mr. Potato Head! I love you!” Mr. Potato Head stopped mid sentence and said, “That never gets old.” Then he went back to what he was saying.
The rides were spectacular. Much better than I could have ever imagined.
We saw a couple of shows in between all the rides. We saw It’s Tough to be a Bug in California Adventure. That was much more interactive than I thought it would be. Heath laughs at me for jumping up when the bugs were leaving the room at the end of the show. In my defense, it felt like a bug crawled underneath me!
On Saturday we went to the Tiki Room. I thought it was a lot of fun. My favorite part was that the birds weren’t real so there was no unsightly bird poop.
Another show we saw we was the Playhouse Disney live show in California Adventure. Maybe we talked it up too much. Maybe we were tired and hungry. Maybe it lacked luster because California Adventure seemed to be bursting at the seams with local LA residents who walked around with the attitude “Entertain me. I dare you!”
Gavin would have participated more if his brother and sister would have gotten into it. Gwen surprised me with how quiet and observant she was. Parker did not surprise me with how ornery he was. He sat next to me with his head buried in my arm for most of the show. He refused to sing or otherwise participate. This is why we don’t go to Music Makers anymore.
We saw the Pixar Parade. I will put together a movie with the video and pictures later. We also saw the fireworks which I will put together in a movie later.
So many rides and so many shows. It was a great couple of days. We didn’t take as many pictures as I thought we would. We were too busy having fun.