Friday, April 8, 2016

Disneyland Adventures!

Aaron reminds me of a little kid: when he gets a little bit of extra money, it burns a hole in his pocket and he can't be content until its spent. After all of our expenses were paid, there was a small surplus from our bonus, and Aaron was insistent that we should spend it on a trip to Disneyland. Of course being the practical person that I am, I dragged my feet and suggested that we deposit the excess in savings for a rainy day. When Aaron became almost emotional, convincing me that our family "needed" a trip to Disneyland to have a family bonding experience, I conceded and we booked the tickets for the next month. He knows I'm a sucker for building family traditions and creating family memories.

We knew that endeavoring to cram a week's worth of clothes, bedding, and food into our car, drive 12 hours to California, and spend four days trekking around the theme parks with our five children in tow would be a major undertaking, but we decided to just do the best we could and make it work. Having three children who struggle with long distances made bringing a stroller a necessity--Aaron was a beast at maneuvering it through the park and since the stroller only accommodated two kids comfortably, I carried the odd-man-out a fair portion of the time. According to my step-counter, we averaged around ten miles a day! Since Hank and Max were the only ones tall enough to ride some of the bigger attractions, it was a juggling act to have one person take the older ones on a ride while the younger ones went on a teeny-bopper ride, and then coordinate at a meet up location later. Since our hotel was only a short walk away, we pushed as long as we could until moods were at the breaking point (not going to lie, it may have been my mood that was at the breaking point a time or two) and then walked back to the hotel for a late swim.

Now that I've documented the reality of our challenges, let's get to the fun part! Disneyland is simply magical! Every way we turned, the kids' heads were spinning, their eyes wide with excitement and jumping up and down, pointing at a character, a parade, or an attraction. We planned our trip around dates that historically had low park attendance, and between our fast passes and Benny's disability access pass, we never waited in a line for longer than a few minutes! Hank and Max think they're pretty brave and loved California Screaming and the Tower of Terror. Ben loved the Dumbo ride, Joey liked the Buzz Lightyear target shooting, and Rocky was still a little oblivious to it all.

This stroller was packed to the brim with 100+ pounds in kids, a cooler filled with sack lunches and snacks, and sweatshirts for the cooler evening temperatures. We wouldn't have survived without the stroller, but man was it a burden to push through the park.

While the older kids rode the big-kid rides, I entertained Rocky with lots of fruit snacks and popped into the little gift shops throughout the park.

Disneyland is an assault on the senses with so much commotion, bright lights and blaring sounds everywhere. I think Ben felt defensive and out of his comfort zone much of the time, but he was content to be pushed in the stroller and loved the kiddy rides.

I love that Disneyland is a place that grows with you--it is magical at every age. It is priceless to experience the wonder of The Happiest Place on Earth through the eyes of my children. 

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