Bad Mom,  Bug,  Niece-com-poops,  raving lunatic rant,  travel

The really long Disneyland write up…

Disneyland was sooooo much fun.

At first I thought I had made a huge mistake coming. We got off to a bad start when I somehow I took a wrong street in and got funneled off into the forgotten Pumba parking lot. The Pumba parking lot is for the exiled. It is seriously about three miles from the park with no shuttle service. That’s all fine and good because there are plenty of people to follow so you don’t get lost but I wasted at least a half an hour just hoofing it there and then standing in line to get a ticket.

Disneyland is insanely popular on the weekend. And even more insane on a holiday weekend. Who goes to Disneyland on St. Patrick’s Day? Apparently everyone. Here’s my first piece of advice: If you want to visit Disneyland, please please PLEASE go on a weekday and try to make it during the winter. If you can go in the rain, even better. Because believe me, it is really really scary when you’re trying to make your way through the bottle neck that is Fantasy Land and you can barely put one foot in front of the other. Poor Baby Bug’s eyes were almost popping out of her head. It was just so much all at once. The music coming out of the sky, people coming at her from all directions and touching her and then so so so so much to look at. It must have been like an acid trip for her.

Thankfully, the worst of the pressing crowd was just Fantasy Land itself. I think that’s where everyone heads first. It’s a straight shot from the entrance through the big pink castle and it’s mostly for kids. Pretty much everyone there is with kids so it makes sense that Fantasy Land is a sweaty squealing mosh pit of strollers. I couldn’t get out fast enough. My second piece of advice: Don’t go to Fantasy Land first. Take a side route. Visit Frontier Land. Go anywhere else. You can do the tea cups and Snow Whites scary lurching cart ride later. You’ll thank me.

I met up with my family at “It’s a Small World” and that’s when the fun really started. Baby Bug LOVED LOVED LOVED “It’s a Small World”. She kept saying “Wow, wow, wow WoWWWWW, WOW!” over and over before we even got inside. She’d never seen such a big “tick tock” before. It was like a story book come to life for her. When we were inside, I think both my mom and I had way more fun watching her than we did looking at anything else.

I remember my teenage years and how much I hated “It’s a Small World”. It was so boring. I had no idea that one day I would find it exactly the opposite. I can’t even describe how wonderful it is to watch your baby exclaim her joy over funny moving singing dolls. It was my little niece Super Chick’s first visit too and she did not disappoint with her exclamations over the mermaids.

After that we headed to Toon Town and probably wasted half our day trying to figure out what to eat for lunch. That’s my third piece of advice for future Disneyland adventurers: Have a plan. Take twenty minutes out of your morning and decide amongst your group where you’d like to go and where you’d like to eat. Don’t be like us and traverse back and forth across the park on any given whim.

This is mostly my fault and I feel terrible about it because I think I cost my nieces some valuable time with the Princesses which they’ve waited all year to meet. I didn’t have any expectations. I figured I couldn’t really go on rides because of Baby Bug so I was content to leisurely stroll all day. Unfortunately my leisurely strolling ideas ended up taking my family with me and we spent the whole day strolling. Except by the end of the day it felt more like trudging.

We did hit the Jungle Cruise and guess what? They’ve changed something. I thought I’d seen it all but there is a fun surprise at the end that scared me right out of my skin. But in a good way. Even Baby Bug thought it was funny. She loved the elephants and the head hunters banging on their drums. Speaking of drums, she loved the Enchanted Tiki room with all it’s clicky wooden singing flowers too, of course. How could she not. Everything I used to hate is fun again.

I didn’t take very many pictures because I had Baby Bug strapped to me for most of the day and I’m kinda awkward with the camera when she’s lurching every which way off the front of me. When I left my car I thought, “Oh, I’ll just leave the stroller in the car and come back for it later when I need it.” Big mistake. There is no time for going back to your car when it takes you half an hour to get there. Going there an back takes an entire HOUR! What a huge colossal waste of time. But I did go back because the baby carrier got very hot and sweaty and Baby Bug was dying to get out and experience things. I hate it when she jumps off my legs with her feet. It can make it very difficult to walk. So back to the car we went to get the stroller and some cooler clothes.

That would be my fourth piece of advice: When you leave your car, take everything you need. By the time you come back, the temperature will have completely changed (along with the time zone) and you won’t need that short sleeved shirt you went out there for in the first place. Don’t be like me. Take everything or just tough it out.

The stroller was nice though. It was perfect for Baby Bug to take a nap in. She took a huge long nap right in the middle of everything. She didn’t even flinch as I drove her right past an Irish Band singing very loud jig music. I think she was exhausted. She needed to recharge her battery after all that excitement in “It’s a Small World”.

It’s a good thing she recharged because after that we did some swing dancing in the Carnation Plaza with my nieces. Whoooeeee that was fun! We didn’t know the steps like all the other whirling couples but we had a lot of fun holding hands and spinning around like silly kids. I love being a kid. Baby Bug loves being a kid. She kept pointing and shouting “Bebe! Bebe!” at all the other kids her size. I think she would have been perfectly content just to people watch all day. I know I would have.

Speaking of people watching…Disneyland is an amazing swatch of humanity. Did you know that 80 percent of people who visit Disneyland are overweight? It’s really strange. I don’t think I saw anyone over the age of thirteen who wasn’t carrying at least 20 extra pounds. Maybe I’ve just been living in the plastic Orange County too long where everyone is anorexic with fake boobs. Whatever, it sure motivated me to pick up the pace and never wear too small clothes again.

Can you tell I did a lot of people watching? That’s what we did while the rest of my family rode the “scary” rides. I’m super paranoid of anything being “frightening” to Baby Bug. My brother rolls his eyes at me. I didn’t want to take Baby Bug on a lot of the rides because I was afraid they might give her nightmares. I’m just funny that way. I had a lot of nightmares as a child and I don’t want her to go through that. At least not for a while.

She just seems so little and fragile to me. It was like pulling teeth for me to let my brother watch her while I rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Even though she was safely strapped into her stroller sleeping and my brother is a six foot two-hundred-and-something pound scary looking guy, I couldn’t help myself from turning around every five minutes in line just to make sure she was okay. I kept imagining strangers stealing her or that she would wake up and not see me and be overcome with fear. Of course she was fine and was still fast asleep when I got off the ride. I’m just a worry wart.

This silliness reminds me of my fear of losing my stroller. What can I say? I saved up for a year to buy that stroller. It seems like a good thing to steal to me. When we were parking the stroller outside the Tiki Room (along with about fifty other strollers all loaded up with valuable looking back packs and diaper bags) I voiced my fear out loud to a Disneyland employee. He stopped and looked at me like I had just landed there from outer space.

“Nobody steals strollers.” He said to me, like Duh, I was the dumbest person on earth.

I guess he’s right but man, it was hard to let go. I kept having flashbacks to the time my Guess jeans got stolen out of my locker in eight grade. I always lose things that are valuable to me. That’s why I never leave things. Not my stroller or Baby Bug. But you have to let go. I’m just not ready.

All in all, it was a stupendous good time. Even the food was good (which surprised me). I strongly recommend the Mexican restaurant in Frontier Land hosted by Ortega Salsa. Yummy Red Chile enchiladas! I almost want to get a year pass and take Baby Bug over and over again. You know, so we can practice and get good at it. So I don’t forget things like a second pair of clean pants and a cooler shirt and the stroller in the parking lot that is three miles away. What is up with that anyway? Why is there no love for Pumba?

Now that I’m done typing the night away… it is time for a little bit of “Wow, wow, wow WoWWWWW, WOW”ing!

Maybe you’d also like to see the souvenir I got for Baby Bug. Bwahahahaha!

I know. This toy is probably more likely to give her nightmares. I’m full of contradictions.

*Phew! If you made it all the way down here, you deserve a prize.


  • Bethany

    Wow, it sounds like it was an awesome day! So glad you had a blast, worries and all. I whole-heartedly second all your advice, especially about going on a winter weekday when it’s raining. We did that once, and it was the best time I ever had at Disneyland, because NO LINES! We should to go to Disneyland again next time we’re in SoCal visiting my relatives. Now that my daughter is three years old she would love it.

  • Jennifer

    WOW!! I love that, hahaha. I was going to share some disney tips but I didn’t want to come off like a know it all. I worked their for almost 7 years and learned a lot. It sounds like you had a great time. I can’t wait to take our youngest to Disneyland. We’re planning on a weekday sometime in October. My oldest has some sensory issues so her first trip was a little more challenging but it was magical to see everything through her eyes the first time. Isn’t it wonderful being able to experience moments like that?

    The slight change towards the end of Jungle Cruise got me too! haha. Loved it. That souvenir is wacky! hahaha.

  • karen

    My parents had 3 strollers stolen at Disneyland over the years when they took us as kids (that was back in the early 80s…). Looks like fun! I haven’t been since I was a little girl myself (and I live in so cal!), this sort of makes me want to go – on a weekday…in the rain…

  • Sarah

    I used to be a train conductor on the big steam train! Fun times! Sounds like you guys had a blast. What did they do with the Jungle Cruise??

  • DeeJay

    Wow wow wow! Too much stimuli. hehe

    Our parents took us back in 1974 and we had a pretty good time too. Came home with a hat with my name on it, a portrait of my profile drawn in chalk and a flashlight in the shape of Goofy’s head. It was cool. We traveled back to our car and ate a picnic lunch my mom had packed. Awwww. hehe

    Should be fun to take her back over the years to come! Take lots of video for us please. ;)

  • OMSH

    I remember two things about Disney World, but haven’t been to Disney Land. Are they the same? Different? Are these stupid questions?

    Do they have that slammin’ night time light parade? I remember it best – that and it’s a small world.

    I love the WOW video and of course the bwahahahaha is right up my alley!

  • little miss mel

    Congrats on your maiden voyage! I’d say it’s a success.

    Been to World twice. Not sure why I never made it to Land since we lived in LA.
    But I never made it to Alcatraz while living in SF either. Ponder……

  • Angella

    I think I already got my prize :)

    I can’t wait until the kids are older so we can go. It’s interesting how you say the rides are different as an adult. When I went as a teenager, I HATED It’s A Small World, mostly because the song was driving me crazy by the end of the ride :) And then you’d hear it from a distance when you were elsewhere and you wanted to plug your ears and run screaming. :)

    Sounds like a great day despite the remote parking – the pictures make it look like BB is having a ball! And I love the WOW video :)

  • Leah

    One of the best times I had at Disneyland line-wise was in January in the rain. It was cold, but we didn’t have to wait longer than ten minutes to get on anything. It was splendid.

    Also, when I’ve been to amusement parks with my parents, my dad usually has a plan in the form of a book that tells you exactly what order to do the rides in so you have the shortest lines. I think they recommended going to Frontier Land first too.

  • Jen

    You can just see Baby Bug having the absolute time of her life in all of these pics. What a great time you guys had! And, I don’t think you are kooky for worrying about baby stroller theft; these days, strollers are Rolls Royces for babies (with price tags to match)!

  • margalit

    Wow! Wow! Wow! What a fun time. When we lived in the Bay area, I used to drive down to LA exactly at this time of year to do my Passover shopping (I know, pathetic that you have to drive hundreds of miles to buy some freaking matzoh) and we also did the Disneyland trip. I’ve got so many fabulous memories of that time, and of course when I was a kid myself and we had a yearly pass. You’re so lucky to be so close at Anaheim!

    Next time though, take her on some rides. Most of them aren’t scary in (ugh) Fantasyland. Mr Toad? He’s fun!

  • Wendy Mac

    Loved the write-up!

    We also live in Southern California, and my little girl is now 8. We also had season passes to DL when she was a toddler, a perfect time to have them. When she is in school full-time, there is no time to make use of the passes (for the Southern California one is blacked out during the summer).

    A recommendation for the stroller-

    Do not rent a stroller, ever, unless you have to. These look identical and can easily get “swapped”, so effectively your stuff is getting stolen out of your stroller.

    I had a really nice stroller, but got worried about it getting stolen (happens all the time!) I purchased an inexpensive stroller that would still let the baby/toddler take a nap (so not an umbrella stroller, it still reclined), and I wouldn’t care if it got stolen because it was so cheap.

    But really, make sure you take valuables with you- we had our friend’s stroller get all the “stuff” stolen and they had a little girl crying over her stolen stuffed animal.

    I cannot stand the crowds in Fantasyland! I wish they would do something to improve the traffic flow- it is like that sometimes all day long, not just the mornings anymore.

    Your 30 minute walk is no different from parking in the big structure (Mickey and Friends). By the time you park and get on a shuttle and walk to the gate, it has taken me upwards of 45 minutes to do that. So don’t feel badly or anything! It’s the normal experience for most people.

    We’re going over Spring Break. No, I don’t know why. Yes, I think we’re crazy, but it’s not my idea. “Mo-om! We haven’t been to Disneyland since October!”


  • otter

    Heeeee! The Wow Wow Wow made my day :~) She is adorable. And you are a brave woman, I’m exhausted just reading about your day!

  • BeachMama

    Wow, that looks and sounds like it was a really great day! I have never been to Disney, land or world but hope to take the kids in another couple of years.

    It looks to me like you are ready for a backpack carrier. J was so big that we made the switch around six months and he lasted until about 18 months. Both Hubby and I loved carrying him around in it. We even went out to Vancouver without a stroller and he napped in it and everything. I was sad when I could no longer strap him to me and go, it makes it much easier than a stroller sometimes.

    J and I love the souvenir video, he keeps making me replay it :).

  • comfortablycrazy

    As much as I love my neice, she sounds like a cat in heat. Sorry, but it’s definately suitable for Americas Funniest Home Videos, you could submit it with no voice over required. Because you know that babies and animals always win.

  • justJENN

    You live in Orange County and have never taken the kids to Disneyland? For shame – it’s free for them! And the best thing ever is the nursing station, at the end of Main Street, that has clean toilets for little girls and boys and diapers and changing tables…ah…heaven.

  • Photographer Lori

    “Speaking of people watching…Disneyland is an amazing swatch of humanity. Did you know that 80 percent of people who visit Disneyland are overweight? It’s really strange. I don’t think I saw anyone over the age of thirteen who wasn’t carrying at least 20 extra pounds. Maybe I’ve just been living in the plastic Orange County too long where everyone is anorexic with fake boobs. Whatever, it sure motivated me to pick up the pace and never wear too small clothes again.”

    That is exactly what the husband and I thought!

  • Sistina

    I second the cheap, yet comfortable stroller for this kind of thing. You have to worry about Bug, you don’t have to worry about your stroller.

  • irish mistery

    Wow, that looks like a blast-you are so lucky to be just a car ride from the ‘happiest place on earth’! You’re right about how things are so different through the eyes of an adult–I’m glad we took our son when he was young–it’s truly magical. Can’t wait to return someday…

  • Sheree

    You have to get the season passes. BB is free till she’s 3, so it would just be for you and Toby. We have the cheapest season passes and they’re great! We don’t buy parking- you can park for 3hrs free at Downtown Disney and then if you buy anything from Downtown Disney, you get another 2hrs free. That includes places like Jamba Juice or any of the restaurants. We often go to Disneyland for 2-3 hrs and have lunch and head home. Perfect!

    And BTW if you go thru Downtown Disney, it’s a shorter walk + if the monorail is running you can get on there with your pass & it drops you off in Tomorrow land.

    Disney is so much more fun when you have kids!

  • Alissa

    I love the video!! Her wow’s sound just like a cat. In the pictures you both look soooo happy – they’re lovely. Also I would second the recommendation for another carrier to increase the comfortability and to ensure you can carry her for as long as possible. The Ergo is good if you want a structured carrier but there are also other more funky types out there that I think would suit your personality better – my favourite for you would be the BabyHawk mei tai.

  • Beth

    WOW thanks for sharing all this great fun! BB must have been wonderful to watch (i also am a ppl wtchr) it so cool to experience something through their eyes!
    i was at World on our honeymoon, loved it,2 giant KIDS! that was 26 years ago, i know alot has changed…maybe someday ill get to take my (future-hopefully) grandchildren. smiles at the prospect.
    cute girls,wonderful pics!

  • Clownfish

    Our passes arrived today! Year number 13!!! Even being in AZ now, we’ll go 4-7 times and that pays for the passes. I still love to watch my nephews and nieces as we go on all of the rides. So many fun times!

    Some ideas:
    1) Put a padlock on one stroller wheel. It won’t roll without clunking (like a Denver Boot). No one will want to carry it out. Yes, take your prized possessions with you!
    2) Downtown Disney is a great parking solution, as mentioned. If you do pay, I like the structure.
    3) Cheapest grub in the park, I believe, is the hot dog cart on the right side of Main Street, walking in, near the end.
    4) If you get a pass, we’ve gone on crowded days where we’ll grab a Coke on Main Street and ‘just’ people watch. And I agree, it’s enough to make even me order a ‘diet’ Coke! But you get to see beauties, geeks and freaks! Fun, fun, fun.
    5) Bring your extra sweatshirt and get a locker, first thing. You pay for it once but you can use it throughout the day (It generates a digital combination that you use to open it each time)

    Being that I love D-Land so much. It’s fun to hear someone who shares such a great experience!

  • LVGurl

    Looks so fun!! I loved the Small World as a child. We’re going to wait until the two chicks are a little older before we take them.

    I still love the Haunted House and Pirates. But I trip out when I think that those ghosts and pirates have been singing and twirling around over and over and over all those years.

  • Kim

    Ohhhh, all the wowwing made my clipped ovaries yell for a baby! And yes, strollers do get stolen.. at least at D-World ours did. Someone left their old one and traded up. Disney was amazing and paid for my replacement. I miss Disney Land or World.. I gota get my fix! Living in Utah that is a little hard! What a great first experience!!!