Our second day at Disneyland was a bit of a rough start. Little people didn’t get quite enough sleep. Coffee was not consumed early enough. Hoards of people flocked to the gates an hour early for Disneyland’s early opening. We were among them. We were dragging… Quite a bit.
Alice (very appropriately) snatched up a shiny red apple from the breakfast spread at the hotel. Today was a day that I had been looking forward to for weeks; we had reservations to dine with the princesses at Ariel’s Grotto. I brought along Alice’s Snow White dress for the occasion. About two weeks before we left, I had a moment of extreme, dorkheimer clarity where I resolved to match the little lady. No, I wasn’t going to wear the same dress… I was just going to be “inspired” by Alice’s outfit. Brace yourselves for the onslaught of nerdyness…
Seriously, if a grown woman can’t dress up as Snow White at Disneyland, the world is a very unfair place. I was later asked by a perky girl in her early twenties if I was “Disneybounding as Snow White, cause that is, like, so. SO. CUTE.” Now I know that dressing in a regular outfit “inspired” by a Disney character isn’t just, like, a thing, and, like, so. SO. CUTE, but it has a name; Disneybounding. And after it was brought to my attention, I realized there were scads of people doing the very same type of thing I was. And all of them were a decade younger than me. Even when I don’t even know it, I’m trying too hard.
Before we got around to having breakfast (at 9:30, which is damn near lunch time when you wake up at the ass crack of dawn to dress as Disney characters), we caved to Finn’s ever-increasing insistence that he go on The Tower of Terror. It is aptly named; you get on an elevator in a run-down, haunted, cursed hotel only to shot up 130 feet and shot back down. Again. And again. And again. Normally, this kinda thing is my jam, but when you involve your naive five-year-old, the momma bear instict kicks in.
We tried talking him out of it. I made him watch a Youtube video of the ride (which only made him more intent on going). We resorted to begging, pleading and swearing that it was the scariest ride in the park (it is). At the end of it all, we decided that the only way to get him to understand how scary it really is was to let him have his way and go on the ride. He’d learn the hard way.
I gave him every opportunity to back out; all the way up to getting in the actual elevator. He insisted. And after buckling in, I realized all this time I had worried about it FOR HIM, I had forgotten just how scary it was going to be FOR ME. We got in, I got the camera rolling, wrapped my arm around Finny and then started to panic. But only on the inside. A few seconds later, I was panicking on the outside, too.
And it was ugly. Like, nostril-flaring, chin-quivering, ugly-faced crying UGLY. Wanna see? Yes. Yes, you do.
And it only got worse…
All the while, Finn never made a peep. Big eyes, one hand clutched to me and the other one in his mouth. He was braver than I. And when we got off, he was peachy. My leg was shaking like a Nokia on vibrate. Finn wanted to go again.
“Mom. MOM. I forgot to scream! I was so brave that I didn’t even scream. We have to go on it again! ”
Just in case you want to listen to me completely lose my shit, here is a minute of video. Of me screaming. And Finn’s eyes as big as saucers. My dad will totally watch it. And that’s probably all. Sidebar; this is the worst I have ever looked on camera. And the one screaming the loudest and the longest? Yeah… That’d be me.
Right after Tower of Terror, we headed over to breakfast. Where Alice was decidedly in hog heaven.
Princess after princess came and went. Alice was too excited to care much about her food. I was too excited to care about how much it was costing us since we were saving hours of waiting in line to get autographs and pictures with Alice’s celebrities.
The only one she couldn’t quite warm up to was Belle (I think it was the giant dress), but Finn was quite smitten. Cue the blushing.
Sadly, Tiana was nowhere to be found. Alice was pretty let down about that, but when we told her we’d get to meet Rapunzel the next day, she leveled off.
And finally; mercifully, Nathan got some coffee in his system.
We headed to Cars Land to use our passes at the Radiator Springs Racers. This is the newest and (what seems to be) the most popular attraction in the whole park. Since Alice was too small to ride, Nathan and Finn went first, followed by me flying solo. Trying to explain the Fastpass system, baby swap and wait times to a five-year-old that so desperately wants to ride again sent Finny into a frenzy… He threw a monumental tantrum. Nathan ushered me on my way and Finn booked after me, darting through the crowds faster than a dad with a toddler could chase after him. By the time I met back up with them, Finn and Alice were both (still) bawling and we beelined it for the park’s exit.
Once the kids had napped, they were in much better spirits. By that time, it was Nathan and I’s turn to have our own tantrums. It came to a head on our walk to McDonald’s. Nathan resolved to take Alice in one direction while Finn and I went in another. We managed to hold it together for a meal. After Finn remarked that “Daddy isn’t going to leave with Alice; it’s all just a joke,” we both had calmed down, parental guilt weighing on our shoulders. Honestly, there really isn’t much a handful of carbs and a box of McNuggets can’t fix when you’re on vacation.
Poof. Everything was perfect again.
We took in Mickey and Minnie’s houses over at Toon Town…
And I managed to snap two of the most adorable pics of Nathan and the kids that night. Sure, they might not be in focus, but to me; they’re perfect.
Knowing we still had a third day to conquer, we headed back to the hotel around ten and hoped for a better start the following day.
After riding everything we’d missed in Fantasyland, Adventureland and taking in Big Thunder Mountain, we rafted over to The Pirate’s Lair. To me, it will always be Tom Sawyer Island. There weren’t many people over there; we explored the caves, bridges and the island’s bathrooms in relative peace.
Just before we made our final stop of the day, we scarfed down Dole Whips outside the Tiki Room. Then we settled in to watch the story of Tangled at The Royal Theatre. Man, Disney puts the Renaissance Fairs to shame. It was hilarious and the kids both enjoyed themselves.
After the show, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider came out to meet us. Alice was shy. And hey; Flynn Rider made me blush, too.
The kids were tiring out and we made the wise choice to head on out before things got ugly. Sadly (though not as sadly as when I leave Disney World), we bid Disneyland adieu. And made it our life’s mission to make it to Vegas before nightfall.
Success? Yes. Two happy kids. Two exhausted but happy parents. And totally worth that reasonably large sum of money.
And for those of you still standing, please hold on to the handrails throughout our journey and check out Part 1 of our Disneyland adventure. And please stand clear of the doors.