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Monday, February 02, 2015

Before turning 3

Disneyland was a blast. Utterly fabulous. It was a very different trip as Jeff and Wendy aren't big rides and coasters folks, so instead, we took more time for Fantasyland and stuff knowing we wouldn't be rushing off to grab a ride on Space Mountain or Big Thunder. Also, Disneyland is fabulous during the holidays. Just absolutely delightful. It's decorated, but it's not cloying. They somehow balance it perfectly. Things are not unnecessarily replaced. Each choice is carefully made. Small World is improved. The Jungle Cruise becomes the Jingle Cruise and is completely delightful.

We arrived Thursday evening and found ourselves slightly stuck in traffic on Disneyland Drive, delaying our meetup with the Los a bit, partially because Athena finally passed out for a nap while we waited in traffic. We arrived and I unloaded while Erik continued grading. In a whirlwind, everything was unpacked and we were ready to roll just as Athena stirred. We met up with the Los for chicken dinner at the hub, but they were finishing and getting restless. Athena was also none too thrilled about the first ride being the dinner ride. Was she hungry? No! She wanted to go on the carousel. I proposed the maybe Athena could show Connor the carousel or the flying elephants. SHe headed off with them, leading them into Fantasyland. We ate quickly and caught up in line for Dumbo. After flying elephants and carousel, Connor wanted to go on the Storybook Canals, so we hit that, much to Athena's delight. Initially she was a little scared of the "whale tunnel" but that was completely washed away after seeing Arrendelle and Elsa's palace. A new favorite was forged. We called it a night early and headed back to the hotel, ready to take on the day tomorrow.

We started the next morning with Athena decked out in her favorite Minnie Mouse dress and headed to Toontown. Here I had a moment of near-perfect parenting. She saw some toys in the Toontown shop and said, "I want that!" to several items. Fearing a weekend of saying no to one toy after another, I instead said, "Well, we can only take home one present from Disneyland, and we'll get it later. Is this the one you really want?" She made her choice from several things there, settling on a pack of six toy cars from the Cars movie. Throughout the rest of the weekend as she pointed at various things, I  said, "Do you want that more than the cars?" She'd think and then say, "No, I want the cars more." Okay! As we got ready to leave on Sunday, she asked if we could go buy her present now. I said yes and confirmed she still wanted the cars. We got it and I said, "You can't open it til we get buckled into the car to go home." She agreed and said, "Let's go!" Departure difficulty level: zero. She then played with the toys in the seat til she fell asleep 3 hours later. Then she played with them more when she woke up. It was magical. She's played with her cars dozens of times since. I don't know where I pulled that inspiration from, but it was pure genius.

After that, we tried Gadget's Go Coaster, which wasn't fun for her yet. Too fast and loud. We headed to Minnie's house for a fairly short wait to get photos with Minnie. Minnie absolutely adored her outfit and especially her shoes.
Minnie showing off their matching shoes.

The rest of the weekend was a whirl of favorite rides, favorite foods, and favorite breaks. Athena loves churros, but who doesn't, right? And did you know that if you ask at Main Street Station, they'll show you the locomotive while they load the passengers? They even open the firebox. It's powered by bio-diesel nowadays, but the Fred Gurley has run a lot fuels since it went into service in 1897.

Kids running around Tom Sawyer's Island is one of life's great joys. I remember running across the bridge when I was a kid and Athena loves it just as much as I did.

We spent Athena's naptime both days at Carthay Circle Lounge, Erik and Wendy sipping Manhattans and me sipping a Double Pear martini. There is nothing sweeter than sitting in the nicest bar you can imagine with your sleeping child wheeled up next to you. For this alone, DCA will always have a special place in my heart.

We learned the difference between Connor and Athena as night fell. At 9 p.m., Connor passed out in his stroller and would not be roused for Fantasmic or fireworks. Athena said the fireworks were too loud and could we go on the whale tunnel again now? We bid farewell to the Los on Saturday night after fireworks and headed back to Fantasyland. Erik said, "Maybe I'll duck out and hit AstroBlasters?" But then Athena started dancing and playing and giggling and both of us were thinking, "Nope. I'm good right here." It was late, it was cold, and our kid was still the most cheerful person in the queue. So we did whale tunnel, Dumbo, carousel, and finally talked her into taking the "sky train" (monorail) back to the hotel. The band in Tomorrowland was doing a cover of  AC/DC "You Shook Me All Night Long" and Athena was rocking out right til the train came.

We asked if we could ride in the nose and they said, "Sure!" so we got to watch Disneyland recede away with our 270 degree view.
We returned back to normal life on Monday the 5th.The rest of the month was good, with a brunch at our place the following weekend, dropping into the Fezziwig's cast party where Athena enjoyed playing with Vicki so very much, having Clementine for an overnight, planning a game with Erik Dahl for Kublacon, and getting out to Friday Night Waltz for Movie Night, including my getting to learn the Laendler, which was a hoot. Erik got out for Gent's night last week on Monday and I went out for Girls Gaming Night on Tuesday. But Disneyland really was the highlight. Athena is just so much fun at Disneyland. We'll be sad to have our passes expire on the 21st of March, but now that she's turned 3 and is no longer free, we expect we're going to wait til she's 40 inches tall and can go on Radiator Springs Racers before we head back again. I suspect that if she realized what she was missing, she'd be inconsolable. Meanwhile, she's got six cars from Cars that she picked out as her special present from Disneyland and they make her incredibly happy.


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