There’s No Place Like Home!

Maybe it’s a mark of being a real, finally-made-it grown up, but there really is no place like home… (Despite the fact I still feel like a kid masquerading as a Mama much of the time…) Never have I been so happy to see anything as I was seeing my own living room last night, as we traipsed in- trailing luggage, flashing, twirling, sparkling Disneyland souvenirs and stinking bags of hot food. I am home! Home at last!

My husband is stuffed on Jakes pizza, La Bamba burritos and Togo’s #9 subs. We have enough food for a week, I’m totally not kidding. I packed and checked an extra suitcasewith nothing but food for my husband- there was no way I was risking the guacamole on the burritos being considered a “liquid” and losing them at security. As it was, they took my new tube of Desitin, and I had to throw out a new bottle of Triaminic kids cold medicine. Just check everything, if you’re travelling soon- it’s SO much the hassle.

First, a few words about Disneyland….

All in all, it was a good trip. Minus a few tense moments due in any group of ten people, we had a pretty good time. It was hotter than blazes, and humid, and we all got sunburned- note to the wise: SPF 50 does no good on non-fat-milk-white redheads. Travelling with three kids, the oldest of whom turned 5 while we were in Disneyland, taught me a few things….

First: Invest in a good stroller! It really is worth the extra cash. What constitutes a “good” stroller for each mama is different, but for starters, wheels that roll easily and handles the proper height for your arms are a good. After day one, I 86’ed the Peg Perego I had borrowed, and happily dropped $129 bucks on some new wheels at Target. And I would do it again tomorrow for how much grief and agony it saved us… Anyone need a barely used “Sit and Stand” duo stroller? Cheap?! Includes genuine Disneyland dirt and maybe some popcorn, too!

Second: When in Disneyland, find the nearest Target! There is one about 1/2 mile down Harbor Blvd, and they open at 8 a.m. every day. We saved so stinkin’ much money by making our own PBJ’s and taking our own bottles of water into the Park. A PBJ at the spaceport in Tomorrowland is $5.99. We were in Disneyland five days, so on lunch for each of my boys, I saved $60!! And, we bought three cases (yes, cases- it was HOT!) of bottled water, and just loaded up the stroller baskets with them- and at $2.98 per bottle in the Park, I can’t even to the math on that one! So hit Target. You’ll be ever so glad you did!

Third: If you are in Disneyland with babies or toddlers, know about the Baby Center; end of Main Street on the right, behind the corn dog cart and next to the first-aid station. Heaven on earth, those ladies are! This is a free, totally stocked, totally staffed wonder center for haggard hot mama’s and the kids that torture them. Air conditioned, quiet, a free kitchen if you need to fix some food for baby, high chairs, a cool and quiet nursing lounge, banks of changing tables, sinks supplies, and small, toddler-size potties if your 2 year-old is still just learning. The also have a TV area, toys and a giant Lego table for your older kids to keep busy while you feed baby, and they show, what else (?), Disney movies. I spent many an hour in there, cooling my jets and recharging ourselves for the long evening ahead.

Fourth: Disneyland is the best place on earth for a turning-five boy to have his birthday, and you can quote me. If your kid is having a birthday while at the Park, stop in at city hall on Mail Street, and they will give your child a button to wear for the day, proclaiming to everyone It’s My Birthday! Not sure what they do to the cast members, but everyone who passed us, helped us or otherwise noticed us wished Jeffrey a Happy Birthday, and always by name! On the rides, the opperators would announce with their loud speaker that Jeffrey was turing five today, and some would clap, some would sing- he felt about 15 feet tall.

The night of Jeffrey’s birthday, I left him at the park with my family while I went back to the hotel with Eric and Abby, who badly needed some sleep, and my cousin Michael. Jeffrey got to make all the calls on rides and activities for the night- and Grandma took him shopping for some special birthday goodies. He chose Pirates, Big Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Dumbo and Alice in Wonderland.

When they trudged back to the hotel, I have never seen such a happy child as Jeffrey was that night. He had his mouse ears on, riding in the Sit-n-Stand stroller, surrounded by packages, sun-kissed, freckled, holding a pirate sword and hook my brother Dumb gave him, glowing with pride and happiness. He jumped from the stroller and ran to me: “Mama! This was the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!”

As I wiped some tears from the corner of my eyes, all the heat, hassle and tension fell away, and I experienced a moment of pure joy with my oldest child.

Mission accomplished.

7 thoughts on “There’s No Place Like Home!

  1. Those are GREAT Disneyland tips. I know Abbey is still young…but when we go we go to that same Target and get some princess things. They have lots of Disney stuff year round there. Every day my daughter wakes up to a “Princess gift”. It could be a t shirt, a necklace, a doll, etc. usually between 5-10 dollars (we only go for three days…so it isn’t as bad). Lu takes her gift to the park with her and it REALLY cuts down on the begging for gifts. We also let her choose ONE thing to buy in the park and we do it the last day. That way when she goes into the shops she is always “just looking” to decide what she wants.

    LOVE the update. Will we see pictures? Also, where do you stay? I am always looking for a good place to stay. 🙂

  2. You’re back! Yeay! Glad you had fun. Now I want my kids to have their birthdays at Disneyland. I want to go to Disneyland. Let’s all go to Disneyland.

  3. What a great idea – tips for bringing kids to theme parks! I think you’re brave for bringing little ones – I realized how much my sister in law missed of the park when she had a 2 year old last year.

  4. I want to go for MY birthday! LOL! Sounds like so much fun! I get butterflies just thinking about that wonderful place! Thanks for all of the tips! It gives me hope for going to the Happiest Place on Earth with a toddler! So glad you had fun and that your back now so that we can enjoy more of your entertaining posts!

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