Wanting to make a frugal point, Andrew shot down my idea to take a taxi Tuesday morning to Disneyland. It wasn't a completely brainless idea. After all, we had a magic morning pass to use. Andrew didn’t deem the fare of a taxi worth the magical gift of being admitted an hour early. Fortunately, he offered to take Eliza, Henry and myself to the park in our car early and then return to the hotel in time to take the first shuttle.
What a hero.
No seriously. Look at him. He makes traveling with three children look easy.
We were reunited a few minutes before California Adventure opened. Adding to the day’s excitement was the promised arrival of Uncle Mike! His work schedule magically had him in L.A. the same week we were there. Arriving a day early, he was able to spend Tuesday with us!
Multiple tips stated that Toy Story Mania is the place to begin your day, as it is a popular attraction that does not offer the Fast Pass option. Off we went…
After completing the ride, we found Uncle Mike. For the adults, the California ‘Scream My Lungs Out’ roller coaster came next. Mike had to ride it twice. My rider swap pass accommodates two guests and Eliza was two inches too short. King Triton’s carousel, a giant swab of cotton candy and Buzz Lightyear occupied the children in the meantime.
While Andrew headed to Soarin for a group of fast passes, Eliza, Mike and I made a stop at Grizzly River rapids.
“You're sure this is safe?” She asked the attendant as we loaded into our raft. Not hearing Eliza’s concerned plea, she repeated much louder,
“EXCUSE ME? I SAID, IS THIS RIDE SAFE?” once again proving that she is my daughter. I told her not to waste a moment being worried about her safety. We were secure. As for being concerned about the sure possibility of walking off the ride soaked… well, my friend, that is what you call justifiable concern.
The next few minutes were some of the best of the entire trip for me. Mike is the best person to have around when you need an old fashioned, laugh until you
wet yourself cry, belly guffaw. Andrew claimed, on more than one occasion, that he could determine my voice screaming, as he waited for our exit from an attraction. Grizzly river run, along with Tower or Terror, was one of those rides.
The lines were quick. Many attractions we walked on; this being one of them. With the wait not an issue, when Eliza pleaded to go on it again the second the ride concluded, we obliged. I waited for Andrew to scurry along with Mike and Eliza, but found that Andrew had zero interest in soggy socks.
His decision proved wise. It was overcast. Thankfully, it never rained. However, after further soaking myself, I ended up with a nasty chill that lasted a few hours. Eliza didn’t seem to mind and thankfully dried off much faster.
Another memory of note revolves around a public disagreement Andrew and I shared prior to attending a performance of Aladdin. When he realized that the production was a shocking 50 minutes long, he put his foot down. He didn’t want to waste time in the park at a Broadway style production. Bah.
On the other hand, I thought it would be a nice way to relax... perhaps being indoors would warm me up. I also had high hopes that the show would be stellar. I was totally right on all counts, for the record.
As we talked through ‘our feelings,’ a kind stroller-parking attendant offered to have us placed on a VIP list (what did I say about those magic Disney emotional band aids? Not that we deserved this one...) for a show scheduled later that same afternoon. This would decrease our wait time to be seated and ensure a great view. That seemed to appease Andrew’s displeasure over the idea and it’s a good thing because the show was wonderful.
Throughout the trip, Henry’s four year old eyes sparkled as he took in the pirates, watched the animals that he swore were real on the Jungle Cruise, passed out hugs to characters and soaked in the magic of the evening parades. However, if I had to choose what I thought was the stand out moment of transfixed amazement, it would be the production of Aladdin. From our second row seat, Henry took in each detail. I found myself watching Henry more than the stage, even though the production was truly fantastic. Watching him enthusiastically clap his hands and gape with his mouth wide open was pretty darn cute.
And since I’m already aboard the Henry train, I have additional commentary to share.
Andrew and I have been measuring Henry on a regular basis for the last few months. 40 inches is the magical height that ensures passage on Splash, Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain Railroad, Tower of Terror and Soarin over California. For the last while, he has measured a frustrating 39 and ¾ inches tall with shoes. Rumor had it that Disney takes their height laws seriously.
With that being said, it’s up to you to judge us as being clever or a family of cheats; (with the exception of Eliza whom chastised us more than once for our dishonesty) as I illustrate the solution we devised. After purchasing a pair of flip-flops from the dollar store, Andrew cut and shaved them down to an appropriate size. The boost his homemade pair of inserts provided placed him exactly where he needed to be. He was undeniably 40 inches.Sometimes he left the inserts in because they weren't much of an irritation, while other times we simply slipped them in prior to riding a certain ride.
As happy as I was that he was able to meet the height requirement, I remained cautious over how he’d react to the thrill rides. My concern was quickly set at ease. Henry proved to be fearless. Seconds after he began his ride on Space Mountain, my precious peanut sized four year old turned to his Daddy and asked,
“When do I put my arms up?” After indicating that now was indeed that time, Henry raised his arms high into the air. According to Andrew, he held them up the duration of the ride. After finishing our turn on Thunder Mountain, I leaned over and said,
“We made it, Henry!” His happy reply was simple, “BOO-YAH!”
My greatest apprehension for Henry came our second day when Andrew invited him to go on the Tower of Terror. I swallowed my concern as we said farewell. He returned from the ride with a glowing report. When asked if he’d go again with his Mom, he didn’t hesitate. As we stood in line, I noticed an older boy. It was clear that he was beside himself with anxiety. His Mom noticed little Henry and pointed him out to her son.
“If that little boy can be brave, so can you.” Trying to help, I piped in.
“This is his second time. Henry, tell this boy how awesome Tower of Terror is.” In a quiet, yet firm voice, Henry obliged.
“It’s SUPER awesome!”
Grizzly river rapids, Goofy’s sky school and Mickey’s symphony swings were among Eliza’s top picks that day. She didn’t say no to a ride, but didn’t want to return to Tower of Terror or Space Mountain.
While Andrew, Lottie and I made our way to save seats for World of Color, Uncle Mike took Eliza and Henry on Toy Story Mania. Having to catch his shuttle, we said goodbye to him a few minutes before the show began. Pulling out the glow sticks I bought at the dollar store before we left, the kids entertained themselves and a few of the children near us until the show began.
Did I mention how happy I am that Lottie was there?And to Uncle Mike, thanks again! We had a blast.