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Disneyland: the Safest Place on Earth

Author: Rachel Dawson
Date of Trip: May 2013

Dear Travel Gods,

Just a quick thank you note for the thrills, challenges and unexpected twists in our recent, California trip this past May (called ‘Bring on Cali” by our 2 and 6 yr old girls).

Being the ultra-prepared mother I am (personal motto: “prepare for everything so nothing goes wrong”) I had the details of our 14 day trip through San Francisco, Sonoma Valley, Anaheim and San Diego nailed down. Every trip article read, packing list color coded by family member, maps and plans for Disneyland/California Adventure Park ready to go. Too much? Perhaps that is why you chose to throw some major (albeit delightful) twists my way?

It seems our feisty two year (yes, the red curly haired one) had a growth spurt on the airplane as when we landed 60% of what I had packed no longer fit! My husband politely suggested it was because I packed a month in advance – funny man! So, a quick trip to Target on our way to Sonoma was in order, which wasn’t so bad, as we scored a discounted umbrella stroller (ours may be circulating a baggage carousel somewhere in the world at this very moment). Alas, their perfectly chosen, color and style coordinated outfits were no more…

In Sonoma my 6 year old daughter gladly accepted the open microphone invitation during our friend’s wedding. I was prepared to slink under the table if she, as per usual, decided to start singing (did I mention tone deafness runs in the family?). I closed my eyes, hoped for the best – and heard laughter. She had politely thanked the bride and groom for inviting us, was delighted about seeing their ‘first kiss’ and was happy to announce Mommy’s new favorite drink is the grape juice that grows there.

On to the ‘happiest place on earth’ which could also be the ‘safest place on earth.’ Should my kids get lost, they are to find the closest mom and ask her to call us. Of course we lost a child! Did she find the closest mom? No, she wandered up to Goofy and was delightfully entertained by staff who had radioed a lost child call before we even realized she had wandered off. Thank you, awesome Disney staff!

My schedule of Disneyland/California Adventure Park went out the window (except the fastpass plan!) when my youngest said “I don’t want a nap, I want to go on rides until I fall asleep!” Who can resist a child learning to make the most of their time? Especially when there are minimal lineups and plenty of snacks packed…

Of course, making the most of it meant that she was fast asleep during the character dining at Goofy’s Kitchen. Should we wake her? We chose not to, a decision which resulted in the spontaneous and cutest pictures yet; our family and Goofy surrounding the stroller making ‘shshing’ gestures, Minnie mouse rubbing noses with our fast asleep toddler. Plus, a quiet(ish) dinner to boot!

So, my lesson was learned: although you can be prepared, learning to relax and go with the flow can also result in an amazing adventure.

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