Monday, March 9, 2009

Good Mood, go figure!

Okay, I can see people like me better when I'm back to my crotchety and political self...
Point taken, everybody. I was going to come back swinging at some political notion I am completely and totally irate over, but--and no one was as shocked by this as me, trust me--I am in way too good of a mood, and can't think of anything to complain about. Don't get me wrong, my morning has been a total mess, I need to go to the grocery store but am still in my workout clothes--even though my workout got cut short--and I just discovered that my daughter has learned not only how to get around my carefully placed obstacles and fill her lap (and my family room) with every DVD we own (this morning), but she also learned how to actually pick up and dump out her toy bins one by one (about 5 minutes ago, I'm now sitting in a room that looks like a tornado blew through it). And I was afraid she would figure out a new way to make a huge mess in another few days...not only a few hours. Silly mommy, tricks are for Sam.
Anyway, the disturbing truth is, that despite all these fun and messy adventures--despite actually watching the news the other day, and finally, despite the scale going up another pound today completely flying in the face of a week of careful calorie counting and intense workouts--I am in a bizzarely calm and happy mood. Case in point: I'm watching the mess build in amusement, instead of going nuts and trying to stop the bin-dumping.
Why am I so zen today? Because I am uber-excited about something, and it seems like the closer it gets, the more my happy side wins out.
What am I waiting for?
In less than two weeks, we are going to Disneyland! Well, Daniel and I are, Sam is going to be staying behind with some very wonderful friends to allow us to travel to all the rides we want without breaking for a nap or diaper change every other ride. Daniel's mom is actually paying for the trip, because we offered to take his twin brothers (who are graduating from high school and get a trip as a gift) as long as she agreed to come too instead of stay behind as she usually does. I am so excited, not just because I love Disneyland so very much, but because this will be the twins first trip, and I can't wait to introduce them to the Happiest Place on Earth. I can't wait to introduce Sam either, when she's old enough to go on some rides and enjoy it for what it is--but that will have to wait a couple of years.
In fact, I haven't exactly waited to introduce the boys to the Disney magic, as every day, starting a month before our departure, I send them an email with pictures and a description of a particular ride, or show. That's how excited I am, really, it's nuts.
So, since I am in too good a mood to complain, and all I can think about is the House of Mouse, I'll steal a little from my daily email to the boys and post my favorite top 10 tricks to enjoy Disneyland, in case any one else has a trip planned any time soon. Keep in mind, these are aimed at teenagers and adults, but anyone can enjoy them.

10. Appreciate the little things--Disneyland is the cleanest theme park I've ever been to, and they work hard to keep you safe and entertained even when you're waiting in line. Appreciate the authentic props, the friendly cast members that all have tucked in shirts, the full sets of teeth on the ride operators. Seriously, you won't see that anywhere else!
9. Know they're here to make money, and they've been perfecting it for over 50 years. Everything in the park is expensive, that's how Disney does it. Just accept that and move on. You can spend the entire trip gagging on the price tags of everything, or you can be prepared for it, and just not buy stuff that's not worth the extra money. Don't spend your stay being shocked and appalled, you're only sucking the fun out of it for yourself (and anyone stuck traveling with or shopping in your earshot). No one will force you to buy a souveniur at 100% markup, I promise, so be shocked once and get over it.
8. Use the Photopass people! These people are pros stationed at the best picture spots in the park and they are armed with cameras to take portraits you can buy later. What most people don't realize is, they don't have to just take pictures with their camera and charge you an arm and leg at the end of the day, they will gladly take a picture with your camera so everyone can be in the shot. Not to mention, since they do this all day, they are really great at framing the shot to get both you and the attraction you want in the picture! Much better than some wee little shapes in front of the towering, but cut off, Matterhorn mountain. I still recommend letting them take some with the pro camera too, they'll fill a card with pictures all day for free and you can buy them for up to a month after your trip, sometimes a nice large picture of all of you taken by a pro is the best souvenir. If you don't buy any, no harm no foul, but you can still show the online pictures to your friends for free.
7. Despite #9, you just have to splurge sometimes, especially on classic theme park treats. Disneyland is known for it's awesome churros, and if I don't have a frozen banana in the park every day, it's like I didn't even go to Disneyland at all. Decide what you like and want--maybe it's Mickey mouse shaped ice cream pops, or popcorn from a cart (all the carts have different "characters" turning the popcorn, depending on the land they're in, by the way) and just go for it. Life is too short not to buy a 4 dollar churro or overpriced cookie--once in a while. It's not like you're there all that often (if you are there every weekend, this clearly doesn't apply). Not into the edible stuff? That's fine (odd, but fine)--buy a fiber optic light to wave at Fantasmic, or a classic Mickey balloon. Just enjoy a few hours or moments of pleasure, everything doesn't have to be a permanent investment. I just have two totally awesome words to add here to the non-food loving weirdos: Dole Whip. Only available at the juice bar outside the Tiki Room, and flat out fabulous! Picture an ice cream float with fresh pineapple juice and pineapple ice cream...mmmm. Still anti-food? You are nuts.
6. Package pick up. If you do buy something non-edible, you don't want to carry it around all day and risk breaking it on the rides, so use package pick up. Pay for your purchase at the store, and a few hours later, it will be waiting at the newstand by the front gate for you to pick it up on your way back to your hotel. This is awesome, and it's free, so no more cramming into stores 15 minutes before closing with all the other suckers who didn't want to shop and carry it around all day. This is win-win.
5. Don't be ashamed to buy or wear Mickey Mouse ears. It's okay, at some point in every life, everybody does it. They make endless variations of the classic ears, even mickey ears with graduation caps (seems appropriate for the twins) and it's totally okay if you want to get your names sewn on the back and wear them around the park. We've all done it, and you'll see people from all walks of life doing it too. I'm not ashamed of my pink Minnie ears that represent my childhood--I'd wear them with pride if my head was still that small.
4. Especially for teens and adults: It's the land of the mouse, so embrace the cheese! Yes, we are all old enough to know that its not "really" Mickey Mouse sweating in that giant head, but if you want to wait in line to get a picture with a character, that's okay. I've had a bad experience with Goofy, so I'll stay a few feet away from anyone whose face I can't actually see, but you are never too old to want your picture with someone you loved as a kid, and we won't mock you and it's not "doing the park wrong" if you want a break from the rides to enjoy the characters, or shows, or stories. Besides, one of my favorite memories of going to the park after High School is when Daniel fell into the clutches of Princess Atta (yep, the giant ant) who wouldn't let him go until she gave him a kiss. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life as I did seeing Daniel looking beyond mortified to be kissing a giant plastic head. I'll never forget it.
3. Along those lines, Disneyland is so much more than rides. If you are only in it for the rides, you may feel ripped by evening that you waited in line all day for brief moments of awesomeness. Watch the street performers that are everywhere, look for hidden Mickeys, talk to your family while waiting. Watch little kids waiting in line to meet a character, if they're either peeing their pants with excitement or screaming their heads off in terror, it's hilarious. Don't just run from ride to ride--walk, look around, and you are sure to see something fun.
2. Use the railroad. It has four stops and goes around the outside of the park. Further, a train hits each station every 10-15 minutes. This is the best way to get from Main Street to Toontown without fighting crowds or being hard on your feet--trust me, they'll take enough unavoidable abuse. I love the train! Plus, if you ride it between Tomorrowland and Main Street, you visit "the primordial world" which is awesome for it's campiness and vintage creepiness. Who doesn't want to do that?
1. Be willing to try new things, and enjoy the ride (no pun intended). Don't chalk anything off as "too little kid." Disneyland is the place to be young at heart. You may be surprised that some of the quieter rides become favorites. Maybe you'll go crazy for Dumbo, you'll never know until you try! Just have fun, be open-minded, and you'll discover things you never expected to love. I had to be talked into all my favorite rides at some point, and I'm so glad I went on them after all! It's fun to be a kid when you're tired of being adult. Try new rides, new foods, new experiences--you may fall in love with Gumbo as well as Dumbo! If you let Disneyland be the Happiest Place on Earth, it just might live up to it's slogan!

There you have it people. If that drove you crazy, stick around, surely, I'll be cheesed off again soon and back to the grizzled and angry writer you've been missing, but for now, I'm in Fantasyland.


Natalie said...

Enjoy Fantasyland every chance you get! :)

By the way, I've been meaning to mention that my husband always enjoys reading the comments you leave on my blog. Of course I do too! You are just so witty! :)

Natalie said...

You can link to my blog anytime! You know I love you too!!