Disneyland 5/1 - The Perilous Parental Plunge

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Thursday, May 8, 2003 9:21 AM
WARNING: Parental-biased trip report. If you just want the coaster-skinny, look for the bold....

Well, with cheap airfare staring us in the face, and the fact that my daughter got free admission until her third birthday on 5/10, we decided to take the parental/financial/stressful plunge and take the kids to Disneyland.

We got in the park about 9:30 and headed straight for the only character dining at the Plaza Inn. We were treated to extensive visits from Pooh and friends, and it was a highly enjoyable meal. It was really nice, since my son, who is 14 months old and quite shy, took to the characters immediately. Since I'd heard about the high prices of food, I decided to stuff my face as it's an all-you-can-eat affair. I sure got my 20 bucks worth!

After breakfast, it was off in search of Princesses. My daughter is an absolute nut when it comes to anything Disney Princess, so she was in seventh heaven. We wound up waiting to meet each and every one, some at the story time in the shop, some outside the castle. BTW, for those of you who've been to WDW, the castle at DL is almost shocking in it's small size. What was also nice about the Princesses is that my son walked right up and was personable and giggly with them too.

We actually didn't hit our first ride until we all got on the carousel about 1:30. After a ride on the Astro Orbiter, we then headed over towards Frontierland where I got to ride...

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Highs: Theming, short Fastpass line, interesting feature of 3 lift hills
Lows: Not much intensity, but hey it's DL
The Verdict: A nice family coaster that all can enjoy, if they're tall enough

Afterwards, we headed towards the back of the park and made our way to Toontown. We met Goofy, did some shopping and then my daughter asked me to take her on...

Gadget's Go Coaster
Highs: Eclectic theming provides a nice queue line to keep little ones interest, frog water fountains over the final helix.
Lows: With one train op, this was my longest wait (45 min) of my ENTIRE trip.
The Verdict: A well done kids' coaster that could be at home in any park.

Exiting Toontown, we made our way over to Tommorowland to see the Buzz Lightyear shows. Kudos to the producer who included OMD's "Apollo XI" as background music. A quick walk by for Daddy to stare longingly at Space Mountain. Then, my wife and daughter took a spin on the Peter Pan ride "Momma took me to Neverland!" Then, nearing 6:00, I knew that I had to take my last shot at getting a ride on the Matterhorn. Since the height restriction was the same as Gadget, I figured that it would be okay for my daughter. Oops, wrong answer. She didn't like it at all, afterwards saying, "Don't like it...too bumpy"

Matterhorn Bobsleds
Highs: Historical significance, water landing at the end, quick-moving line.
Lows: Much rougher and intense than Gadget and thus I think the height limit should be raised a few inches
The Verdict: Pretty darned cool for a ride designed in the '50's.

After the Matterhorn, it was back to Main Street for some shopping and the parade. To cap it all off, the whole family ended the day on "It's a Small World". When I first rode this at WDW as a teen, I thought it was ultra-cheesy. This time as a parent, with my almost-3 daughter between me and my wife, and my 14 month-old son on her lap, it was a fantastic ride. Definitely the perfect end to a perfect day.

Remember that if you're one in a million, that means that there are 5000 other people on Earth, just like you.


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