A few years back Husband and I took B + A to Disneyland. They were about 7 and 10 at the time, and had been many a time before. Anyhow, it was MY first time travelling with kids, and I learned a lot both about kids and the “happiest” place on earth (my opinion – it’d be a whole lot happier without all them grouchy/pushy/rude parents!!).
SADLY, I cannot find the scrapbook to add photos!! I’m crushed! This trip was our FIRST (of very many) scrapbook, and we all spent the entire weekend searching about the house because it means a lot to all of us. If/WHEN I do find that book ‘o good times, I’ll repost with MUCH better pictures… For now, this “summary” page in another book was all I could find to rip off really bad fuzzy photos.
1. Find your own food. We found a little fruit stand outside the park and just brought stuff in. I also had packed a small case of our own food from home – juice boxes, paris toasts (those super hard crunchy ones) with some jam, snack bars. It was extra packing, but it sure came in handy, especially when the kids were hungry NOW. Plus we ate faaaar less junk or expensive room service.
2. Allow the odd bad mood. Anyone can hit a bad mood, at any time, even on the best of days. Especially so with kids who are over-amped, over-sugared, over-excited. It’s a high that they’ll fall from at some point each day. So, we allowed the odd nasty mood (there weren’t many), joked about it, reminded them of the kind of behavior we wanted to see, and left it at that. I’ll never forget B’s refusal in a bad mood to smile for one pic, so we drew a huge a smile with jiffy marker on her face later and put it in the scrapbook. We still laugh about that one to this day.
3. Break up the day. Disneyland is an overwhelming place at any age! We always took time in the middle of the day to just laze around the hotel pool, order a nice, leisurely lunch, let Husband have a quick nap, change and head back over to the BIG park.
4. Scrapbook! We brought a separate clear plastic box with some colored pencils, scissors, Disney stickers and tape/glue, and had bought the girls a polariod camera before leaving. FUN! Because the girls were smaller, we didn’t spend too many late nights out, so our pre-bed time was spent relaxing, rehashing our day ‘o fun and crafting. On the girls previous trips, apparently the focus was often on what toys/things they could buy – with the scrapbook, we were more focused on what kinds of garbage could be made into a cool memory (old fast passes, lunch receipts, things off the ground) (yep, even a plum pit). If we had missed a funny moment w/ the polaroid, we’d just try to cartoon it out. Not only was it fun, the girls spent the entire flight home showing it to random passengers on the airplane (sorry, you terribly patient people!).
5. Make sure everyone gets a half-day of JUST THEIR PICKS. Even the grown-ups! This not only taught everyone about “taking turns”, but the girls were learning how to graciously enjoy someone else’s picks even if it wasn’t “their favorite”. And, it made each of us, in turn, feel like it was their special “day”.
6. Buy a treat. Even though our focus on scrapbooking took the focus almost entirely off the shops, we did allow the girls to pick out 1 main treat each from the shops on one of our last days there. That way they had the days prior to look at ALL the choices and make ONE decision, rather than picking every single thing that caught their eye in every shop.
7. Take it easy. One other thing that made the trip so enjoyable, was that we never felt like we had to hit every single thing in the park on one trip. We hit all the big things once, our favorites twice, and promised to go back again soon for whatever we missed. It was so nice not to rush about. It was also nice to not feel so pressured to get there RIGHT when it opened and stay until RIGHT when it closed. We got our money’s worth just based on enjoyment factor.
8. Bring some things to do. Yes, it’s a big, huge theme park. Yes, there’s a lot to do. But there’s also time in the hotel room while Hubby and I were getting things ready, in the afternoons while Hubby was napping, or in the evenings when we were just RESTING. The kids still needed some things to do. Our special thing was to make these beaded bracelets on elastic to match our bathing suits. We even started using them as a game in the pool, dropping the colorful cords to the bottom and diving to get them.
9. Whistle a happy tune. We tried to make everything part of the fun. Even standing in line for the shuttle to the hotel. While others got grouchy waiting (and waiting, and waiting…) in the hot sun, we made up a really silly “bus” song that we sang every time to pass the time. To help A get out of her shy-shell, B and I would try to convince her to go up to strangers and say things – it was HIL-ar-ious, if not a wee bit immature… A also made some joke about a plum pit, which none of us got, so we just all laughed every time she said “Plum!”.