Disney “Insider” tips – the final installment

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It’s here, the final installment of my Disney insider tips! This has been an awesome family vacation! The last day was by far the best! Here are my last tips for when you visit Disneyland with small children:

Morning Magic Hours are totally worth it – Magic Mornings are where you can get into Disney an hour before opening on certain mornings with certain tickets. I was skeptical, wondering how many people used it. I figured if everyone got special tickets, it wouldn’t be less crowded than normal. When we got there the lines to get in were quite long, confirming my suspicions. But once we got in, the park was fairly empty. We got there 10 minutes late, but still rode 4 rides in the hour before regular park hours started (normally we average one ride an hour). So it was most definitely worth it.

Transition glasses would have been useful – I have prescription sunglasses and I kept forgetting to switch to my regular glasses for indoor rides. So for most of the rides I was stuck with sunglasses while riding through dark areas. Transition glasses would have been awesome here…

Researching good rides is like house hunting – You can research the rides all you want, but inevitably some rides will sound lame that are awesome and some will sound awesome that are actually lame.

Bring a pedometer – I wish I had a pedometer for this trip purely out of curiosity.

Pushing a double stroller through crowds is like driving a bus – More like driving a bus amongst a bunch of corvettes that are driven by elderly people. Overall the speed is very slow. But as you try to weave in and out of them with your large, oversized, slow to respond vehicle, people can suddenly change course and whip in front of you at a moments notice.

Fanstasmic is fantastic – Even Sir Smiley was wowed by that show. We went to the late show and got there about 15 minutes before it started. We were able to find a spot that even fit our double stroller. Apparently the late showing is much more crowded,

The absolute best time to go is at 11 pm. – When Fantasmic ended at 11 pm, we went on at least 6 more last minute rides. The place was practically empty! I wish we had stayed that late on Friday as well! To swing it, we went back to the hotel for the afternoon and took a nap for several hours. King Toot and Urpling crashed in the stroller, but Sasquatch got a second wind and was excited as ever about all the rides!

We had a blast, and I can’t wait to go back! Now to travel back home and brave the rest stops. (see this post)

Beach Babies

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We don’t go to the beach much, so we were very excited to head to the beach here in LA. I figured the theme for my vacation had been insider tips from my real life experiences, so why change it up now? So here are my tips for visiting the beach:

Bring a change of clothes: Yes it’s only 70 degrees and yes it just rained this week so the water is frigid, but don’t expect that to keep your kids out of the water and dry. My girls plunged right in like it was bath water. Luckily Urpling has a change of clothes due to the fact that she is still not potty trained. But no such luck for Sasquatch, so she had to spend the day wet (or at least damp).

Watch the tide – We had our sand toys out a decent distance from the water. But a little while later I noticed one of our shovels float by. Sure enough, the tide was coming in so I had to grab our things before they floated away. Thankfully I was successful.

Sharing is good – Another little girl was standing there watching our girls play and she eventually joined them. All three girls had a blast together, and her mom and I each had another adult to chat with. Totally made the day even better!

Sand is the new towel – This is a trick I remember from when I was younger. You get your wet feet and legs covered in sand and then brush them off. Instant dry feet and legs.

Warm is happy – Urpling was having a blast and suddenly started having a major melt down. As soon as I toweled her off and put her in dry clothes, she was happy. Apparently being cold and wet freaks her out.

So those are my little gems of wisdom from my day at the beach. As an added bonus, here’s another Disney tip. When we for back to our hotel, we could see the Disney fireworks display reflecting off the Sheraton hotel next to us. Apparently those rooms have a fantastic view of the fireworks from the comfort of their hotel. No idea how spendy that place is though. You would need to be on the north side of the hotel in order to see the fireworks. So there you go. Now I’m off to bed. We’re getting up super early for our final day at Disneyland!

Disney “Insider” tips part 3

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On to my third set of insider tips. Today we are headed to the beach, so no Disney insider tips tomorrow. But maybe I will find some tips for going to the beach. Only time will tell. But on to what I am sure you all have been waiting in eager anticipation for:

Make your spouse wear the Moby – Don’t get me wrong, pushing 80+ pounds in the form of a double stroller is a good workout. But nothing seems to top the sore muscles you get from continually squatting and walking around carrying an 18 pound baby in a Moby for over three hours straight.

Adventureland is full of cheese – I love cheese, both edible and humorous. The Tiki room has the classic style Disney music and awesome one liner jokes. (plus they have this Dole pineapple/banana soft serve that I’m pretty sure is liquid crack frozen and served with a spoon) But if you love cheesy one liners, the jungle cruise is perfect. It’s a cheese cracker with sliced cheese, drenched with a cheesy topping. I loved it!

Lame taste helps – I totally love the cheesy, lame rides. But this totally works in my favor at Disneyland. My favorite rides and shows so far have pretty much had no wait time. Woohoo for me!

Who needs the Stairmaster? – If you go to Tarzan’s treehouse, you should be good at stairs. I’m pretty sure it took Sir Smiley about an hour to get Urpling up and down all those stairs. This place is a great spot for an impromptu work out too.

Preview the rides – The kids did just fine on the Pirates of the Caribbean. But Sasquatch started bawling during the Haunted Mansion. It would have helped if I knew what was coming in the ride and could prep her beforehand.

Churros are yummy – I had my first Churro last night and it was tasty (although I am told they weren’t a very good sample of a true Churro). Must get another one soon!

Tinkerbell gets the best ride in the park – We watched the fireworks and they were awesome. But watching Tinkerbell hang from a string and get flung back and forth while dangling above Sleeping Beauty’s castle made me realize something, she has the most adrenaline inducing ride in the park!

We have had a blast, but after three days in Disneyland the girls are fried! So it’s off to the beach for a relaxing day in the sand and sun!

Disney “Insider” part 2

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Here is the next installment of my “insider” tips for Disneyland. There is some hidden nuggets of wisdom to be found among my experiences.

Always have a burp cloth handy – I don’t just mean with you. It needs to be out and ready to grab at a moment’s notice. We entered the park and the first thing King Toot does is urp all over himself, his Moby, and Sir Smiley. Of course the burp cloth was packed away in the diaper bag so it took me some time to fish it out. Meanwhile Sir Smiley was whining the whole time about urp on his hands. Baby. We eventually opted for tucking it under his chin like a bib so that it was always readily accessible.

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is not so lame – The last time I was at Disneyland, I was 5 years old and I never got to go to the castle. So to right this childhood trauma, we went there yesterday. All you could do was walk through it. Lame. But for some reason, it was the first thing Sasquatch wanted to do today. Lo and behold, we discovered a small, poorly marked entrance where you can walk up and over. There were little snippets from the story that had matching, well designed scenes. This was much cooler than just walking across a bridge and, as Sleeping Beauty was one of my favorites, I totally ate it up!

Never promise to see anything – Never actually promise to go on a specific ride or see a specific character. You’ll end up having to wait forever in lines to see them (like I did to see Tinkerbell) just to avoid melt downs.

Do long lines earlier – At least Tinkerbell was the first thing we did. Sasquatch and Urpling were still in a patient mood, so the waiting wasn’t traumatic.

Stroller shopping – If you are in the market for a stroller, Disneyland is a great place to “window shop”. You will see every possible design for a stroller ever. Not only that, but as we were folding up our stroller, we had a random person strike up a discussion about the various strollers they had tried. So there ya go.

You can’t open a bottle that is already open – this is just great advice for life in general and pretty self explanatory. But I did attempt this at lunch today. Sir Smiley thought it was awesome.

Arrive to parades early – I would say at least a half hour. Unless you do what we do: Arrive 2 minutes after it starts, run the entire length of Disneyland, and find a spot at the very last minute out of sheer luck.

Main Street at night is magical – My absolute favorite memory so far was after the parade and before World of Color. We all got ice cream and sat in the town square, right by the entrance. The sun had just set and everything was lit up. Combine that with all the Disney music playing in the background and random Disney characters that would walk by and it was a truly magical experience.

World of Color – I recommend standing in the splash zone. You run the risk of getting wet, but the view is awesome. If you stand upwind (like we did accidentally), you won’t even get wet. Also, don’t bother rushing out. It’s gonna take a while to get out no matter what you do. So once the finale is over, you should stick around a little bit. Little fountains still light up and play music. You can see it really well, ’cause everyone else has booked it out.

Eat before – Don’t wait until after Disneyland closes to go get food. Pretty much every place is closed. We managed to find a restaurant still doing take out, so we ordered that and ate it in our room.

Peekaboo is not a good game when they are tired – I tried to entertain the kids with a game of peekaboo. The girls yelled, “Stop it!” and King Toot burst into tears.

Overall it was a great day, and we finally slept in this morning so we’re all set for lots of action today!

Disney “Insider” part 1

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Here are the tips of the day I have learned due to life experiences:

Bring Ibuprofen for the back pain that will occur when trying to bathe a four month old in a hotel bathroom – We tried bathing King Toot in the sink, but he didn’t really fit. So we had to move him to the bath tub, but he can’t sit up on his own. So it’s like trying to bathe a large water ballon without letting one end go under. Another tip, keep the water shallow so you can lay him back. But he can roll over to his side now so it’s still difficult.

Dress your kids immediately after their bath – this morning after their bath, Sasquatch ran out of the bathroom while I was drying off Urpling. She runs up to Sir Smiley, turns around, bends over, grabs her butt cheeks with both hands, pulls them apart, and announces “I’m opening my butt at you!” This was followed by hysterical laughter. Sir Smiley was traumatized, but I thought it was hilarious.

Weathermen lie – Bring clothing for every possible type of weather. Today was supposed to be a high of 64, partly cloudy with a good chance of rain. Until 5 pm it was sunny and closer to 90. We were burning up! Then at 5 it got cloudy, started to rain and dropped 20 degrees.

Always bring sunscreen and an umbrella – Since it was supposed to rain all day we forgot the sunscreen and now Urpling is a bit pink.

Bring autograph books – I’m a noob when it comes to Disneyland, but apparently all the characters will sign autographs. So note for next time, as we didn’t bring any this time.

You don’t have to see everything – don’t rush and miss out on the little things and don’t force yourself to stay when you should take a break. Urpling needed a break mid morning as she started to have some meltdowns. So instead of pushing her onto another ride, I had her sit and eat a snack. She calmed down, and even got to feed some of her crackers to a duck. She had a blast, and felt much better and I had a nice sweet experience with her. I would rather only see a few rides and attractions and enjoy them rather than see everything but be miserable for most of it.

Tag team it – Not everyone needs to go on every ride. That moment with Urpling happened when Sir Smiley took Sasquatch to Autopia. Would Urpling have also enjoyed that ride? Maybe, if she had been happy. But she wasn’t so at that moment it was better to take a break. Also, King Toot was dead asleep in the stroller. So instead of waking him up as well, the three of us took a little break. I am glad we did. By the time Sir Smiley and Sasquatch came back, Urpling had rested and eaten and was happy and ready for fun.

If it is your kids first time on Mickey Mouse’s Fun Wheel, take the stationary gondolas – As we were waiting in line to get on, we heard a girl screaming from a rocking gondola, “Make it stop! I wanna get off!” over and over and over again. She ws literqlly clinging to the screen behind her. They had to back the wheel up and let her off before continuing on.

It’s okay to be a little ghetto – We went to Ariel’s grotto and had lunch with the princesses. It was a blast. We ate no vegetables whatsoever. Also, when we made a bottle for King Toot, he immediately fell asleep before we could even give it to him. So we just shoved it into a glass of icy water to keep it cold. Whatever works.

Always bring both keys whenever you leave the room – We went swimming when we got back to the hotel. Sir Smiley had a key, so I didn’t bring one. But of course, when King Toot and I were ready to go back to the room, he couldn’t find it. So King Toot and I had to walk to the lobby, wait in line, and get a new key. Only later we realized that we needed a key to even get into the building, so Sir Smiley also had to get a new key made. Not only that, but even if he hadn’t lost his key, he would still have had to get a new one since I would have taken his. So basically it is better safe than sorry.

Now I am off to bed. I’m sure I’ll have more “insider” tips for you tomorrow.

No Rest Stop for the Clean

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First off…I received the comment that I need to post pictures of the hair cut disaster. (See this post) As soon as this technologically incompetent lady figures out how to download pics off her ancient ghetto phone I’ll do that.
I have travelled with kids frequently over the past four years, mainly to visit relatives that live half way across the country. I have learned to dread the bathroom breaks. McDonalds was my saving grace as they always had large stalls with a changing table in them. But this trip we stopped at a rest stop so that we could have a picnic lunch for a lot cheaper. But this also meant using the rest stop bathrooms. Hmmmmmm. First of all, we’re traveling through very hot climates (about 100 degrees) and this bathroom had no AC. So as you wrestle the pants off three different kids and such you are sweating profusely. The stalls were tiny. I took the kids in shifts, first the girls and then the boy. But I was still tripping over one kid while trying to help the other. The floors were pretty disgusting. But of course Urpling immediately decides crawling around the floor was great fun (I swear it looked almost like she was trying to lick the floor. *shudder). So as I help Sasquatch get on the toilet (we brought her toilet seat to make it “easier”) I am also trying to prevent Urpling for contracting some kind of nasty transmutable disease. Of course Sasquatch decides she doesn’t need to pee. After threatening her with death if she asks to go potty after we drive away, I place Urpling on the toilet. Now Urpling is in the beginning stages of potty training, so with her I get the best of both world. Putting on and taking off a diaper, and putting her on a toilet and all the wonderful germs she can get there. She’s still dry so I put her on the toilet. She sits there for a minute and then starts repeating “All done” with greater and greater intensity. So I am now 0 for 2. Of course when I get Urpling down, I need to get her diaper back on her. Here is my conundrum. A pair of training pants would be easier in this situation as I hate to take shoes, pants and such off in nasty bathrooms. But as soon as I do that, I just know she’ll fill that far less absorbent pair of pants to overflowing, leaving an even bigger mess to clean. So I go for the diapers, but try to cheat by taking them off without taking off her pants or shoes. As I go to put them back on I realize I would rather die than lay her down on the floor (I don’t care if she had just been crawling on it) so I attempt to put her diaper on standing up. I slide it between her legs, position the back so it’s covering her butt nicely, and as I go to fasten it Urpling decides to help by pulling the front so it comes completely off. Rinse and repeat about three times in the 100 degree bathroom with Sasquatch playing with the toilet flusher as she waits. Finally I get Urpling’s diaper on and pray to God that it is covering her correctly and head out, sweating buckets. Of course the sinks have those handles where you have to hold it on or it stops running. So I have to try and soap up their hands and scrub them while holding the sinks on at the same time. Finally we are done and ready to head out on the next leg of our trip. I hate rest stop bathrooms.

And We’re Off!

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Our first vacation disaster happened before we even left the house. Sir Smiley and I woke up this morning to the sound of whispers coming from the bathroom. Then the sound of peeing, followed by Urpling cheering. Then Sasquatch shushes her as Urpling repeats over and over, “Ucky!”. The final act was the flushing of the toilet where Urping calls out, “Bye bye” to whatever was being flushed down the toilet. But this was not the disaster. I get up after the bathroom performance to start the last minute packing and loading of the van. I fed King Toot and chatted with the girls. As I was burping King Toot, I noticed that Sasquatch’s hair looked really long in one spot. I leaned forward to inspect the offending strand and I literally gasped in horror. The strand came out in my hands! That’s when Sasquatch proudly produced a scissors (that she had scaled a bookshelf to retrieve) and told me, “I cut my hair!”. Sure enough I realize that she now has some longish bangs blending into the rest of her hair, and looking closer I see small clumps of hair cut from the top of her head about 1 inch from her scalp. Of course. Of course she would decide to cut her hair the morning we’re leaving on a week long vacation where she will be the subject of hundreds of pictures. Off to Great Clips we go, where her hair is cut and layered to try to hide the massacre. Even now I look at her and try to make it out that it isn’t too bad. But the truth is, there is a reason she doesn’t have bangs. She does not look good in bangs! But now we can always look back at our pictures from the Disney vacation and talk about her bangs that she gave herself especially for her vacation. (Sir Smiley is still convinced they were flushing hair down the toilet, but as I kept finding random clumps of hair laying around the living room, I am not convinced). Just as a side note, her hair looks fine. It’s just those darn bangs! Argh!