Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Trip to Disneyland

I hadn’t been to a Disney theme park during the summer months since I was a kid. The heat and the crowds scared me away.

Over the years, we’ve visited the Disney parks in Southern California a few times and Central Florida once. We have usually hit at least one other non-Disney theme park while on these trips. We’ve gone in the fall and spring. Twice we started our visit during the last couple of days of November and were able to see everything decked out for the holidays. The crowds were smaller and the weather was great.

But our youngest was barely two years old the last time we went to a Disney theme park. When she looked at me with big innocent eyes early this year and asked me if we could “please take the family to Disneyland this week,” my heart melted. “This week” was out of the question, but we started planning a Disneyland trip.

When my wife suggested that the third week of August was going to be our best bet this year, she encountered much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth from me. To top it off, my wife said we’d have to drive to make the budget work. The last two times we went, we flew using special discounts. We couldn’t find any deals like that this time, so driving was the answer. I dreaded that.

But thanks to my Mom-in-Law, things worked out pretty well. Bringing two vehicles allowed us far more room for people and gear. Built-in vehicle entertainment systems are very helpful too. Instead of including a non-Disney park in our trip this time around, we made arrangements to visit a couple of university campuses that have solicited one of my sons. My Mom-in-Law was also able to visit her brother.

We spent one night in Las Vegas to break up the driving. It seemed as if the whole town was under construction. The first real traffic jam we encountered on our trip was due to lane closures on I-15 in Las Vegas. Then we ran into loads of construction on roads surrounding our hotel. Our rooms were pretty good, but the section of town we were in wasn’t great. We watched a police arrest go down in live time. I was glad to leave early the next day.

The rooms at our hotel in Los Angeles were OK, but the queen size beds weren’t really queen size. That made sleeping arrangements difficult. The pool was nice. Traffic on the Los Angeles freeways and highways was very congested. But that’s to be expected.

On some of our previous Disney trips, we have spent three or four days doing the parks. This time, we spent one day at Disneyland and one day at California Adventure. It turned out pretty well, but we’d do a few things differently if we were to do it over again. Our day at Disneyland was very long. Everyone was shot by the end of the day. In retrospect, we’d should have left Disneyland earlier and opted to stay later at California Adventure the following day for the evening show.

I will write another post that describes more tips and hints that might be helpful for others considering a trip to Disneyland.

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