If you have kept up with my past blogs you know how much the House of Mouse means to my family and especially to my son who turned 10 this past week. This year he wanted to go to Disneyland for his birthday and stay at his favorite place, the Disneyland Hotel. We have stayed at the Disneyland Hotel many times in the past but have not been there in over 2 years because the rooms had become run down and the cost had continued to rise. Since they have spent the last 2 years renovating the rooms and your child only turns 10 (double digits) once in his lifetime, we decided to splurge. Once again, Disney did not let us down and we had another memorable experience.
Last time we went to Disneyland in December, it coincided with the largest rain storm Los Angeles had seen in recent years. When I checked the weather prior to going, it said there was a 100% chance of rain on Saturday. I could not believe I was going to have to spend another Disneyland trip in the rain, but then something amazing happened; it never ended up raining on Saturday. I think the weather prediction kept most of the people away from Disneyland and it felt like we had the park all to ourselves. We were able to get on many rides quickly that usually have exceptionally long lines, such as Nemo & Autopia.
Every time we go to Disneyland we add one new ride for my son to try. We have been there so many times we are down to the last two, Space Mountain and Matterhorn. We decided to give the Matterhorn a try. He loves Big Thunder Mountain, so we thought there was a good chance he would like it, but I could not get my own childhood story about the Matterhorn out of my head.
When I was a little boy my family took my grandparents to Disneyland for their first trip. They were visiting from Florida and had never been on the ride, so my parents convinced them to give it a try. If you have never been on the Matterhorn the adult sits in the back and the child sits in between the adults legs. My brother was sitting in between my Grandma’s legs who must have been around 75 at the time. When we were walking off the ride, I heard my 9 year old brother ask, “Why are my pants all wet?” Turns out the ride was a little too intense for my Grandmother and she had peed, yes peed, all over the back of my brother’s jeans! While this is a very funny story now almost 33 years later, I was a little worried about whether the ride would give my son a similar reaction.
Turns out I had nothing to worry about. Except for the first hill which is completely in the dark, he loved every minute of it! He has now proclaimed it to be one of his new favorites. I guess I can’t compare a 10 year old with sensory issues to a 75 year old Grandma. Too intense for one, but just right for my now 10 year old son who seems to get more and more courageous every year. Although I think we will wait a few trips before introducing him to Space Mountain.
For his birthday dinner we had reservations at Goofy’s Kitchen, which is a character experience with a buffet meal. In the past, both parts of this have caused problems. Until about a year ago, he was afraid of being in close proximity of the characters. Also, since my son has many eating issues, it was hard for him to find something to eat at the buffet. Although he could not find anything to eat on the buffet, the kitchen made him chicken nuggets and fries upon request. The highlight of the trip, for me, was this dinner. My son’s uneasiness with the characters is definitely behind him. While Pluto was at our table for pictures, they started playing the song the “twist” on the loud speaker and told all the children to get up and dance with the characters. My son, who just last year shied away from the characters, danced the twist with Pluto for about 5 minutes. He was laughing and smiling more than I thought was even possible. This is one of those priceless moments I will remember forever.
As we were leaving today, my son turned to me and said, “When I graduate from college I’m going to move here.” I said, “You mean Anaheim?” and he responded, “No, the Disneyland Hotel, and you and Mom can come visit me.” The Magic of Disney has struck again.