My feeling is that grandparents have one responsibility: do everything possible to build meaningful memories for their grandchildren. I’ve been fortunate to take each of my four kids and now every one of my grandkids for their first visit to the Magic Kingdom.
My six year old grandson, Reed, and my daughter, Jane, were visiting from Missouri and Disneyland beckoned. Our goal was to experience the park to its fullest, so we downloaded a map and decided on major targets. We arrived the night before, allowing us to get to the park as soon as it opened the next morning. As we entered Disneyland we discovered that City Hall, on Main Street, offers a free “First Visit” button. It was a perfect souvenir.
Our initial plan was to obtain a Fast Pass for Indiana Jones Adventure. Fast Pass allows you to skip long lines and go through a special entrance during an assigned 60 minute timeframe. On our way to Adventureland, we noticed that there were short waits at both Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted House. That was our first of many detours. A “bird in the hand” came to mind. Afterwards, we picked up our Fast Pass and, in quick order, knocked off It’s a Small World, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Finally, it was time for the Indiana Jones Adventure. Reed is fearless about being tossed around and shares that gene with his mom. I’m usually not as enthusiastic, but it was a heck of an exciting ride.
At one point, “Pa” needed a rest and we boarded Disneyland’s Railroad. It’s a leisurely ride around the perimeter of the park. We decided to stop at Fantasyland and got there as the theater’s musical production, Mickey and the Magical Map, was about to begin. What luck! We loved it; super songs, great characters from various Disney movies and impressive hi-tech effects. We were adjacent to Mickey’s Toontown and decided to drop in. The quote of the day from Reed, as he stopped and looked around was, “I feel like I’m in a cartoon.” What fun!
Evening was approaching and, since I’m not a fan of “fast and furious,” I walked back to our hotel. The adventurous twosome, Jane and Reed, headed off to Space Mountain, Star Tours and Thunder Mountain. They returned after the fireworks show, excitedly reported their adventures, and then everyone slept well. It was a perfect day and I’m certain that my responsibility of building memories was fulfilled.
Plan Ahead: Logon to www.Disneyland.com for information, including ticket sales. Nice touch: Disneyland allows you to bring in food and drinks. Don’t forget to pack a hat and sunscreen.
Where to Stay: We loved the new Springhill Suites by Marriott. The hotel is a ten minute walk from Disneyland’s main gate. For reservations and information, go to www.Marriott.com. The rate includes a terrific breakfast buffet.
Factoids: Low cost transportation within the Disneyland Resort District is available. Details can be found at www.rideart.org. Over 16 million people visit Disneyland each year, so it’s not surprising that approximately ten phones and ten cameras are turned in to their Lost and Found Department daily. The items most left behind are sunglasses and hats.
Safe travels and enjoy the journey….