Posts Tagged ‘Disneyland’

Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Things my Kids Want to do at Disney World

Not that I’m too obsessed about my distant trip to Disney World (it’s four months away) but my contribution to Oh Amanda’s Top 10 Tuesday list Is Disney focused, again.

Last week I listed 10 things I have yet to do at Disney but plan on doing this coming trip. But what I want to do might be, okay will be, very different from what is on my kids list I’m sure. So I thought I’d ask the kids and below is the Top 10 things on their Disney list (in no particular order).

  1. Tower of Terror. This is my 8-year-old’s favorite ride. If she could only ride one ride, Tower of Terror would be it. My daughter doesn’t just ride this ride; she’s the one sitting in the front with her arms high in the air (while I have a white knuckle grip on the seat).
  2. Indiana Stunt Show. My 5-year-old son loves adventure; he thinks he’s Indiana Jones reincarnated. It doesn’t matter how many times he watches this show, each time he stares wide-eyed in awe. I think he secretly hopes to be picked as one of the volunteer extras.
  3. Dinner with Cinderella. My 3-year-old is still very much into princesses so what could be better than having dinner with Cinderella herself.
  4. The Enchanted Tiki Room. I blame this on the family; we love tikis (did you see our display in our second bathroom). So it comes as no surprise that all 3 of my kids enjoy The Tiki Room.
  5. Winnie the Pooh Honey Pots. My 3-year-old loves this ride ‘It’s like riding in Winnie the Pooh’s nightmare‘. Okay, that doesn’t really sound fun but this is still one of her favourite rides.
  6. Test Track. My adventurous 5-year-old would wait in line for 2-hours (and he has) just to ride this. His favourite part of course is the final super speed ring at the end. Even when it’s raining and the rain drops sting your face as you whip by them isn’t enough to deter him from going on this ride.
  7. Toy Story Mania. The first time we went on this ride was on our visit to Disneyland in California so we’re all looking forward to riding this one in Disney World. My husband has already said he plans to run to the FastPass booth as soon as we walk into the gate in order to get on. The last trip to Disney World we went to pick-up FastPasses but the return time was 9:30 p.m. (based on grabbing passes at 10 a.m.). We have since bought the Wii game version but it will never replace going on the ride.
  8. Popcorn. Every time we enter one of Disney World‘s theme parks, usually Magic Kingdom, the first thing my 8-year-old asks for is popcorn, from one of those vendor carts. Yah, I know it’s not special popcorn (though sometimes you can get it in special boxes) but that doesn’t deter my daughter. Having popcorn when she enters the park is now a tradition for her.
  9. Haunted Mansion. I remember the first time we went on this ride, the kids were terrified, not knowing what to expect. But as soon as the ride ended they wanted to go back on again and again. The kids love to ride in a car by themselves and scare each other. The ride isn’t more fun than scary but they’re hooked. The ride moves quickly and sometimes you will find very little line which usually means we end up riding it 3 or 4 times in a row. Of course my favourite version of Haunted Mansion is the Nightmare Before Christmas treatment they do in Disneyland (I had a chance to see it for my birthday last year).
  10. Space Mountain. As soon as my 8-year-old was big enough to ride the roller coasters, Space Mountain was her first pick and what a pick. She loves riding in the very first car and screams her head of in complete excitement (remember, she rides the Tower of Terror hands free).

I’m sure there are more things my kids could add to their list but if limited to just 10 things, these would be them.

What are your favourite things to do at Disney World?

I love Disneyland but…

You may be aware that I made a trip to Disneyland this past Halloween in celebration of my birthday. I’ve been to Disney World a few times but this would be my first time to Disneyland, where it all began. It was kind of exciting.

I had a great time but Disneyland isn’t the same as Disney World and I’m not just talking weather or size. In my opinion, the only connection Disneyland has to Disney is the name. The things I love about Disney World weren’t part of my Disneyland experience or at least they weren’t that obvious:

**** Photo Pass ****

At Disney World there are PhotoPass photographers throughout the park, at all parks. They take pictures of you at key locations and save them on your PhotoPass card which you can order from later. They’re usually super kind enough to take pictures of you with your own camera too. We’ve never really taken advantage of the PhotoPass photographers but on this trip, probably my only trip to Disneyland, I had decided to get photos at every spot I could and order a CD with all the pictures. As the family photographer in our house I’m not in many family vacation shots, so having a collection of pictures of my family AND me would have been great.

Problem of course, the PhotoPass photographers were nowhere to be found (I think we had one picture taken). Even during the special Mickey’s Not So Scary  Halloween Trick or Treat party they weren’t there. So needless to say I have very few family shots from this trip.

trading

Shhh...pin negotiating in progress

**** Pin Trading ****

Our kids were first introduced to pin trading during out last trip to Disney World and they loved it, especially my seven-year old daughter. All three of my kids have pin trading books at home and they plan which sets they want to collect and have an amazing time trading with the staff.

In Disney World you can’t pass a staff person without a sash of pins up for trading; even those cleaning up in the stores have these on. In Disneyland we were hard pressed to find anyone with pins to trade. On our Disney World trip the kids went through almost 100 pins in one week; in Disneyland we were lucky to have traded 10 pins. A bit of a disappointment.

cinder3

Then she met the real Cinderella

**** Costumed Characters ****

My youngest was so excited about going to Disneyland. On the plane ride there (two planes actually) all she talked about was seeing Mickey and Cinderella and the other characters. In Disney World there are designated areas to see certain characters, but walking around the parks we would see Captain Hook or  Buzz Lightyear or Chip and Dale walking around, waiting to greet people. Our whole trip we saw Goofy and Minnie Mouse and that was it (though there were more characters at the Halloween Party).

**** For the little Princesses/Princes ****

My first trip to Disney World, years ago, the first thing that struck me was how much the people in the parks focused on the kids. They talked to them. They called them princess and prince. The kids are the focus and parents second, which is what I want for a trip to Disney. This has stuck with me and is one of my favourite things about Disney World; something that I thought was  a Disney trait. But in Disneyland this isn’t the case. Sadly I didn’t feel a lot of Disney magic in the park.

I think my husband said it best:  Disney World is a destination. Disneyland is only a theme park.

And I think he’s right. Visiting Disneyland was just like visiting Wonderland or Six Flags but with the Disney name attached.

The big advantage to Disneyland is it’s size; it’s much smaller and easier to get around and to the other parks. Disneyland, California Adventure and Downtown Disney all branch off from a central courtyard so it’s easy to hit all three without taking a bus (not true in Disney World). And there are some differences in the rides too. Haunted Mansion has the Nightmare Before Christmas theme and it was amazing. It’s worth the trip to Disneyland just to see that. Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean were different (and I actually preferred the Disneyland versions), plus there are all new rides.

Don’t get me wrong, we had a great time, but I expected a little more from Disney; Disney World has set the bar high. If given the choice of travelling to Disney World or Disneyland, Disney World would be my choice hands down. And good thing because we’re back there in December for the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. I can’t wait!

What did we do without it?

When packing for a trip, there are a few items that are a must on any trip: change of underwear, toothbrush and paste, clean socks, NDS portable gaming system and the video iPod.

Yes you read that correctly, an NDS and iPod are on my list of essential items. I think if I was enroute to my destination and realized I had left either of these behind I wouldn’t think twice about turning around to pick them up.

We have one iPod that contains all our kids movies and shows.  This saves countless hours of whining and fighting and the dreaded ‘are we there yet?’ And some hotels have inputs that enable us to plug the iPod directly into the TV. Now there’s no need to worry if there are any kid friendly programs on.

The NDS game system occupies my kids in the car, on the airplane, in the airport; basically anywhere the kids need to sit quietly for thirty-minutes or more.

airportds2

Enjoying a quiet gaming moment

airportds

Even airport waiting is enjoyable with a NDS

ndsglow

Basking in the NDS glow

It does make me wonder how my parents survived when we travelled. I’m sure my sister and I weren’t the most patient and understanding tots.  I guess there were books to look at and songs to sing and games to play. I don’t know what we did because I don’t remember. But then again, maybe I don’t remember because we didn’t do a lot of travelling.

Happy Un-Birthday Surprise to Me

My husband and I aren’t very good at keeping secrets from each other. We’re not very good at keeping secrets at all. When we planned our surprise visit to Disney World in June for our son’s fifth birthday we were only able to keep it a secret because we could tell each other. We’d call each other or send texts with little messages about the trip. We were so excited.

So when my husband and friends in Michigan had a little birthday celebration for me on the long weekend it was a big surprise, especially since my birthday is a month away.

Did someone say party?

Did someone say party?

It started with an innocent suggestion: let’s visit some friends for the long weekend. It doesn’t take much to convince me to travel. And since it had been some time since we visited our US friends the whole request didn’t seem that odd to me.

Surprise!

Surprise!

There were Halloween decorations, balloons, noise makers (a favourite with my kids). And of course cake, a wonderful Disney themed cake (a huge cake). That wasn’t the best part. All parties have gifts. And this party was no exception. And boy what a gift. It turns out my husband and our friend have been working secretly to plan a trip for all of us to go to Disneyland to celebrate Halloween and attend the Halloween party October 31.

With my secret party planning friend...

With my secret party planning friend...

...and my secret party planning husband.

...and my secret party planning husband.

And of course that means visiting the Nightmare Before Christmas revamped Haunted Mansion ride. That last part, the revamped Haunted Mansion, that is one of the things on my ‘Must do before I die’ list. I hope this isn’t a sign of my impending demise. And did you know that the Haunted Mansion is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this year and I’m celebrating my foeinvjsjhth birthday this year too. It’s like my destiny that I should visit California this year, though I don’t actually believe in destiny.

It’s not like I wast dreading this birthday but now I’m actually looking forward to it. And I’m giving you fair warning now that I might toss in the occasional post or tweet about Disneyland. Well, wouldn’t you if you were me?

So a happy un-birthday to me.