Who are these kids and why are they calling me mom?

Sometimes you just have to put on your big girl panties and deal with it

Disneyland! April 10, 2010

UPDATE: You can view the photos here: Disneyland Pictures

I could NOT get them to upload to Facebook, I tried 10 times and finally gave up so I went with flickr.

PS/When did Yahoo acquire Flickr!?  It was way more user friendly before

We had such a good time in Anaheim!  We didn’t do so well at the hockey tournament, we won one of 4 games.  Apparently “b” bracket means something different in the Southwest than it does here.  It was so worth going though, ALL of the kids had a great time!!  We are still all recovering from the week, it’s amazing how exhausting a “vacation” can be!!

I could probably write 50 pages and not cover everything so I’ll just give you the highlights  🙂

Elizabeth got to meet Tinkerbell which was her main reason for making the trip!  She saw her twice, got pictures taken with her and got her autograph.  The first day Fawn and Terrence were also there.  The second time she met Silvermist.  She was SO excited she didn’t even mind standing in line for 45 minutes both times!!

She also got to meet several of the Disney Princesses.  If we had it to do again I’d spring for the lunch with the Princesses.  Some moms at our hotel were telling us about it and apparently we missed out on that one!  She met Aurora, Snow White, Cinderella, and Princess Jasmine at the royal Princess walk.  Sleeping Beauty is one of her favorite movies so she was definitely NOT disappointed!!  Before we left for the trip she was talking about how she was going to give Tinkerbell and the Princesses big hugs and I thought “yeah right”.  Most kids her age are a little shy and overwhelmed in situations like that.  Joey definitely would have been at her age!  She was NOT, not at ALL shy!!  She walked right up to each character she met, hugged them and presented her autograph book like they’d been friends for years!!

She HATED most of the rides, even the ones for her age.  She didn’t like anything dark and loud which meant she cried through both the Alice and Wonderland and Finding Nemo rides.  We stood in line for 2 hours to ride the Finding Nemo sub so that was really disappointing!  She LOVED the Teacup ride and Autopia.  She rode the Teacups twice.  I “think” she liked It’s a Small World as well but she was REALLY quiet the whole ride.  We can’t decide if she didn’t care for it or if she was just overwhelmed with all that was going on in there.

I think her favorite parts of the adventure (aside from meeting the characters she met) were the Monorail, the buses and trams to the park, and the fireworks show.  She LOVED the fireworks show, she was just spellbound the whole time!  She also loved all of the little shops and thought she needed one of everything she found!  She’s definitely her dad’s daughter in the shopping department!  I HATE to shop, she and Joe LOVE IT!

I did have a good time getting my face painted with her and helping her choose a dress from the Princess boutique.  She was really, really blown away with those dresses, it was a really tough choice for her, they were all so intricate and realistic.  She finally settled on the Snow White dress which was good because it’s one she doesn’t have the Toys R Us version of at home.

The weather was decent while we were there it wasn’t overly warm but compared to the Spring storm they had here, we couldn’t complain!  The kids got to swim at the hotel all but like one or two evenings which we couldn’t have done here this time of year!  The last two days we were there were the nicest weather wise.

Joey had an absolute BLAST and discovered a love of roller coasters!  He wasn’t as in to the characters although he did pose with a few, he refused to pose with the princesses.  He was however very excited when Snow White called him “handsome” and couldn’t stop talking about how “hot” the Princesses and Tinkerbell were.  *Note to self, teach him to not objectify women now that he’s really getting to that age!*

He LOVED Tomorrowland and would have gladly spent the whole trip there!  Not surprising given it’s all space themed and they have a huge Star Wars section.  He got to build his own Lightsaber and watch the Jedi Training camp.  He was disappointed he wasn’t chosen to train with the Jedi but he really enjoyed watching it.  His favorite ride was a roller coaster we rode one evening.  It was QUITE a ride let me tell you!!  I can’t remember the name of it but it’s a train ride through an old mining mountain and it was awesome!!  We rode it in the dark which I think made it all the more exciting!!

His allergies really bothered him the whole time we were there.  The smog is horrible, especially when you come from Wyoming!  When I was his age and we went to Disneyland I was sick the WHOLE time so I know just how miserable it was for him!

He really loved the World of Disney store, they have just a bit of everything.  He found a book about Disney’s Dogs through the ages and he really enjoys that!  He’s so my son!  Go to Disney and pick out a book about animals!!

Pluto is his favorite character and he got to “meet” him the last day we were there so that was awesome!

Unfortunately Joey and I’s fun was cut a bit short on Sunday, we planned to ride the three remaining rides on our list and had saved the “best for last” only to be caught in an EARTHQUAKE!!  After and earthquake you can pretty much just write off the riding of anything else at Disneyland, they have to inspect EVERY ride in the park.  They start with the smaller rides & the Monorail first so they can get the simple up so it took around 3 hours to get the bigger rides back up and we finally just gave up.    We were disappointed to say the least,  but overall we really had an excellent time.  One day we’ll have to go back and ride those last three rides!

He was really disappointed with the outcome of the hockey tournament.  That kind of put a damper on his fun.  He’s a year behind the other kids hockey wise since we had to take a year off for the death’s in our family, and he felt like he was not the “best player out there” and didn’t “add anything to the team”.  That really broke my heart.  He LOVES hockey and puts so much time and energy in to it.  It was very disconcerting to hear him beat himself up like that.  His dad and I did our best to reassure him but he’s 10 and I’m not sure how much he took our reassurances to heart.

I think Joey’s favorite part of the trip was the Lego store at Downtown Disney.  For a kid like him that was the ULTIMATE experience!!  He REALLY wants the Lego Star Wars Death Star and has wanted it for about a year now, but it’s $399 so we just haven’t spent the money on it.  The second he walked in to the store he saw that Death Star and it was PUT TOGETHER!!  He was SO excited!!  Of course that led right back to “please, please, please, I’ll never ask for anything EVER again and it’s ONLY $399”.  <sigh>  We told him we just couldn’t swing it and he’d have to pick something smaller and less costly.  First of all, we couldn’t fit the thing in the suitcases to get home and second of all it is just SO expensive!!  He eventually settled on some “Limited Edition” (his words I swear) Lego Star Wars guys who sit on magnetic bases.  We were actually surprised by his choice because there was a HUGE Lego Star Wars section and they had several of the sets he didn’t have but he settled on the little guys.  I think he’s saving up our good graces for Christmas and the Death Star!

He now says he thinks he would like to work at a Lego store as the person who puts together the HUGE models.  He posed with all of them for pictures and was really just blown away by them.  I can’t imagine what it takes to put together a life-size Darth Vader or better yet a 100 foot tall Giraffe!!  It was really something!

I think that’s it, there’s probably a LOT more but those are the highlights.  Joe and I had a great time, it’s a truly magical experience.  I know that’s very cliché but it’s so true!  The light in my kids’ eyes will sustain me for YEARS to come!!!  It’s pure unadulterated joy in its most primitive form and you just can’t help but be swept up in it right along with your kids!

Oh and I almost forgot we went to the Anaheim Ducks vs. Canucks game on Friday night and the kids had a blast there too!!  They LOVE professional hockey games but this one was really awesome because it went in to OT and a shootout and we’ve never gotten to see one of those live before!!  It was really something!!  The “Pond” in Anaheim is really something to experience as well.  It’s about twice the size of the “Pepsi Center” in Denver and I thought that was a big place!  There were I think as many or more Canuck fans in the audience as there were Duck fans.  They were certainly louder!  Especially after the game when the Canucks pulled out the win in the shootout!  I think Elizabeth is probably one of the only Non-Canadian 3 year olds in the world who LOVES hockey games!  She will sit through the entire game and that’s A LOT to ask of any kid, let alone a 3 year old!

I’ll edit the post with pictures in a few.  There are WAY too many to upload on here so I’m uploading them to Facebook and then I’ll link to them on here!

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I Fail April 8, 2010

So we went to Anaheim last week for a hockey tournament and spent several days at Disneyland.  We had a lot of fun and I’ll post pictures and all that good stuff later but first I had to post this…

My mom and I were talking when we got back about the number of security personnel at the park.  There are literally hundreds you see and probably as many more you don’t see.  They have people at the front gates who check your carry in bags for weapons, etc… and then you go through another screening with your ticket.  Then you get in the park and you see uniformed security, some with dogs for bomb and drug sniffing and the like.  Then you figure there are probably a ton of plain clothes security scattered throughout so really there are just an insane amount of them who are looking for the obvious and there to maintain order.

I got to thinking about child predators which of course most mothers would do.  I am thinking Disney parks are probably a virtual Wonderland for them and let’s face it, all the security in the world can’t protect every child in those parks from an unseen threat.  Then I got to thinking about the ears…

Most every kid who goes to a Disney park inevitably ends up with a set of their very own ears.  It’s a rite of passage and I didn’t see a single non-eared head in the park the entire 4 days we spent there, including my own kids.  The best part of buying ears is when you go to the ear store there is a monogramming booth, you get your name or some version thereof monogrammed on your ears (or hat if you prefer as Elizabeth does).  I saw plain ears/hats with just a first name on them and then I saw more intricate monogramming such as “Happy First Birthday Jayden 2010” and many more.  You get the picture.

Everywhere you go in the park the “cast members” will see the hats/ears and call your kids by their names.  The kids love that; “how does Tinkerbell know my name?!”  After we got home and my mom and I were conversing, it made me think of a pamphlet Joey brings home from school the first day every single year.

In the pamphlet it STRONGLY discourages placing any identifying information about your child in public view.  For instance it suggests you NOT purchase those oh so nifty monogrammed backpacks.  Sure it might help you find your kid’s bag if he misplaces it, but it also gives a child predator all of the information he needs to victimize your child.  It suggests only using the inner tags of coats, bags, lunchboxes, etc… to identify it as belonging to your child.  That way some schmuck can’t come up to your child in the schoolyard and say “Oh Joey your mom sent me to pick you up”.

I realized Disney’s monogrammed ears and hats are probably INCREDIBLY dangerous.  Especially if you have a 3 year old like mine who tends to like to wander and speak to people she meets along the way.  She’s from Wyoming and while we definitely have had instances of child predation, they are few here (knock on wood) and there really aren’t many true “strangers” in a town this size.

Then I realized how sad this all really is.  It’s DISNEY!  When we were young our parents never had to think twice about these things, but in this day and age my daughter’s monogrammed Tinker Bell hat that should be a forever reminder of her experience at the “most magical place on Earth” really could have been one of the worst decisions I ever made.  I have literally had nightmares about it for two days.  I keep seeing those scenes from the movies or “Without a Trace” where the parent looks away for a second in a crowd and turns back around to find their child has disappeared.

I’m probably totally over-reacting but it truly scared the crap out of me when I thought about it so I had to tell you about it.

PS/ Why can’t Disney parks institute some kind of system like Chuckie Cheese has?  When you go to Chuckie Cheese you get an invisible stamp (you can only see it under a black light) that matches your child’s stamp.  You can’t leave the restaurant with a child who doesn’t have the same stamp as you.  I’m sure it’s not fool proof as they probably only have so many stamps and a really industrious predator could probably find a child with a matching stamp, but it really does lessen the odds of your child being victimized.  Disney stamps your hand when you leave the park for the day in case you want to return.  Surely they could stamp your hands upon entry…