Thanksgiving in 8 words or less and a guide to House of Mouse
If I had to summarize Thanksgiving in only one picture, I'd choose this one.
And I'd title it "What the hell is she crying about now?"
Maya and Mr. Fickle have been struck down in their prime by a cold that just won't quit. Which means I have two
babies humans to take care of until further notice.
Fortunately I have lots of organic veggies with which to make Vegetable Soup (a la The Wiggles).
Remarkably the Husband hasn't protested my latest bandwagon jumping-the Organic Veggie Delivery Train. In fact he praised my latest organic concoction by stating it was "good even without meat," which translates in Carnivore speak to "Damn Woman, Me likey your cooking, Urgh Urgh Ugg Ugg. Grok?" Like every good idea, this one was
stolen borrowed from Subliminal Rabbit. If you live in the Los Angeles or Orange County area the service is available for a good price, and free delivery to boot.
Now I'm waiting with bated breath for the arrival of Beebo and Co to Sunny (and burning to the ground again) Southern California. I've decided to finally write up an unofficial guide to taking infants to the House of Mouse so that Beebo's Mom and Dad can take some shortcuts to the Happiest Place on Earth.
First things first if you park in the parking structure take a picture of the nearest row marker. You'll likely be too tired to remember where in the hell you parked after a long day of joy filled baby induced happiness.
I usually use my cell phone since it's quickly accessible and easy to find on the way back to the car. I've also been known to activate my trunk open button if I still can't find my car. Some people use the annoying emergency honk button when their car is lost. Whatever floats your boat.
Next after you've navigated the elevator down to the ground level there's a bathroom stop if you or your baby needs a diaper change over the excitement of impending
doom gloom merrymaking. Stroll to the end of the Tram line if your stroller is not collapseable. One of the attendants or another parent will help you hoist up your stroller if you're by yourself with your child.
Once you enter the park decide on an emergency meeting landmark in case cell phones don't work or you get unexpectedly separated. Don't forget to include your older children in on this conversation. If it were me, I'd pick the First Aid Station. Characters have been known to kick back in there before making their public appearance in the park. If you're really lucky, you'll see them toss paper airplanes back and forth while on the clock. If you're really, REALLY lucky your child will fall flat on her face, give herself a fat lip, and be treated to a Character love fest in first aid.
If you're a local and you enjoy the park, consider an annual pass. I purchased the cheapest (under $130) and have access to the park 170 days a year. Pony up the extra money for the unlimited parking too, 5 trips or less and it's paid for itself. You also get discounts on food purchases over $10, and various discounts in stores by flashing your pass.
Forget your stroller? Have no fear, you can rent one for $10 a day.
They're spartan and maybe not appropriate for really small babies, but they do have a smallish storage basket and a place to put your kid.
There are two important things at the end of Main Street. On the left is the Attraction Board.
Use it to determine which rides are ok for you and your child. If there is a height limit, it will be listed on the board. Pick up a pamphlet about the goings on in the park that day. It informs you of special event times and locations (like Story Time, which is well worth the trip to Fantasy land), and other helpful information. The board also mentions estimated wait times for attractions. This is a great way to plan what to ride and when. It's also helpful for picking fast pass rides. You are now allowed two fast passes for every four hours. To get a Fast Pass, you swipe your ticket in the specified machines and you're given a fast pass which indicates what time you return to the ride. When you come back you wait in the fast pass line instead of the regular line. You can expect to wait significantly much less time when you have a fast pass on a busy day. Which reminds me. There's another great option in the park called the "Parent switch pass." If you have a small child, you can send one parent to the line to ride the attraction. When the first parent is done with the ride, ask the station attendant for a parent switch pass. The second parent then takes the switch pass through the fast pass line and bypasses the rest of the unwashed masses directly to the front of the line. Using fast pass, parent switch pass, and the attraction board to your advantage and you will have a successful day at the park. If you base success on riding as many rides as possible.
To the right of Main Street are two very important buildings, First Aid (which dispenses free ice cold towelettes on very hot days) and the Baby Care Station. The Baby Care station has a private room (including a curtained off pumping room!) for nursing, a fantastic changing station area, toddler potties, and high chairs. There are also goods for sale if you've forgotten your bottles, wipes, gerber baby food, sunscreen, or diapers. If you don't mind nursing in public there are many opportunities for that as well. I prefer the darkened shows for nursing in a pinch, the Steve Martin 50 year celebratory show at the entry of Main Street is good, the Enchanted Tiki room is decent, the Whoopi Goldberg show, the Muppet show, and the Aladdin show (all in California Redux) are fantastic opportunities to nurse while escaping the hordes. I've seen many a Mommy nursing on benches and restaurants too. So do what works for you.
Food. I've always been disappointed with the cafeteria style food. Anything that is prepared in giant cookery has been a let down. But I've found a few places that serve fresh sandwiches that never fail to please me. Especially since they're served on freshly baked bread. In the California Redux side of the park there are two interesting exhibits. One shows a factory assembly line for Corn Tortillas, and the other shows the ins and outs of freshly baked sourdough bread. Each "factory" has a restaurant/cafe on the other side. My all time favorite place to grab an inexpensive lunch is the Sourdough Cafe. I'm a fiend for freshly baked carbs. On the mouse side of the park, I've discovered the open air cafe beside the bakery serves decent sandwich faire on freshly baked bread (just in case you don't make it to Redux). The Blue Bayou has great seating, you sit amongst the lantern lit terrace as the Pirates of the Caribbean ships float by, but in my experience the ambiance outperforms the food. If you enjoy chains there's a new Cheesecake Factory and Bubba Gump Shrimp Restaurant over by Haster Ave. There's also a Rainforest Cafe (sure to be a hit with the kids), House of Blues (great southern food, please get the rosemary cornbread) and an ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney. Also note there are places within the parks that serve WacDonalds food. The french fry stand by the Mark Twain river has saved my ass more than once. You never know when you're going to have a french fry emergency.
Rides I've taken my kid on:
I started taking Maya to the happiest place on earth when she was Four months old. In her first year of life she's ridden and or observed the following:
Haunted Mansion (A Must see for holiday decorations)
Small World (Also a must see-beautifully decorated for Christmas)
Pirates of the Caribbean (there's water the splashes into the boat, and two bumps during the beginning of the ride)
Astro Blasters (I totally kicked the Husband's ass blasting the bad guys WHILE holding baby girl. Now we know which is the fairer sex, no?)
The Enchanted Tiki Room
House of Mouse: the first enchanted 50 years
Main Street Cinema
Honey I Shrunk the Audience
Monorail (you must pack up your stroller for this one)
I have a special place in my heart for Ca Redux.
There's Playhouse Mouse (Ooo and Aaahh are on video screens while in line), which includes The big bear in the blue house, Jo-Jo's Circus, and some bald kid with a goldfish,
Grade Fucking A Aladdin 45 minute long performance in the Pantages theater at the end of the street.
Monsters Inc ride, which never grows old.
The Bugs life area
California Screaming. Definitely worth the Parent Switch Pass and the photo op.
I hope my unofficial guide is helpful. I enjoy the parks on a very regular basis, and I hope one day Maya will be old enough to have magical memories of the time we've spent there together.
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