By JUDY BLUHM
I wore mouse ears and felt the magic.
Two days at Disneyland with three little girls under the age of six can really change your perspective on life. When you see the castle, parades, Mickey Mouse, beautiful princesses and a place built entirely for the imagination and joy of children, it is easy to believe.
Magic is contagious, but it isn’t cheap.
Children at Disneyland are mostly well-behaved. They are too excited not to be. Yet, it is the parents and grandparents who are the real champs.
The adults hold, carry, stroll, lead and manage kids through a maze of activities, throngs of people and plenty of long lines.
Kids don’t like to wait! They are naturally impatient. Yet, as one grandfather joked, “We can train them to stand for hours.”
One thing I noticed is that standing in line for an average of 30 minutes-plus with young kids is quite the juggling act. Parents were not on their devices texting.
It was all about encouraging, playing, talking, comforting, distracting and helping the youngsters make it through the thing they hate most – waiting for something!
Children would need to be lifted, talked to, bribed, rewarded, praised, fed and kept busy while snaking through the long cordoned off paths that led to a two-minute experience.
Life happens in an amusement ride line at Disneyland. I watched while some kids bargain for toys, others might sit down on the ground and a few kids just slept in their parents’ arms.
Yet, for all the crowds and wait-times, mostly there is a feeling of joy that swirls around the Magic Kingdom. Children are seeing and doing things that are “other-worldly.”
There are lots of little princesses at Disneyland.
I had three granddaughters that had their own princess gowns and crowns, along with a few thousand other girls. But after a while, we had to change them into the “real clothes” so they could run, jump and hop on and off rides.
Gowns have no place in Disneyland when you are moving fast!
While the perfection of the Magic Kingdom is apparent by just looking at the faces of the children, there were a few mishaps.
A lost child (eventually found) is a terrifying experience. Also, we had our own mini-disaster when my three-year-old granddaughter’s tennis shoe’s Velcro strap broke.
I asked several “cast members” where I might purchase shoes for a child in the park. Nowhere! They only sell princess shoes for little girls. But they did have duct tape, so problem solved.
There are stroller brigades at Disneyland, so moving quickly is pretty much hampered by the mass number of these buggies that rule the roads.
We had two strollers and three girls, believing the six-year-old was “too big” for one. Wrong! So, my daughter and I seemed to be always carrying a child. A great work-out.
How to survive Disneyland?
Good shoes, a positive attitude, strong arms, patience and the ability to see the world through the eyes of a child make it a truly a Magical Kingdom. I am still wearing my mouse ears.
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org.