I’m hard pressed to say who was the perfect age for our trip. Everyone found moments of inspiration and places of great content.
Our girls were pushed out of their rather sanitized existence, and urged, guided and, er, forced to try everything.
They rose to the challenge; falling in love with rides they never thought they’d like, and finding inner strength for ones they couldn’t wait to get off of.
One such ride was Splash Mountain.
Miss S declared Splash Mountain her favourite, before riding it. Annnnd the minute the log moved, she crumbled.
This is how, in yet another priceless mothering moment, I found myself reaching forward, hugging my shrieking six-year-old with all my might, as our log teetered on the edge of the 50ft drop.
You do not want to be leaning forward as your log nose-dives into the brambles. You do not want to choose between somersaulting out of said log, or letting go of your petrified child.
Fortunately, the photographic evidence taken 1/3 of the way down our plunge reveals I chose both: one arm around Miss S, one arm bracing the plastic log. Fewf.
Miss Q and Miss C, on the other hand, loved Splash Mountain.
It is interesting to note that Splash Mountain, with all the warnings of the 50ft drop, has no seatbelts; but The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, a 60 second, one-level meander, and I do mean meander, through Pooh’s daydream has a safety bar.
Thankfully, Miss C had either an uncle or father to act as her seatbelt on her multiple voyages with Briar Rabbit, but still.
Incidentally, Pooh’s ride was one of Miss C and Miss S’ favourites. Mad props to Grandma, who took one for the team, agreeing over, and over, and over again to ride with them.
Mini cheer for Uncle G who also indulged my daughters’ multiple requests for him to be their responsible plus one.
Team building continued at It’s A Small World. Let’s be honest: once through is great, cheerful, joyous and, yes, I’ll say it: pleasant. Two, three, four times?
I lost count of how many times Miss S and Miss C rode the 20-minute ride, but Grandma was definitely a good sport.
Historical side note: my mum and her family went on the ride when it debut in the New York World’s Fair in 1964 at the UNICEF pavilion under the name: Children of the World.
In the no rhyme or reason category, a ride Miss S enjoyed, but her sisters did not, was the Haunted Mansion. She ain’t afraid of no ghosts… unless they’re in our basement.
Autopia was our pint-sized Danica Patricks’ absolute favourite. Even though she was a hair too short to work both the gas and the wheel, it was the only ride Miss S wanted to do on our last day.
We tried twice, once in the early morning, and once at dusk, and both times after waiting 20 and 40 minutes, the ride was closed because a “wild animal was on the tracks.”
Ironically, Disney’s “wild animal” was – wait for it – a Canada goose.
Apparently it’s not Disney’s policy to run them over.
However, because we’d been goosed twice, we were able to walk straight to the front of the line at 10pm.
Watching Miss Q drive off, alone, into the full-moon Saturday night gave me pause, or rather, a reason to step on the gas. This move reignited Miss S’s cackles of glee as she held the wheel and expertly steered after her sister.
Nine more years, Mr. Toad, nine more years.
A side note about Autopia: it stinks. The fumes from the “gas powered by Honda” cars are plentiful, and possibly the reason Disney has tucked a smoking pit next door. Hopefully Honda will soon take a cue from the fact the ride is in Tomorrowland, and splurge for those new-fangled electric cars everyone is talking about.
In four-year-old land, Miss C started her vacation by telling me she did not like Disneyland. “I’m not going to like any of the rides you know.” She punctuated this by crossing her arms and frowning.
Her displeasure with Disney melted like Olaf in summer on the Dumbo ride. She loved that big-eared elephant so much she bought herself a stuffed baby Dumbo and now thinks I’m crazy for thinking she said she didn’t like Disneyland.
Seeing Disney through the eyes of a nine, six and four year old was enough for this mum. In my dreams, the trip was never as grand as what it became.
We couldn’t have created this reality without a massive boost from my mum-in-law, and for that we are eternally grateful.
The chorus of the diamond celebration parade is When can we do this again?
And, my friends, I’m not sure we ever could.