Is August Too Early To Get Excited For Christmas Time At Disneyland?
We are kinda Disney Freaks over here. I worked there right after I graduated from high school. In fact the day I started was the very next day after my Grad Night as a senior. I was exhausted during orientation to say the least. But it was an awesome summer job. I was an "Outdoor Vendor" so my job was to sell things from the little carts scattered throughout the park like churros, ice cream (the ice cream bike in Toontown was so much fun!), hot dogs, drinks and popcorn. Lots and lots of popcorn. I was also the person holding about a million Mickey Mouse balloons on Main Street.
Over the course of the summer I think I posed for about a thousand pictures with people from all over the world because they wanted to stand next to me holding the balloons. (BTW, "no you can not hold them yourself! Even for 'just' the photo!" LOL!) I also worked at all of the popcorn carts and sold glow sticks along the parade route back when it was The Electrical Light Parade and The Lion King Parade. (Somewhere in the distance I just heard my mom say, "That was my favorite parade! I wish they would bring that one back. I loved The Lion King Parade!!") I agree with her. It was an awesome parade.
Btw, this was the summer of 1994. It was a such cool job for an outgoing single girl who had just graduated high school, who had her own car and was about to turn 18. There were close to 500 people in my department alone! So every single day I worked I met new people (meaning I met new cute guys!) Plus I could get into Disneyland for free whenever I wasn't working and I got a discount on everything plus free parking. It made a great date night with co-workers!
One of the best jobs ever!!
Even though I worked there and saw all of the behind the scenes, "backstage" stuff, (like the characters walking around in the back carrying their heads under their arms...) I still love it! (This was PRE California Adventure btw - back then it was still a giant paring lot!) Now as a married mom of two young kids we have annual passes and go as a family all the time. There have been months where we have gone at least 4 times a month (every weekend) and sometimes even during week nights after my husband gets home from work. We have also used it as a date night where we ride all of the big rides and walk around like free birds without a stroller and a diaper bag. We love to go by ourselves for our anniversary or a birthday and we'll go have a fancy dinner at the Blue Bayou (the dark, romantic restaurant in the Pirates Of The Caribbean ride).
We do love taking the kids though. You'd be surprised, but there is so much to do there for young kids who are not quite tall enough to go on everything. I have no idea why people wait to go until their child "is old enough/tall enough to ride all of the rides" because a child gets in for FREE until their 3rd birthday.
Have you ever heard the words "FREE ADMISSION" and "Disneyland" in the same sentence?!
It's not common, that's for sure. Unless of course you live out of state or you are really far away and don't make it here very often. In that case, I understand why you would want to wait to come until everyone in your family can ride everything. But if you live here and you are waiting to go til they can ride Space Mountain, I strongly urge you to reconsider. Right now (2013) a 1-Day park ticket for a kid 3-9 is $86.00!!! A 2 yr old and a 3 yr old can ride pretty much the same stuff. They can have a million dollars worth of fun at Disneyland as a 0-3 year old. Plus there are many, many rides they can go on too and if you have a meal at any of the buffets like Goofy's Kitchen, Minnie & Friends Breakfast In The Park, etc. (and they are under 3 years old) they eat FOR FREE!!! I repeat, they eat for free. Google it. It's true.
Someday I will blog more about Disneyland and share all of our "insider tips" for going to the park with small kids but for now just trust me. Take the baby. Take the toddler. Take the preschooler. They will LOVE it! Besides, if you want them to really be into getting pictures with all of the characters, keep in mind that kids are way more savvy at a way younger age these days. An older kid who can ride all of the big rides might not be as smitten with Mickey & Minnie like a little one will. Those pictures and moments of them truly believing they are real are just priceless and to die for! You can't recreate that kind of childhood magic when they are older and wiser and don't want to wait in line for 15-20 minutes just to get a picture with a character because it's cutting into their Radiator Springs Racers time, hello?! *Tapping watch* (That ride is a Must Do btw.)
Since we've been pretty much during every single month of the year in all types of seasons and weather and festivities and crowds, one of our very favorite times to go to Disneyland is when they are all decked out for Christmas (yes it's very busy and yes it's still totally worth it.) There is something very magical about it. We can't wait to go this year and take our traditional picture with Santa Claus, pet his real reindeer, take a picture with Mickey Mouse dressed up as Santa, see the icicle lights on the castle and watch the snow fall on Main Street.
It's not too early...right? Christmas is exactly 4 short months away from today! Heck, some of the stores are already itching to get rid of the pencils, lunch boxes, back packs and crayons they put out the day after the 4th of July and put out the holiday stuff up. Costco already has Halloween costumes! (Boo.) Besides, school started for us in the middle of August this year so my head has already completely switched over to Fall. After Fall comes pumpkin spice lattes, planning the Thanksgiving dinner menu and going to Disneyland for Christmas!
Oh and in case you didn't read it above: This photo is the property of My Tales From The Crib and @Coco_Cana. It was taken by Colleen Duncan Canavan at Disneyland during the 2012 Christmas season. We just so happened to walk by the castle when it was all lit up and they had blocked it off for something (fireworks maybe?) and I captured this in about 2 seconds as we were walking by. Mind you there are a GAZILLION people behind me, next to me, annoyed with me for stopping yet waiting to take my very spot to capture their own castle shot with out anyone in it. My husband is not one to stop in the dead center of a very busy, moving crowed and swim upstream like a salmon to capture the perfect picture...but I am. And I'm glad I did. I love this pic. We blew it up for our daughter's room. Even though it's not a professional shot and it's pretty dark, it's priceless to us.
Like I said, "Disney Freaks!" ;-)