When my kids were little, a trip to Disneyland was the highlight of the year-well actually of every 5 years or so. We couldn’t afford to go every year. Oh, the planning that went into those trips-a motel close enough to walk to the park if possible; the snacks we carried in to avoid spending money on things to eat inside the walls of the magic Kingdom; the stroller and other paraphernalia for the baby; extra sweaters for each child in case it turned cool in the late afternoon; a make-shift first-aid kit to take care of blisters, dry cracked lips, and skinned knees, etc. If you’re a parent who has ever visited Disneyland, you probably already know the drill only too well.
And, in addition to wishing for a pack-mule to carry everything, there were the lines, lines, and more lines. But, in those days, we didn’t have much choice. We took our vacation in the summer just like everyone else did so we could be back home when it was time for the kids to be back in school.
When we did get home after one of those rare trips, our kids were usually bubbling over with sharing all the fun they had enjoyed on their visit to Disneyland. My husband and I, even though we pasted smiles on our faces and claimed that we had had a super vacation, were both glad it was over and that things were now back to normal.
Never again, I vowed secretly-or at least not until the baby was out of diapers, and the kids were all old enough for me not to panic when I lost track of one of them for more than a few seconds.
Just a few years after our last trip to Disneyland with the kids, my husband and I heard about a machinery show in Anaheim where a sanding machine we were interested in for our hardwood business was being featured. I asked my mother to move in for a few days to keep an eye on the kids-who were older by that time-and ordered tickets for the show.
To our surprise, the show was two blocks from Disneyland and our motel was even closer.
I’ll have to admit, I wasn’t really enthused with the idea of visiting Disneyland on that trip as my recollections of the place were not really all that exciting. The long lines alone were enough to make me want to skip the place for the rest of my life, but who in his or her right mind can be in a motel a block away from Disneyland and not make even a tiny little visit there. Certainly not us, so, after checking out the machinery show we had come to see, we decided to head over to Disneyland for an hour or two.
That’s why, on a beautiful autumn evening, at about 7 o’clock, we arrived for our first visit to Disneyland-without kids. The wonderful thing about it was that a large percentage of the other adults there were also without kids-and we had a great time. The park was uncrowded, (something I had never seen before), there were hardly any lines or waiting, very few babies crying, and perfect weather.
Need I say that my husband and I had a ball? We tromped through all of our favorites at least twice and went back to a few for thirds before it started getting dark. My husband even joined me in riding the boat through Small World three times without complaining once that it was too tame or too boring. I joined him on a small roller coaster once without complaining, either. (Mainly, because I was too busy trying not to lose my dinner, but I won’t go into that here.) We made sure not to miss the seven dwarves slaving away in the mine as we rode by on a train, and took time to mingle with Goofy and Mickey Mouse on the street as they walked by.
Even after it was completely dark, we found things to do, and finally, exhausted, enjoyed a leisurely walk back to our motel for a good night’s sleep before heading home the next day. Our children were jealous when they found out we had gone to Disneyland without them, and we tried not to gloat.
Yes, I know that Disneyland is just for kids-but, once in a while-I kind of like they idea of taking a turn at being a kid again myself. Try it. You might like it, too.