|Bailey's First Trip to Disneyland (1 year old)|
Both rides, Gwith and I had checked out on our first visit last year and had deemed far to scary for him at the time. We felt because it was dark and they showed scary characters in each ride, that it would be too much for a one year old, and at the time, we thought they'd probably be too scary for the next few years.
Bailey at 1 1/2 Years Old Meeting Winnie the Pooh
Fast forward to a year later. Our son is not afraid of the dark (at this point anyways!)...playing in closets and turning off the lights is one of his favorite things to do! Add on top of that that he is OBSESSED with Monsters Inc and makes "rawring" sounds every chance he gets, we felt he may find the ride more appealing than we once assumed.
Before heading off to California Adventure for the day, Bailey went to his weekly gymnastics class. He burned off a lot of energy and when we got in the car, he napped for most of the drive. Considering he refuses all of his naps now, we were so grateful that he actually slept!
When we arrived, Bailey was joyously pointing at the Minnie Mouse signs in the parking lot. Upon arriving on the tram, Bailey sat in Gwith's lap looking around, looking around and spinning the wheel of the stroller. When the loud speaker came on above, Bailey pointed in awe, looking up, with his jaw dropped. Gwith whispered to him that a person lived in the ceiling of the tram. A look of shock appeared on Bailey's face and then a smile. Every time the speaker came on, Bailey looked in amazement, gasping as though he could hardly believe a voice was coming from the ceiling.
We loaded off the tram and asked Bailey if he wanted to sit in his stroller. He refused of course so we walked hand in hand with him to the park. When we arrived, we walked in circles trying to find a place to eat and after 30 minutes, and stopping at a restaurant to find they only accept reservations at that time (which is bizarre to me for a theme park...), we finally settled for hot dogs at Award Wieners, which pleasantly surprised me with gluten free buns for Bailey and I! Gwith jumped into the long line, while Bailey and I walked around waiting. We walked past some stores where Bailey stopped and pointed continuously at the pictures of the characters he recognized: Ariel, Sebastian, Lumiar, etc. After stopping, I looked back at Gwith to find he hadn't moved an inch in the line. Bailey and I continued our short walk until we suddenly came upon the Monsters Inc ride, which is almost around the corner from Award Wieners. Bailey saw the Monsters Inc logo, pointed with excitement and started dragging me towards the ride. I pulled to the side to drop off the stroller (which he thought meant we weren't going on) and started going "mamamamamama" and "go go go". At this point, I knew we were going to have to go on while Gwith got our food. Luckily, when we arrived at the entrance, the attendant gave us a "Buddy pass", which they apparently give out when there's only two people, and we could skip the line and go around through the back to jump straight on. This was most definitely a godsend between an impatient toddler and a husband who would have food for us any minute! As I walked Bailey to the back entrance, he kept trying to drag me back because he knew that wasn't the "correct" entrance. After convincing him that he was, we entered. We walked onto the ride, sat down, and Bailey looked at me with confusion, excitement, and awe all at the same time. The ride began and a video appeared on the screen about Boo. Bailey pointed with excitement. At that point, I knew, this ride was definitely the right choice. As we continued through the ride, Bailey looked at me periodically with a giant smile on his face. He gasped when he saw Randall and said "uh oh", and continued to watch the ride in amazement.
After the ride was over, we walked to join Gwith at the hot dog's dining area, before heading to the ride for a second time as a family. Of course, this time, because there were three of us, we waited in line.
|Waiting in line for Monsters Inc|
After the ride, we walked to The Little Mermaid ride, stopping for a photo with Clarabelle Cow along the way (once he spotted her there was no turning back!). Ironically, when we came over to take the photo with her, he was a little more weary about her. This was very different from his previous trips when he rushed to cuddle the characters!
Afterwards, we headed to the line to meet Woody from Toy Story. We had tried to come earlier but missed him. This time, we arrived at the start of the line! Woody hadn't come out yet and Bailey just stood there playing with us. When Woody appeared, Bailey didn't notice...until suddenly he did, and he tried to dart underneath the rope in record time to run towards him! We stopped him of course, and explained to him he had to wait but it truly was adorable watching his face when he noticed Woody. When we met Woody, Bailey was SO excited, giving Woody fist bumps and kisses.
|Gwith, Bailey, Woody, and I|
We headed to A Bugs Land for a couple more rides, knowing that there would be less lines in this toddler oriented area of the park. Our first stop was Francis' Ladybug Boogie, a version of the well known Mad Tea Party ride, but you don't have control to spin this one. Bailey was unsure as we got on the ride but the second we started spinning, he was grinning from ear to ear. When the ride ended, Bailey sat there saying "more more more!". We told him it was all done and he got off without a fight.
For our final ride, we went on Flik's Flyers. While waiting in line, Bailey saw three other toddlers and naturally thought it was appropriate to make monster "rawring" noises at them. The kids gleefully rawred back. The parent saw their own kid rawr and told them it wasn't nice to scare a little kid, until I told her that Bailey started it. After that, we continued to let our kids rawr at each other for the rest of the line. They were having fun and who were we to stop them? This ride is similar to Dumbo, but you're a little more closed in. Bailey was unsure for most of this ride, although he did smile occasionally.
After the ride, we decided to call it a day. We had been at the park for nearly five hours and Bailey had walked for four of them and had Gwith carry him for one! How his little legs managed to walk four hours, I'll never know!
So here's the breakdown of suggestions if you're taking your two year old to California Adventure for the day:
- Be prepared that using the stroller may not be in the cards
- If your child is familiar with the movies for dark rides, I suggest taking them on the ride! They're probably going to love it! If they're not familiar, they may find it scary. Of course, if your child is afraid of the dark, avoid avoid avoid.
- Spinning rides are a big hit; what toddler doesn't like to spin in circles?
- Flying rides may or may not be a good idea! Your little one may still be unsure about this sensation.
- Gage your child's feelings about the character actors. Your child may be a little weary or they may absolutely love it.
- Make reservations for restaurants if you know what time you're going to be there...or get a hot dog (my husband would probably suggest to steer clear of the many toppings, he wasn't a fan; but my plain hot dog was just fine and the gluten free bun was delicious!)
- Bring snacks: Bailey was munching on raisins while Gwith carried him which kept him from trying to leap and bend backwards (at least during the moments he was eating...)
- In the end, just try as much as possible to go with the flow: you're at California Adventure and you're there for your little one! It's your kid's special day. Let them have their day and you'll all be much happier for it!