The timing around our summer vacation was twofold. Preschool takes a week off between the end of summer school and the start of a new school year; and I take a great masochistic pleasure in running the Disneyland Half Marathon.
So when we returned from Hawaii, our extended family headed down to Anaheim to meet the Mouse â€“ where we also met up with AuntJ. (The very same AuntJ who was around to help out GrammaJ when I was a wee 3-year-old on my first visit as well.)
We took the muppets to California Adventure back in January (when I ran the Tinkerbell Half Marathon), but this was to be the first official visit to the original Main Street of Imagination.
I met up with the rest of the fam at park open, after enjoying a sweat-drenched leisurely 10k early morning run through the kingdom as a kickoff to the Disneyland Half Marathon Race weekend. And yes, I insisted on standing in line at City Hall to get the muppets their â€œspecial buttons.â€
And with that, we were off â€“ on the train to leave today for a world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.
The oppressive heat and humidity over the holiday weekend gave the added bonus of far fewer locals/racers venturing forth. No lines! (Granted, the heat also caused several rides reliant on hydraulics to malfunction, but no injuries, so weâ€™ll take the no lines.)
We saw Goofy yucking it up with the vintage fire brigade on Main Street.
Destroy hung back with Gramma because heâ€™s still not to keen on meeting characters close up. So he wandered around to find things that further his obsession with Ariel and the ocean. Search, AuntJ and I met Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty first.
Aurora: <with a royal flourish> And who is this handsome prince youâ€™ve brought to meet me?
Search: Youâ€™re not Cinderella.
Clearly we need to work on the princeâ€™s manners a bit more.
Ten hours, two parks, close to triple-digit heat. And the boys were perfect. (Only mommy got a bit cranky.) I guess it truly is the happiest place on Earth. As a reward for such princely behavior, I knelt down in front of my sons as they finished complete annihilation of a kids Mickey pasta meal, â€œItâ€™s time to go home now. But we can stop by the Emporium and pick out a friend to take home if you like.â€ They liked.
Destroy marched in like he owned the place, pulling at my hand to hurry up. Man was on a mission. â€œI need a mermaid.â€ We asked a cast member to point us in the direction of one.
First stop was a blanketed plush baby. It was creepy looking. Destroy agreed. â€œNo.â€ We moved on to the Barbie-size mermaid. He clutched it with a delighted glee twinkling in his eyes. Our cast member also pointed out the larger doll size. Without hesitation, Destroy declined and proudly toted his prize back to show Gramma, Papa and Dad.
Search stealthily appeared behind me. â€œI want a mermaid, too.â€ And for a moment, he was enchanted by the larger Ariel doll. That was until he spotted the Cinderella doll. Ariel was heartlessly shoved aside as he embraced his new love.
â€œYouâ€™re awesome,â€ the cast member commented.
â€œHuh?â€ I asked cluelessly.
â€œEvery day I see little boys come in here and want a princess doll after meeting them in the park. And every day I see them get chastised by their parents that they are not girls and cannot get a doll. So youâ€™re awesome.â€
I smiled. Good parenting for the win! Then both boys dropped their dolls as the excitedly discovered a Buzz Lightyear with whizzing and whooshing neon glow lights and sounds.
I suspect the dolls would have been far less annoying. But ultimately â€“ we let the boys choose.
The next day, as AuntJ, Gramma and I conquered 13.1 magical miles, Search and Destroy cuddling their Buzzes while engrossed in the Disney classic, Cinderella.
A weekend like that?
Medal please. And you know what? They gave me three.