We survived Disneyland...again.
Growing up, I went to Disneyland exactly two times: Once as an unknowing baby and once as a angsty teenager. I had no idea that I'd grow up and marry a woman who'd convince me to go to Disneyland four times in eight years.
This was probably our best California trip so far (and hopefully the last for a long time).
We started out at Seal Beach.
Pro traveling tip: If you want the beach to yourself, go at 2 p.m. on weekday afternoon.
Parenting tip: If it's only 65 degrees on the beach, it's freezing in the water. But luckily kids don't care.
Even at the happiest place on Earth, our fear is always that our kids will choose to have a lousy time.
Despite the look of this look of disdain from Curtis, he actually had a really good time.
I was most worried about Tate. When we went to Lagoon two months ago, he refused to go on any rides for the first eight hours of our ten-hour-visit. But other than one meltdown in the Toy Story Mania line, where he was hitting Traci, scratching Paige, and headbutting me, Tate did just fine.
This trip also marked Curtis' first foray into big roller coasters. I love the look of fear on his face on Space Mountain. Tate, the littlest guy on the ride, is as happy as could be.
Paige ruled the park, riding everything and conquering any fear of the scary ones, including California Screamin' (which she loved) and the Tower of Terror (which she hated).
My trusty Fitbit informed that we walked 12 miles the first day. Tate opted for the stroller.
After two days at Disneyland, we headed to Universal Studios. The 35 miles from Anaheim to Universal Studios in Hollywood took an hour and 15 minutes.
Paige's favorite part of Universal was Harry Potter land.
I had a different favorite. (Simpsons land was kind of what my dreams are like.)
Best. Family portrait. Ever.
After a good day in the park, we had to brave the drive home. Thanks to two wrecks, combined with Friday night congestion, the 75-minute commute had ballooned to two hours and 15 minutes. After sitting on the freeway for a half hour or so, Siri offered a ray of hope: I have found a route that will save you 18 minutes, she intoned. We took it.
Siri guided us off the freeway and led us on a winding path through who knows where. In two miles, turn right. We did. In 600 feet, turn left. We did. And on and on through the labyrinth of the Los Angeles suburbs. It was maddening. Traci was a powerless navigator. I was a grumpy driver. Tate slept peacefully in his booster seat. When we finally made it to the last turn, the one that would lead to the big short cut, we saw another sign: Road closed.
When we made it back to the hotel, we all fell into the bed, exhausted. We'd walked more than 30 miles in three days.
It was a good trip. As our kids get older, it gets tougher to find things all three of them want to do. One wants to go on the big rides, but the others don't. One wants to go on the kid rides, but the others are too big. One is just grumpy all the time.
But this time around we basically did all the rides together as a family (probably to the lifelong traumatization of Tate; that Jurassic Park ride at Universal is pretty scary) and everyone had a good time.
Maybe we can go back to Disneyland after all.