Two years ago we celebrated Heath’s birthday in Disneyland. We went the week of his actual birthday. He was given a button to wear announcing it was his birthday. The travel agent knew it was his birthday and probably made a note of it for our lunch and dinner reservations. Yet he got free dessert three days in a row! All in celebration of his birthday. Maybe the button had something to do with that. It wasn’t a bad deal and I thought it was a great way to celebrate his 40th birthday. It was either Disneyland or black balloons reminding him that it’s all downhill from here.
One thing we didn’t like about our last trip to Disneyland was all the high school students, particularly the seniors. While the park was crowded the wait for rides didn’t feel too long. But the vibe in the park was totally different with all those kids. I’m not against teenagers. I am against all the unnecessary swearing and scantily clad girls who look like they are applying for jobs as pole dancers.
This time we carefully planned our trip an entire week earlier in May. The kids would most likely still be done with standardized testing and the weather is to die for in May.
What actually happened was Parker was finished with testing. Gavin missed most of his to vacation instead. I kind of don’t care. The testing is not for him. It’s for the schools and frankly I think I will take my friend’s advice (our carpet cleaning friend). He told me that next time I should take the hit and not worry about the school. So what if they don’t get their money for my kids that week? So what if I get a nasty letter telling me what a rotten parent I am for taking my kids out of school? The peace of mind from no homework has to be worth it. I’m kind of starting to feel that way!
The other thing that happened was another Grad Night. High school seniors from the ends of the earth swarmed the park all day Wednesday. We were going to watch The World of Color on Wednesday. When we realized there was a special World of Color event for them that night we changed our plans.
Two friends of mine took a road trip to Disneyland for the weekend. They arrived last Thursday and left Saturday. They stayed in Abigail’s parents time share at the Paradise Pier. It was an unpleasant experience as they heard not one, but two different showings of the World of Color. Apparently there was another Grad Night. The music, partying, and revelry lasted until the wee hours of the morning!
So May wasn’t exactly the lightest month in the crowd index. The weather is nice in May. Except this year. It was gray, cold, and sprinkly the day before we left for our vacation. Occasionally Northern California has some unseasonably cold spring days. No worries, we would just fly to Southern California where the skies are blue and the sun shines beautifully.
The closer we got to our trip the more the weather app kept changing its mind. Temperatures seemed to fall in the 10 day forecast almost daily. There was even a 40% chance of rain. We vacillated on jackets and in the end decided to bring them just in case.
I got sunburned on Saturday because even though Legoland barely hit 70 degrees as a high, the sun was warm enough I took off my jacket. I planned on wearing it all day so my skin was not protected! My pink arms and chest turned a golden brown the next day so it wasn’t a big deal.
This happened Thursday afternoon. The skies were cloudy all morning and breezes would blow through occasionally. Tiny sprinkles fell slowly until suddenly it was a full on rainstorm. I couldn’t help but think didn’t we already do rain in Disneyland a couple years ago? I tried to remember that even though it was raining that December we still had a lot of fun.
We had taken Gwen on the Indiana Jones ride. She has hated it in the past but was really excited to go on it when we watched a Mythbusters episode about The Temple of Doom. She was brave enough to go but still hated it. I guess Heath had promised her we would go on The Jungle Cruise as a reward. Rides with Gwen is a whole post on its own. We did a lot of tame rides after fun rides that she decided she hated.
I didn’t know about The Jungle Cruise reward until the ride broke down. We patiently waited in line despite all the announcements that the ride wasn’t working and they had no idea when it would be working again. We just kept our arms inside our ponchos and smiled in line. Then they announced that the ride was officially shut down and everyone had to leave. Gwen was super bummed. So we went to a store that sold huge lollipops. That was enough to bring a smile back to her face. She had been asking for a lollipop. She loves that kind of candy.
Rain and a lollipop waiting to board a train. Gwen was in heaven!
She chose a lollipop with Elsa and Anna on the wrapper. Parker chose one with Olaf on the wrapper. Gavin decided he was too old for such frivolity. He really wanted popcorn. The wrappers were some sort of clear steel titanium. It was really hard to get the wrapper to tear even a little bit.
Once we freed the lollipops of their clear prison the kids started licking away. Gwen, however, barely touched her tongue to the sucker when it split in half vertically. One half stayed on the stick while the other side shattered on the ground. Gwen’s chin started to quiver and her eyes filled with tears. A wail was about to burst out of her. At the exact same moment in time Heath’s face got angry. He looked like he was ready to lecture Gwen or at least say “I told you so!” He had just said that once the lollipop hit the ground it was garbage.
My mouth started quickly doing damage control. Without thinking the words just spilled out. “It’s ok! It’s ok!” Then to Heath, “It’s not her fault! The thing just broke right in half!” He grabbed her hand and marched her back in the store. I grabbed an intact lollipop. Disneyland’s rule is that if something doesn’t work they fix it for free. She was able to exchange her lollipop no problem. It happened so fast it was almost as if the tragedy never occurred. We walked over to the train station to wait for a train to Tomorrowland. Trains are still Gwen’s favorite.
Thursday’s forecast kept showing a chance of rain. It was a fairly small chance but even then we wanted to be prepared. We needed to go back to Target for a couple things. We hoped to find ponchos there. After a full lap around the entire store we gave up. It’s not like May is a rainy month in California. Maybe regular retailers don’t sell typical spring gear in California. They should have summer stuff by now anyway.
Right across from the registers, in front of the girls clothing department, was a display of Disney rain ponchos. They were only $5 each which was much cheaper than what the park would be selling them for. We grabbed five. Four adults in screaming yellow with Mickey Mouse on the front and one youth in saturated magenta with Anna and Elsa on the front. There were no other choices for adults. I looked. All the cute ones were in girls youth sizes.
There was a lot of rain on Thursday. Luckily it wasn’t a cold rain. I was in flip flops and none of us had jackets on. We were so glad we had bought the ponchos. People were jealous of our cool ponchos. Disneyland only sells transparent white ponchos. Everyone looks like ghosts floating around the park. It was easy for us to stay together. We just followed the line of yellow.
I took the boys on Space Mountain while Heath took Gwen home via the Monorail. We were all ready to be done for the day and just get ready for our dinner reservations at The Storyteller’s Café. The rain didn’t come back that night but we decided just to shop in Downtown Disney.
The next morning was our last. Soaring Over California had been closed for renovations. It was scheduled to open Friday morning. We went early for another Magic Morning to maximize our final hours and to get on the ride before it was open to the general public. It is cool to think we were among the first 100 people to ride the new Soaring Over California!
We were soaked by the time we even got to the ride. There was a half inch of rain puddled on the ground everywhere. The rain came down in the biggest, fattest drops that splashed up from the ground. We were in our ponchos and all had hats on. The brim of my hat and Gwen’s hat were so wet they were almost dripping. Gavin’s hat is a wide circle so he couldn’t wear the hood on the poncho. His hat could almost be wrung out after less than an hour and three rides in the rain that morning. The hat finally dried out late Saturday night. I’m not kidding.
The ponchos only protected so much. They didn’t have any closures on the side. The wind was blowing pretty well that morning and would blow our ponchos open. Our jacket sleeves were wet no matter how much we tried to keep our arms inside the plastic. I was wearing cropped pants so everything from just above my knees down was soaked. It was such a wet rain! My feet were really cold in my flip flops. My toes probably looked prunish from wading in cold rain water.
We enjoyed Soaring Over California then went on Midway Mania. We decided that if the line to the Ariel ride was long then we were done for the day. The line was almost non existent and we got right on. But when that ride was over we were so ready to head back to the room to dry out before flying home.
The next time we do this we will be going in March or April. We picked May because the weather is nice and more stable. Forget that! Apparently it doesn’t matter. The rain simply follows us. In fact, if you would like to help end California’s drought you can fund us to take more trips to Disneyland! At least in March or April the crowd index is low. May comes with Grad Days and Proms. We saw kids dressed up for prom this time and two years ago.
Not only did we wade through stunning rain (1.5 inches in 24 hours in some SoCal cities), we came home to cold, gray weather. Highs made it to 62 degrees today. The whole week is like that. There is the hope for rain this week but I will believe it when I see it. Almost all of the rain gets caught on the mountains and never reaches where my family lives.
Two years from this December I will turn 40. I’m just not sure I want to play in the rain anymore. Disney Cruise anyone?