I’ve gotten into this habit of keeping our vacations a secret. I don’t mean for the sake of a cutesy YouTube video where I unveil to the kids we aren’t actually going to x-destination, we’re really going to DISNEYLAND
What I actually mean is, I don’t really tell people anymore when I am going back ‘home’ at all.
“Didn’t you just go?”
“You do know it’s a really big world out there. There are other places you could visit.”
“How can you afford to go so often?”
When it comes to less than stellar responses, my social circle has it perfected to an art. I’m not mad or anything. They just don’t get it. Really unless you are a die hard Disney nerd, you aren’t gonna get how I can still be fascinated with the same roughly 85 acres of amusement park despite going four times in the last 2.5 years. I’m fast approaching my fifth trip to Walt’s park and I’m just as excited as the first time despite it only being a month since I last had been there.
So, just what it is about Disneyland that makes it pretty much the only place in the world I want to be besides my bed?
1. Walking right down the middle of Memory Street, USA. Back when I was a kid, the only thing in the world I wanted was to go to Disneyland. Coming from a mostly-single parent household, it just wasn’t in the cards. I still have memories of the characters, the movies, the commercials (I still quote that kid who is “too excited to sleep”). Now that I’ve got a couple trips under my belt, now I have actual memories of the parks. It’s fun to walk past “that spot on Main Street” where we sat to watch Paint the Night. Nothing gets my like when my kids squeal in excitement when they remember, this very spot was where it snowed near New Orleans Square during our Christmas trip. I could listen for hours as they recount their first ride on Splash Mountain or when they met Jack right there by Haunted Mansion Holiday. Those memories get me through the deepest days of depression and hold me over until I can get back to make more memories and revisit the previous ones.
2. Everything we need, it’s right there. I tried pricing out another trip to a certain waterpark for this upcoming winter. While your waterpark admission was included with your room, that was it. Any other activity was an upcharge. Resort-wide video game? Upcharge. Zipline ride? Upcharge. Does Disneyland have upcharge experiences? Of course. They try to be inclusive allowing all kinds of vacation packages for all kinds of budgets (case in point: the new digital fastpass). Once you’ve paid your admission into the parks though, for the most part aside from food and trinkets, everything is included: rides, shows, parades, character interactions. This isn’t the county fair where you pay per ticket. In fact, I can really only think of maybe three attractions that cost anything extra at Disneyland: the arcade, the shooting gallery in Frontierland and the games on Paradise Pier. If you visit Disneyworld, you can even pay for a dining plan which essentially makes your food budget built into the price of your vacation– so on that coast, even food is factored in and covered after you’ve paid for your package. On this coast, we don’t have dining plans, but I like it that way. Much less planning.
3. You look familiar, have I visited you before? I’ve been studying maps of Disneyland since the invention of the internet. Once I had access to the information, I became obsessed and submerged myself in the information of where Space Mountain was in relation to the Castle, where do I see Mickey and just how many churro carts are there. From experience & really awesome dedicated bloggers who visit the parks more often than I, I even know where random obscure things are; like the Make a Wish lounge, Patrick Begorra’s door & the smoker corners that I’ve stumbled upon by accident. Just like you know which drawer your forks are in or where you stash your extra toilet paper, I know where to find what I need at Disneyland. There’s comfort in that.
4. Between Money Bags & Penny Pinchers. Back to that whole being inclusive topic, I’ve stayed on site at a Disney-owned hotel. I’ve also stayed at Good Neighbor hotels. I’ve eaten at Blue Bayou where I dropped $200 on a meal for all four of us. I’ve had a trip where we lived on $5 corn dogs and coupons for restaurants in Downtown Disney. I’ve gotten souvenirs that cost me .51 cents or there was the time I bought two $50 sweatshirts. Once you drop expectations and make a decision on where your priorities lie for your trip, you can plan a budget accordingly which in turn can give you a general idea of how often you can go. For us personally, clearly we fall in the category of no-frills airlines and sharing larger plates so we can afford to go more often instead of less frequent lavish vacations. Although, my 10 year anniversary is coming up…. If there’s a time to be lavish, I think that’s one of them.
5. Who told them that they could grow?? My kids won’t be kids forever. We’re quickly approaching the timeframe where they’ll know the “truth” about characters and they’ll be more interested in standing in a 2 hour line for Matterhorn than riding Small World with me AGAIN. Also soon, their tickets won’t be as cheap. At publication, the price difference is $12. But once you times that by two children, not to mention feeding them adult meals at table service restaurants instead of that spiffy Kids Power Pack (one of the best food deals at just $5.99)– or allowing them to split one giant corndog, our trips are going to get more expensive in the future with less kiddie magic & more thrill rides. I want to relish in these moments while I can!
6. Bonus Reason: Change IS inevitable: Some devotees would say they hate the changes that are happening at Disneyland right now. Tower of Terror shut down earlier this year. Marvel is taking over Hollywoodland. Security lines changed recently. Prices keep increasing. There’s a giant new parking structure coming. Star Wars has consumed all of Tomorrowland & soon enough will have it’s own land at The Land. The foot traffic of Disneyland is more geared towards locals who visit more often than travelers. So, to keep those locals entertained & engaged, there is more that changes around Disneyland than Disneyworld. So, there is always something new to see or do at the parks resulting in never being bored of the offerings. Even time of year you visit can offer new experiences.
So, YES! I am going to Disneyland again. I probably will next year too. I’m sure the year after that too now that Star Wars Land has been announced to open in 2019. The year after that, you bet! I’m going to Disneyland – because there’s no feeling like being ‘home’. If I ever do get bored… there’s always Disneyworld or the Disney Cruise Lines.