Let me just say it – going to Disneyland with a three year old is pretty much perfect. I was thinking of doing some sort of ‘tips for Disneyland’ post, but decided against it. I can’t claim to be an expert, or to assume how other kids would handle Disneyland. Instead, I will tell you why taking Alma, by herself, to Disneyland was amazing.
She was young enough that the magic was still fully alive.
She was old enough that she could really understand the reality of that magic. When we were flying on Dumbo, she knew what that meant – we had watched the movie and she knew how amazing and fun it was to be on Dumbo.
She said she missed Harriet, but I’m pretty sure she actually enjoyed having us all to herself. We also met my cousin Michael, his wife Michelle, their daughter Avalon, and family friend (and super amazing teenager) Ciara.
We went on all the great little kid rides (except for Peter Pan, which was sadly closed) and Alma got to see wild animals on a cruise (and the elusive back side of water).
She got to see kids from all over the small world (we got to see this twice, and once for much longer than we meant – the ride broke down and we were stuck for about a half hour, luckily they turned off the music after about 10 minutes). She got to fly with Dumbo – twice! She got to spin in Alice’s giant tea cups. I don’t know if there’s anything more magical, or more Disney, than that.
She got to play in Minnie’s house. The cake in the oven was a serious highlight for this girl. With Disneyland, and all its wonders all around, I love that this was a favorite. It’s what she told my mom all about. “The cake gets bigger, then smaller, then bigger!” She got to climb and play in Tarzan’s tree house.
We did so much more, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that these things really did happen for Alma. She was so in it. She believed. She actually met Mickey and Minnie. She waved at Alice and the princesses. Cinderella actually blew her a kiss. It actually became nighttime while we were on the Pirates of the Caribbean.
In addition to all that, she did really well waiting in lines. She only whined a little bit (and understood the warnings I gave her that if she fought with Avalon, or whined, that we would have to go home).
That’s why three years old is perfect.
[I should say that I really love Harriet. She’s really fun these days, and getting bigger and smarter every moment. But, I’m so, so, so glad we didn’t take her. We saw lots of kids her age, and always commented to each other how glad we were that my parents were watching her. All the kids her age seemed like they were on the verge, or in the middle of a tantrum. They didn’t like waiting in lines, they looked really tired, and they had to have their diapers changed. I was so glad to avoid the changing table – it looked miserable. Besides all that, she wouldn’t have gotten it.]