From It’s a Small World, we headed over to Toontown. I’m actually not a huge fan of Toontown, because cartoonish-type things creep me out a little (Who Framed Roger Rabbit = terrifying!) but we knew that the bright colors would interest Eva.
We were right in thinking that she’d love it, but she also wanted to touch EVERYTHING. She became obsessed with a mailbox that makes noise when you open it and started to throw little tantrums because she didn’t want anyone else to touch it.
She’s also in the phase where her fingers are constantly in her mouth, so she would grab things and then try to suck the germs off of her hands, which meant that I went through about half a bottle of Purell while we were in Toontown. That’s another thing to add to the diaper bag when you’re packing for the parks, because the last thing you need is to have your baby come down with something after the first day!
We (Kyle and I) got bored in Toontown pretty fast because we couldn’t ride anything and the stroller was too bulky to take into the shops and houses. We were starting to get a little hungry, so we headed over to New Orleans Square for a little dinner. We picked the French Market Restaurant and found out that Disneyland offers toddler meals which were perfect for Eva. There aren’t a lot of options, food-wise, but the little cup of mac and cheese was fine with us and it came with a cup of applesauce and milk, all for a reasonable price. Plus, the toddler meals are packed into the cutest little boxes.
If you’re planning a trip, you should know that toddler meals aren’t available everywhere. They seem to be a quick-service-only type of meal, as most of the sit down restaurants have more expensive options for kids. Some of the quick-service restaurants also only had kid’s meals, which are larger and have more options. Also, if you have a good eater, you might want to bump up to a kid’s meal even if your kid is technically a toddler. Our mac and cheese meal worked for Eva on this particular night, but at other times we needed to supplement with snacks from the diaper bags. By the end of the trip, we were spending a couple more dollars to get the kid’s meals so that she could have larger portions of pasta and rice and we were pocketing the sides (string cheese, grapes, applesauce, etc.) to give to her later or take back to the hotel.
Dining at the French Market Restaurant means sitting outside, so we grabbed a table in the back by the mint julep window and the entrance to the train station. The tables are pretty tight together, so we parked the stroller outside (in eyesight because I’m paranoid). The table behind us brought their stroller in, however, and nobody seemed to mind so I’m not sure if there’s a hard rule about strollers in the dining areas.
We also used one of the Disney-provided high chairs for the first time and learned that the high chairs at Disneyland are quite small. They worked for Eva, but they probably won’t work for much longer and they would have been way too small for her cousin Lily, who is seven months older. This is interesting, since most restaurants have high chairs that could fit a three-year-old child. So, if you have a squirmy-type kid who needs to be belted in at dinner, you might need to improvise and use your stroller, a portable cloth high chair, or a travel harness that attaches to dining chairs.
Eva was in a good mood at dinner and really enjoyed watching all of the people who were walking by. I don’t always like dining with her, even though she’s mostly well-behaved, because she tends to drop food on the floor and squeal loudly when she gets excited. In Disneyland, however, there was always another table with another kid who was behaving terribly, so I wasn’t as stressed about it. It probably makes me a terrible person, but there’s something so comforting as a parent about being able to look across a restaurant and say, “Whew! Well, I’m glad we didn’t bring that kid.” Until, of course, you realize you’re the parents of the kid that everyone else is looking at, which only happened once on this trip (more on that later…).
After dinner and beignets, we walked up to the Winnie-the-Pooh ride and rode it twice in a row because there was no wait. I thought Eva would be nervous with the heffalumps and woozles, but she was into it and laughed at everyone bouncing around. The sun was setting as we left the ride and even though she was in good spirits, we decided to call it a night and figured we’d have plenty of time to do everything else at some point in the trip.
Rule #1 when traveling with a baby at Disneyland: do everything you possibly can until you have to leave, because you don’t know how the parks or your baby will be the next day or the day after that. There’s a good chance you’ll kick yourself later on…
On the way out of the park, we were talking about being a little bummed that we had to leave so soon. I pointed out that only one of us had to leave to put the baby to bed, so Kyle ended up staying in the park for a few more rides while Eva and I walked back to the hotel to unpack and turn in.
Eva was in a great mood until we actually got back and I put her in pajamas and tried to get her to lay down. She then screamed bloody murder while standing up in the crib, watching me put the luggage away. I resisted picking her up because I wanted her to sleep, which was working until Kyle banged the door open, woke her up, and promptly picked her up (starting a nice fifteen-minute discussion between parents in which I may or may not have called him a few choice names). Ultimately, we hid in the bathroom with the lights out until she went to sleep and then we crept around and turned in ourselves without watching HBO or taking long showers or doing anything we usually do in hotel rooms.
And that’s why Eva is getting her own room next time.