After we unpacked the car and got our stuff into the HoJo Anaheim, we packed up the stroller and headed to the parks. That sounds like a simple operation, but in reality it consisted of packing snacks, a sippy cup, bottles of water, diapers, wipes, a changing pad, a sun hat, a change of warm-weather clothes, a change of cool-weather clothes, a rain jacket, an extra pair of shoes, an extra pair of socks, baby sunglasses, a camcorder, a digital SLR, a bag of animal cookies, and sunscreen.
Things actually needed on day one of being in the park with the baby: animal crackers and digital SLR.
Going through security with the stroller was easier than I thought it would be. I was afraid that they’d want us to take her completely out so they could pat down her ride, but they just peeked under the stroller, looked in our bags, and let us through. In fact, I feel like having the baby and the diaper bags meant that security was more lax than normal. They’d open our bags and see huge piles of baby stuff that they didn’t want to poke through so they’d just wave us on. So, if you ever wanted to smuggle those bottles of liquor into the park, apparently the secret is to travel with a baby.
(I’m so kidding, btw. Please don’t do that.)
Anyway, we were directed to go all the way to the right side of the park gates to get into Disneyland, because that’s where you’ll find the entrance for wheelchairs and other service vehicles. Strollers can actually go through the middle of any gate unless it’s a double stroller, but the service line was a lot shorter, so we used that for most of the trip.
When we popped into Disneyland, I did think that Eva was going to be excited. I thought she’d clap and squeal and get into it. She didn’t. In all fairness, going through the gates just means that you can now see more crowds and some flowers in the shape of a Mickey head, so why would she have had a huge reaction? Still, I was disappointed and thought I’d share my let down so you can lower your expectation bar.
When we moved onto Main Street U.S.A., she definitely got a little more interested. The music was playing and there were people everywhere and I think she caught the excitement that her dad and I were feeling. She wanted to look at everything and kept pointing at the lights and the shop windows. There was still no outright joy, but she had just spent twelve hours in the car and was a little worse for wear, so we were just trying to keep her from totally falling apart from overstimulation.
We went up through Fantasyland, where the crowds were pretty thick, and learned that having a stroller doesn’t give you much of a pass as far as having people move out of the way for you. It makes you feel like people should move, but most people seem to be immune to strollers (or they have strollers themselves) so it’s every man for himself. It wasn’t terrible, but it was impossible to hurry with a stroller, so it took us longer to move through the park than it did when we were two newlyweds zipping around on our own.
The first ride we decided to take her on was It’s a Small World. There were a few reasons for this: (1) it was closed for refurbishment during our only other Disneyland trip, so Kyle and I had never ridden it together, (2) it’s pretty slow so we thought it had less chance of freaking her out than Dumbo or Peter Pan, and (3) Eva loves music and we play the Small World theme for her all the time on her iPod. We also knew that she would love the outside of the building, which has the clock and the moving pieces. (So much better than WDW! So much!!)
We parked the stroller in a sea of strollers outside the ride. I admit that I was nervous about it and tied an old Target plastic bag to the handle because I thought that people would be less inclined to steal the stroller with the garbage stuck to it. After stroller parking for a full trip, I now know that I had nothing to worry about. I’m sure that strollers do get swiped every now and then, but if I had been a stroller swiper, I sure wouldn’t have picked our cracker-crusted Graco. People bring the nicest strollers to Disneyland! I saw a Stokke Xplory and Bugaboos and tons of Peg Peregos! For those of you who aren’t stroller buffs, we’re talking thousands of dollars worth of strollers here.
I was also surprised to see what people left in the strollers. Stuffed animals, sweatshirts, merchandise bags, cameras, and diaper bags were all perfectly visible in other people’s strollers whenever I parked (and emptied) ours. I even had a real personal-ethics moment when I parked next to a stroller that had a Petunia Pickle Bottom Cake carryall sitting right on top, which is a $350 diaper bag that I’ve been drooling over ever since I got pregnant with Eva. For the record, I didn’t even bring my eBay hand-me-down $40 Petunia Pickle Bottom bag to Disneyland because I was afraid someone would tear it off of my arm, but it turns out that every mom who takes their baby to Disneyland takes a Petunia Pickle Bottom bag. The trip was like a big trunk show!
Anyway, I parked and emptied the stroller and we got in line. Eva was excited about the clock on the outside of the ride and we coaxed a smile out of her. Unfortunately, I had my SLR on manual and forgot to check the settings, so I ended up with the world’s most overexposed…I mean, artistic…shots of us in line.
On the ride, Eva was excited about the boat and had a great time until we actually entered the ride. The sudden darkness made her pretty wary and even though she liked looking at the dolls and scenery, she did have a moment where she reached for me and made the transfer to my lap for a little extra reassurance. (Eva wants to be with Kyle 90% of the time because she’s a big time daddy’s girl, but for whatever reason when trouble looms suddenly it’s mama mama mama.) She got into it, though, and started laughing and pointing and wanting to get out and run around. I tried to take photos, but my camera just isn’t set up for good dark ride photos.
She fussed when we left the ride because I think she wanted to keep riding, but we wanted to see more of the park, so we headed over to Toontown.