The snow in Boston looks a bit different than this.
It’s sunny today in Boston, and we’re expecting another foot of snow tomorrow. I’m not entirely sure where to put it, given that the sides of my 30-yard driveway are already piled high with packed snow, and it doesn’t look like anything’s going to melt off before it’s time to shovel again. But at least I got the back deck cleared off on Saturday, since it was getting heavy enough that I worried about our kitchen roof underneath it.
Not the Yeti. Me.
All of which is really to say: I’m so incredibly, deeply glad that I took a day all to myself earlier this month and went to Disneyland.
This has been a strange month indeed. The third week of January, I was scheduled to attend business meetings in San Diego on Tuesday and Thursday, with a gap on Wednesday. I’d be flying to Orlando that Friday, for my best friend’s WeddingFest, so I knew a Disney fix was in my near future. But given that I’d be 90 minutes from Anaheim, with an inexplicable day off in Southern California, I’d scheduled an official vacation day, and booked a one-day car rental through the concierge in my lovely San Diego hotel.
The lovely view from my room at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay, San Diego
Being a Disney blogger, columnist, and podcaster, you’d think that it wouldn’t take much for me to get myself out of the hotel for a day at the happiest place on earth. But you’d be wrong. I’m also a working mom, and my family’s primary breadwinner at that. My spouse is a journalist, and I’m sure you’ve heard how kind the economy’s been to that sector lately. So I hemmed and hawed a lot, even on the morning of my daytrip. Surely there were better uses for the ~$180 I’d be spending on the daytrip, between car rental, gas, parking, and a one-day one-park admission. Surely I should be getting something more productive done for my work or family.
But sometimes, mom just needs a day at Disneyland.
It was a chilly Wednesday in January, possibly the best day ever to be at the park. There were no parades or fireworks, it’s true. I opted to skip DCA and the World of Color, and focus instead on my first Disney park, the first Disney park, the home of Mr. Toad’s Ride and the currently-open Toontown and the place of so many happy memories.
I hit a lot of traffic coming up from San Diego. I would’ve liked to leave around 6:00am, to hopefully beat some traffic and make rope drop, but the car rental counter didn’t open until 7:30am and they couldn’t promise me a car until 7:45am. I was cranky on the highway, but it started to melt away when I saw the exit signs for Disney Way/Katella Boulevard.
As much as I love touring the parks with my family and friends, there’s something special about a day alone in Disneyland too. Since I’d be at Walt Disney World in just a few days for WeddingFest, I knew I’d have plenty of time to enjoy Disney together with loved ones, and could completely throw myself into whatever I wanted to do alone at Disneyland. I knew, too, that WeddingFest wouldn’t mean a lot of park time, and that touring the parks becomes complicated with large groups of people with disparate interests, so I hit all my favorite attractions at least once, knowing I might not have a chance to experience their Magic Kingdom counterparts anytime soon.
As I’ve written about before, I spent much of the day wrapped in happy obsession with leveling up and earning badges on Lines. But touring alone also let me focus on some of the little things I might not have noticed otherwise.
Click on the image and look carefully: There's a Yeti Vinylmation in the Matterhorn control booth.
Ever notice this sign on the Matterhorn queue, on the right side? It translates to "Freedom and Fatherland."
I approve of men in kilts riding the Storyland boats. (Sorry for the freaky image quality.)
Another fashion win! I don't know who they are, but I love their wings.
Even sitting down for a meal in the parks alone can be wonderfully relaxing. I spent both lunch and dinner at the Golden Horseshoe, where I could catch a show and recharge my phone (gotta keep posting those wait times to Lines, y’know?).
And yes indeed, I did ride the rides. I hit all my faves: Matterhorn, Space Mountain, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Snow White, Buzz Lightyear . . . the list goes on and on. I lost track of how many times I ran through Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. I went on the Finding Nemo submarine ride for the first time, and was pleased to see the same excellent technology in place for The Living Seas with Nemo over Epcot way. I danced in my seat while Captain EO promised to change the world, thinking gladly ahead to watching it again in a few days, with my MJ-fan son and whomever else we could drag along.
And of course, eventually the day came to an end. The park closed at 8:00pm, and honestly I was ready for the drive back to San Diego. I had a business call to return, and I knew things might get complicated. But I couldn’t call it a day without paying a visit to the big guy.
Oh happy day!
As I sit in a Brookline coffee shop, on this sunny day in Boston waiting for the next foot of snow to drop, it’s nice to think back on a chilly Wednesday at Disneyland.