Over the holidays, my wife and I took the kids to Disneyland and California Adventure along with 50,000 of our closest friends. Apparently there were a lot of band families there as well, judging by the number of Tournament of Roses Parade shirts and jackets we saw. I thought I’d take a minute to summarize some of the observations we made during our visit. Don’t take it too seriously. It’s all in fun.

1. Mickey Mouse hats always seem like a good idea while you’re there. Then you go home. The new ones have ears that light up and synchronize with the music during the parades and fireworks displays. Admittedly, this was pretty cool to watch at the park, but they might get some strange looks at the next symphonic band or even AC/DC concert. Then again, maybe not.

2. Pay attention to the signs that say “This ride not recommended for those prone to motion sickness”. Even if it’s just the Ferris wheel. Especially if it’s just the Ferris wheel. I talked my family into riding the giant Ferris wheel at California Adventure because it’s giant and it has great views. My daughter suggested one of the “free-mounted” gondolas that slip and slide back and forth along the tracks inside the spokes of the Ferris Wheel. Big mistake. I get motion sickness just looking at the spinning Tea Cups. This felt like I was riding on one of those gyro wheels I played with as a kid.


3. Rain is your friend if you want to avoid crowds. Buy some ponchos and bring extra socks. The lines are light and the rides still go!

4. Men: Using the restroom while wearing a poncho presents a challenging new set of logistics.

5. When the camera takes your picture at the top of the Tower of Terror, don’t cover your face. They won’t display the image in the lobby after the ride with all the others. I’m convinced it has something to do with Homeland Security and terrorists that like to ride Tower of Terror. It’s not a theory.

6. It’s ironic when the ride attendant on Tower of Terror has to check seatbelts three times before the malfunction light goes off.

7. It’s downright scary when she says “Good enough” and starts the ride.

8. Santa Clause actually says “Happy Holidays!” at the end of the Disney Parade. Really, Santa? Is there another holiday besides Christmas that you participate in?? I appreciate diversity in faith and holidays. But this is Santa. C’mon.

9. Disney makes it pretty hard for little kids to see their light shows and fireworks because all the big people are in the way. For our nine year old who had been on the go for 14 hours, this was pretty frustrating.

10. Sometimes happiness is found in a slow moving clam shell. When you need to take a breather from the crowds, rest your feet or just find a break from the weather, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure in California Adventure is perfect. A harmless five minute ride with instant access (at least on our rainy day!), familiar “Little Mermaid” music and characters and it doesn’t make you want to stick a fork in your eye (#smallworld).

11. Sometimes reliving memories with your children is precious.


12. Sometimes it’s creepy.

13. Lines don’t apply to us. Thanks to RideMax.com. Check it out for Disneyland, Disney World and California Adventure. BEST. $15. EVER. SPENT. Better than the apps that only tell you wait times for rides. RideMax customizes your trip – tell it when you’re going, what you want to ride and how many times. It creates a personal plan for your trip. Our longest wait was around 40 minutes. Most were 5-15. My kids laughed at me the first time we used it. After three trips, they have come to see the power of “THE PLAN”.

I hope your new year is happy and that you make wherever you are the “happiest place on earth”!