Becky Breiland, of the Mousetalgia.com podcast, brings us this guest blog on her Disneyland touring experiences.
I am a firm believer that visiting the Disney Parks is appropriate at any stage of life. People who find out how often I visit Disneyland tell me things like “We’ll go when my kids are old enough to remember,” or “My kids are too old for that place,” or “I don’t have kids, why would I go to Disneyland?” While not everyone needs to understand the appeal of the Disney experience, there are great things about visiting the parks regardless of where you are in life.
Growing up in Michigan, we had several trips to Walt Disney World in my childhood. Once I entered college, I found a friend who also saw the appeal of the Disney universe, and we would take commando trips, driving down and back, and attending the parks in a four-day span. When I moved to California, my husband and I began visiting Disneyland on a regular basis. The six hour drive, compared to twenty hours from Michigan to Florida, was nothing. So why not go?
As a single person and then as a family of two, the parks have been a place where it’s been easy to remember all the benefits of not having children. There was no one to argue with, we worked on the adults’ schedule, and nap time meant that I could sit next to the pool and maybe even enjoy a cocktail. It has been a rare time that I’ve wandered Disneyland without a FASTPASS to Indiana Jones, Space Mountain or California Screamin’ in my pocket.
Until now. My husband and I are thrilled to be welcoming another life into the world who we get to teach about the glories of Mickey Mouse. In the meantime, visiting Disneyland pregnant has been just as much fun as my non-pregnancy journeys down to Anaheim. Since discovering that we have a little blessing on the way, I’ve been to Disneyland twice, with plans to go two more times before the actual arrival.
The biggest change in our touring at Disneyland has actually been food. Since I’ve been pregnant, when I’m hungry, it’s time to eat … now. Especially during my first trimester, if I didn’t start eating soon after I realized that I was hungry, a massive headache would arrive along with a bit of queasiness to boot. We knew this going into the trip and so I packed fresh fruit – mainly apples and oranges as they were less likely to bruise while I carried them around the park – as well as granola bars and trail mix, and of course some saltine crackers. Gladware has been a lifesaver. It’s lightweight and keeps my crackers from turning into a crumby mess, and my grapes from become grape juice. My husband has gotten into the action by making sure our eating times have been consistent, and also making some priority seating reservations for the times we normally eat dinner at home. Along with my snacks, I have been making sure to always have a supply of water with me. Staying hydrated not only is important from a health aspect, it also helped me to feel good.
Pregnancy has also allowed the total transformation of thought about why we visit Disneyland. It isn’t about getting on a bunch of rides, it’s about an experience. There is plenty of art to look at, shows to see, food to eat, and just time to walk around looking at the details that make Disneyland, well, Disneyland. In many ways my Disneyland trips have become more of a vacation then ever before. We’ve become even more content to wander around the parks, checking out the various performers that we happen upon, making it a point to visit the shows such as Aladdin or the Golden Horseshoe Review, and visiting the more minor attractions. When the parks have been packed, it hasn’t mattered. We are there to enjoy being together, and to experience the Disney magic.
In Disneyland, I did skip over all the Mountains (Space, Big Thunder, Matterhorn, Splash) as well as Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean. We spent a large amount of time enjoying the Fantasyland attractions, the Haunted Mansion, Tiki Room and Jungle Cruise, appreciating the artwork and storytelling (and sometimes the lack of it – cough, cough, Snow White). The competition of Buzz Lightyear AstroBlasters has always been an enjoyable part of our trip, and is a great attraction for expectant mothers. Two of the Disneyland highlights, Fantasmic! and the fireworks are also great activities, especially if you’ve enjoyed an afternoon nap.
In Disney California Adventure, I did have to pass by California Screamin’, as well as Grizzly River Run, Mulholland Madness, the Mailboomer and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. However, other than California Screamin’, I generally pass by the others for one reason or another on most trips, so it hasn’t seemed like much of a sacrifice. Toy Story Midway Mania is one of my favorite attractions, and while a bit more dizzy than normal after all the spinning, it has been another great part of our pregnancy trips. The Animation Building is an often overlooked, but wonderful place to spend time. It’s air-conditioned, full of wonderful things to look at, and great activities to participate in.
Finally, we also have used our slower pace as a chance to enjoy what the resorts have to offer. We’ve sat and listened to the piano in the lobby of the Grand Californian, enjoyed sitting on balconies over looking pools, Downtown Disney and the Parks, and enjoyed the peacefulness of the hotel rooms. Staying close to the parks has always been important to me, but even more so now. It allows for a bit of down time without feeling like I’m missing out on the parks.
While our Disney trips in the recent past have been a bit different, they have been just as enjoyable. Relatively speaking, there is little that expectant mothers cannot do in the parks. Pregnancy should not keep people from enjoying the Disneyland Resort, but it many give you a slightly different appreciation for all it has to offer. We are excited to see the parks from an even different angle when we welcome our little Mouseketeer into the world. He or she probably won’t remember their first trip, but that won’t be why we go. We’ll go because it’s a way to spend time together as a family, something that encourages laughter and imagination, and because mom and dad think it’s fun.
About the author: Becky Breiland has been traveling to Walt Disney World and Disneyland since she was three. One of her fondest memories is getting Mickey Waffles for breakfast on those early Disney trips. Becky, her husband, and two friends comprise the Mousetalgia.com podcasting team. Mousetalgia is a show dedicated to the exploration of Disney’s past, present and future, emphasizing the theme park culture and the people who have imagined Walt’s happy place into existence. Go “Carpe Kingdom!”