Monday, October 14, 2013

Halloween Time At Disneyland: Calling All Parents of Teens

It's Halloween Time at Disneyland! Definitely not for the gourd-phobic.
Last weekend we were treated to a day at Disneyland Resort to enjoy their special Halloween Time event. This is where the parks are transformed for Halloween and some of the rides get a scary makeover – Space Mountain becomes Ghost Galaxy, The Haunted Mansion turns into Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas hosted by Jack Skellington and The Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror gets a few additional dead souls checking in. And of course no one does Halloween decorations better than Disneyland. (Sorry, Pinterest.)

Lately when I've mentioned to friends with older kids that we're heading to Disneyland I get the same response. Usually it's "Why?," followed by "What are you on?" Let's face it – our kids are getting older and we're – gasp – getting older too, and the prospect of a 14-hour day at Disneyland seems daunting. Crazypants, even.

But I've got some strategies for parents that can make your day at Disneyland and California Adventure just as fun for you as it is for your teens while fitting in some family time, too. Can you say guilt-free date night? And it doesn't involve any illegal substances, either.

Don't cry – you can now get your double-tall-extra-dry cappuccino on Main Street
1. Load up on coffee.
There is a Starbucks on Main Street, people. I think when I first saw this I took off my mouse ears, dropped to my knees and kissed the feet of the barista dressed in old-timey garb. No more waiting for an hour for your cappuccino at the lone coffee cart! (There's a Starbucks in California Adventure, too, but it tends to get mobbed.)

2. Make sure your phone is charged. 
You're going to need your phone for those "I'll give you more cash but twelve churros is enough," calls. Also, how else would you know to meet up at Cafe Orleans for the 9:00 Fantasmic Show, or Instagram your entire day? There are now phone charging lockers on Main Street ($2 per hour – you can see a how-to video here.) I always have spare power with me – I take along 2 Mophie juice packs to get me through the entire day.

3. Go see a movie.
That's right, you have the time to see a movie while your kids are blissfully unaware that you're indulging in 'me' time. Tell them you'll meet them after their tenth spin on the Indiana Jones Adventure, and head off for a cinematic interlude in a dark, air conditioned theater. The AMC theaters in Downtown Disney are really nice, and usually not crowded. We saw Gravity there on opening weekend and the theater was practically empty.

It doesn't have to be all chicken fingers and Cokes.
4. Have a grownup meal. And an adult beverage.
There are so many places within the parks and in Downtown Disney where you can sit down and have a nice meal and a cocktail. California Adventure's Wine Country Trattoria has a great patio where you can dine on Italian food and sip a nice glass of wine, and we never leave without having drinks and appetizers at the outdoor Uva Bar in Downtown Disney. We also love hanging out at the Hearthstone Lounge in the Grand Californian Hotel or on one of the big couches in the lobby. (Also – and not necessarily a grownup, sitdown meal – but I'm a huge fan of the bacon-wrapped asparagus at Bengal BBQ in Adventureland.)

They should rename this the Peace Train because it's the best place to get some peace and quiet.
4. Ride the train. Over and over.
I'm not kidding – if you want a truly peaceful, meditative experience at Disneyland, grab a coffee (see Starbucks revelation above), sit in the back row of the Disneyland Railroad and ride that sucker for at least two trips around the park. You'll disembark refreshed, renewed, and the with the entire script of the dinosaur experience memorized.

If you don't enjoy a good fireworks show you might just be dead inside.
5. Don't miss the fireworks or you'll hate yourself.
Whatever crazy, grownup thing you're doing at around 8:30, make sure you stop and head to Main Street to catch the fireworks. It really is one of the best fireworks displays you'll ever see, and might be one of the few things your teenagers will want to do together with you. Well, that and get coffee. (Did I mention there is now STARBUCKS ON MAIN STREET?)

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Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort runs through October 31, 2013. Click here for more information and details.

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1 comment:

  1. We'll be visiting next week! The girls are really looking forward to it.

    - LA Daddy


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