Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Perfect Day: A Promise Fulfilled, Valet Parking and a Gourd Mousse

I know it's hard to believe, but I occasionally lapse in my stellar parenting skills. There's the time I forgot to crease the plastic wrap correctly on those sandwiches I seem to be making every five minutes, or the one time I cursed in front of my kids. And then there are the unkept promises, those rare times when I say I'll do something and then fail to come through, like promising to get them a kitten or vowing to never again lick my hand and use it to clean their faces. Shocking, I know - it's like finding out your favorite movie star actually goes to the bathroom.

There's one promise that I made that was impossible to sweep under the rug: telling them I'd take them to Disneyland this summer. I'm not even sure why I opened my big mouth, seeing as our last visit lasted for two whole days. I think it even states in the small print on the Disney ticket that if you spend two consecutive days there 'The Magic' is supposed to last for at least five years. But the pleas started coming as soon as school let out in June and continued throughout the summer. I even considered buying them that kitten just to get the little nags off my back.

But then came the generous invitation from Maria Bailey of, who invited us, along with some other bloggers and their families, to join her a couple of weeks ago for a kickoff event for Disneyland's Halloween Time. It would include access to both Disneyland and California Adventure and then a reception at the Grand Californian hotel, capped off by an after-hours Halloween party. There was something in this package for everyone: the girls finally got their trip to Disneyland, some quality time in a hotel for me, and free valet parking which made Rigel's day. And there was the added bonus of being able to justify all those hours spent blogging.

And it was an incredible day. We happened to be there at a particularly slow time, and the longest wait for a ride was a mere fifteen minutes, a blink compared to the two hours plus we've spent in lines there before. California Adventure was a new experience, having only spent a short time there on a previous visit a few years ago. The Soaring Over California ride, where you're in a hanglider flying over rivers, cities and mountains, is now my favorite amusement park ride ever, having surpassed the Tilt-o-Whirl and the parking tram. Honestly I could have just ridden that thing over and over again, and I would have if those two security guards hadn't escorted me out.

We were treated to a decadent reception in one of the ballrooms in the California Grande Hotel - a buffet meal (separate ones for the adults and kids), a dj, face painting and cookie decorating for the kids, photo ops with the Disney characters (who even my two jaded girls were excited to pose with.) And the best part, a chance to chat in person for thirty seconds with one of my favorite bloggers.

Let me pause in reverence for a moment and just show you one of the desserts they had at the reception. A pumpkin mousse bruleƩ served in hollowed-out mini pumpkins. I know! Sure Disney's known for their fabulous theme parks and their child-hypnotizing merchandise, but to me their true genius was summed up in that little cream-filled gourd. I'd found The Happiest Place on Earth alright, and it was my chair, in front of that dessert.

And it wasn't over. The night was capped off by the after-hours Halloween Treat party at California Adventure, where the girls got to trick or treat through the park at different candy stations located what seemed to be every fifty feet. Disney spares no expense when it comes to decorating and the place looked awesome - my little picture here doesn't do it justice. But there's a little movie of it here. Those Disney people think of everything.

All in all, it was the best day at Disneyland we've ever had. The biggest miracle? Rigel never once complained or threatened never to set foot in an amusement park again. I think I even heard him promise the girls that we may not wait a year before our return trip, and I agreed, although I admit I was still high on that pumpkin mousse. And the best part? A promise fullfilled and the path to redemption in my girls' eyes. Now if I can only get around to that kitten, and stopping those spit-ball washings.

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  1. What a deal. Sounds like a great time. I would have gone just for the cute little pumpkin dessert. I guess my invitation was lost in the mail.

  2. yeah, my invitation must have gotten lost too. Since, you know, I blog for Disney!!! Argh! To hell with the gourds!

  3. Wow, that sounds like a really good day! Glad you had fun.

  4. And so very glad Rigel had a good time...
    I loved this...
    And I loved 'being there'with your family....

  5. Yeay you guys. SOunds like a blast.

  6. I want to invite the moms to a ski trip. Its for a non-profit organization and I need a response.
    I hope you're interested.
    Please respond.

  7. I'm jealous. I'm glad to hear California adventure isn't some weird place where you're experiencing the Disney version of the real California that's just outside the gates.

    And anonymous above me is definitely a serial killer.

  8. Mom101: Damn - really? Now you tell me. Guess I shouldn't have sent him that picture of me in the ski unitard.

  9. ooh, sounds like an awesome time. I would have sucked down 10 or so of those pumpkins for sure. ;-)

  10. One question: Disneyland does realize it's not Halloween for 10 more days,right??

  11. we peomised the kids a trip to disneyworld this winter before we got our income tax bill. oops. can't go. actually, can no longer buy food, so sorry. thankfully they are young enough to be fooled when we tell them we meant a different winter, not this winter, silly kids.

  12. You want to be sure that whomever is driving off in your car will respect it and the valet operator will look after it whilst it is in their care.


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