Taking a Toddler to Disneyland AND a Cruise

My resolution for 2018 has been to “try not to automatically assume the worst thing is going to happen”. And to start out the new year we really put my fears to the test by taking our 18-month-old on a very ambitious vacation.

It’s hard. Maybe it’s a mother bear thing, because eventually you train yourself to predict what will happen with your child. “Don’t play near that table, you’re going to knock your teeth out. Don’t sit on the sofa like that, you are going to fall backwards. Everyone hide all phones and remotes or we’re about to have a meltdown.” As our vacation drew near all I could think about were my disastrous predictions. But you know what? Overall, I will say that my negative expectations were very much proven wrong.

THURSDAY: SHIPPING OFF (AS IT WERE)

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Expectation: Jack will throw a HUGE tantrum on the plane and it will be a miserable two hours.

Reality: Jack did fine on the plane. Everything else went wrong.


Seriously. Jack on the plane, total angel. Trying to get on the plane. PBBBBBBBTTTTTTTHPPPPPPPPT! (In case you couldn’t tell that was me blowing a raspberry with my thumb pointed down) Our boarding pass didn’t print. Security was backed up. My baby food tested positive for bomb material for some reason. (TF!?) The amount of freaking money we spent on a Taxi, I was like, really? Why don’t you just float us across the pacific then for that kind of room and board.

Finally, we made it onto the ship and met up with family. Then I could focus on the SINGLE BIGGEST FEAR of the trip…


Expectation: Jack wont sleep a wink in his stranger danger porta crib.

Reality: Jack slept so deep that he might have slipped into several comas. I’m not sure


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Yes, those are naughty pacifiers for a toddler.

When we went camping to witness the Solar Eclipse… it was a nightmare, okay. We had to take turns sleeping in the car to actually get our child to stop screaming at least. This time, zonked. He didn’t care. He didn’t even wake up through the several announcements and alarms leading up to the mandatory safety meeting. Neither did Dan. The two would’ve gone down with the ship, still synchronize snoring in the cabin.

Turned out, not even a marching band could wake this child. He slept through lights being turned on, he slept through us talking and laughing at normal volume. He even slept through the Disneyland fireworks show which sounded like a full on air raid TBH.

FRIDAY: MEXICO

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Excuse my dead child

Expectation: We won’t be able to see much of Mexico and have to come back early so Jack can nap on the ship.

Reality: We got to do a day excursion and Jack napped on the go.


See, I told you about the sleeping thing.

We got to do some street shopping and see ‘La Bufadora’, which is like the Old Faithful of the Mexican coastline. “Really?” No, not really at all actually, but still. AND THE TACOS OMG! If you are wondering whether I purchased a very expensive cruise ticket just for Mexican tacos… then you clearly have never had authentic Mexican tacos. Good day, sir. I SAID GOOD DAY.

SATURDAY: A CHOPPY DAY AT SEA


Expectation: It will be rough keeping Jack entertained.

Reality: It was rough keeping Jack from having fun.


All this kid wanted to do was run around. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Lapping the length of the ship over and over. Up, up, up and down, down, dooooooownnn each and every staircase he could find. He had to explore every single inch of the ship. The Casino, the smoking areas, fire station units, stranger’s cabins. I swear, Jack’s dream vacation would be to go to a giant enclosed football stadium, have someone wind up the key in his back and spend the week doing endurance training. It was hard to get him to SIT DOWN. Or you know, step away from the toddler-sized gaps in the railing on the upper deck.

SUNDAY: TAR PITS, HOLLYWOOD, LOTS OF DRIVING

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Expectation: We will be twiddling our thumbs all day.

Reality: We did tons of fun stuff. It turned out to be one of my favorite days.


We had nothing planned for this day, other than we knew we would do something with my husband’s side of the family (with whom we shared the cruise with) and then something with my side of the family later on (with whom we were to share Disneyland with). But none of us, really had any plans in mind. So we ended up hanging around Hollywood.

AND IT WAS AWESOME.

Okay, so I had never been to the tar pits before. We ended up spur of the moment going there… I turned into a nine year old boy. I just REALLY needed to see something sink into that tar. So I peer pressured [bullied] my husband until he threw a big rock in there AND IT WAS SO CEWL OMG LIKE SOMETHING STRAIGHT OUT OF AN ODDLY SATISFYING COMPILATION ON THE YOUTUBES!

Afterwards we all had a nice uplifting Sabbath lunch at Hard Rock Cafe. Somehow my baby slept through like 40 minutes of concert-level music. (Why do I worry about things?) He of course later woke up to get in on rocking out. –Hard Rock Cafe is kinda like my thang. So I was very hyper and talkative [annoying?]–

Hard Rock Cafe also happened to be neighbors with Grauman’s Chinese Theater, so we stopped there too because eh, why not?

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“Eh, why not?”

MONDAY: DISNEYLAND

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Expectation: Jack wont be able to do much.

Reality: There was so much for Jack to ride that we didn’t even get to all of it.


Someone once told me that there isn’t a lot for babies to do at Disneyland, but THAT AIN’T TRUE! I think it’s easier to name the rides that babies CAN’T go on than the ones that they can. I can’t say the same for California Adventures but at the OG uhhhh YEAH! It’s a family place for a reason.

Pluuuuus Grandma and Grandpa took Jack back to the hotel for his afternoon nap. While Dan and I got to ride all the big people rides. Yeah, whassup Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. Space Mountain I’m looking at you, sailor. It was the best date ever.

NUMBER ONE TAKE AWAY ADVICE FOR PARENTS WANTING TO BRING TODDLERS ON VACATION: Bring other adults with you. Seriously, it was a relief both on the cruise and at the amusement-park-designed-specifically-for-parents-to-enjoy-with-their-children-but-maybe-he-enjoyed-his-nap-tho-shuttup.

TUESDAY: DISNEY BEFORE THE TREK HOME

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Expectation: Disneyland would be rained out and half closed.

Reality: It was ABSOLUTELY the most darling and wonderful Disney day.


The days we went to Disneyland were the days California decided to flood.

We were gearing up for our underwater Disneyland tour, when guess what? It turned out to be a perfectly sunny day. (And the crowds were frightened away too) Walked on to every ride, had a marvelous time. And OH NOT TO MENTION. Jack just happened to meet his hero after riding the Winnie the Pooh ride a few times in a row.

Let’s play a game, who is more excited to meet Pooh. Jack or Mom?

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It was a lovely trip and here’s my takeaway… That scary thing you’re thinking of doing? Look, you should just do it. It’s likely that your expectation of an EPIC FAIL may actually be just an expectation and nothing more.

The Girl Who Cried Celebrity

Keanu Reeves came up and talked to me at the Burger Bar, but no one believes me.

UNNECESSARY BACKSTORY

A couple of weeks ago, we went to California for a family vacation (all of which I will blog about next Thursday). The last time we went to Disneyland, there was *an incident* that Dan still teases me about everyday. It’s just that – ‘kay – I am the type of naive person that jumps to the most magical of conclusions, even if it’s not likely.

It’s summer 2015. We go out to eat at Blue Bayou with my family. If you don’t know what that is, it’s the restaurant that is inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Seriously, like people are riding past in boats watching you eat. When you go there, you’re basically cast as one of the animatronics.

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Just like everything else in Disneyland it’s very spendy and ritzy, probably even more so than other places in the park. (Not bragging, but this is important to the story, I promise.) My mom nudges me and points out a guy sitting in a really nice corner of the patio. She’s like OMG doesn’t that dude look like Walt Disney?

He did. Did I automatically think that he was actually Walt Disney? No. Did I automatically think that he was his nephew, Roy Disney Jr? Uh, yeah, you bet your childlike wonder I did.

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I am freaking out like this guy has to be Roy Disney Jr. Or family. OR SOMEONE. Because exhibit A) he was by himself. Um, okay. Who is ever at Disneyland by themselves? Eating at one of the most expensive places… like, I’m a sixty something year old dude and imma treat myself to a Disney day? Come on. Isn’t that just a little suspicious? Even if his family wasn’t hungry and decided to do rides, like how is he going to be at having a lonely filet mignon instead of like a giant turkey leg or a churro or something. Also it was the day before the sixtieth anniversary. So why wouldn’t the Disneys be there?

Well, whatever. He leaves. Never confirm who it was. Obviously it wasn’t Roy, because he passed away several years ago, but that was unbeknownst to me at the time. Later on after using the bathroom by the New Orleans train station, my dad very excitedly tells me that he saw that SAME GUY go into the illusive Club 33 nearby.

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I screamed at the top of my lungs,”I KNEW IT!!”… And then everyone started laughing at me. Ha. Ha. Very funny. Take advantage of my outrageously high hopes. Whatever.

Anyways, long story short (too late), I’m sort of the butt of the joke when it comes to stuff like that.

ACTUAL STORY

Okay, fast forward to now. January 2018. We had just finished up another trip to Disneyland and we were in the Long Beach airport about to go home. As we were walking the length of the airport I notice a guy in front of us. WHOA! This guy looked EXACTLY like Keanu Reeves. Like if you cut his hair and shaved off his beard, I mean- seriously he could get into movie premieres, you know what I mean? Total twin.

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I point him out to Dan who rolls his eyes so hard it probably hurt a little bit. Then I kind of forget about it.

Dan has the baby and I go up to get us food at ‘The Burger Bar’. I got chicken strips because whatever I order I have to share with Jack. They tell me it’s going to take 15 minutes to cook. So alright, I’m just standing there super awkwardly waiting for my food.

A guy steps over to me. “Hey, have you ordered?”

It’s the Keanu Reeves look alike. And oh my gosh, now that I’m getting an up close view, I’m like HOLLLLLLLYYYYY SHHHHHHHH- This could be him.

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I mean, yeah, if he bent one of the spoons I would have been less surprised. It would have confirmed that Neo was actually talking to me at least. Even the voice. That whispity flat voice, you know? (Descriptions and stuff. Don’t worry, I’m an author.)

We’re standing next to each other as we wait for our food. (!!!) And I’m dying to ask, “Has anyone ever told you you look just like Keanu Reeves? … like, are you?” The thing though, is that there are a bunch of other people around. I don’t want to out him. This guy is just trying to get a burger, he doesn’t want to get stuck taking pictures with people.

So I never found out for sure.

BUT-

The next day someone had posted a meme of him, and I was like waaaaait… I googled what he looks like currently. And guys. It was him.

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This guy at the airport had the same exact hair and the same patchy beard. Keanu Reeves talked to me and stood next to me. 100%. Even more convinced now after finding pictures for this blog post.

And of course, it happened to ME ONLY, so no one believes it. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!