Smaller Castle. Bigger Kids. Still Disneyrific.

Five years ago on our first ever long distance trip road trip (Route 1) we took the kids to Disney World. We had a fabulous time and the kids were the perfect age for enjoying the Magic Kingdom. Since then they have asked if we could return for a second trip, especially High Five who was only one and 1/2 at the time. So, we made a compromise that if we were ever near Disneyland we take them for a visit.

Our most recent road trip through California, Nevada, and Arizona brought us withing close proximity of Disneyland and it was time to make good on our promise. So, on what was supposed to be a relatively “non-crowded” Monday for Disneyland we spent 12 hours exploring the park and comparing it to the Magic Kingdom in Disney World.

Overall we had a really great time. However, as many people had warned us Disneyland is no Magic Kingdom and at the end of our visit we understood what they meant. First of all the park was crowded and stayed that way all day long. In fact it seemed to get worse in the afternoon and evening as yearly pass holders dropped in after school and work. In addition the staff at Disneyland are not at the same caliber as Disney World. During our visit we only interacted with a couple of staff members who were courteous or helpful. The rest were snippy, seemed bored with their jobs, and some were even rude. However, the biggest difference that we found was in Fantasyland. At the Magic Kingdom we had a blast in Fantasyland and found the ride lines to move smoothly and the area a great place for young children. In Disneyland the ride wait times in Fantasyland were 20 to 45 minutes long throughout the entire day. The area was crowded, the rides super packed together, and overall it lacked the Disney magic that other park areas have.

Even though there were some disappointing parts of Disneyland all in all it was still a great place to spend the day. Now that the kids are older we were able to take advantage of the more thrilling rides and didn’t have to worry about strollers, nap times, or stopping to rest. Instead on this trip we spent a great deal of time in Tomorrowland where we rode Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, and Star Tours multiple times. Star Tours alone is worth the large sum of money that it takes to get into Disneyland.

To our great pleasure the Younger Fives also really loved Big Thunder Mountain, which was also a favorite of ours when we were little. The whole family loved the ride so much that we rode it three times and would have ridden it more if the lines were shorter, or we could have gotten more Fast Passes. Just like when we visited Disney World the Fast Pass system definitely made our day much more enjoyable and helped us plan our visit.

Unfortunately there were no fireworks or parades on the day that we visited. However, we did get to watch Mickey and the Magic Map at the Fantasyland Theatre. The show was pretty good and even though the kids would have rather seen Fantasmic! it was still enjoyable. Overall our visit to Disneyland was a success. The kids enjoyed themselves and we didn’t have to make a return trip to Florida. This will probably be our last Disney trip as the Younger Fives are older and into more thrilling rides. However, it was nice to be able to let them experience a little bit of Disney magic one last time.




Under Water


Not to brag but the Fives seriously rocked the Magic Kingdom yesterday. We were there from the opening ceremony at 9am all the way up to the fireworks and final parade. It was pure Disney magic right until we pulled up to our campsite at midnight. It turns out that while we were hanging out with Mickey a major storm blew through both the campground and our tent. Not the way we had imagined ending our perfect day especially with three very overtired children.  As we crowded into the drier half of our soggy and broken tent we looked longingly at all the other campers dry and warm in their RVs. However, even though we were the only vacationers that night to sleep in a puddle of water we were lulled quickly to asleep to the hum of “It’s a Small World After All” and the Carousel Of Progress’ promise that tomorrow would be a better day. It wasn’t until the morning when we all woke up with serious theme park hangovers that the reality that our tent was destroyed sunk in. We are now recouping in a hotel while we scope out a new tent and plan our next move. As soon as we finish drying everything out we will post Disney pictures and our favorite memories from the park.

Backseat Books

A backseat book is kind of like a coffee table book. It is usually pretty rugged (so it can withstand being flung about the car and also act as a handy snack tray). It is also sizeable with lots of great pictures. Most importantly it offers enough material to be looked at over and over again as your parents drive down seemingly endless roads (or in this case the entire length of Route 1). For our Having Fun on Route 1 trip we have acquired four new backseat books for our fun bags.

Maisy’s Amazing Big Book of Words by Lucy Cousins. She’s a little white mouse but for some reason Maisy is the apple of High Five’s eye. Plus all the kids love lifting the various flaps in this 64 page hard cover book.




Big Fat Little Lit by Art Spiegleman. Five Ball is an avid reader (just check out his bio) on the one condition that his books have at least some illustrations. Five String introduced him to graphic novels early on and they were a match made in heaven. Big Fat Little Lit is a great mix of comic strip and graphic novel providing endless images for Five Ball to study.




Disney’s Junior Encyclopedia of Animated Characters by M.L. Dunham. On our way back home after driving Route 1 we are going to make a stop at Disney World. This guide seemed like just the thing to get the kid’s excited about seeing their favorite Disney characters and introduce them to those that they are unfamiliar with.





Frogs Are Funny by Brandon T. Snider. As a whole The Fives are serious Muppet fans. However, High Five takes it to a whole new level. While this book will be enjoyed by us all it will be savored by High Five as he leafs through page after page yelling out the Muppet’s names. ANIMAL, ANIMAL, ANIMAL…


Does your family have any favorite Backseat Books?