Ummm, I seem to have forgotten something....
Overlooked in the aftermath of the international move mayhem, I think I failed to mention our side venture to Disneyland. Imagine anyone forgetting to tell their mates about their recent trip to the happiest bloody place on earth...how completely abnormal, not to mention thoughtless and incompetent.
Yeah....for those who regularly read the old blog, I did happen to mention that we were going to Disneyland on our fateful voyage back to the mother country, and I assure you, particularly if you were wondering, we really did go there.
We had originally planned to return to Australia a week earlier than we did, but due to the needs of the buyers of our Canadian house, we ended up moving out many weeks earlier than planned and therefore, didn't really need that extra week in Canada to pack our wares and hit the road. Stupidly, we had chosen to say Bon Voyage to Canada the week of the American Thanksgivings holidays, which, we only found out later, is the absolute WORST time to go to Disneyland. After much toing and froing, we decided we weren't really achieving a whole lot by twiddling our thumbs in Canada for an extra week (Ashley was already committed to his leave date at work), so we bit the bullet and moved everything up a week, including the trip to Disneyland...so glad we did that. I doubt we could have gotten a more perfect week there. The weather was fantastic and there weren't that many people. On top of that, most rides and exhibits were open in readiness of the approaching holiday and ensuing crowds.
I was secretly freaking out after reading about the notoriously long line ups for rides (couldn't imagine lining up for more than 30 minutes to go on a 2 minute ride, let alone 90 minutes), but believe it or not, we were able to pretty much walk on to each ride. The Finding Nemo ride was our longest wait - 25 minutes. When we arrived to that ride, we were told that there would be a 45 minute wait (no fast passes) and "this is as good as it is ever likely to get". I guess some people got fed up and left along the way (?).
We were there for 4 days; arriving en route to Australia with eight large pieces of luggage, four pieces of carry on luggage and two kids car seats - basically clothes , important documents, laptops and all the things that made our six week stint in temp accommodation, bearable. I have to say, it was mighty embarrassing showing up with that much baggage - the looks of disgust and utter disbelief we received from passers-by as we attempted to wheel this virtual mountain up to our hotel room - even I was disgusted. Some people pointed with gaping jaw scraping the pavement or simply did the slightly subtler double take as we wobbled and teetered our way through the reception area, while others rudely remarked on our excess and shook their heads, at which point a felt obliged to inform them that we were in the middle of an international move, and with that piece of information and perspective, mouths went "OHHHH" and suddenly felt that we didn't have much stuff ofter all, given the circumstances (not that it is any of their bloody business, but telling them did make me feel less like a marauding capitalist pig).
Anyway, with the luggage carefully stowed again, we were able to go in hard for the first three days; making sure we got to see and go on everything we wanted. The final day was mostly spent at California Adventure Park, where the Cars movie characters hang out (Mister is a crazed fan!!!) and going to Ariel's Grotto for breakfast with all the Princesses for Missy Mopps. After lunch on the final day we went back to Disneyland for one last ride on the Disney train that circles the park (Mister loves trains... actually vehicles in general) and strolled the shops eating ridiculously large ice creams - that was a Saturday. I am so glad we went mid week, because the crowd had probably quadrupled in size on the Saturday, and the line ups were insane. We were happy to be saying farewell at that point.
As for highlights, I really enjoyed the New Orleans area of the park. I loved the atmosphere there. Mister really like the Haunted Mansion and the pirate themes. Missy Mopps liked Adventure Land; Dumbo, the Tea Cups and anything that wasn't in the dark - Winnie the Pooh ride and seeing all the characters were also highlights for her. But most of all, Ashley and I simply enjoyed seeing the joy on the kids faces. We must have spent 10 hours each day, and Mister walked the entire time without complaint (we hired a stroller for Missy Mopps), and since our return, they have both been asking us to reminisce upon and re-enact various aspect of our time there; always asking "when can we go back?) - I think they wonder whether it was all just a beautiful dream.
Of course I took a zillion photos, none of which seem to have really captured the essence of the place - it is truly a wonderful place for children; both the real kind and also the inner one's that lurk inside us all, forgotten and oppressed; just yearning to come out and play - that is the gift and legacy of Walt Disney.