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in the Park
Tips and ideas for the traveling family
|Adrienne Krock, editor|
This Sunday is Mother's Day. Before I was a mom, I thought it was a pretty good idea to honor mothers with a special day. And now that I am a mom 1.9 times over, I realize the greatness and extreme importance of this holiday.
This column is not for those of you who should be out shopping for generous gifts and planning lovely events for the moms in your lives. Think of this as a column from one mom to another. Here are some tips for having a great Mother's Day at Disneyland...
Disneyland has made arrangements so that moms of babies and toddlers will not have to change any diapers or help any little ones use the potty on Mother's Day! Actually, this is true 365 days a year, but let's face it, we probably can only get away with it this one day. All of the larger men's restrooms have at least one permanent changing table in them, while some also have diaper machines. Men can take children into the Baby Care Center at the north end of Main Street to use its luxurious changing tables or help a potty-training toddler use the child sized toilets. This way, there's no need for mom to have to go near a diaper, training pants, or pull up a child's underwear all day long!
In her special article about Mother's Day dining options, Adrienne Vincent-Phonex lists the various brunch options available throughout the Disneyland Resort. They all sound yummy to me, but don't forget that Disneyland is full of delicacies for us to savor throughout the day.
The Candy Palace and Candy Kitchen on Main Street is full of freshly made chocolate delicacies. One mom I know particularly enjoys the English Toffee there. We can buy one package to open and sample right away, and buy more to take home for later. For goodness sakes, let's just skip those diets for one day. We all know that the process of becoming a mother certainly didn't help our bodies any, so we may as well enjoy some chocolate. [Can you tell that as I type this, my 40-week-pregnant body is revolting against me?]
Just inside Frontierland, you find the Westward Ho Trading Company, a candy store that offers fudge by the pound. You can request a piece as small or as large as you like. Next time you're in this shop, stop and look up. It's my understanding that a particularly marvelous and classy antique dealer sold many of the pieces in this store to Disneyland. And as a matter of fact, she's a mother, too!
My personal must-have Disneyland food treat comes from the Bengal Barbecue in Adventureland. If you've never tasted the bacon-wrapped asparagus there, do so! You'll thank me for it. I'm not the only mom who enjoys a special treat at Disneyland. If you haven't checked out MousePlanet's MousePad discussion boards yet, read Lisa Perkis's thread about favorite treats at Disneyland for more tips!
Disneyland has many charming shops to visit, and like many moms, I love to shop! One thing I don't like, however, is crowds. So the first thing I would do on Mother's Day is hit the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney. Although there are many other lovely shops in Downtown Disney, since Downtown Disney will continue to get crowded throughout the day and because the true reason for your visit is to enjoy the Disney part of Disneyland, the World of Disney is a must stop. They offer many unique items, as Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix described in a two-part column. I can think of many little items I'd love to pick up for Mother's Day, and shopping early in the day would give me a chance to beat the crowds. Then, of course, my husband (since it is Mother's Day) can carry them back to the car or store them in a locker for me for the rest of the day!
After strolling up the stores along Main Street, I must encourage shoppers to go to New Orleans Square. The shops in New Orleans Square often carry merchandise unique to this area of the park. Some of the merchandise is Disneyland- specific or Disney- themed, but not all! You can find lots of interesting items in New Orleans Square. Beginning in the Port d'Orleans and meandering up and down the New Orleans Square streets, you'll want to visit them all -- but be sure to stop by the Jewel of Orleans!
Now, before I proceed to tell you about this little treasure, I need to explain that I am not a jewelry person. I have pierced ears but rarely wear earrings. I frequently forget to accessorize and when I do, the pieces I have are simple costume jewelry. I usually only wear my engagement and wedding rings. I think jewelry is pretty but it's just not something I spend money on.
Even if you aren't big on jewelry, go to this store. I must admit that I got hooked on a particular solitaire ring with a lovely sapphire, Matthew's and my birthstone. It just screamed to me, so my husband bought it for our anniversary. I have seen other women fall victim to -- er -- I mean, fall in love with this store, and I may have inadvertently had something to do with dragging them in there. Even if you don't go in and buy something, the Cast Members there are very kind and be glad to pull any pieces for you to try on. Just be careful! I kept trying on that sapphire ring for six months, and that's how my husband ended up buying it for me! If you're a jewelry person, you've been warned: There are some lovely pieces in this store.
If you're a premium Annual Passholder, you can also engage in what is one of my pleasures: telling your husband how much money you saved him! Don't forget to use your premium AP discount to get that 10% off. Of course this means that every purchase you make will need to be $10 or greater, but hey, it's Mother's Day.
When we aren't eating or shopping, moms have actually been known to enjoy rides and shows at Disneyland, too! For the special occasion, your older children may be more easily convinced to let mom pick the rides they want to go on. Other family members can pitch in by taking the younger kids on rides while you do what you want to do.
And then there's me. My idea of a great day at Disneyland these days is going on my son's favorite rides. I adore watching his happy little face light up when he gazes at the singing dolls on "it's a small world." And the Casey Jr. Circus Train? My son is on fire! He sings, toots, says "Weeeeeeeeee!" and then he wants me to join him: "Mommy, say 'weeee!'" I have some precious photos of Matthew on the King Arthur Carrousel "horsies." The Astro-Orbitor and Dumbo the Flying Elephant may feel like the same ride to some guests, but Matthew loves to go up high and feel the wind on his face. And anyone who has spent time with my family at Disneyland knows that my son would be happy to walk around Sleeping Beauty Castle all day long.
For me, Mother's Day at Disneyland would mean eating, shopping and having lots of fun with my son at the Magic Kingdom; he's the reason I get to be a mom, even if I don't have to change his diapers on this special day. If by chance I don't make it to Disneyland this Mother's Day, it's not because I don't want to enjoy the park with Matthew; it's because I'll be doubling my reasons for celebrating Mother's Day!!
Adrienne gathered experience taking kids to amusement parks when she worked as a day camp counselor and director. She was an elementary school teacher before she started her favorite job, being Matthew's Mom.
Adrienne and Matthew visit Disneyland several times a month, usually with Daddy, too.
Besides Matthew, Adrienne and her husband Kevin created and maintain The Happiest Potties on Earth website.
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