Halloween time is my favorite time to visit Disneyland. The resort is decorated with pumpkins and scarecrows, rides such as Space Mountain and the Haunted mansion are even spookier and the fireworks show is the best. Also, the weather is usually ideal at this time of year. The heat of the SoCal summer has — thankfully — worn off but evenings are still warm enough to not need a sweater.
One of the top things on my daughters’ — and, admittedly, my — list of things to do this year at Disneyland was visit the Little Mermaid Ride which opened at California Adventure. The ride, a classic Disney dark ride, lived up to my expectations. My favorite part was being transported “under water,” and it was also neat to see how technology hasn’t changed all that much over the years to make a dark ride such as this or older-style rides seem out of date, meaning that Aerial’s undersea adventure will be thrilling guests for years to come.
I also had the privilege to stay at the renovated Disneyland Hotel during my visit. While the renovations to the resort are not complete, the rooms are finished and look great. We stayed in a one-bedroom suite, which with two queen-size beds and a pull-out couch, could easily sleep six people — and possibly more — without even feeling squished. A wet bar area with a fridge was a nice touch and any parent knows that having a fridge is almost a necessity with young kids. While we didn’t check out the newly revamped restaurants (saving that for next time) we did check out the bar (the kids were asleep — I swear!). And the tiki-style bar, Trader Sam’s, was the ideal place to relax after a busy day at Disneyland. The bar itself is small and intimate, but the outdoor patio and fireplace area are perfect for lounging with a group. They also serve snacks until late, which worked out perfectly for us.
While one pool at the Disneyland hotel remains to be completed, the most spectacular addition to the resort is surely the monorail slides. We spent an entire morning riding the two slides with our 4 year old and 2 year old. I think the best part about them is that there is no age limit or restrictions on the slides. Your little one just has to be brave enough to go down. The resort provides life jackets for non-swimmers and lifeguards at the top and bottom are there for safety. It was awesome watching our 2 year old go down. She had a giant smile on her face at the bottom and gave a bit whoop before she slid down. During one slide, she turned around and went down backward and even that didn’t slow her down.
With several restaurants, such as Goofy’s Kitchen, and a new pool area, yet to try out, I can’t wait until next Halloween…or maybe I won’t, and we’ll return at Christmas, which is my second-favorite time to visit Disneyland.
K Hotels’ Hotel Menage, a boutique hotel in Anaheim, is including free Disneyland park-hopper tickets as well as two free nights at the hotel for guests who book a two-night stay. The property, located near the Disneyland Resort inAnaheim, is a good fit for families. Its 244 rooms offer plenty of space. Parents can choose from a king bed with a pullout queen sofa, a queen and king room, a double queen room or select from several themed suites.
The resort also features a 24-hour tropical pool from which the Disneyland fireworks display can be viewed as well as Build Your Own Burger (BYOB), which features more than 60 accoutrements for hamburgers. Several other family-friendly dining options are available and, for adults, there are a variety of bars perfect for a post-theme park beverage. (www.k-hotels.com)
I love traveling with my kids – what I don’t love is going back to work after vacation. Traveling with children is a rewarding experience for me. I love telling my daughters about all of the new places we are traveling to and seeing the awe and wonder on their faces when they see amazing new things, but heading home is also a taxing chore and returning to work after a family vacation is – let’s be honest – not really something anyone can get excited about. So, I plotted out some great ways to get back into the swing of things…however, I admit I don’t always practice what I preach.
Probably one of the most obvious ways to get back to work after a vacation is to come home early. This is definitely something that I rarely practice. I’m the type of parent who returns on Christmas Eve without preparing for Christmas Day in advance. However, I always wish that I could be the responsible parent and return at least a day – or even a few hours – before such momentous occasions like the first day of school. I will say, if you do return early and use your time wisely to grocery shop, do laundry, prepare school lunches; it really makes it easier for everyone in the family to get back into the swing of things – and I, as a mom, would feel way less guilty.
While my first tip is something I rarely do, tip number two is something that I always do – separate my packing. If I am a totally disorganized parent, I am truly an organized traveler, which may account for bad habit number one. When returning from a trip, I always organize my bags so that they can be easily unpacked. I put all of my computer cords into a bag that can be dropped directly into our “technology corner” at home (we don’t have room for an office); I separate out all of my dirty clothes so that they can easily be dropped into the washer (I am the annoying person who travels with a big bag); I put belts, shoes and accessories together so that they can easily be stowed in their proper drawers upon my return. By doing this, I eliminate time unpacking and reorganizing, and I also limit the amount of stuff that trickles out of my suitcase and is misplaced around the house – most likely in my children’s rooms.
The third thing that I recommend is to never to leave the house dirty. This is something that I do about 50 percent of the time – remember, I am a disorganized parent. I will say, though, that when my house is neat and tidy upon my return, the chance that I unpack, put all of my things away and return to my normal habits is way better than if I leave my house untidy. Plus, I have the added bonus of knowing that if we someone does rob us, they probably won’t be able to find anything either.
Just leaving Budapest on the Viking Prestige for my Europe river cruise. We are sailing to Visegrad to pick up the morning’s tour group. I stayed behind to enjoy the scenic Danube and took some really pretty photos. Looking forward to our next stop, Vienna! I am going to do some research tonight on what to do. I think I want to do something a little offbeat if there is time. If anyone has suggestions, let me know!