Every year I try to take my family somewhere memorable for a vacation. Last year it was Puerto Vallarta. The year before that it was Cabo.
Now I am planning this year's big family vacation that will include Legoland and Disneyland. In doing so, I am violating my own guidelines to never go to a place that has "Land" in the title.
It's not like I have never been to Disneyland before. I must have been there at least ten times since I was 15. I even took my kids there three years ago when they were probably too young to appreciate it. We made the mistake of taking them in the Haunted Mansion and the minute the lights went out in the initial "is this room getting bigger or are you shrinking" introduction, my then two and a half year old son burrowed into his mother and cried out, "I want to go home."
Both kids are excited about the prospect of returning to Disneyland, largely because they don't remember much about it. For some reason they are fixated on riding on the Matterhorn which is one of the oldest rides still operating at Disneyland. Though in the ten or so times I've been there, the Matterhorn has only been operating two or three times. So we'll see.
The biggest shock for me in planning a trip to Disneyland is the price of admission. When Disneyland opened back in the 50s, the price to enter the happiest place on earth was $3.50. Now three days admission for a family of four runs about $950. So apparently the price of happiness has really been hit by inflation.
I can't say I am overly thrilled by the thought of going to Disneyland. As an introvert who hates crowds, I couldn't pick a worse place to try and relax. And to add insult to injury, no place in Disneyland serves alcohol. So it is just a little slice of hell on earth.
Since I have never been there, the verdict is still out on Legoland. But I can't imagine an amusement park named after overpriced plastic building bricks is going to be much better than the happiest place on earth.
But it's not about me. The point is to give my children great memories. Shoot I only dreamed of going to Disneyland as a kid. All we ever did as a family was go camping every summer. It was all we could afford. I never stayed at a hotel until I was 14. I didn't fly until I was 15, and that was part of a school trip with the marching band to Southern California to perform at a SF 49ers versus LA Rams game. And the trip included an appointment to march on Main Street in Disneyland. But it rained that day and we didn't perform.
My kids have been flying since they were babies. My daughter went on a cruise when she was eighteen months old. They've been to Mexico four times. They've swam with dolphins. And after this next vacation, they will have been to Disneyland twice.
Ironically we went on our first camping trip. And they seemed more excited about that than any of our trips to Mexico.
I need a vacation. Sigh.