Disneyland… The scariest place on earth

Oh my goodness me. Well Disneyland was nothing like the easy, fun, relaxed vacation we had last year. Oh no. I think it was a whole combination of things, but mostly she’s just changed and now Disneyland seems huge, overwhelming and full of many dark, loud, scary things. Last year the colors, lights and people kept her so interested. This year those same things took her over the edge to mama clingyness times a million.
Tuesday doesn’t really know any of the characters, so rides that seem so innocent (like the new little mermaid one), are insanely scary when you have no idea who the villan is and why they are being so mean. I’m really glad Tuesday doesn’t know the princesses. The whole point of a princess is lame in my opinion, why would a kid want to be one when they can be a space ranger, explorer, etc? I never realized how many really dark elements there are to Disney stories until I was looking at them through the eyes of a three year old.

(please tell me I’m not tall enough for this ride)
I really feel so awful that she didn’t have more fun. Things she deemed acceptable:
Riding the Casey Jr. Circus Train:

Riding the Disney Railroad trains:

(Sciarrino got to come for a few days, which was awesome.)
Playing with her new bubble gun (non-mama approved, but oh well):

Riding the monorail (she seriously could have done this all day):

She also really liked meeting Minnie Mouse (while I was holding her of course), and remembered every detail of their encounter. She really just wanted to walk around, and by walk around I mean be pushed in our stroller, facing us. I lobbied hard to bring the big stroller and I’m so glad I didn’t let up, we really needed it. She wanted to be held or in there 99% of the time. I can say three years in that I still LOVE this stroller (we have the bag to travel with us, it comes with a warranty for if when the airlines break something) . I have used it so much all over the place in all weather and it looks and works fabulously still. Can’t recommend it enough as a great stroller for the long haul (50 pound max should last us until she ten! ha!). When it got all too overwhelming for her, she just pulled the shade down (there is another hidden inside that makes it so almost her whole body is covered) and snuggled in there.

Waiting for the shuttle to take us back to the hotel for a nap.
I think another big problem is that Tuesday and I feed off each other. Bj’s told me this before, and I think he’s right. I was really uptight, and super tired from having to carry her/having her climb all over me all time. I hate being the enforcer of the group, but with grandparents and other people that love her and just want her to have fun it’s hard not to be. I had to say no to yucky foods, I had to say, yes we have to leave for nap, etc. That is so hard and really makes it seem like I’m no fun at all. At the end I was really feeling like a terrible mother for the whole trip, and for not allowing x,y,z, or allowing a,b,c when I knew it would just make things worse. Then to top it all off Tuesday was totally anti birthday on her birthday. She woke up to a room we had decorated while she was sleeping only to tell us, that, no, she was two! No birthday! She calmed down about that later on, luckily.
I think we all need some nice time at home, and I’m going to look for a day Bj doesn’t have to work late and try to do a birthday re-do. Maybe some of her favorite (healthier) foods, her favorite books, outside time, and lots of train play. Really that’s all she wanted and we way overshot.
I think there are lots of good lessons learned here, I’m still pondering what they all are.
*Edited to add: I don’t think that Tuesday really minded that she didn’t like everything at Disneyland, and we certainly had some fun moments (as everyone else on the trip mentioned, they did have fun!). This tired mama is just being honest that not all trips are wonderful, and some are lots of work for us. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just really that you can’t always understand or know what to expect from toddlers and pre-schoolers, as other mama’s of young ones commented. They are fickle funny things, and really do like routines (dispute my terrible attempts at them I guess how we muddle through at home is a routine to her). I’m always going to be up for trying new adventures though, because that’s what life is.

Join the Conversation


  1. Grandma and Grandpa will provide the Birthday she really wanted ;)! Her favorite healthy foods, and a relaxing time building a really big train track! How does that sound?

  2. Aw, I’m sorry things didn’t go as smoothly as you hoped. And don’t beat yourself over stuff–some don’t understand how if the good meals and naps are skipped how it can make the rest of the day be just awful! And who knows? If you go back next year, she might be totally into it! Is there a Pixar “section” at Disney? I haven’t been in forever, but maybe she’d be interested in Finding Nemo, Toy Story, etc–those are movies with no princesses either 😉

  3. I just want to say that I think you’re an amazing mom. I’ve been following your blog for a while now and have never seen anything less. In my experience, (I have almost 4 year old twin boys) knowing exactly what toddlers will tolerate and/or enjoy isn’t always consistent. I’m glad you looked for and found some fun memories from your trip, like the things she did enjoy. Sounds like a quiet night at home is the perfect way to celebrate. :o)

  4. Amber, so sorry things did not go as you planned. I am sure you guys made some wonderful memories on this trip. I agree with Ceara, don’t beat yourself up, you are really an amazing Mom and Tuesday is so fortunate to have you as her Mom! As the Mom of a toddler I can say that you never know how they will react to something. We have planned trips and activities for daughter thinking that she would love them, only to find out that she wanted nothing to do with it. At our beach trip this past summer with my parents I was the one always saying “No” to junk food, and I know she is having a blast on the beach, but it’s time to go in for a nap. I felt like a bad Mom, but was only trying to keep Charlotte on a schedule and avoid major tummy aches. I think a quiet, re-do birthday at home is the way to go with all of her favorite things!

  5. I cried when I read this. We as the grandparents only went to do what Tuesday wanted to do and to get to spoil her alittle too{since everyone else gets too]. We”ve been to disney so many times, its not about us. I did get to enjoy some rides with my baby boy, B.J. We had a great time and would do it again, if asked. We love our family more than anything and our kids are the best parents. Happy Birthday Tuesday!

  6. Ceara,
    I know, she freaking loves Toy Story, but still she was a no on that. Seriously I think I was more surprised about her reactions than anything. I mean you’d think when your kid talks about something (Woody and Buzz) non stop for months, they’d actually want to interact with them/go on rides about them? Apparently not. Not sure exactly why… And she’s loved fireworks before so this whole loud noise thing is new too. She’s so darn confusing!

  7. Sciarrino – Awe don’t be. I added an addendum, I think it was just a long hard trip for me mostly, and I definitely had fun with you! I know Tuesday did too!

  8. You shouldn’t crap on princesses. Most of the stories are about triumph over evil and most of princesses aren’t only a pretty face. As with anything people take away what they will, but there are quality lessons in there. Maybe what you don’t like is the emphasis placed on marketing the princesses. That’s another story. Take Belle from Beauty and the Beast, she can sing, she can dance, she’s a super smart outcast who doesn’t judge appearances. With a little research you might not be so judgy. It’s the real life princesses that make one sick, but that doesn’t come from Disney that comes from parenting. And on that my friend you get an A. Maybe next time set expectations for trip participants who aren’t privy to your routine. Then you can say, “I told you so.” xooo

  9. Well I really enjoyed my time…even when I was sopping wet from Grizzly River and Splash Mountain.

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