You heard it right, Moms (& Dads) need magic, too!
It's so easy for us to lose a bit of our own magic and dreams as we raise our kids.
Why do we have to annihilate our hopes and dreams as parents? Does the fun have to stop just because we become parents? Um, no. Quite the contrary, now is the time to live out that example of living life, having fun, and showing your kids that dreams can come true, because hard work really pays off well.
Hi. I am a mommy of five and I really do like to go to Disneyland by myself.
Yikes! Some people find that very disturbing, others cannot comprehend having fun without their kids at the Parks. (gasp) Am I a bad parent? Nope! I am a human being that enjoys life just like my little ones. While it is sometimes hard for the kids to see me leave, and I usually wonder if I really should go or not, we have had many candid conversations about hopes, dreams, goals, and what we enjoy. You can ask any of my children what I love besides their daddy and all of their amazing little selves, and they will tell you - Disney.
After a recent girls' trip with one of my friends, Amanda, I took note of many things that you can do when you are kid-free. It is a totally different experience, it can be really fun, and if you get a chance one day, I would suggest going on an adventure without your littles. So, I am listing what I enjoy at the parks by myself, one for each of my kids. Here we go!
5 fun things to do at Disneyland, Kid-Free!
It's okay, you don't have to rush this trip, so relaxing is kind of a given. The only you time you should look at a clock, is when you're in Fantasyland. I know, it's hard to relax with the kids. It doesn't make you crazy for wishing you had more time to just... BE.
One of my favorite things about being at the Parks, is taking my time, strolling the streets... looking at the Main Street Windows! When is the last time you took notice to the awesome gold-leaf and painted windows and doors? Do you even know that each window is dedicated to a special person connected to the Walt Disney Company? I was on a hunt for Tony Baxter's window on this recent trip and am so happy that I found it! At the D23 Expo last year, I attended the Disney Legends' ceremony and could not wait for the chance to scope out Tony's window. It's right above the Main Street Magic Shop!
2. Take Pictures
"Moooommy. Really? Another one?" ... "We have to get to the ride!" ... "It's too hot." - Does any of that sound familiar? I hear it often when we are anywhere and I decide to bust out my phone for a photo-op. When I am by myself, my creative juices flow a little better. I can wander off the path and attempt to snap photos of random objects, like Main Street Windows, or balloons. Sometimes, it's my food! When I'm with the kids, I do try to get pics of them walking together, having fun, or just capturing their silly faces on the rides. You would think I was pulling teeth to have them turn around for a quick second and smile. Granted, all of those images are memories that I have, which I am so grateful for!
I am also grateful for the times when I can express my creativity in solitude, without being hassled because it takes up their time! And now that they are all older, it is harder to get them to stand in line for photo ops with characters. I still enjoy my Mickey pictures and yes, I proudly take pics with Mickey Mouse (best boss ever) and Disney Junior characters, too. Even without the kids, ha! They're adorable!
3. Ride YOUR Favorite Rides
Name this tune! "There's so much that we share, that it's time we're aware..." Well, I really don't have to reveal too much of the song to give you a decent hint about my favorite ride at Disneyland! You got it, "it's a small world!" It truly is. And it's also a sad park day when mommy's favorite ride gets pushed to the end because it's not a thrill seeking ride. I've come to terms with this fact. I love it, and it is very nostalgic for me. I have memories growing up and enjoying the happiest cruise. Even now, I stare in wonder as I hop into the cruise boat that sails the world. It's like my first time, every time. Do you know how many pictures I have of the adorable Filipino animatronic doll? Lilo & Stitch? Every movie character that can be found since they were installed?
When I go to Disneyland, I ride "it's a small world" and it makes me happy. When I'm with the kids, sadly, my little friends from all over the world do not get to see much of me. At Disney California Adventure I love Hollywood Hotel's Tower of Terror and now that my kids are older, we can ride that together. We are hoping to introduce our youngest to the ride on our next family trip. FINGERS CROSSED!
If you shop with kids, you know that can be very daunting, especially if you're outnumbered and on a budget! What I love about shopping the cute shops throughout the Parks is the attention to detail that can be found within the stores, like detailed fixtures, or hidden mickeys in the carpet. While it is fun to watch the kids' excitement over a new toy or plush, it is just as nice exploring the store on your own; Finding special treasures that are sure to be hits with family and friends is a plus! Step into the magic of shopping without feeling like you HAVE to buy something. It really is easier to walk away when you are alone. Granted, I do tend to spend more by myself because I don't have kids hanging on me or interrupting my better judgements on why I don't need another really cute coffee mug.
5. Spread the Magic
When I am at the Parks, I do miss my hubby and kids. Seeing families throughout, lovers holding hands, watching expressions on little ones' faces as they spot their favorite character(s), I am reminded of why I went to the park in the first place: To be refreshed and inspired; To refresh and inspire others. I am that person. You know, the one that your child might randomly begin speaking to in line for The Haunted Mansion, or the person that will gift you "bits" while playing Disneyland's retired interactive game, Legends of Frontierland, simply because I noticed it was your birthday and you knew the secret Rainbow Ridge handshake.
I enjoy people and sharing the camaraderie of what we call Disney Magic. I see buttons on honeymooners, birthday celebrants, and first-time visitors, and I say, "hello." Sometimes my kids get "embarrassed," but it is just natural for me. Maybe it's because I worked for Disney at one time, and I kept stickers in my pocket for our youngest guests.
I enjoy being alone at the Parks, while submerged in a very large community of friends. So what are favorite moments when I am there by myself? It would be when I help make another guest's day, whether they are moms, dads, or the kids. I feel like having this magical bond opens a lot of doors to help others. When I would watch fireworks, I would save a bench seat because I enjoy sharing it with others. I get to talk with other guests while waiting for the show, or let their children sit on the bench so they can see.
I'm blessed to go to Disneyland as often as I do, and I am doubly blessed to have trips by myself. Disneyland is like therapy. I advise you to try it one day. You never know what you'll discover while you see it through different eyes.