I know you’re all dying to hear about our multi-generation to San Diego with The Huz’s family. Before I get to that, I wanted to fill you in on how we spent our first weekend. We left two days before everyone else so we could spend some time in Anaheim. You know why. Here’s a look at the highs and lows of our weekend.
The Travel Day
Buddy (our beloved dog) gets anxious whenever he sees our suitcases out. He knows what’s going on. We leave and hope that our awesome neighbours will show up mid-morning to walk him. Around 3 p.m. Hippy Martha Stewart is arriving from Edmonton to pick up Buddy and take him to Canmore.
Security and US Customs is a breeze. At Duty Free it’s $35 a litre if you buy two Grey Goose. The Huz convinces me this is a strategic, cost saving move. Eve is annoyed we spent so much time in Duty Free without buying any chocolate. The bottles are heavy and the irony of two parents carrying massive amounts of alcohol through an airport with their sulking pre-teen is not lost on me.
A wanker dad refuses to change seats with me on the airplane. He’s kitty corner from his family and I’m in the seat in front of him and my family. I retaliate by immediate pushing my seat back to it’s maximum recline. Naturally he doesn’t once engage with his wife and two teen boys on the flight. I blow him a silent but deadly as I disembark ahead of him. The Huz, who also receives the same consequence thinks I have the maturity level of a 8-year-old.
We drive up to Anaheim from San Diego to get a little happiest place on earth action in before the multi-gen trip. The Huz is so tired he actually pulls off the notorious California freeway, so I can drive. I manage to get us to our hotel despite the crappy GPS I insisted we add to our car rental. Travel tip: Canadians are better off ponying up for some data in order to use GoogleMaps. That old school GPS totally blows.
It’s exciting arriving at our castle-like hotel. Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel sports a Tudor-esque exterior, and like every castle, lots of different wings and courtyards. With all these different areas I rarely make my way back to the room along the same route during our stay. Cracking the Grey Goose might have had something to do with it… Still, the hotel is fine, nothing fancy (we didn’t get the castle bunk beds), but it’s roomy and quiet and the staff are surprisingly knowledgable and polite. I forget how service oriented American’s are.
Is Medieval Times Worth It?
Cheesy as it sounds, I wanted us to go to Medieval Times. Being a kid, I thought Eve would like it. I mean, what’s not to like about eating with your hands while watching knights on horseback battle it out? We were instructed to arrive 75-minutes before our show. Totally unnecessary unless you want to buy an overpriced drink and wander around the many stalls selling all manner of medieval swag. Younger children would likely want to brandish a newly bought sword and shield, but if your children are older and you yourself have never played Dungeons and Dragons, there’s no need to arrive early.
Eventually we were ushered into the arena to dine on half a roasted chicken, corn on the cob, potato and tomato soup. No cutlery is provided. And pop is free. You should’ve seen the look of utter confusion on our server’s face when we said we didn’t want any. “But it’s free! It’s soda pop!” Yeah, buddy, we know. The entertainment would’ve been more exciting for us if we hadn’t already seen Cavalia and Eve didn’t already do dressage. As it was, the knight’s sporting tournament was fine and I could see the appeal for a 10-year old’s birthday party. Why so many adults with birthdays were also in attendance I’ll never know.
Should Anyone Add on Knotts Berry Farm?
On our first official day in
sunny overcast California, we decided to tackle Knotts Berry Farm. I have these sweet memories of going there with my parents and Grampa Tot when I was 10-years old. Funny how we want to recreate certain experiences for our children. In my mind, Knotts is all about Ghost Town, not the amusement park rides The Huz and Eve went on again and again. Eve loved it – even more than Disney (more on that later).
The smartest thing we did was eat lunch at Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner Restaurant located beside the entrance to the park. It’s $21.99 for a fried chicken dinner comprised of: four pieces of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, corn or cabbage, chicken noodle soup or cherry rhubarb something, hot buttermilk biscuits (a dozen of them!) and a slice of pie. We three easily split the meal and have leftovers to boot. Eating here meant nobody demanded overpriced carnie food in the park, though the carne asada fries at Fiesta Village did look pretty good.
Despite being a weekend, it wasn’t that crowded. It was way less crowded than Disney which we hit on a weekday and it the rain. Would I recommend Knotts? I would, though I could see being disappointed if you visited Knotts after Disney, as Knotts doesn’t have those slick bells and whistles Disney’s marketing machine pumps out. Best to hit Knotts first and then your expectations are in check.
Disneyland in the Rain
Our final day in Anaheim wasn’t just overcast – it was chucking down. And Eve woke up sick. She never gets sick, so when she does it’s a bit of a deal. The complimentary shuttle bus from our hotel to Disney was the way to go. We wandered through Downtown Disney where I was able to eat an awesome vegan cupcake from Sprinkles for breakfast before taking the monorail into the park.
What to Do During a Rainy Disney Day
- Take the monorail. It’s an attraction in itself with excellent views of the park so you can plan your day.
- The Monorail drops you off in Tomorrowland, right by the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. Take it. It’s dry.
- Star Tours (also in Tomorrowland) is an indoor flight simulation ride worth the wait.
- From there walk into Fantasyland and hop aboard It’s a Small World. I love this ride, but The Huz’s wasn’t as enamoured. “Yeah, I’d always wanted to see 1964 entertainment.” Still, it’s an adorable 15-minute indoor cruise. However, the seats may be wet because the passenger loading area is outside. To combat wet bum syndrome:
- Bring a hand towel from your hotel to wipe off wet seats. I read this tip prior to going and ignored it. Big mistake.
- Pirates of the Caribbean is indoors, too!
We go hard and fast that morning, but Eve is still fading. We take a lunch break, but the rain still doesn’t let up. Eve is shivering and cold and no longer having fun, so we leave in the early afternoon. I’m disappointed, but this is parenting. You don’t always get to do what you want to do. You have to put the needs of others first. Disneyland will always be there and we’ll be able to do it right the next time. This is what I tell myself.
Have you ever been on a family trip and had to change (fun) plans due to weather or illness? How did you cope?