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Monday, May 9, 2011

A Surprise Trip to Disneyland

by Pete Codella (bio)

Please welcome to the blog Pete Codella, our newest contributor.


We’re a family of four with a nine year-old daughter and five year-old son, not counting our eight year-old weimaraner. In the space of two years we have moved three times. After getting settled in our new home, when the New Year rolled around my wife started talking about going on a vacation to spend some quality family time together while the kids are still young.

Of course I thought back to the quality family vacation of my youth — the ONE vacation where we drove from upstate New York to Florida to spend a handful of days at Disney World, then drove back home. I was seventeen and, because we were unexpectedly going out of town, had to postpone my driver’s test at the DMV to finally get my driver’s license . . . but that’s another story.

The more my wife and I talked about a family vacation, the more we both felt like it was the right thing to do, and the right time. She suggested we make the arrangements for four days at Disneyland, book the airline tickets, and keep the plan a secret. And I agreed to leave my computer at home, informing my clients that I would be unavailable for a few days while I vacationed with the family.

It turned out to be a pretty fun surprise for the kids.

The day we flew from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles we woke the kids up like every other normal school day. While we were having cereal for breakfast my wife handed both kids a little bag with a Webkinz stuffed animal and a card. Our daughter read her card which said, “Will you take me with you to Disneyland today?” Suddenly she perked up and asked, “Wait, are we going to Disneyland today?” When we responded affirmatively she squealed with joy then began to cry. Our son just sat there. He was still groggy. I told him we were going on a trip to Disneyland, to which he calmly responded, “Cool.”

And those two responses underscore the difference between our two offspring.

The Codellas with Mickey Mouse - April 2011Our trip was very fun and pretty much went according to plan. We enjoyed our time together and had fun at the Disney parks, even though lines and days were long and the trip was expensive. We were surprised at how unnerving the sliding gondola on Mickey’s Fun Wheel ride at California Adventure was. Our daughter screamed and giggled on the California Screaming roller coaster. She rode it a couple of times with her mom while I entertained our son who wasn’t quite tall enough to ride, much to his disappointment.

We ate lunch at the Blue Bayou, got soaked on the Grizzly River Rapids and rode Soarin’ Over California twice. We waited for a Fast Pass, then camped-out that night for an hour for a good spot, so we could see the new World of Color show. It was spectacular!

One of my favorite moments happened as we went through the entrance to Disneyland from Downtown Disney, where we had purchased Haagen Dazs ice cream waffle cones. My wife accidentally dropped her cone upside-down on the cement, right in the middle of the entrance to the park. It was like a Hollywood sitcom script where I provided the laugh track after the mishap. Really though, every moment from the airplane rides to the waiting in line to the meals shared to the swimming at the hotel to the scared screaming on the Tower of Terror, was memorable.

It was a good trip and a fun way to spend spring break. Sometimes putting work aside and spending time with your family is simply the best thing in the whole world.

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