Day 4: The Calm Before Disneyland

“Happiest Place on Earth”

Day 4: San Jose, CA | Total Time: o hours | Total Distance: 0 miles

Tomorrow we head to Disneyland. This will be Ethan and Autumn’s first visit to “The Happiest Place On Earth” (happiest?…except for our house, and some killer National Parks, and….nice marketing Walt!) We’re not so much looking forward to our experience as we are very excited about the kid’s reaction to their first experience.

In 2006, we took Hranush to Disneyland for the first time. She was an Armenian high school exchange student who had never visited such a place. She knew the movies, especially Pirates of the Caribbean, but this would be a whole new experience. We were excited about the experience just in seeing how much she enjoyed it. There were a lot of firsts for her, and laughter and excitement to along with it. This is how we feel about taking our kids, espeically Ethan since he’s almost 5 years old and will remember this.

In planning this trip a few months ago, we wanted to build excitement for our visit to Disneyland. Perhaps, we built it up too much since Disneyland is all Ethan talks about, eventhough we are visiting a bunch of other places on our trip. Here are a few things we did to get them excited:

  • YouTube: Yep, you read it right. We visited YouTube and found videos that people created showing their experience in the park. Some of the more clever videos are the ones specific to a ride. Here’s the playlist we created that Ethan and Autumn watched a lot.
  • Disney Soundtrack: My brother Mark got us this Disney soundtrack a couple years ago. Not until recently did we start to listen to it. Wow, this moved to the kids #1 slot for favorite albums. They sing the songs, dance around, and ask us to skip past the “Indiana Jones” song because it sounds scary. Fair enough.
  • Free Disney Vacation Planning DVD: I went all touristy and ordered a free DVD from the Disney site months ago. The perk is that it captures the entire experience (hotel, pool, Disneyland, California Adventure, and more) in a quick easy to follow format. The kids watched this DVD a lot. Oh, and it was free. Did I mention that?

You may think, shouldn’t they have already been excited without all the hassle of YouTube, Disney soundtracks, and more? Probably, but our kids know very, very few Disney movies and we hardly have any Disney memorabilia so it’s understandable if four months ago you told them we’re going to Disneyland, they looked at you kind of funny. Tell them today that we’re going to Disneyland, and they are jumping in the car, ready to go!

Besides preparing for our drive to Disneyland tomorrow, we enjoyed some quiet time either with friends or family for most of today. Laura, the kids, and my mom spent the morning at the San Jose Children’s Museum. They took the light rail (always a hit with kids) downtown and spent a few hours in the area. The kids had a blast running around.

I headed up to Boulder Creek where I enjoyed good company with my friend Kim at his house for most the day. He and I go back to the mid-90’s when he was my college professor in the West Valley College Park Management Program. Ever since taking many of his courses I’ve kept in touch with him. We have a history of rock climbing, hiking, backpacking, and engaging conversation. It had been at least 4 years since I’ve met up with him. Hopefully, it will be a lot sooner before we meet up again.

This evening Mike and his family came over for dinner and swimming. The cousins played very well together. Though we see each other once every year or two, we do our best to keep in touch via Skype, mostly so the cousins continue to know each other. I think it works very well when you see how easily they play together as if there was never a time gap in seeing each other.

I’m off to bed since we have a 7am start tomorrow as make our way on our 2nd leg of the journey: Disneyland and Catalina Island for the next week.

Ready to ride the light rail downtown

Ethan and his Grandma Lynda

San Jose Children’s Museum

San Jose Children’s Museum

San Jose Children’s Museum

Swim time in Grandma’s pool

Trying to not tread water

Autumn enjoys the sun.

Mike gives Caitlynn some air time

Laura, Brett, Olivia, and Mike


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