By Saturday morning, Patrick had figured out this Disneyland thing. He woke up at a bright and early 7 a.m. It wasn’t long before he had climbed up in his stroller and was signing “playground.” Thankfully, we were much more efficient at getting out the door, too, so he didn’t have to wait long.
We stopped in the World of Disney store for some souvenirs on the way in. (My head was pretty sunburned by then and I needed a hat before spending another day in the park.) I’ll admit, I’m not efficient at shopping and we ended up staying there much longer than planned.
But soon we found ourselves in Disneyland again. And it was magic from the moment we stepped in.
First, we spotted Goofy, Pluto & Mickey Mouse signing autographs. Patrick was mesmerized. Goofy tried to show him the camera.
Then Daddy tried, too…
And when I said that Patrick couldn’t be expected to look at the camera when meeting Goofy. So, Goofy helped…
Of course, this experience has led to Patrick telling quite the stories about Goofy and Mickey hitting him when he met them.
They did not. In fact, Mickey was just leaving when we made it to his line, so we got to meet him and take a picture, but it was really quick.
So of course, Patrick isn’t looking at the camera.
By this point, we were hungry. So we stopped at a bakery on Main Street. I accidentally proved the quality of Disney’s special diets program again here. I ordered a carrot cake muffin and thought I’d just check to make sure that it did have eggs in it. But when I asked, the cashier decided to make sure. The next thing I knew, the baker had come to discuss allergy safe options for me. I felt bad for causing so much trouble, as Patrick was more than content to eat one bite of a banana from a fruit stand next door.
Then, he got distracted. See, only as we finished ordering breakfast did I notice the Mary Poppins theme of the bakery we were in. We stepped outside and sat down only to look up and see Mary Poppins herself.
Things were quiet, so she wandered over to greet our table. Patrick could tell we were excited to meet her and wanted to impress her. But, not knowing what to do, he picked up his napkin, wadded it up, and then threw it as hard as he could. (Feats of strength!) Well, this was Mary Poppins after all. So of course she reminded Patrick that we don’t throw our food and need to have good manners.
With breakfast over, we decided it was time for rides.
We wandered through Storybook Land and stopped for some traditional pictures with the Disneyland Castle and the Sword in the Stone.
But then we decided to start at the farthest point and work our way back. So we went to Toontown instead.
Toontown is home of Gadget’s rollercoaster. Patrick is tall enough this ride by just a couple of inches. And he LOVED it!! He started laughing at the top of the first hill and laughed all the way through.
Unfortunately, that ride was the end of his energy. Toontown also provided the only real chance for him to get out of his stroller and run. But it looked more like tired stumbling instead. Still, Donald’s boat and Goofy’s House and some ride-in cars were worth the stumbling. And one more ride on the roller-coaster perked him up a little. But if these pictures seem a bit grumpy, you now know why.
All that tiredness didn’t deter him when we asked if he wanted to drive a car one more time.
And it’s a good thing we did, too. The ride had a problem and was evacuted right after we got off. Of course, the way Patrick drives, we wonder if he was somehow responsible for the needed evacuation.
The evacuation was a mixed blessing. Our plan was to take the monorail back out of the park. But it wasn’t allowed to move till Autopia was clear. The fun part was that they let us have a private compartment on the train, and that was a nice place to sit and rest.
We finally moved and made it out of the park. We’d seen a restaurant that looked a lot like the old Mayan restaurant in our home town.. a rainforest decor with a waterfall inside. And we decided to splurge on this for lunch.
We kind of wish we hadn’t. It was similar to the Mayan, but not as well done. The food was ok, but the service was really slow and, well, we wanted naps.
So, after food, we napped. And then, refreshed and with TPN made, we hurried back into the park.
Brian wanted to ride the Materhorn, so we took advantage of the single rider option again. While he rode, I took Patrick on the teacups. And then we traded. (Brian doesn’t get dizzy like I do, so Patrick had more fun with him than with me.)
The Dumbo ride was not a hit. A long line that, in the end, made him cry.
The Peter Pan ride was broken down and Pinocchio was, well, one of those dreaded story rides.
But at least we found the Mad Hatter and at last got Patrick some ears. (He picked them out.)
So Fantasy Land was a bit of a bust. But at least we got to ride It’s a Small World one more time. (Oh how Patrick loves the La La Boats!)
Then we hopped on the train and rode it around the park so Brian could experience Splash Mountain.
We made the last-minute decision to try to catch the Fantasmic show. So, with time short, we grabbed some dinner and headed to the handicapped area. (By now the other viewing areas were crazy full. Crowds and tubes don’t mix well.)
We met another family there whose daughter used to have a g-tube. They were very kind to Patrick and it was easy to share the tight space with them. (Even though I kind of felt like saying that a g-tube is just a drop in the bucket compared to TPN.)
Patrick decided to climb up in his stroller just as the show started. And was so loud and overwhelming that I ended up covering his ears while kneeling behind him and he wouldn’t let me let go long enough to try for a more comfortable position.
Warning: If you have small children, this show is fun, but a little scary. The evil queen’s dragon made Patrick so nervous that he grabbed the hand of a complete stranger sitting next to him and made her hang on to him for the rest of the show.
Poor little kid. When he saw me at the end of the show, he just held on to me for dear life! Note to self. Hold Patrick on my lap, even if he thinks he wants the stroller.
Immediately after this show, the fireworks show starts. We saved this to the last day on purpose to kind of cap off the day.
Patrick was sleepy and still clingy as we watched the fireworks and snuggled up with his daddy, cheek to cheek, to watch. Brian leaned over and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
And in that moment, my heart was so full.
I don’t know that I can adequately express all of the emotions that this trip brought. First, I felt so blessed that our family had the means to make this trip. Even more, I felt blessed that Patrick had the good health to make it possible. Especially with the scare he’d given us early in the week.
My little family is such an amazing blessing! And as I watched fireworks light the sky and listened to songs about dreams and wishes come true, I couldn’t help but see how lucky I was.
I really didn’t want to see our Disney vacation end. It was so nice to just escape from work and appointments and health problems and insurance issues and, well, all responsibility…to just be together as a family with no other worries.
What’s more, leaving Disneyland meant accepting the reality that our lives really are very fragile, especially Patrick’s. I don’t know if our family will have another chance at a vacation like this again. I hope so. But going back to real life means accepting that reality again.
As I cuddled Patrick to sleep one more time under the glow of our artifical fireworks in our room, I found myself feeling a little tearful and more than a little nostalgic. We’d found a bit of magic and I wondered if I’d be able to hang on to that magic. After all, we’re surely going to have moments where we need some magic in our not so distant future.
We’ll celebrate Patrick’s third miracle day in just a couple of weeks. I think a little magic as a family was the perfect commemoration.