I’ve never been one for expensive holidays. Surfing, lolling at the beach. Walking in the hills. That’s stuff I enjoy. Skip Vegas. It’s not my party. So most of our outings here in Los Angeles, where we are on vacation from Argentina, have been priceless times at the beach, rolling down sandbanks and running in the waves as they roll up the sand, full of laughs and spills and splashes and shouts of “let’s do it again!”
Well, word got out that Daddy comes from the city (or near enough) that’s home to a child’s delight: Disneyland. Who could deny a starry-eyed kid the chance to meet Mickey Mouse and Tinker Bell. “And Goofy,” my four-year-old son says. Who wouldn’t want to go with children who for days have been discussing whether Mickey Mouse’s skin is like a mouse’s or cloth and whether Tinker Bell will be big enough to see or only a light in the sky, and what to do if you run into Captain Hook.
So off we went through the early afternoon traffic along the 405 freeway to the 10 to the 5 to Disney Drive and the parking lot and the tram and through the gates to Disneyland.
The three kids marveled at the sights and we did our best to navigate through the park. “Let’s try this,” I said. And my wife and the two eldest stood in line; I stayed behind with the one-year-old. I thought it was a train ride, easy going. No. It was a rollercoaster. My wife, who’s not a big fan of rollercoasters, told me later that halfway through my son turned to her and said, “Mummy, me scared.”
So off we went in search of mellower amusements. We took a boat ride, watched the fireworks and then went on It’s A Small World, a favorite of mine as a kid. The littlest got into it, gaping at the dancers and cooing at the music. My four-year-old turned to my wife and said, “Mummy, me happy.”
On our way out of the park we went through Fantasyland and came upon Sleeping Beauty Castle, where you can stroll through the castle’s hallways and rooms. No fast trains, something to top off a good evening. The noises of ghosts and prisoners soon began to give the kids the jitters. “I don’t like this,” my six-year-old daughter said. And we turned around the corner and she stopped. The witch! You could hear the witch scream and see her shadow around the corner down there, dangerously close. My daughter screamed and grabbed hold of a railing. She wasn’t going that way! No, she turned and ran back the way we came, leaving us all behind in her flight from the witch. We ran after her and back to the car and along the freeway and home, locked the door and got into bed. Exhausted and safe.
The kids got up early the next morning and the two eldest ran down the stairs for breakfast, chatting about the adventure as I followed and tried not to stumble, still not fully awake. I sat down with a coffee and the kids with their bowls of cereal, and my six-year-old turns to me and says, “It’s true, right? The witch was really real, wasn’t she?”