Heading out to Disneyland or Disney California Adventure means that with the kids in tow, you as the parent can do, say, or get away with things that outside the park would look or sound ridiculous, or possibly even make the local authorities take notice of you. For the cost of the “Disney escape” for a few hours, anyone–and I do mean anyone–can let loose and take part in the following activities without even a hint of judgement.
1. GIANT TURKEY LEGS AND PORK SHANKS
Walking down Main Street or through Fantasyland while eating a massive Flintstone-sized turkey leg or pork shank is something you see every 5 seconds while in Disneyland, but can you imagine the looks from the other parents if you showed up to soccer practice or to pick the kids up from school while eating this super-sized snack?
There are so many hats of all sizes, shapes and colors to be found in the parks that it would take days to identify them all. But, seeing a grown man wearing Goofy ears or an actual pirate hat with attached dreads–not to mention giant top hats or just plain mouse ears–makes us stop and take a look. Instead of eying them with concern or embarrassment, we think, “Where did they get that, and do I need it too?”
3. STAR WARS ON MY BACK
Whether it is Yoda, Chewbacca or R2, kids with character backpacks are on every school yard. These lovable characters are fun to look at and we always love to see them around the parks, but just imagine your child’s t-ball coach showing up to practice with Chewbacca hanging off his back!
4. $4.00 CHURROS
In the park a bargain for so much sugary cinnamon goodness…at Smart and Final a whole box. (6 for $2.99 or 25 for $10.49 and they are the same brand that is sold at Disneyland!) Nuff said!
5. KIDS DRIVING
Next time you are running errands around town, put your foot on the gas pedal and let your preschooler steer. No, DO NOT DO THAT! But, when you are hitting Autopia, then it is all good to let your kid drive the car while you check your emails. “Sure go ahead and bump into the car in front… Mommy is just happy to be sitting down for 5 minutes”
6. TALKING TO HUGE RODENTS AND OTHER ANIMALS
At home if a see a large mouse, I run and then think,” Is he chillin’ in my walls? Should I call someone out to trap him?” At the parks, we stand in line for an hour, so we can get a picture with a dog, mouse or some other random animal. Just like in real life, we know the animal cannot talk, but unlike real life we thank the mouse for his or her time, and wave goodbye to them.
7. SKIPPING TO THE FRONT OF A LINE, WITHOUT A FIGHT
Next time you head to the market, just take your items up to the front ahead of everyone else. If anyone says anything, just say, “I have a FASTPASS!” Then get punched in the nose. At Disneyland, walking past the sweaty masses is just a normal thing if you plan out your day and pick up the passes. They will still hate you, but they can’t say or do anything about it!
8. FIGHT THE DARK SIDE
As a grown man, I have had more than a few light saber fights in the front yard with my kids. People drive by, and mostly stare and look confused. Some very cool guys who obviously know how awesome it is to have a $125 light saber (OK, make that 4 of them), give me the thumbs up. At the Jedi Academy, there is no judgement, ONLY JEALOUSY! Jealousy in that we as parents cannot fight Darth Vader or Darth Maul. We can hold our kids up to the Jedi Masters like Rafiki held up baby Simba when he presented him to the other animals in The Lion King while screaming that they should pick our kid because they are strong in the ways of the Force. That is fine and perfectly normal…trust me…
9. TAKING YOUR KIDS INTO BUSTED, OLD HOUSES
In our old neighborhood there was that one old, creaky, run down house with cobwebs that we all swore was haunted. If there was a man who hung himself and had been left there for years, the police would be involved. At Disneyland, we happily take our kids into a place actually called “The Haunted Mansion.” We know there are ghosts there. We know our 5-year-old will point at the guy hanging in the elevator. We know our kids will enjoy all the darkness to be found inside, but do that in your neighborhood and you’ll lose your children to CPS! At the park, its all good.
10. ENCOURAGING CHILDREN TO WALK AND SIT ON DILAPIDATED STRUCTURES
Outside of Disneyland, if you see a warning that something may not be in perfect operating order, we wrap our children in bubblewrap and keep them clear of it at all costs. At Disneyland we see shaky, dangerous bridges (Tarzan’s Treehouse and Pirate Island) and an old, well-known elevator that factors into a murder mystery and we practically push them into facing their fears.
11. HOPPING ON TRAINS FOR A QUICK RIDE FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER
If you do this in real life, you might be a hobo. At Disneyland you yell, “Quick run so we can get on the train” and “Hey kids take a look at the dinosaurs!”
12. DRAG RACING
Drag racing through mountain roads in a convertible with kids in the car in real life = worst parent ever. At Disney California Adventure families wait hours for this pleasure and usually cheer when it’s over.
13. SHOOTING AT ENDANGERED SPECIES
Taking a ride down a river in Africa, and pulling a weapon out and firing at endangered hippos in real life, not funny. Watching a boat driver at Disneyland shoot at the animals or not reporting that a group of explorers are in danger of being eaten by cannibals… ALL GOOD so sit back and laugh it up!
14. WEARING A BUTTON ANNOUNCING IMPORTANT LIFE MOMENTS
Chances are you would not put on a button announcing your anniversary before heading to Costco or wear a “It’s My First Visit” button to IKEA and wait for a congratulatory pat on the back in the kitchen cabinet section. At Disneyland, we seek out these buttons–treating our chests like they are our Facebook wall.
15. NOTHING HEALTHY ALL DAY!
“Hey kids we should eat pizza for lunch, then burgers for dinner, and for snacks in between, how about some churros and Dole Whips” + Regular Saturday at home = NOT A GOOD PARENT. At Disneyland, that is a totally acceptable and well planned out day. You know, make sure you do not eat too much pizza, or too many churros…its all about balancing it out. By the way, at Disneyland, the Dole Whip can be considered a serving of fruit.
16. STANDING IN LINE, TO STAND IN MORE LINES
If you had to wait in line to get into a bank, to then wait in line to deposit a check you wouldn’t. Waiting in line outside the park to then wait in lines to ride rides or eat or use the bathroom or see a character or get a drink or do anything is just what you do…
…and you don’t mind one second of it because you are at the Happiest Place on Earth and the rules of the real world just do not apply.