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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Prepped for a Trip to Disneyland!

My wife and I recently made our way to the “Happiest Place on Earth” and I’m happy to report that we each made it out in one piece! We had a great time of course, because it’s Disneyland -- and because we prepared.
"It's a Small World" was decorated for the holiday season.

I wrote down our basic itinerary for each day -- where we were planning to visit, who we were going to visit with and where we were staying each night. My parents are my out-of-town contacts on my family communication plan. I told them where we were going. They have all of our contact information.
We prepared sandwiches and bought plenty of snacks and water for the drive (make sure to stay hydrated!). I also kept records of my car rental and hotel confirmation with me, just in case.
We checked the weather forecast for the days ahead. Each day turned out to be beautiful, but it helped to pack light jackets, since temperatures dipped at night.
California is known for its earthquakes. My wife and I practice our Drop, Cover and Hold On drill at home a few times a year, including during the annual Great Arizona ShakeOut, but refreshing what to do if you are on the road is important too.  If you are in a moving vehicle, make sure to stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses and utility wires. Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.
My wife and I also had a small section of our suitcase dedicated to our many electronic chargers – phones, iPod, iPad, Fit Bit…we made sure to cover all the bases.

A few things that we learned:
      Know your limits and prepare accordingly –My wife and I don’t do well with certain rides, so as fun as Space Mountain, Star Tours and California Screamin’ are, we sat those out. I get motion sick more easily than most people. So I took non-drowsy Dramamine and wore sea sickness armbands around my wrists. I was good to go for the whole day.
      Bring a small bag – We brought a small drawstring backpack which made a HUGE difference. You can bring in unopened water and Gatorade into the park, which we did. We bought Wetzel’s Pretzels for breakfast in downtown Disney (nutritious, I know…) and were able to keep leftovers as a snack for later. The backpack was also small enough to where it never got in the way.
      Think ahead about traffic concerns – Southern California, especially the Los Angeles metro has notoriously awful traffic. My wife and I knew this going in. But we failed to realize just how long rush hour really is in that area. Whether it was I-5, the 101 Highway or other roads, we were backed up for miles along the roadway. Make sure to get there early. It is important to be informed about where you are going, which can include traffic, weather and other potential hazards. Get good shoes or beware of back discomfort – I definitely had back issues after all the walking around. Going from our regular desk jobs to nearly 40,000 steps on my step counter is a big jump! And okay, maybe we could’ve taken another break here and there ;).
      Rain ponchos please! – Not only can you ride water rides like Splash Mountain and Grizzly River Run, you can be prepared if weather takes a turn. If you bring plastic ponchos and a light jacket (which you can keep in your small bag), you can ride both of those as many times as you want at night! Both Grizzly River Run and Splash Mountain had wait times of five minutes or less at night because, understandably, no one wanted to get wet while it was cold out.
We had an awesome time on our Disneyland vacation. With our lessons learned for the future in mind, I’m excited to see how our next trip goes.

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