When I was a kid, going to Disneyland was a once, maybe twice in a lifetime kind of thing. Sure, admission tickets were a lot cheaper then, but getting there was a huge undertaking, at least from British Columbia. Airfares back then were much higher when compared to average incomes and it could easily cost a month’s salary to fly a family to California, so for most of us the only way to get there was two or three days each way packed into a hot car, down the coast, over the mountains, across the desert to finally reach the Happiest Place on Earth. The fact that most cars at the time didn’t have air conditioning (at least not in Canada) didn’t help.
My parents did take us to Disneyland one summer when we were five and six and our old Ford truck had the melted crayon wax on the black vinyl floors to show for it. We stayed at a campground in Anaheim and I remember walking past farm fields with workers harvesting strawberries on the way to Disneyland each morning.
AKA the rolling sauna
I guess my point is that times have changed and so has travel. It can cost less to fly to Las Vegas and stay in a luxury hotel for three nights than to stay in a similar hotel in your own home town. You can easily spend more on meals while on a trip than on your hotel. And sometimes a parent such as myself can look at a combination of $59 dollar each way flight deals,really good hotel rates and a stretch of four days off work and say to her daughter, “How would you like to go to Disneyland for your birthday instead of having a party?” Actually, to be perfectly honest, it was more like, “How about we go to Disneyland for your birthday?” without really mentioning the party option because who really wants to spend a whole bunch of money entertaining a pack of other people’s kids when you can just go on a really great trip with your own kid?
So, next week my daughter and I will leave the men at home alone and strike out for a quick three day trip to Anaheim. It will be our first mother daughter trip and I’m really looking forward to it. Last fall when we went to Disneyland, my daughter was a hair under the magic forty inch mark, bit now she is tall enough to go on almost all of the rides and she’s quite a daredevil, so we’ll have to make it a priority to get on all the mountains (except Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which is closed) as well as the new Cars ride, Star Tours and Soarin’. With no brother to have to consider we’ll be able to check out all the princesses and fairies as well. No little brother should also mean less of a need to go back to the hotel for naps midday. And I’m really excited about seeing all the Christmas decorations that will be up by then.
But wait a minute, you might say. Don’t you have two kids? Isn’t it a bit unfair to take one to Disneyland and leave the other at home? And you’re right. It’s terribly unfair and shouldn’t be allowed. That’s why I was thrilled yesterday to open my email and find a notice of another $59 each way airfare sale to California for this spring. Just before my other child’s next birthday. So now I can head off next week with a clear conscience knowing that my little guy will get the same opportunity in a few months when his birthday rolls around. Because I’m all about equality, you know.
Say what you want about the good old days. When it comes to travel, we’re living in the Golden Age!
Except for signs, of course. Signs were way cooler then.