Sunday, November 7, 2010

Granny Nanny Goes to Disneyland

My daughter and son-in-law made me an offer I couldn’t refuse—and an all-expenses-paid trip to Disneyland to see the annual Halloween spectacle, spend three nights in the luxurious Grand Californian Hotel right on the premises, and have a photo-op at a character breakfast with Mickey and the grandkids.

How could I refuse? All I had to do in exchange was a little babysitting, as needed. Fair enough.

My first mistake was stopping by the Disney Store at the Mall to pick up a few toys to entertain my grandkids on the plane. The bill for a couple of stuffed cartoon characters and glittery sippy cups was nearly the equivalent to a round-trip airline ticket.

My second mistake was bringing a suitcase. Who was going to carry their four bags, two car seats, a double stroller and two kids if my hands were full?

I made my third mistake inside the plane when I handed over the grandkids’ gifts to keep them occupied. They were bored with the toys by the time we had lift off.

Once we arrived, I had to admit, the Grand Californian was beyond my wildest dreams. It’s designed like to look like a “rustic” “wood” “cabin”—a la Disney—for someone like Donald Trump. The best part was the kids’ TV area in the lobby that featured non-stop Mickey Mouse cartoons. I wanted to leave the grandkids there and head on over to the park, but my daughter insisted we take them with us.

First we had to have lunch, since everyone was starving and only one was breastfeeding. Luckily, right outside the hotel is Disney America, where they offer hungry people everything from Kettle Corn (in three flavors) to Louisianan Gumbo (in three degrees of hotness.)

My next mistake was leaving the hotel by myself to get the food. I couldn’t find my way back to the hotel room and had to call my daughter to come and get me. By the time I finished the twenty-minute hike to Room 3,968, I was too tired to go to Disneyland. Besides, it was dinner time.

We headed for the family-friendly Rain Forest Café, where the kids were not so much entertained as they were terrified by the loud thunder storms, towering King Kong replicas, and the waiters screaming, “Volcano! Volcano! Volcano!” every time they brought out the ginormous signature dessert—which was about every five minutes.

The kids ate most of their mac and cheese and Cheerios (leaving their leftovers under the table for the waiter to clean up) and we exited after buying a bunch of jungle-themed toys that amused the grandkids until we were out the door.

It was then that I realized the all-expenses-paid hotel also came with a catch. Instead of getting my own room, I had to sleep in the same room with the two grandkids and their parents. Furthermore, I was sent to bed at 7:30 pm because that’s when the grandkids go to bed and the parents go out and party.

To add insult to injury, they informed me the next morning that I snore, saying it sounded like someone “being slaughtered by a chainsaw.”

That was just Day One. The next day we’d be heading for the actual park. All expenses paid? I should have read the fine print.

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