Hey, Remember That Time We…

So then…we wake the kids by bellowing, “Dizzz-neee-laaaaaaand!”

8:00 am

Remember 180 8 am

They pop right out of bed, super excited to return to their favorite place. Chloe, age 5, and Tucker, age 8, get dressed and hustle downstairs for breakfast.

We live in LA, so it’s only 1.5 hours to drive to Anaheim to Disneyland. We pack up the minivan, ensuring our backpack contains all 832 essentials for surviving a long day at the park – and off we go!

9:00 am

Remember 900 new black new 180 180

We’re zipping along the 101 Freeway.

Zip! Zip! Zip!
Zap! Zaaaap. Zaaaaaap.

What the hell?

We were careening down this freeway, and now we’ve STOPPED DEAD, smack dab in the middle of a 6-lane gridlock, with cars stretching as far as the eye can see.

How did this happen so fast? It’s like someone sent a mass group text to every driver in California with an urgent message: “Hop in car! Rush to 101 Freeway! Surround the Perdu Family Vehicle. Ensure no escape!”

And BAM!

David and I slowly turn our heads to look at each other.

His eyes say: “Let’s cut our losses, go home, and watch football.”

My eyes say, “Yes! Abort! Abort the mission! Turn around and go home!”

Then we turn to look at Tucker and Chloe in the back seat happily chatting about which Disneyland rides they’re most excited about riding.

We slowly turn back to look at each other.

Now my eyes say beseechingly, “We must go! Look how excited they are!”

His eyes say, “Football.”

“No, David, we have to keep going,” I say out loud. “It’s just a little traffic! It’ll be fine.”

9:30 am

Remember 180 930 am

He agrees – but it’s quickly evident that the 1.5 hour trip’s going to be a 3 hour trip.

Unspoken tensions are running high – but with each mile, it seems crazy to turn back – so we push valiantly onward.

We hit the parking lot, which is bulging with cars. Honestly, did EVERYONE decide to go to Disneyland today?

12:30 pm

Remember 180 1230 blue clock

After an excruciating hunt for a parking spot, we finally disembark the car to find the shuttle to take us to the park.

We wait an hour for the shuttle.

Let’s say that again just so we fully appreciate the agony of standing there after a long car ride:

We wait an hour for the shuttle.

Finally! We hop aboard and head to the entrance.

I’m overly cheerful to compensate for the flagging spirits of my crew. Grinning broadly, I say, “Won’t this be fun!? We had a little bit of a late start, but now we’re here and we’re gonna have a blast!”

1:30 pm

Remember 180 130 pm

The shuttle drops us off at the entrance, which is obscured by engorged lines of people snaking out in all directions.
Just as we approach, the intercom announces, “I’m sorry, folks, Disneyland is full. No more entries today.”



What do you mean Disneyland is FULL?

We just spent 4 hours to get here! And what about all the people who FLEW to get here? And all the people who saved for months for this trip to pay for your stupid crappy $6 hot dogs and $16 Mickey hats! How dare you shutter your doors!? What about the children? What…about…sob…the childrennnnnn?

(I’m in full meltdown mode — but my kids are actually taking the disappointment pretty well. David is another matter altogether. I can actually see him squeezing his eyes shut and concentrating fiercely — trying desperately to time travel back to that point on the freeway when we could’ve abandoned the mission and returned home.)

“I’m hungry,” says Chloe.

“Me too,” says Tucker.

I’m starving.

David and I look to the left. Literally thousands of dejected people are leaving the park entrance to line up for the shuttles.

We look to the right. Thousands more are walking to the souvenir shops and restaurants just outside Disneyland.

We look at the backpack. Its snacks were depleted long ago on our long-ass car ride.

We look at the children. They appear edible.

That will solve everything. I will eat my children.

They will satisfy my hunger and I won’t have to deal with their disappointment about missing Disneyland.

I’m just about to explain my plan to David when he points toward the shops and restaurants.

“It’ll take us hours to get back to our car and find someplace to eat, so we might as well line up over here,” he says.

We reluctantly join the huddled masses, yearning to be fed – shuffling from restaurant to restaurant looking for a line that looks to be less than a 2-hour wait.

3:30 pm

Remember 330 brown

Out of desperation, we finally settle on a pizza place which is so packed we have to eat our cold cheese slices standing up between hordes of other families standing up, eating their cold cheese slices.

All the adults look a bit dazed. Like, “How did this happen?” We all expected a spectacular day at the Magic Kingdom — and now we’re standing in line for almost 2 hours just to get a slice of crappy pizza.

Then we trudge back to the shuttle line, wait an hour and a half, walk a million miles to our car, then drive with 4 billion people on the freeway through rush hour traffic, and finally reach home where we collapse – as exhausted as though we’d just climbed the Himalayas.

9:00 pm

Remenber 180 900 green new

Our roundtrip is 12 agonizing hours.

We promise the kids we’ll return to Disneyland soon – and we do – and it’s wonderful and glorious and all the things it’s supposed to be.

As for today? Well, today is the day we refer to as:

“Hey, remember that time we drove 12 hours for pizza? Ah. Good times. Good times.”

— Darcy Perdu

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(Do you have an example of a “Hey, remember that time we…” experience? Something fun that ended up NOT so fun?  Ever show up someplace that was “full” or “closed?”)

Ah, good times (NOT!) - hilarious true tale of a trip gone awry #funny #Disney

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26 replies on “Hey, Remember That Time We…

  1. Oh my God, that is awful. We took our kids to Disneyland when they were young enough even the twirling teacups scared them. All they wanted to do was sit on Winnie the Pooh’s lap for a photo. We managed to get them on Pirates of the Caribbean without them being scared, and then the dang ride stuck for a full 40 minutes while our two year old screamed in my ear. Afterward, we went to lunch and found out YOU CAN’T BUY BEER IN THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH.

    Never again, and that wasn’t nearly as bad as your story. Apparently we are lightweights.

    • HA! “You can’t buy beer in the Happiest Place on Earth!” Sounds like you needed a KEG after THAT Disneyland visit!

  2. At least climbing the Himalayas you would have had the great experience of wonderful views and the odd body here and there of a climber who decided to sit down in the snow and tell his party that he’d just be taking a couple minutes rest. Let’s see that happen at a Disney resort!
    William Kendall recently posted..A Haunted Museum?My Profile

    • Ha! I was ready to sit down right there outside Disneyland and never get back up again!

    • So sorry you didn’t have our normally dry-as-a-bone Southern Cal weather during your visit! It almost NEVER rains, but the week you arrived was overflowing with rain! Hope you guys had fun anyway!

  3. We are planning to go to Disney World in July. I really hope it’s not like this. I will flip out. I get super hangry.

  4. Oh god. I congratulate both you and David for not eating the children. Your restraint is admirable.
    I am reminded yet again of why me having kids, is a very very bad idea.

    • Thank you, Jamie, it’s one of my prouder parenting moments that I refrained fro gobbling them right up!

  5. Judy P said:

    I love it! The family memory that starts with “remember that time we drove 12 hours for cold pizza?” Almost as good as flying across the country to buy underwear at Target.

  6. Ok, no contest, you win for worst trip to Disney ever! I have never even heard of them closing down Disneyland. Could you have gone next door to California Adventure or even up the road to Knotts Berry Farm? At least that would have salvaged the day. Oh well, maybe next time.
    Kirsten recently posted..Celebrating Kids Are A Trip with a Holiday Gift Card Giveaway!My Profile

    • Maybe next time! And next time, we’ll be starting out WAY earlier and bringing WAY more snacks! :)

  7. Lisa Z said:

    My family tried going to Disneyland on July 4, 1976. Yes, we were that insane. At least I was a child and so not to blame. We ended up going to Knotts instead.
    If the shuttle line is too long, try walking. It’s maybe 1/2 a mile – less than walking from Main Street to Small World. It was a lot easier when my son was little to walk with the stroller than to try and squeeze in the tram. Especially when he was asleep in the stroller at night.

    • Wow, that’s a very historic date to try to get into Disneyland!
      And great tip about walking! I had no idea it was that close from the parking lot!

  8. That is a funny, sad story. Sven and I have an anniversary celebration that we still refer to as, That time we paid $50 for a bunch of F-ing Noodles.
    Millie Noe recently posted..Does this Scarf?My Profile

    • Ha! I love those expressions, “Remember that time…” and $50 bucks for noodles fits the bill perfectly!

  9. Arionis said:

    This sounds like it happened a while back. Probably when I was still living in Ventura. In fact I remember that day. My Canadian in-laws were in town and wanted to go to Disneyland. We were actually the last people they let in that day. Sorry about that. You can BLAME CANADA! :)

    • I DO blame Canada for everything.
      Actually I blame Justin Bieber for everything — and he’s from Canada – so there you go!
      Damn you, Arionis, for taking the last spots to get into Disneyland that day! I hope you upchucked your $6 hotdog on the Spinning Teacups!

  10. I found this story terrifying! I didn’t know they could be full. It’s been years since I’ve been and living on the East Coast we usually went to Walt Disney World. Ugh, what a nightmare.
    Liz recently posted..Zoe vs. Gordon GekkoMy Profile

    • Literally, “no room at the Inn!” I was also shocked as it never occurred to me that Disneyland could be “full.” But yep!!

  11. Kaysee2009 said:

    When I was 10 or 12, I went with my aunt to Canada for a soccer tournament that my cousin was in. We went to the amusement park La Ronde (now a Six Flags), right outside of Montreal, when the tournament was over. It was awesome!
    Fast forward to when I was 17. My mom, two younger brothers (9 & 11) and I went on a road trip to Canada (from Boston). We went to Niagara Falls, Toronto and the last stop was Montreal. It was the end of a summer and I had been telling them about this amusement park for months. We roll into Montreal on a Sunday night and can see the park in its full glory on the island in the middle of the river as we go over the bridge to get to our hotel.
    The next morning we all get up bright and early for our big day at the park. They are so excited to go that they can barely contain themselves. So, we pull into the parking lot.. the completely empty parking lot…
    Turns out Canada goes back to school before Labor Day. (That holiday is American, you know…) They are only open weekends at that point.
    You know that National Lampoon’s Vacation moment when they find out Wally World is closed?? We lived it. Just didn’t kidnap John Candy and force him to let us go on all the rides.
    We went back the next summer, specifically for that. We look back and laugh now, but there were two inconsolable young boys bawling their eyes out in Canada that day.

    • Ahhh! Your poor brothers!! They must have freaked out! And to see it right there, almost within their grasp! How frustrating!
      I’m surprised they didn’t jump the fence and run amok!
      Thank goodness you were able to return the next summer!