The Success of Operation: Get Emma To Like Rides

I was truly worried at the beginning of this year that, after all the money spent and planning done, Emma would bolt at the tamest of rides. Which is why operation: get Emma to like rides was put into motion. By the time we left for Disneyland she was a fan of the merry go round and the helicopters (like Dumbo but much harder for adults to get in and out of).

On day one we stuck to all of the Toddler approved rides, Nemo’s submarine, Astro Orbiters, the carousel, Casey Jr.’s train, Dumbo.

Day two I was a little skeptical about because I figured the cars land rides weren’t actually intended for two year olds she just happens to be tall for her age. But she liked them. She liked them so much that when I took her back to ride it one last time to kill time before dinner and let Ryan enjoy Soarin’ by himself, she broke down into hysterics when the ride ended and we had to get off, fighting my grasp as I carried her out of there. So there I was, all alone with a toddler in full meltdown mode in the exit corridor of a ride 10 minutes before our dinner reservations (so I wasn’t about to put us in line again) when I saw a Disney employee walk up to us. Just what I needed, to be told that I shouldn’t be loitering in the exit corridor with my tantrum-throwing menace. Fantastic.

BUT that’s not what she said. She smiled and talked sweetly to Emma asking her if she really wanted to ride again. Emma was too far gone in hysterics to answer. I was still assuming we were about to get in trouble when the employee goes, “I can get you to the front of the line to ride it again.” What?! And she did. Straight through to the handicap entrance ahead of everyone else with patient, sweet kids who understand the importance of waiting for your turn. She calmed down for a little while but as soon as we found ourselves first to line up behind the gate to pick a car the tantrum started again, “the car is RIGHT there! Go away Mommy.” I’m not sure what the other people standing in line thought but it made me realize that I shouldn’t be so quick to judge parents with kids melting down in line, assuming it’s because the kid was too scared and didn’t want to be tortured with a scary ride. Maybe it’s because they are impatient and really excited for the ride.

And by day three, amidst Emma liking things we had not expected her to like, Ryan and I decided to give it a try with our all time favorite rides, the haunted mansion (for him) and the Pirates of the Caribbean (for me). Timing was on our side for the Haunted Mansion as it was decked out in a Nightmare Before Christmas theme they do every Halloween. Maybe she would have freaked out if it was there real haunted mansion, but with the new, more cartoony feel, she was excited to wave (and call out) to Jack and fell in love with Zero.

Meanwhile, I may have put her “parroting me” skills to use in hopes of getting her to love Pirates. Pretty soon she was waving her arms back and forth with me singing “yo ho yo ho” and squealing “weeee” down the downhill drops. Phew… operation get Emma to like rides was a success.


Day one: Disneyland – Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage – first ride of the trip


Day one: Disneyland –  Astro Orbiter


Day one: Disneyland – King Arthur’s Carousel – the first of 1,000 rides on this carousel – oh the irony that this is the ride that prompted Operation: Get Emma to Like Rides


Day one: Disneyland – King Arthur’s Carousel  – as I was saying…. same day different outfit (i.e. Emma post nap)… same darn ride


Day two: California Adventure – Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train (and Sonja’s first time in A Bug’s Land besides seeing A Bug’s Life… oh these rides are sllloooowwww)


Day two: California Adventure – Flik’s Flyers… I look so attractive… in other news Anaheim was H.O.T.


Day two: California Adventure – King Triton’s Carousel of the Sea – Voted favorite ride ever by Miss Emma


Day three: Disneyland – Mad Tea Party… yup, just as horrendous as I thought it would be, and at least Emma wasn’t strong enough to turn the wheel

Day three: Prop picture… because after the breakdown over the long line for Peter Pan and even for the much shorter Alice and Wonderland, Ryan and I were over all fantasyland rides and their ridiculous wait times.

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