So, last month my son and I took a solo day and went to Disneyland. I have a major "thing" for Disneyland. I could seriously go every week and the 90+ minute drive doesn't daunt me... it's nothing when you have the excitement of the Happiest Place on Earth to look forward to!
However...driving home after a long day of walking is another matter in itself!
Though we'd had mild summer weather, of course that day it was over 100 degrees! We spent the hottest part of the day seeking out air conditioned rides like Small World & the Haunted Mansion and watched a great comedy show inside the Golden Horseshoe during lunch (though we were disappointed that we missed Billy Hill & the Hillbillies, we love them).
In the Court of Angels, New Orleans Square
Many breaks were taken to sit in the shade. We shared mint julep, which was so refreshing. The Boy also ate a chocolate covered banana that melted all over the place and I had to buy him a new shirt.
Sipping on julep
Then the Boy spotted the canoe boats. The canoe boats LOOK like a lot of fun. You sit inside the carved out canoe, the guides are dressed like Davy Crockett in fringy pants and coonskin caps, they hand you an oar and you paddle your way around the River of America with 18 other lucky saps on the cool, mossy green colored water.
My Explorer, ready to row
But what you might not guess is that you are actually doing the rowing. Yes, there is a guide at the front of the boat and one at the back end too but consider that half of the rowers on the canoe are going to be small children wearing constricting life jackets and you'll soon figure out that rowing the canoe is no easy task.
Top Ten Reasons to Avoid the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes at Disneyland -
1. It's impossible to coordinate everyone to row at the same time. It's a guarantee that you are going to knock your oar into either the person in front or the person behind you.
2. You can't switch sides. I was rowing on the left. That's fine, I'm left handed. But after rowing for 10 minutes without being able to switch to my right, my poor arm was achin'!
3. Someone loses their oar into the water just about every canoe ride. Another one bites the dust and you are down one rower...now you get to row harder!
4. You will sweat, this is hard work. And it was 100 degrees that day, what were we thinking?
5. You aren't on a track. There is no button to push that will allow the track to pick up the slack. If you don't row, you don't move!
6. You will get wet! When I was done, my pants were soaked and the Boy had accidentally poured a stream of swampy green water on my head when he lifted his oar out of the water.
7. Did I mention it was 100 degrees? And that most of the River is unshaded?
8. Don't sit behind a child because they will merely drag their oar across the water when they can't keep up with the rowing, sending a spray of that lovely green water right into your face.
9. You are at Disneyland to go on the rides, right? This is a ride but you really have to work for it!
10. I think I might have mentioned that it was 100 degrees? And that I'd rather be sitting in the shade, sipping another mint julep?
Okay, okay so I sound like it wasn't a good time but actually it was a blast. Yes, it was extremely hot but those little splashes of green mystery water are actually refreshing. And yes, it's also very hard work but I do like the canoes because they are a Disney classic. It's also something very basic and physical and the kids get a big 'ol kick out of holding an oar and floating on the water.
Thumbs up for the day so far, even after sweating it out on the canoes
After touring around in our canoe, the Boy was ready to explore Pirate Island (aka: Tom Sawyer Island). We do like the improvements that have been made and the little details that were added to the caves but it's still a very tight squeeze in some of those caves, you have to follow your child or risk losing them when they emerge from a cave on the opposite side of the island and do you remember me mentioning that it was over 100 degrees?! Those dusty caves get stifling hot inside. But we did find this very cool pile of treasure under the shade of a tree and the cold-hard-cash felt so nice to sit on!
Sitting on Jack Sparrow's treasure on Pirate Island