On May 5th, my family and I went to Disneyland (less than a week after it reopened). Our visit had all the good feels of a Disney trip but with some COVID nuances that are unique to this time in history. If you’re lucky enough to have tickets or if you plan to buy them, I’ve written down some things to know.
PARKING AND GETTING IN TO THE PARK – this was the longest wait of the day. It took an hour from lining up for the parking kiosk to stepping a foot onto Main Street.
EATING & SPECIAL DIETS–All food establishments inside Disneyland are by mobile order only through the app. It’s convenient and during COVID we all got used to this way of ordering, but it has some drawbacks for those of us who follow a special diet.
I used the mobile app to order from the Galactic Grill near Space Mountain because I know I can get a lettuce-wrapped burger there and the chef will come out and talk to me about my food allergies. I was able to customize meals and it has a variety of special diet menus including gluten-free (love Disney’s dedication to special dietary needs) BUT it wouldn’t let me opt for “no bun” (the only option was a gluten-free bun).
Since it is not an option for me to just take off the bun and throw it away, I needed to speak to a person - which is not as simple as walking up to the window. It took getting through a few gatekeepers including an attendant at the food court and a manager, but I got to order my specialty item at a window with a real person who could make modifications for me. It wasn’t hard it just took a few steps.
I want to add that the manager was surprised there wasn’t a lettuce-wrap or no-bun option too, and has reported this to the powers that be. So hopefully that will be an option in the near future.
WALKING –According to my fancy running watch, we walked over 15,000 steps which is equivalent to 7 miles. Every Disneyland trip is a LOT of walking but this time the lack of trams meant additional stretches on foot. Plus, perhaps because of fewer places to just plop down and sit for a while, it felt like we were on our feet for much longer than normal. All the more reason to wear sensible shoes and to drink more water.
25% CAPACITY IS BLISS – Even at 11am, Main Street was so quiet I could have run with flailing arms from the train station to the castle without saying "excuse me" once. Inside the park, some of the main walkways areas felt crowded because the rides that have vast inside spaces (like Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, and Splash Mountain) had diverted their lines there. Also the 6-12 ft social distancing between guests made it look crowded but it’s was just the perception, Honestly, I kinda loved the social distanced lines that made waiting much more comfortable since there was no one bumping into me as we shuffled along (why do people stand so close?). . The average wait time for rides was 10 minutes and for most of them we had a car/boat to ourselves.
As I said, we paid a premium for the tickets and I can honestly say I would do it again! After a year of shutdowns, non-normalcy, and avoiding gatherings, a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth was the best benchmark of getting back to normal
DID YOU KNOW THAT IN CALIFORNIA....
Event closures have had devastating effects on the tourism and hospitality industry, local jobs, and the physical and mental health of the participants. In addition these events usually raise about $70 MILLION a YEAR for charity and the ripple effect of event shutdowns will be felt for a long time and in many ways. Sadly, some of the charities and races we love may never return.
Most races are organized by mom-and-pop shops or non-profits. The race directors who usually sweat over permits,
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: BUDDY UP!
Believe me, I get it moms … sometimes it’s nice to be alone! Like the 30 minutes before the family starts to wake up and it’s just you and your cup of coffee. Exercising alone can be nice too - the day’s stress can magically disappears with a good song and a tree lined street to run down.
But let’s face it, exercising can be hard to prioritize, especially with a long list of other things on your to-do list. Often, lacing up your running shoes gets put in the “later” pile… indefinitely. Especially if you have to go it alone.
Enter the running buddies, the sweat sisters, the fitness friends, the exercise allies, otherwise known as the people you wouldn’t dare let down by NOT showing up for your scheduled workout. Maybe it's one person who's on the same schedule and life-pace as you or perhaps you have a small group of friends who have a regular hiking date. Whatever your buddy system looks like, it's made up of exercise-leaning people who are especially good at motivating you (or badgering you till you say yes) to join them even when the sky is dark and your body is tired. These are the people who are also counting on you to get them through the next few miles and they won’t let you live it down if you flake.
If all your current friends start muttering about errands whenever you suggest a hike, it may be time to join a fitness group. Groups like We Fit Moms are great for introducing you to fitness other-minded women. You can also start asking around at your local running store or post on social media.
Getting into a routine with friends can enhance your workout by taking your mind off the harder moments, inspiring you to set bigger goals, helping you stick to a program and let's face it, it adds a layer of safety. A run is far more fun when you can swap stories, laugh at bad jokes, or enjoy a great view together. In the end, a little alone time is nice but a conversation-packed workout with friends can be therapeutic.
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it 1000 times, “I just don’t have time to exercise!” But really, do you let your kids get away with “I just don’t have time to clean my room!” or “I just couldn’t fit in taking a shower”? Just like basic hygiene and homework time, it needs to be part of your routine. Whether it’s a one hour yoga class or a 15 minute walk in your neighborhood – you need to SCHEDULE IT!
Avoid the wishy-washy and the mamby-pamby. Leaving it up to your mood in the morning, the way the rest of the day pans out, or the alignment of the stars in just plain sabotage. Put it on your wall calendar, store it in the Cloud, or write it on the dry erase board on the fridge. Whatever you do, put it on your schedule and stick to it.
Your workout can be anything. If you have a little time before the kids wake up to lift some dumb bells and stretch, there’s your appointment. If you just adore the new dance-fit app, make it a recurring date! If your only opportunity to exercise is a walk in the neighborhood with the kids and the dog in tow, take it (and maybe throw in some squats at every stop sign).
Remember to be realistic. Overscheduling will surely lead to defeat. If two days a week is all you can muster, then start there. Once the routine sets in, maybe you’ll add another day. In fact, if all you have is a 10 minute window mid-morning, then throw on your walking shoes and go 5 minutes down the street and five minutes back.
But here’s the catch, you need to mark it in pen! It is not an option, it’s a must. Think of it as a meeting with your boss that you can’t cancel (and by your boss I mean your butt). If all you do is put on your stretchy pants and sneakers the first time, so be it. Next time, you’ll make it all the way down the block. If you add an extra day then bravo for you. But treat it like icing on the cake – it enhances, but doesn’t replace, your scheduled days.
Hey life happens and avoiding rigidity is healthy, but in the early days of establishing an exercise routine having a plan and sticking to it is the key to success. I mean, really, if your kids said they only wanted to brush their teeth on Thursdays and only if the weather was good what would you say?
So make an appointment with your fitness, your “boss” will thank you!