Here is adventure. Here is romance. Here is mystery.Tropical Rivers, silently flowing into the unknown.
The unbelievable splender of exotic flowers...the eerie sounds of the jungle...with eyes that are always watching.
This is Adventureland
The only thing our daughter wanted for her 16th birthday, was to go to Disneyland and take her best friend with her. So, we loaded up the car for a road trip. Our 16 yr old daughter, her best friend, and our 13 yr. old son. We loaded all the various electronic devices with Disney music, videos, and told stories of past trips to The Happiest Place on Earth.
As with most new phases of parenthood, we had heard of the teenage years, but no amount of preparation can adequately prepare one for the reality of it all. Once at Disneyland came the question from the kids. "Can we go explore on our own?" Wait, what? How did I not see this coming. So, after instructions, setting a rendezvous time and place, and a plan B in case we miss each other, we found ourselves delightfully alone to explore Disneyland on our own. A parent's adventure. And it was awesome. At least at first.
My wife and I were experiencing the park like we never had. We were light and nimble, no baby gear, toddlers, constant requests for Mickey soda. We eyed the parking lot of strollers at ToonTown, reminiscing about how ours was always in the one in the middle of the pack.
Then we remembered taking the kids on Autopia with them in our laps as we drove. We talked about the time we stood in line to meet Belle for StorybookTime at the Castle. This was after we had received a text from the girls letting us know that they were in line to meet Thor. How times change.
Each ride we passed brought a memory of visits past. We found ourselves really missing the kids. We were early to our agreed meeting spot. Then we saw them coming at us at full speed, with huge smiles on their faces. They had been on their own for the first time in the park creating their own adventures and memories.
That's the thing about Adventureland. There's this feeling that once Adventureland has been entered , there's no going back. We have left civilazation, and have committed to going through it. Tarzan's Treehouse, Jungle Cruise, Indiana Jones, and even the shopping at the Bazaar each have this adventure in to the mysterious. It's like parenting. It's going to be a wild and surprising ride, so hang on, because it's going to be awesome. And it's best when mixed with lots of humor. "Look, the backside of water!"
After we met up with the kids we headed straight for Adventureland and got in line for the Jungle Cruise. It's the one line I don't mind winding through all the switchback queues for. We talked about what adventures the kids had on their own, and how they planned on meeting Thor again the next day.
So, here we are back home parenting teenagers on rivers flowing into the unknown. But, it's going to be awesome. They are excited and anxious to have an adventure, but still need the security of knowing they are in a safe place. After we impart our instructions, showing the boundaries, we are going to be there, ready when they need they need us.
Next stop; Fronteirland.