A Travellerspoint blog

The Happiest Place on Earth

I have been thinking a lot about Disneyland lately. Perhaps this is because I have neglected to go in over two years. According to my track record of Disneyland visits, I am way overdue. With at least a dozen trips to the Happiest Place on Earth, my fondness for the Magical Kingdom of Disney extends well beyond admiration and verges on obsession.

How can a place so sterile, predictable, and, well, touristy, top my list of favorite travel destinations? Well, how could it not? Disneyland is magical and reminds us all that growing up is highly overrated.

Evidence that Disneyland really is the Happiest Place on Earth.

My first visit to Disneyland was at the young age of four. Being a single mom, my mother worked her butt off to get me there. So, when I came down with the chicken pox the day before our scheduled departure she layered in me in tights and a turtleneck and we boarded that plane regardless.

Camera shy? A bit. Or maybe the presence of Snow White in the flesh left me gobsmacked.

From then on, Disneyland became a routine summer vacation through the years. My Dad grew up in Chino, California and had family living in the Disneyland vicinity. So, presto, family reunion Disney style.

Working as a nanny has also resulted in many a Disney vacation. Two work trips in particular stand out. In 2001, while waiting in our hotel room to leave for the park, we received news that the Twin Towers in New York had been struck by planes. Disneyland has only had three unscheduled closures: the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, following an earthquake in 1994, and September 11, 2001. Needless to say it was a very harrowing day and one that will never be forgotten. On the other hand, I will never forget the trip to Disneyland while working for a family with seven children. Just the mom and I took the kids. That's two adults and seven children. We were severely outnumbered, but returned unscathed. Harrowing indeed.

So after all these visits, what keeps Disneyland so magical? Just see for yourself:

Where else can you ride a pirate ship on the same day as orbiting the moon?


Or experience the wild of an African safari?


While never straying far from the family farm.


Disneyland is full of geographical diversity. From the Swiss Matterhorn to the red rock desert of Utah, it's like taking a trip a round the world in a matter of minutes.


Plus, the castles are out of the world and come complete with scores of royal families.


Disneyland brings out the child in everyone. Even these tight lipped businessmen.


And even techies will find something to admire in the fascinating light displays of the Electrical Parade.

But at the end of the day, Disneyland reminds us all that life can't be taken too seriously. Despite our attempts to grow up and become adults, deep down we want to believe that the Princess will meet her Prince Charming and Fairy Godmothers exist. In my world they do. Just check out my Prince Charming.


Posted by Jennylynn 19:14 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Ski to Sea Weekend

Photo Friday

Although I have failed to post a proper entry this week, I do hope you will accept my sincerest apologies as I have been averaging 15 hour workdays and stuffing my face with cupcakes just to make it through the week. This past weekend Dan and I made it up to our hometown Bellingham to take in the Ski to Sea festivities and meet up with some long lost friends. It was quite the series of luncheons, play-dates, and coffee shop gatherings. In the end we were exhausted, happy, and full. See evidence below.

Our first gathering brought us together for some morning coffee and gossip with friends. Baby Logan provided the entertainment.

I was the bearer of cupcakes. I practically died and went to Red Velvet heaven.

Happily munching our goods, we almost didn't notice that one of my greatest friends in the world (that's you Steph!) just happened to stop in for coffee. While she lives in Canada now, it was quite the "small-town" moment.


Steph was with her sister Bobbie. Bobbie has a debilitating addiction to caffeine. We tried to cut her off. We were unsuccessful.


No party is complete without my bestest gal pal Natalie.


Natalie's husband Dirk was relieved when Dan and I walked in. Dirk and Dan made up the testosterone team and were quite out of their league with all us chatty girls, babies, and cupcakes.


The next day we headed to downtown Fairhaven for the Ski to Sea festival. We had lunch with a friend who wins the award for knowing me the longest (since we were four!), along with her husband Brady and daughter Macey.


Macey enjoyed her salsa cocktail.


The Ski to Sea event takes teams through a relay of skiing, biking, running, kayaking, canoe riding, and such. We watched as several teams crossed the finish line.


I had a moment of lens envy.


On our last day in Bellingham we got together with my friend Denise and her husband Darcy. These two are the most attractive people on the face of the planet. And they are having a baby. Watch out Brad and Angelina, the result of the Darcy Denise experiment will own your children.


We also met up with my friend Tamara who I met while working at a teenage drug and alcohol treatment center. Side note: we went to a Justin Timberlake concert once and I flat out fainted in the middle of the audience. Justin was singing "It's my D*ck in a box." Let's just say Tamara and I have bonded over a lot.


Sadly the long weekend came to an end. While I left out a lot of details (lunch with Debbie, Kate, and Kelly at Pad Thai, campfires at Silver Lake, grilled cheese at my Aunt Jami's house, and early Denny's breakfasts with the in-laws). I didn't forget you. I just don't have photos of said incidents, and this is Photo Friday after all :) Enjoy your weekend!

For more Photo Friday fun, visit Delicious Baby!

Posted by Jennylynn 15:15 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Muddy Trails

Photo Friday!

Dan and I have had some trouble getting our schedules to sync up, which unfortunately means our time together is very limited. It doesn't help that I work 60 plus hours a week and take a day off about once per month. If we were to have a day off together it would probably be spent outside. Dan would opt for hiking. I would opt for walking. Last Friday we had the morning off together, although we didn't have enough time to hit the mountains, we did manage to find this pathway near the University of Washington which led us to a swampy, marshland.

This should have been our first "sign"

Or maybe the kids tethered together being led off the trail should have made us think twice.

Whatever the warnings, we didn't follow them.


We had to find clever ways around the flooded trails. This was a sink or swim situation.

Perhaps this wasn't a good day for white shoes.

We got to this little viewing platform where we took in the sights.

Like pretty flowers.

And tree canopied paths.

My attention wasn't kept for long. I was stranded in a muddy marshland and had to have a little fun.

I can't wait for summer. Bring on the sunshine and dry trails.

For more Photo Friday fun, visit Delicious Baby!

Posted by Jennylynn 06:47 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The Seattle Sounders

I’m not a sports fanatic. In fact, I know very little about professional sports. My dislike of sports is not a recent revelation, and is most likely deep rooted in my loathing of competition. I’ll go out of my way to avoid a little “friendly” competition – especially if it involves athletic equipment (i.e. Frisbee, basketball, monopoly game board). I guess it all comes down to losing. I don’t like losing.

Growing up I despised physical education to the point where I would feign sickness to get out of class. When my parents forced me to participate on a soccer team in second grade I would have rather shoved needles under my fingernails. Oh, they tried everything to get me excited. Trips to the toy store: Bribery. Take away allowance: Threats. Trips to the candy store: Potential chocolate induced coma in which I would happily oblige to anything (I think that one might have worked). When I started to actually participate, I never had a clue what I was doing. As you might have expected this meant I was the kid who scored goals for the opposing team. By the time the season was over my parents’ hair had turned grey (or fallen out) and from then on they honored my wishes to remain absent from all athletic activities. Thank God.

So this past weekend when my friend Natalie invited me to a Seattle Sounders soccer game, I immediately had flashbacks to second grade. Luckily, my twenty five year old self is somewhat braver than my seven year old self, and so I agreed to go.


For those in the know the Seattle Sounders fans are a force to be reckoned with, if not just plain crazy. I wished I would have had a video camera to catch them in action (because to be honest they were more entertaining than the game itself). From their vibrant face paint, neon wigs, crazy masks, and beer breath, they were easy to spot.

We simply donned our Sounders scarves, which seemed to be the going fashion statement throughout the stadium, and that was enough to fit in. Natalie is diehard soccer fan and plays several games a week. She helped me to better understand the game by pointing out the different positions and techniques. Although truth be told, I was more interested in spotting this hottie on the field. Swoon Freddie Ljungberg. Don’t worry, my heart still belongs to Dan.


In the end, my eyes seemed to linger more in the skies than on the field. Qwest Stadium sits directly below the flight path for planes landing at SeaTac Airport. While Natalie was yelling at the players, I was yelling, “Look Natalie! A British Airways Boeing 747-400!!!” or “Wow, look at that Jet Blue Airbus 320, you can almost smell the Terra Blue chips from here!” Obviously, no matter where I am or what I am doing, my mind seems to wander to the exotic life of travel. Maybe my parents should have known better. Had they promised me a trip to Disneyland, I might very well have agreed to another season of soccer playing. Offer me a free trip anywhere and I’ll do just about anything in return.

Posted by Jennylynn 14:49 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Last Call in Lima

We had two options for getting to Lima. One was a very inexpensive luxury bus ride from Arequipa, we’re talking first class seats that fold out into a bed, meals, movies, and more all for about $50 each. The kicker: This would require that we spend 18 hours on said bus. Our second option was to splurge on a $250 flight and get to Lima in an hour. There is one thing I never sacrifice when travelling and that is time. I don’t care if an airline offered me a $500 flight voucher for bumping me to a next day flight. I would not accept it. When I am getting away to a destination that I have spent months preparing and saving for, there is no amount of money that will keep me from utilizing every moment of my vacation time. Time is precious, especially when travelling. Now returning home is a whole different story. I will gladly be bumped from a flight if it means I get a bonus vacation day, no questions asked.

So in the end we took the splurge worthy route. Time to us is everything. Granted this meant reserving an extra night at our swanky Miraflores hotel and in the end the last two nights of our Peru trip cost more than the first 11, but not matter, we made it work. I will not skirt the obvious and will simply say, Peru is very affordable. You should go there, like, now, before they realize it.


Lima is a sprawling metropolitan city of eight million people. We only had two nights, so we limited our exploration to the Miraflores area. While touring the area we felt very safe and couldn’t help but indulge in the luxuries we are accustomed to back home (i.e. Starbucks). Miraflores is also known for its bustling food scene and each block is lined with upscale eateries and chic bars. High rise hotels line the coast, and each one is more decadent than the last.


Miraflores is not actually at sea level, but sits high above the water on towering cliffs that seem to crumble into the ocean. Paved pathways appear to teeter on the cliffs and bustle with activity day and night. Getting to the beach requires navigating a series of switchback trails and roads built into the sandy cliffs.


Surfing is quite the popular pastime and we couldn’t walk but five feet down the beach without being offered lessons. Those not in the water gathered with picnic dinners to watch the sunset, and children ran wildly about the shoreline throwing rocks into the water.


We stopped on a boardwalk and watched as the sun sunk below the horizon. It was our last night in Peru, and although we were sad to be saying goodbye to a country with so many diverse experiences, we were also looking forward to returning to our lives back home.


While travel not only engages us to learn about new cultures, religions, and people, we also learn to be thankful for the things we take for granted back home. Things like clean water, abundant food, and warm showers. Our experiences in Peru helped us to realize these things. We returned home with a renewed sense of purpose and a gratitude for the basic necessities in life. This to me is the result of successful travel.

Posted by Jennylynn 10:43 Archived in Peru Comments (16)

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