To some people, family might mean mom and dad and siblings – to me, family means about fifty energetic kids who are always up for anything. I already have a large family. With six of us (my mom, dad, two sisters and a twin brother) we are definitely over the room capacity for most hotels. When it comes to summer travel though, our family extends to include tons of my closest friends. You see, I’m a dancer, and even better, my mom owns the dance studio. Every summer, our dance group, All That! Dance Company hits the road to a different location. We’ve been to Seattle, Seaside, Coeur d’Alene, and even New York City.
This past June, my dance company was selected as guest performers at Disneyland Theme Park in Anaheim, California. Although I have been to Disneyland many times before, I knew that this trip would be different. Our group was chosen as part of the Disney Performing Arts Program. This program gives youth performers a chance to entertain at Disneyland and work with a Disney choreographer as well. It would definitely be more than just a family vacation.
All of the dancers were on their own to get down to California. Our choice, quality family time in a minivan. The drive down to southern California has never bothered me. I find it quite enjoyable and relaxing to see the Californian scenery. From my home in Eugene, Oregon to Southern California is about thirteen hours by car, not including the gas fill ups, stops to fuel myself up on Sour Patch kids, and of course the necessary stop at In-N-Out Burger.
We were so happy once we got to our hotel, the Quality Inn, in Anaheim. The first night, we were the only ones there, but by the second day, our company had crowded the place. There were dancers in the pool, hallways, and breakfast area. We even took over the parking lot when we blocked off the area by the dumpster (definitely high class) and rehearsed our performance back there.
Everybody knows that Disneyland is the “Happiest Place on Earth” but I've got to admit, this trip was particularly awesome. You know that awkward feeling when you have to sit by somebody on a ride that you don’t know? You can avoid that completely by bringing along fifty other people – guaranteed ride buddy! And I’ll let you in on another little secret, if you want to walk straight on to Splash Mountain, no long lines, no boring wait…. the time to go is 11:40 p.m. That’s right, twenty minutes before the park closes at midnight, you are good to go. No one is ever in line, and if you are extra nice to the ride operators, like my friends and I were, they may even let you go down the mountain five times in a row without ever stepping foot off the log!
The reason we were there of course was to perform, and when we walked out on to the Carnation Theatre Stage, the audience was packed and excited to see the show. Our rehearsals paid off, the dances were great and we had the time of our lives. Going backstage at Disney was a little surreal, no one wants to see a headless Mickey, but for the most part, we kept the magic alive and enjoyed every moment of our time there. Our group is lucky to have been a lot of places and taken advantage of a lot of great experiences. The magic, fun, and excitement of Disneyland though definitely top the list.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.