Secret Sauce to Happy: Enjoy the Ride (and the wait)

You guys, I know I’ve told you about my mother in law before.  But leave it to her to find the upside of spending 90 minutes waiting in line at Disneyland.  Her brunch secrets are here, her advice is here, but below is the first time on Polite As Fudge where you’ll find the woman, the myth, the legend in her own words.  

She waited in line with Scarlet for Radiator Springs Racers and came out saying how proud she was of Scarlet.  She even had a compliment for me – that I was the mommy and because I said: “yes, the boys and I will wait, you guys go wait in line for 90 mins to get on the ride” that I was, in fact, responsible for Scarlet learning patience.  

This woman is unparalleled in her positivity.  I admire her, and the older I get the more I realize that happiness is a choice, every day.  Nana, as the kids call her, is a model for that.  “There are no bad days, only bad moments” is one of her life mottos.  Read on for more, straight from the honorary mayor of Beverly Hills.  That’s a joke.  Kind of.  

By Pam Smith

What do you do on a gloomy day during Spring Break with three children seven and under? Silly question because everyone knows the answer.  Of course, you head to Disneyland!  Mandy, Scarlet, Sterling, Shepherd and I started and ended our twelve-hour adventure with smiles.  We think that alone was a monumental accomplishment.  But truth be told, a little Disney wonder rubbed off on all of us during our visit.  I do think the secret to our success that day was our willingness to listen to the children and to go our separate ways when needed.  To our amazement, important lessons were learned this day which we hope will last a lifetime.

After a typical morning at the Disneyland Park we headed to California Adventure late in the afternoon.  As you surely know, you are not allowed to book Fast Passes unless you are in the park where the ride is located.  Radiator Springs Racers is such a popular ride by the time we entered California Adventure all the Fast Passes had been issued for the day.  Scarlet’s heart was broken (okay a little shaky) at the thought of missing her favorite ride.  Her younger siblings did not seem to mind this tragic situation if Bugs Town was still on their agenda.  We decided to head to Racers to check the wait time.  The sign posted 90 minutes which is a daunting number at any age.  Scarlet said she was willing to wait in line hoping the sign was mistaken.  Mandy wisely decided to let Scarlet and Nana get in line while she took the boys off on another adventure.

At first, we moved very quickly to the end of the line which gave Scarlet tremendous hope the wait sign had been wrong.  She happily joined her fellow racing fans and began the long journey forward.  I checked my watch because we were certain the line would be 30 or 40 minutes tops. We had no idea the Stand-by Line would move ahead by 4 to 8 people at a time with a good 5 minutes between each group.  And of course, hundreds were in front of us!  As the time wore on, my intrepid granddaughter started to wilt, but she continued slowly on the journey to her heart’s desire.  Hoping for a blue racer, she put one slow foot in front of the other.  My iPhone amused her for only 5 minutes.  She was dedicated to keeping her eye on the prize.  She almost abandoned the wait after 60 minutes, but realizing she was ¾ the way to her goal she pushed on.  Watching all the Fast Pass holders quickly pass us by, Scarlet realized what others must have felt when she skipped past the Stand-by Line for the Haunted Mansion earlier in the day.

After 90 minutes on the dot, a Disney employee waved Scarlet up the final ramp.  Scarlet literally sprinted the last lap to her blue racer.  Now things moved quickly, and we were pointed to Lane #5.  As we watched the racers pulling up, the blue racer rolled passed and we ended up with a red one.  Scarlet beamed at me shouting, “Look Nana, we got Lighting McQueen!” As Scarlet jumped into the red racer, her smile could not get any bigger.  The joy on her face would move any Nana to happy tears.  Disney has done it again!  The wait was over, and the wonder surrounded Scarlet.  With much laughter and arms in the air, Scarlet enjoyed every moment in her red racer.  On this day, Scarlet learned patience and that some things are worth waiting for if the prize is really what you want.  At the end of the day, when asked if she would do it all over again the answer with a sweet smile was a resounding YES!  And yes, Nana will be there right by her side.