by Lisa

The force was with them even though they hadn’t eaten breakfast

Our kids, like many, take breakfast seriously. They eat shortly after waking up and are used to a fair amount of variety: porridge, eggs many ways, waffles, pancakes, cereal, sweet rice, granola….lots of whole, fresh fruit.

Since we were staying in hotels on our trip, eating right away–even coffee right away–was not so possible. I suppose I could have kept breakfast fixings in the room, but we were moving around a lot and I didn’t want one more thing to tote and pack and, probably, waste.    At several hotels we had a breakfast package, and if you’re traveling with kids, I would highly recommend these.  Hotel breakfasts had variety, were easy to get to, and meant we could get on with our day without any effort. On these days, which was maybe a third or half of the time, we had a solid breakfast. Other days, not so much.  As opposed to the breakfast-included package, purchasing breakfast food a la carte at our hotels proved prohibitively expensive. We loved adored our hotel, but $40 for 2 coffees, 3 bagels, 2 waters and 1 fruit cup is absurd.  Breakfast quickly became the least important meal of the day. It was all about the grab & go.  We made sure to find something decent and relatively healthy for the kids, but really, we bought just enough to tide them over to lunch.  We found this place on Coronado, which was a great place to grab & go on our way to wherever we happened to be going for the day. We relied on bagels, smoothies, and one fine day, a totally delicious bacon burrito and french toast.

We learned that California Adventure has far superior coffee and breakfast options in the early AM than does Disneyland.  Our most egregious meal failure was the day we arrived at the Disneyland gate for the 7 am, hotel-guest only hour, without having eaten.  Anything. Not even coffee for the adults, which frankly might be more important than food for the kids. Especially at Disneyland. In our defense, we had assumed we’d be able to grab food at the park (since we had done this the day prior at CA). Also in our defense, we all rode Star Tours and Space Mountain before 8 am, and got FastPasses for both.  We avoided a near meltdown with pizza at 10 AM.

Some days, you gotta do what you gotta do.

The best breakfast of all–food and fun wise, was the character-themed Critter breakfast at our Disney hotel.  This of course, was a surprise to me, but not to my Disney loving family. My husband, who worked many character breakfasts (as Pluto, for instance) in his 6 years employed at the park, was full of fun stories about what was really going on around us, and was able to speak to Chip and Dale and all the rest in some secret language unknown to the rest of us mortals. Our kids don’t give a hoot about princesses, but what’s not to love about enourmous, cuddly stuffed animals come to life and wandering through a pretty swell arts and crafts/mission style restaurant?  There was kots of fresh fruit, grits, bagels, cream cheese, capers, lox, eggs to order, Mickey-shaped waffles. And the husband knew enough to have a mimosa waiting for me. Which was swell.

So the moral here is: it was good to lighten up temporarily about that most important meal.

And if you have a choice, definitely eat with the animals.

Up next: Surviving the theme park food. (Or maybe not so much.)