This March, for Waits’s sixth birthday (AHEM WHAT!!!?) and for the third year in a row, our little vegan family went adventuring to worship at the altar of the Mouse. And this time, it wasn’t just Waits and Damian and I. No, we are a thoroughly modern family these days, and our little family has grown, and lucky wee Waits Rebhal is just completely surrounded by grown-ups who love him. And each other.
And would you believe that this was Jeremy’s very first Disneyland adventure, ever?? I know!
So for me, it was a double whammy of Disney glee: watching Waits bask in the absolute joy that is Disneyland-through-the-eyes-of-a-six-year-old, and also, finally sharing this incredibly nostalgic piece of my history with the man I love. I grew up going to Disneyland and I have a memory for every inch of that theme park. And getting to share all that with Jeremy — Pirates Of The Caribbean and The Haunted mansion and Star Tours and all the sights and sounds and fun — well that was just extra magical.
And it was also such a treasure for us to get to share this day with Damian and Danielle. We see them pretty often, but always in the passing chaos and daily life. We hadn’t spent any real quality time with them since Christmas day, so it was really lovely, and of course always so special for Waits, that we were all able to be together.
That kiddo had one heck of an adventure-filled, excitement-filled, and love-filled day!
And I fully recognize that it’s something worth acknowledging. Worth stopping, and taking a breath, and feeling grateful. I am so thankful that we have achieved this happy, healthy, non-traditional-but-totally-functional, thoroughly modern family. So thankful.
And, as always, we should talk about the food. Being vegan at Disney is actually pretty easy (although being gluten-free vegan is considerably harder), and every year I learn a little bit more. I think next year my goal will be to bring zero food along with us, and solely rely on the park’s offerings to provide us with our meals.
But for this year, I took the easy way out and packed a back-up plan. We still ate plenty of park food mind you, because when in Rome. But I did bring the old stand-bys: hummus and crackers and carrot sticks and apples and Larabars.
Damian and Waits and Jeremy each got a Mickey pretzel, for example (all of the Mickey pretzels sold throughout the park are vegan):
And as far as I’m concerned, no trip to Disney is complete without a giant Kosher dill pickle (why are they sooooo good??):
That got us through the afternoon with plenty of energy for adventuring!
Later that day I finally got my Dole Whip, after 3 years of waiting and wanting (the lines were always so long). Totally vegan, guys! A super-sized spiral of frozen pineapple glory:
And Damian and Danielle finally tried some of the real “hot meal” vegan options: Vegetarian Gumbo in a sourdough bread bowl. “Accidentally vegan” and according to them, it was really good!
The truth is, Disneyland offers lots of hot food vegan – and even gluten-free vegan – options, like chili, and veggie/tofu skewers, and pancakes (gluten-free!) and more. I just mostly hate waiting in lines and paying out the nose for potentially-mediocre food. But next year? Next year I’m going to take the gamble. Mark my words!
But really, that’s not what this trip is about. I couldn’t care less about what we’re eating, when it really comes down to it. Because this annual adventure is so much more than a vegan food tour.
This is about our family. It’s about a commitment to our child, and to giving him the cohesive, supportive, and integrated family that he deserves. A chance to re-connect, and remind ourselves of that promise we made 4 year ago, when we told him, “We’re still a family. It just looks different now.”