Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | June 17, 2015

Mother’s Day 2015 – a day at Disneyland New Jersey

Okay, I realize that Father’s Day is only a few days from now. But I’m behind on my blogging and I promised my kids that this post would go up before it’s officially Father’s Day.

On Mother’s Day morning, Mark went running and the kids were sleeping in late. I went into the kitchen to get breakfast (no one makes me breakfast in bed). I found this.

Mother's Day breakfast for me?

Mother’s Day breakfast for me?

Even though I’m not a big waffle fan, I was touched at first that Mark left breakfast out for me while he went running. And then I saw the note. Yeah, the one that says “4 DAD 4 LA8ER.” And instantly I thought my husband was an asshole.Okay, I’m kidding about that. I thought it was funny and teased him later.To his credit, he realized how that note looked and apologized, saying that the note was intended for the kids, since he knows I don’t like waffles.

Fortunately the day improved. I went to do some gardening and Zack wanted to help. So I let him smash a pot that was falling apart. He liked that. I felt like a good mom.

The kids had been telling me about a surprise they had planned – an afternoon of Broadway shows in Zack’s room (the reason I wasn’t allowed in his room the previous week). But they’re good liars. They actually planned a day at Disneyland New Jersey. I got a “secrets” brochure which told me that “DWNJ (sic) was the fastest created Disney park EVER. It was built in only a week!” Here’s how it went.

Astro Blasters

One of my favorite rides at Disneyland is Astro Blasters, where you shoot targets to get points. I always win. You can’t tell in the photo below since I had to ride alone, but 94,700 is an awesome score. That same round in April Zack got 22,000, my sister got a measly 8,000 and Dori got 14,000 (sorry niece Caroline, I don’t have your picture saved!).

buzzlightyearDebbieThe driveway area had lots of hidden targets for me to shoot. If you’re a fan of this ride, you’ll see how accurately this was depicted.



I really shoot right handed, but I needed to take the picture with my right hand.


Hidden Mickey!

Hidden Mickey!

This moving target was my favorite. I made sure to take a lot of shots even after I hit the target. I asked to do the ride again, but they said I had to move on. I chose to go to Indiana Jones.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom


I was psyched that there was a single rider line, just like at Disneyland (a line we used several times in April). Plus there was the real music.


I went down the dark stairs and was seated in a Jeep, that looked kind of like a moving desk chair. It didn’t move so smoothly, maybe because the track was carpeting.


The snakes were super scary, as were the spiders.


I went into a darker room (where guests stay when they visit) and saw not only a hidden Mickey (okay, I couldn’t see it because it was too dark, but it was pointed out later), but a line of glow sticks on the ceiling lighting the way. I was pushed past the natives shooting arrows and even felt the wind rushing by (or perhaps it was the Jeep driver blowing air from her lips onto me – I’m not really sure). As we left that room we had to dodge the giant ball coming DIRECTLY AT US.


It’s possible that this ball came down the staircase twice so I could take a picture.


And at the end, there was Indy with the ball (right corner) looking bedraggled after the adventure. I think I recognized his hat from my High Holiday collection. Not sure. It was a coincidence.


As usual, we had to wait in line for the Tiki Room (and not a terrible, fake Broadway show). They were finishing a show for other Disney guests, so we played a guessing game on Dori’s phone, just like we do at Disneyland in California (DCA). I sucked at it just like I did at DCA.


Inside, instead of a Dole Whip, I got a glass of refreshing tiki water. I wasn’t able to keep the mug, but it was hand-made in 6th grade art class. I wasn’t sure if it was clean, so I just pretended to drink from it. Plus I’m not sure where those umbrellas came from.


Fortunately we had real Tiki music too, though my “secrets” brochure informed me that we’d be skipping the flower song. Not a great loss. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet.


It was hard to capture the show without using flash (and using flash would have ruined the effect). But trust me that it was a wonderful performance and just as long as the one at DCA. Here you can see how the shadows were created on the wall with tiki masks.


We didn’t have the bird song, but we still had our friends like Jose and the French named birds hanging from the middle. These were slightly smaller though.


Though it was more impressive in the dark, I did get a behind the scenes tour after the show. The tiki guy playing the drums here used a LEGO Mindstorms creation to make the beating sound, programmed by Zack. That was a good investment!


And of course there was a hidden Mickey in the room!

Turtle Talk with Crush


DUDE! Time for Turtle Talk with Crush.


Unfortunately my video of Turtle Talk with Crush didn’t transfer to the computer, so you don’t get to watch a live reenactment of this super duper awesome show with Crush and his little dude. But trust me, it was awesome. DUUUUUUUDE!

Time to head to Paradise Pier, where I guessed correctly. Time for ICE CREAM!

Paradise Pier


As always, this trip to Paradise Pier included a stop at the Ghirardelli Chocolate store. This year they started giving out minis instead of the full size square. While this totally sucks, I understand that it saves them a lot of money, especially since kids like mine go back in for seconds and thirds and pretend not to have been in before, taking off their hats, adding a sweatshirt, acting surprised. I’m sure the person at the door doesn’t recognize them. I should have tried this at DWNJ.

And as always, I saved my square for later, since I knew the sundae would be of giant proportions.


While I waited for my sundae, I watched the flying rockets.


Though I never get the ice cream I want when we go to Ghirardelli at California Adventure (the sundaes easily serve 2+ people so we share, and no one but me wants coffee ice cream – unless my BIL goes too, but the coffee ice cream always gets voted down), I did have a delicious sundae on Mother’s Day. It was super huge and chocolatey, with fudge and a whole full size Ghirardelli square. It doesn’t look so big in the picture, but it was easily 2,000 calories. i ate the whole thing. For the kids, this was an excuse to eat as much ice cream and fudge as they could since it was Mother’s Day and they just finished a big show for me and knew I wouldn’t say no to a huge sundae for them too.

And so ended my day at Disneyland NJ. No dragging our tired asses back to the hotel parking lot a mile away. No long drive back to my sister’s house. No stopping at the crappy restaurant nearby because the kids were hungry. And no cleaning up. The kids did that!

As always, a great Mother’s Day. I was blown away by the details my kids captured and that they actually got along for an entire week while preparing this. And I’m bummed I’m no longer allowed to shoot my son in the butt with the foam balls.


  1. Completely awesome!! Avoids all those pesky Disney crowds I hate.

  2. It’s nice to know that my grandkids are more talented than my daughter. GOOD JOB!

  3. Debbie that is AMAZING. Unbelievable all the work (and fun they put into it). That has to be one of the most creative mother’s day celebrations ever!

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