It's time for the Pritchetts and Dunphys to head to Disneyland. Luke (Nolan Gould
) is excited because he doesn't have to spike his hair to ride the adult rides. (I'm pretty sure most 12-year-olds are taller than 4 1/2 feet.) And Claire (Julie Bowen
) has arranged for her friend's nephew, Ethan, to join the group, potentially as someone Haley (Sarah Hyland
) can date so she can control her environment a bit. Haley sees right through it, and then discovers Ethan is good-looking enough for her. So does Alex...and Claire, Cameron, and Mitchell, for that matter. Jay's (Ed O'Neill
) all set to go, as he hasn't been there since he took Claire and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson
) when they were little kids without DeDe, who bailed on them because Jay accidentally taped a footbal game over an episode of Dallas
(which Dallas was playing in, ironically). But Gloria (Sofía Vergara
) insists on wearing five-inch stilettos, despite Jay's warning they would be walking all day. As for Manny (Rico Rodriguez
), he's trying to win his stock market project at school and would rather keep an eye on the Dow Jones than ride Space Mountain.
Once they get to the park, things get a little goofy. (pun intended) Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons
) has a habit of running off these days, so Cam (Eric Stonestreet
) put a child-safety harness on her. (MITCHELL: It's a leash.) Cam may have been right to do it, but Lily barking and getting it tangled up with a set of twins also on child-safety harnesses certainly didn't endear them to anybody in the park...not even a guy who wore socks with sandals. After chasing Chip and Dale once too many times, Mitchell all but begs Jay for help. Jay's solution is to put Lily in high-heeled princess shoes, despite Cam and Mitch's protests about having Lily wear high heels at such a young age. But it works great, and Lily loves the shoes. And Jay even remarks "she's got great gams for a three-year-old." Interestingly, the opposite worked for Gloria, who had been snapping at Jay all day because her feet were killing her. Jay wanted her to admit he was right, but instead simply gave up and bought her some Minnie Mouse slippers to wear around the park. They worked so well, Gloria was practically in tears thanking him. They even kissed. (Hell, Mitch and Cam kiss on the show more than Jay and Gloria.)
Phil (Ty Burrell
) and Luke try all of the dangerous rides, particularly the roller coasters. However, after two or three, Phil looks like crap. Jay thinks it's because he's getting older and his inner ear makes rides like that tougher to take, which depresses Phil to no end. He wants to be able to do fun, crazy things with Luke for as long as he can, but Luke promises to stick by him and do whatever crazy things he can handle, even if he's in a wheelchair. Fortunately for Phil, Claire noticed Phil had a temperature, which meant Phil actually had the flu.
Claire's plan for Haley wasn't working great, mostly because Haley was still pining for Dylan and Alex (Ariel Winter
) was hitting it off with Ethan. (CLAIRE: I just set up my 14-year-old with a college student.) But then, Dylan showed up in the park. Actually, he worked there as one of those "Dapper Dans" who ride on bicycles and sing. ("Oh, my God. He looks like those pictures of Grandpa from high school!") Claire was even more estatic when Haley basically pushed Alex out of the way and became interested in Ethan. However, Dylan wouldn't be swayed. Donning a Little John costume from Robin Hood
, Dylan tried to win her back, saying he didn't call her because he got fired from the dude ranch in Wyoming and was embarrassed to be working at Disneyland. Ethan showed and tried telling Dylan to leave. Then they got into a shoving match. Well, they will once Dylan figures out how to stand up again in the costume. But since this is a sitcom, naturally Haley goes back to Dylan and Ethan leaves with some friends. But at least Claire doesn't have to worry about Alex dating a college boy.
Jay made everyone go to the "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" show at Disneyland. ("It's a robotic president. What's not to love?") But there was a lot of significance for Jay. During the day he took Claire and Mitch by himself to Disneyland, he got more and more upset DeDe bailed on the three of them simply because he taped a football game over her show, and he was ready to leave her when he got home that night. But then he sat and listened to the speech by the animatronic President Lincoln.
JAY: (interview) I don't know what happened. Maybe it's what Robot Lincoln said about a man's duty or keeping the union together. Maybe I just chickened out. But I realized that staying with my kids was more important than leaving my wife. That's not the right decision for everyone, but it was the right decision for me. So I stuck it out until they were grown.
GLORIA: (calling out) Jay, you want to join me in the Jacuzzi?
JAY: (big smile) And the universe rewarded me.