Show me the Magic

I have always loved Disneyland. I first went there on my first visit to the US, at age 7, and the magic has stayed with me. I have dreamed of taking my children there for a long time, but we haven't gone yet. My daughter is almost 7; sadly, this seems to be an age nowadays when kids are declaring themselves too cool to be seen with Minnie and Mickey, too grownup to dress up like Ariel, ready to move on to Hannah Montana and High School Musical. So I want that first visit to happen soon, very soon. What's stopping us?

First and foremost is money. A trip to Disneyland is not cheap, and there always seems to be something depleting our "Fun Fund" that sneaks in ahead -- a trip to see the grandparents overseas, a brother's wedding overseas, a new driveway, a new TV.

The second factor is my husband, who probably would not care, for his own sake, if he never visited Disneyland in his lifetime (note to husband: Sorry dear, but for purposes of this post I am casting you as Jafar/Gaston/Scar. If you don't know who these characters are, then let's go to Disneyland so you can find out). I need to get him on board before we go, not just because it's our money we're spending. I really believe that having two committed and enthusiastic parents vastly increases the chance for a memorable Disney experience for the whole family -- it can mean the difference between a long, tiring, stressful day and a long, tiring, fun day.

The thing is, my husband was not raised in the Disney culture and doesn't know the difference between Briar Rose and Brer Rabbit. So he doesn't understand why I am so excited at the prospect of paying twice the price of a ticket to Great America and the possibility of waiting in lines twice as long. I try to tell him that it's got to be seen firsthand to be believed, like Las Vegas or Yosemite; descriptions don't do it justice.

The Disney Party we went to yesterday could not have come at a better time. Hosted by Disneyland Resort and the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, it was the perfect example of how a touch of Disney Magic makes everything a little extra-special:

Dress code, regular party: Casual.

Dress code, Disney party: Casual -- Disney style. Instead of write-on sticker name tags, adults received Disney Guest of Honor pins with their names printed on them. Everyone got a pair of mouse ears to wear, including Disney people and staff. Kids were encouraged to arrive dressed in costume, and many did. This one was a no-brainer for my kids; 3Po came dressed up as Buzz Lightyear and was thrilled to bits when he met and high-fived the "real" Buzz Lightyear.

Food, regular party: "Afternoon munchies", i.e. Fruit plate, veggies, chips & dip, sandwiches if we're lucky. Chocolate-chip cookies for dessert.

Food, Disney party: "Honey, I don't think we'll be needing that take-out menu tonight", i.e. Grilled satay skewers and mini grilled cheese sandwich for appetizers. Lamb, roast beef, pasta cooked to order. Mickey-shaped pasta, veggie sticks, chicken tenders and applesauce for kids (served on Mickey-shaped plates). An extravagant dessert buffet, including mini cheesecakes, Disney logo cookies and chocolate-dipped strawberries. Boy, I wish I had the guts to nibble on the white chocolate Cinderella castle!

Crafts and entertainment, regular party: Coloring pages, cookie decorating. Face painting and/or a clown if we're lucky.

Crafts and entertainment, Disney party: Coloring pages, cookie decorating, face painting, tattoos, assemble-your-own Disney-themed Mr. PotatoHead, Disney sketch artist, a videogame corner with the latest Disney releases. Oh, and did I mention the kids got to meet Minnie, Mickey, Cinderella and Buzz?

Goody bags, regular party: stickers, candy and a bunch of small toys that kids love but adults yearn to throw away at the earliest opportunity

Goody bags, Disney party: Disney autograph books for each child, mouse ears for each guest, Disney pens for each adult. Not to mention that each child got to take a Mr. PotatoHead with all the Disney-themed accessories they could fit into Mr. PotatoHead's body.

Not that there's anything "wrong" with a regular party, of course -- we love going to them and will continue to do so -- this is just an illustration of how Disney's attention to detail can elevate a simple get-together to something way beyond the ordinary. (note to husband: sort of like how Disneyland goes way beyond other theme parks.....)

He said he had a lot of fun; after all that, how could he not leave with a smile on his face? Now that he's gotten to experience a little taste of the Disney magic, I'm hoping I can keep chipping away at the man and discover a Mouseketeer underneath.

For more recaps of the Disney Party, go to the Silicon Valley Moms Blog.

Bonggamom welcomes comments and suggestions on how to turn her husband into a true Mouseketeer; she looks forward to the day when he finally comes around and she can blog about her family's first trip to Disneyland, on this blog and over at the Silicon Valley Moms Blog.


Jody said...

I want to go as well for many of the same reasons. My daughter is turning 4, and is so into the princess stuff now, I know it would be a blast for her.

My oldest is 13, and although he would still have fun, universal Studios will be more up his alley.

Now you have me jonesing for a trip to Florida!

Anonymous said...

I was quite taken aback by the 'niceness' of everything too!! :-) We had a blast.

Anonymous said...

Your kids were soooo cute there! I was so enthralled with Buzz that I didn't even see you! And I was actually looking to introduce myself to you, so I apologize! I guess next time!

Rachel said...

I'm from the east coast. We went to Disneyland in CA, the week before schools let out in CA during a week was almost empty...It was great. My boys are 5 and 7. They rode the Train ride around the theme park 12 times (w/o waiting)and a lot of rises with a max 15 min wait. It was off season so the hotels were reasonable too. The size of Disneyland in CA is much more manageable that the FLA one for little kids and it is just as fun. It has all the core attractions.

Because your kids are young, it would be reasonable to get your kids out of school a little early or let them play hooky for a day or two. After one day, my kids had enough of Disneyland. They loved it but i think 14 hours of the park was sufficient. Walking for 14 hours as a little person, is enough...They had a blast!~

One tip, buy some snacks and water before you go into the park or a picnic lunch. They charged $1.75 for all sodas and waters and simple things like apple and oranges. I would buy them specialty treats or have at least one meal at one of their nice restaurants (not the fast food ones). The fast food restaurants are greasy and over priced.

If you guys drove down on a Sunday, went on a Monday to Disney and drove back the next day; it would not cost an arm or leg. The ride up and down the coast is not bad.

Your kids are precious and your blog is so nice. When I read your views and perceptions of parenting, I think we are very simpatico.

Take care...Alice

Anonymous said...

Hey Ana - It was great to see you on Sunday, too! So sorry to read your husband is such a BAH HUMBUG about Disneyland! Don't know what I would do if my husband was like that. Ugh! Turns out my husband had a lot more fun than I thought - he informed me that we're not waiting another year to go to Disneyland. We're going this year! Whooooooo Hoooooooo!

And yea, we'll have to get your adorable boys together with my girls someday. :-)

Loooooooooooove your posts! Hope to see you again soon!


Berto and Kwala said...

it looked like you had loads of fun! i wish i can bring my bea to disneyland someday! =)

Heart of Rachel said...

Wow, I love the photos. I'm sure it will always be a fun and memorable experience for your family.

My son loves Toy Story that's why I love the photo of 3Po with Buzz Lightyear. I love his costume.