Before you get too upset on their behalf that their cruel parents have been depriving them of this de facto rite of childhood passage, I should let you know that Santa very generously left Finney and me ANNUAL passes in our Christmas stockings (Shea's free until she's three), so we will be visiting Disneyland often in 2007 to make sure Santa damn well gets his hard-earned money's worth.
I must admit that John and I have been keeping the secret of kiddy goodness that is Disneyland from the kids somewhat on purpose. Because he and I both grew up in Southern California, we've been to the park countless times -- most often accompanying visiting out-of-town relatives who were discovering it for the first time -- and we've seen first-hand how the number of guests has grown over the years to make some visits so crowded they're nearly intolerable.
On the last few pre-parental trips we made to Disneyland in our late 20s/early 30s, we realized that maybe it was time for a Disney hiatus when we found ourselves spending more time sipping cocktails at the Disneyland Hotel bar than waiting on line to experience Mr. Toad's Wild Ride -- the G-rated version of our bar experience.
"We'll go again when we have kids," we told ourselves. Then we added, cautiously, "When they're five. So they really get the most out of it."
Well, guess whose next birthday will be his fifth? The prospect of visiting Disneyland in late June, though, during the peak of summer with half of the entire planet waiting on lines with us under the sweltering Anaheim sun, made my inner Tinkerbell pass out.
Mid-week in January sounded much nicer. And it was.
Finn was hand-picked from the lunch tables in New Orleans Square to play the tambourine along with this zippy Jazz band. We walked right onto almost every ride and had to wait no longer than 10 minutes for the most crowded ones. Finn was able to meet Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Tigger, too. The weather was perfect -- not too hot and not too cold. Nobody got sunburned, threw a tantrum, or got hurt. Shea generously napped in her stroller for nearly an hour. Most importantly, Grandma Emely and dear friend Trudi came along to share the day and ease the load.