In a treat to myself more than anything, back in April I planned a Disneyland trip. It was really just a mental plan because we didn't have the time off to go. Until now.
As a general rule, we decided three is appropriate age to bring your child to Disneyland for the first time. Sure, they're free before their third birthday. But really, there's not much for them to enjoy. And they definitely aren't going to remember or appreciate it. Plus, they tend to be freaked out by all the Disney characters, which must look a bit like giant bobble-heads to preschoolers. In any case, we dutifully waited until Casey's third birthday to go. That was January of 2006.
And now that Casey's older, we thought he'd appreciate it even more. Sure, we could have left Marcie behind to hold steadfast to our three-year-old rule. But how do you explain that to your almost-two-year-old? We didn't even try. We just decided to go as a family. And we dragged along some family friends, too.
Lucas, who you will see featured in some photos below, is 6 months older than Marcie-- two and a half years younger than Casey. But the boys get along famously. So off we went to Disneyland on a one-day park hopper.
We promised Casey he could meet Princess Ariel (known in our home as the Little Mermaid) and hug her. So we made reservations at the over-priced Ariel's Grotto in California Adventure. And even though the cost of a three course meal might make you choke, it was like a ride unto itself. Not only did Casey get to hug Ariel and take pictures with her, but we were greeted by and received autographs from Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Belle (from Beauty and the Beast), and Cinderella. The boys were giddy with joy. Plus, because princesses are people and not costumed with giant heads, they weren't intimidating in the least.
Even though we only rode maybe 6 rides (and not because there were long lines-- there weren't lines for anything but the new Nemo ride, which we skipped because we didn't want to waste 2 hours standing in it), it was worth the money. The thing about Disneyland, particularly through a small child's eyes, is that it really is one of the most Magical Places on Earth.
(Click the collage to see larger version)