The magic of the mouse

I had dinner with a good friend of mine last night, and she filled me in on her plans for Christmas that are so cool and so fun and so exciting, I want to tell you all about them!

She and her husband have two kids, a preschooler and a toddler. For the past several months, both kids have been periodically asking, “when are we going to Mickey’s house?” meaning Disneyland. They are both big, big fans of the mouse.

So what my friend and her family are going to do on Christmas morning this year is get up early and open their presents (which might include a Mickey-themed item or two), then have breakfast (which might be Mickey-shaped pancakes), while the parents gently and subtly cue the kids until one or the other of them asks for the thousandth time, “when are we going to Mickey’s house?”

And then Mom and Dad are going to exchange a triumphant glance over the tops of their children’s heads before gleefully asking, “how about right now? Go get packed, we’re going today!” And at 2:00 that afternoon, the whole family will board a plane headed to Anaheim and visit with Mickey for a week.


I tell you what, I think that’s such a cool plan, I’m as stoked about it as if I were one of their kids. What could be better for a young child than to have a long-delayed dream instantly manifest one day? That is parenting at its finest, and my hat is off to my friend and her husband for planning this wonderful surprise and gift for their family.

Since I (ahem) won’t be going along, I might instead catch an early showing of the movie “Saving Mr. Banks,” opening Dec. 20, which stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P. L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins. It looks like a delightful tour de force from two of the finest actors on the screen today. So, you know, that’s almost as good as a surprise trip to Disneyland on Christmas morning. Almost. ūüėČ

Take a look at the trailer. I bet you’ll want to see this movie, too.


The price of happiness

I read today in the LA Times that the price of a one-day ticket to Disneyland has increased from $87 to $92.

Holy cow, and I thought 3D movies were expensive at nearly $15 a pop.

The summer after I turned 12, my parents moved us from one town to another so that my dad could take a two-year sabbatical from his college teaching job to complete his Ph.D. While my parents were busy moving house, my grandmother took my brother, my sister and me to Disneyland. I think we went for only¬†one day, although it might have been two. Possibly my aunt and uncle were with us (this was more than 30 years ago; details fade). So let’s assume our party included three adults, two children over 10, and one child under 10. In 1978, that set my grandma back $40 (equal to about $140 in 2012) for each day’s tickets. That same party today¬†would pay $546, which in 1978 would have been nearly $2,000.


I have been back to Disneyland only once since then, and I don’t remember exactly when I went or how much I paid as an adult, but the price didn’t sear itself in my mind so it couldn’t have been that much. Maybe it was $25 or $30.¬†

Even if I had a hankering to return to the Magic Kingdom again someday, which fortunately I don’t, the price of admission¬†alone would sour me on the idea just on principle. It might be the happiest place on earth, but if it costs a grand to take the family for a couple of days, well, I can stand to be a little less happy somewhere else.