As I mentioned when I started this series of posts, my son turned 6 last week. After the fairly big and elaborate celebration of last year, we decided to keep everything very low key this year. We even decided to limit the birthday celebrations to just the immediate family, although that really had more to do with logistics and scheduling than anything else.
As our son’s main birthday treat, we decided to make a trip down to Disneyland on the Saturday before. We have an ownership interest in the Disney’s Vacation Club timeshare and looked into the possibility of getting a reservation at the recently opened Villas at the Grand Californian, but there wasn’t any availability that night so we decided to simply make it a day trip.
We live only about an hour away from Disneyland and have passes for admission, so we do make reasonably frequent visits down there, although not nearly as often as my wife and I did when we were younger and childless. Our last visit had been only about a month before, but was primarily for the celebration of an adult friend’s birthday. Since that day had a bit more of a scheduled agenda, we decided to make this visit an “Andy’s choice” day, where he would pretty much get his pick of rides and activities. For this reason, we also chose not to try and meet up with any other friends, but instead just make it a family day.
One special activity we included that day was lunch at Goofy’s Kitchen, the character dining location at the Disneyland Hotel. Andy is still a huge fan of the Disney characters and gets a bit kick out of these meals where some of his favorites come around and visit the table. During our meal, we had visits with Goofy, Chip & Dale, Mulan, Jasmine, Baloo (from The Jungle Book) and Brer Fox. We also got to visit with Pluto for a couple photos before we went to our table.
The restaurant also has occasional kid participation activities and Andy had the chance to get up and do The Twist with the characters as well as to help Goofy with baking of a cake (which mostly involved kids playing noisemakers and pretending to help clean up).
Toward the end of our visit to the restaurant, the waiter brought Andy a cupcake with a birthday candle on it and Chip plus a few of the restaurant staff members all gathered for a short birthday celebration. It wasn’t anything overly fancy, but Andy definitely got a big kick out of it.
After lunch, we headed back into the park to visit attractions. This included a visit to see Mickey Mouse at his house in Toontown, where everyone did give Andy a bit of extra attention for his birthday. The birthday visit was during the first weekend that Disneyland had all of their Christmas activities up and running, so we took that opportunity to see the Christmas parade and fireworks show. Overall, it was a fun day and Andy seemed to really enjoy himself.
For the evening of Andy’s actual birthday, he picked pork chops and mashed potatoes for his birthday dinner, a bit of a surprise since we had never really thought that pork chops was one of his favorites. We then had the traditional ice cream cake for dessert and then let him open presents.
While he got a lot of really nice gifts, it was kind of funny that possibly the biggest hit of the bunch was the birthday card that I had picked up for him the night before. The card is the type that has a chip in it that plays sounds when the card is opened. It features the characters from the Disney/Pixar movie Cars and plays the song “Life is a Highway” from the movie, which has been Andy’s favorite song for quite a while. Even though my wife had already bought another card for him, I couldn’t resist buying this one when I spotted it while shopping for a couple other items at the local Walgreens store the night before.
The main gifts this year included a couple Thomas the Tank Engine toys from my wife and me and a shirt and Mickey Mouse wristwatch from one of his sets of grandparents. The watch was a pretty exciting gift for him as it is his first and he was pretty proud about getting a big kid’s gift like that.
Andy’s other set of grandparents were a bit late in shipping out his gift from them (a Mr. Potato Head and full set of parts), so he had a little extra gift opening event later in the week. That turned out to be a bit of a nice opportunity to prolong his birthday celebration a bit longer.
There was also a little celebration of his birthday in his class at school, but I don’t have any photos as neither my wife nor I were there for it. My wife brought along a couple packages of mini-cupcakes that were distributed around to the class and the teacher gave him a small gift as well.
While this was probably a much more low key birthday than many of his past ones (particularly the year before), it still was a fun time. Happy birthday, Andy!