Tommy’s Birthday Weekend

Given the busy time of year and my fatigued pregnant state, we planned on staying home for the weekend of Tommy’s 4th birthday. The following weekend was my cousin, Cindy’s wedding, taking place in the Bay Area, and I didn’t want to fly two weekends in a row. So we planned to have Tommy’s birthday party with family on Saturday afternoon the weekend after his birthday.

A few days before Tommy’s actual birthday, Bill suggested flying to LA to spend his birthday at Disneyland. I think I actually did a double-take when he said that. Bill hates crowds, and he dislikes The Mouse. Did he just suggest we spend a Saturday at Disneyland?!

My first reaction was speculative… it’s very expensive and well, it’ll be extremely crowded. And I get tired after simply doing the dishes these days. Bill’s enthusiasm won me over though, it’s not like he’s going to voluntarily suggest this often!

So on Friday morning, Tommy and I took Utah’s TRAX  to the airport and we flew to LAX. Jackie picked us up since Bill was working in Long Beach on Friday. We had a nice lunch at In-N-Out and then picked up Bill for dinner. Tommy requested we eat at I Luv Sushi, a favorite restaurant close to where we used to live and close to Long Beach Airport.

My favorite roll at I Luv Sushi, with a couple of photobombs added.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner and the wait staff dimmed the lights, put on some fast, birthday music, and brought out a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a candle for Tommy. When he shouted a loud “thank you!” I think more than half of the restaurant patrons laughed. It was a great start to his birthday celebration.

His first Mickey sighting, what a smile.

Saturday morning we took our time getting going, knowing we had a long day ahead of us. Tommy actually didn’t know we were spending the day at Disneyland, that was something we kept from him, in case plans fell through. When we got in the car to leave, he was actually quite angry at us because he wanted to stay and go swimming in the hotel pool.

Even when he saw we were going to Disneyland, he said the hotel pool was funner.

The anger vanished once we got inside California Adventure. This was Bill’s first visit to Disney’s other theme park and Tommy and I have only ever been once back in January.

We stopped at Guest Services to pick up our tickets and to get a birthday button for Tommy. The button is free and is a really fun perk at the parks. Wearers of the birthday buttons are constantly wished a happy birthday from park employees and characters. It was a pretty special treat.

We visited Cars Land first and met Lightning McQueen and Red. Bill and Tommy rode on giant tire bumper cars and we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Flo’s. Tommy had mac n cheese served in a plastic Lightning McQueen car and Bill and I shared a Blue Plate Special of roasted turkey with mashed potatoes, gravy and a hot corn salad.

We even saw Mater mosy around saying hi to park patrons.

A Mater sighting!

I was bummed that the racing ride at Cars Land was as packed as it was when we arrived. Fast Passes were sold out and the wait time was two hours. And Tommy was finally tall enough to ride. Oh well, next trip.

Red wished Tommy a happy birthday with his siren, totally made his day!

After Cars Land we wandered around Bugs Land and rode Heimlich’s Train. Bill and I both got a kick out of Heimlich’s voice giving instructions in Spanish with his Austrian accent. Bill and Tommy rode the bumper cars.

Tommy is a big fan of many of the kids’ shows on Disney Jr (it’s one of many Disney channels). Jake and the Never Land Pirates is his favorite. The live show was so wonderful. Well, it wasn’t much for Bill and me, but to see the reactions on Tommy’s face when a live Mickey puppet was talking to a live Goofy puppet was priceless. And it’s an interactive show, so the kids are encouraged to sing along, to get up and dance, and snow, confetti and “gold dabloons” fall from the ceiling at random moments. I highly recommend it for any kid who’s a fan of the shows on Disney Jr.

We made our way to Disneyland after that and boarded the train to make our way to Mickey’s Toon Town and let Tommy play for a while.

We met Goofy and then let Tommy play at his house for a while where there are plenty of fun things to climb on.

Bill and Tommy rode the roller coaster at Toon Town, the biggest and fastest one Tommy’s ever been on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen his smile so big.

After Toon Town Tommy was obviously getting tired and didn’t want to walk anymore. So we boarded the Disney Express again and Tommy promptly fell asleep in Bill’s arms. We stayed on the train, circling the park for about an hour. A parade passed thru the park while we rode. It was nice to chill for a bit and give Tommy a chance to rest.

We woke up Tommy and got off the train at Tomorrowland. We walked around a bit and then had dinner at Pizza Port. Tommy saw they had pizza topped with macaroni and cheese and was in love. Bill and I both didn’t think it was very good, but whatever. I enjoyed a chicken and pasta dish.

There are quite a few rides we would have loved to go on, but we just didn’t want to wait an hour+ for each ride with an antsy four year old. Even a lot of the kiddie rides like Dumbo and It’s a Small World had wait times at 40 to 60 minutes. For me, it kind of put a sour note on the day, wishing we could have come on a weekday. Thankfully, Tommy didn’t seem to pick up on it too.

After dinner we debated whether to stay for the fireworks show at 9:30. I’ll be honest, it was 8pm and I was done for the day. My body was exhausted and I didn’t want to have to find a spot on Main Street and then stand around for the next two hours until it was time to leave. Tommy wasn’t in the greatest mood either, so we opted to head back to our hotel without seeing fireworks.

All in all, he still had a fabulous day and we don’t regret taking him. I’m also happy that Bill got to experience the joy that an adult gets to feel when taking their child to Disneyland. It’s hard to describe, but completely different than going yourself.

Hopefully we will be able to take him again on a weekday when it’s not nearly as busy. Going on a Monday in January was pretty awesome, so I’m hoping we can do that with Bill some day.

On Sunday we had brunch at Porto’s Bakery in Norwalk and were able to meet up with Jessica, Albert and Colin there. It was a nice enough day to sit outside, so us adults enjoyed our delicious food while Colin and Tommy ran around and we tried to get them to take a few bites. Afterward we went to a local park and let the boys play. Jackie joined us a little while later and both boys had fun playing with her.

Jessica, Albert, and Colin had a birthday party to attend that afternoon, so we bid them adieu and made our way to Long Beach Airport. Jackie was with us in case we didn’t make the Long Beach flight and had to head over to LAX. Thankfully, we didn’t have to do that, and we got to spend a little more time with Jackie.

We headed home and Tommy was asleep before the airplane rotated.

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About wobetxela

Artist, mom, traveler, hiker, babywearer (for as long as they'll let me) and hobbyist photographer.
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