Fun fact: I definitely thought that Janet Jackson song was “Ice Capade” and not “Escapade” for the longest time. I swear, I hear anything from the Rhythm Nation album and am immediately rocketed back in time to dancing as a four year old in the front seat of my mom’s car while we ate Dum-Dums or Sweet Tarts (she usually had one or the other in her sweet looking brown Cavalier) and danced to the music on the radio. Ah, the good old days of toddler vehicular safety.
Anyway! Last weekend I took Layla to Disney on Ice. I was so. excited. I fully admit going into this with high expectations, since a) I went to Disney on Ice multiple times as a kid, and b) I used to figure skate, and Disney on Ice was more than likely a major factor in getting me into the sport. I remember going the year that the Little Mermaid came out, and there was a point in the show where Ursula came out on the ice and blew up like a HUGE balloon, like in the movie when she’s going all batty with King Triton’s trident and doing her evil sea witch cackle thing. I, along with every other child in the arena, was absolutely petrified. I was only four or five years old, but I very clearly remember hearing all these kids start screaming and crying hysterically. Ah. Good times. So naturally I wanted my two year old to partake in such an awesome tradition for a special girls’ day out. [You guys, I’m kidding. I knew that these days they would never in their right minds do anything that intense at a kids’ show!]
Girls’ Day! (The boys went to Home Depot)
I bought the tickets in the cheap seats, hoping that we’d be far enough down to see everything, and that Layla wouldn’t lose interest in about 5 seconds. We drove to the Valley View Casino Arena, and already I was nervous. First off, you get off the freeway and are greeted by like 4 strip clubs right off the bat. Awesome! Then we pulled around to follow the signs for arena parking. $15, cash only, and I realized we had used the last of my cash the night before. “SHHHH-ugar!” Okay, so I pull out of line and go on a search for an ATM. Then what do I pass at the back of the arena parking lot? A swap meet/flea market…with FREE parking! I saw a bunch of people with little kids in princess dresses and pirate costumes, so I’m figuring they’re not taking them to swap for a cuckoo clock. I pulled in, and started the trek with Layla across to the arena. Now, when I tell you “Valley View Casino Arena” you’re probably picturing something old, tacky, maybe smoky, and now I’ve told you that there’s a SWAP MEET in the back of the parking lot. Yeah. What you’re picturing is probably spot-on. Cleveland folks: picture if the Coliseum were still in business. About the same.
I’m already thinking, “Ah, man. This might be a bust. Layla’s probably not going to let me carry her all the way through the parking lot, and then she’s not going to want to hold my hand if I put her down…” Well nuts to that, because not only was girlfriend happy to be carried, but she also was in a total smooching mood, and kept giggling and holding my cheeks in her hands. AAAdorable. Like, strangers-walking-by-and-smiling-at-us adorable. Then we got up front and got in line for will call ($7.50 convenience fee for print-at-home tickets?! Uhhh. no.). Layla was so good, and chatted with another little girl in line. For the record, “chatting” means waving saying in a super high voice, “Hi! Hi!” while standing about three inches from that person’s face. Sometimes she overwhelms other children with her outgoing personality!
We got the tickets, got searched, then went inside. She was very excited to hold her own ticket, gave it to the woman scanning tickets at the door, and politely said, “Thank you!” when she gave it back. WHO IS THIS CHILD?! Since she was winning me over, and maybe this was her motive, I stopped inside to get a huge bag of cotton candy. She chose the one with a princess crown on top, and put it on immediately. Then we walked to our seats, and only had to wait about 2 minutes before the show started. Our seats turned out to be perfect, since they were the front row of the upper section, so we had extra room in front of us, and Layla could stand up without blocking anyone’s view. The lights went down and we heard, “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, say hello to MICKEY and MINNIE!!”
Look at this face!
OMG, you guys. I died. She jumped out of her seat, and started waving and shouting, “Hi Mickey! Hi Minnie!” She was SO. EXCITED. Goofy and Donald then came out and she shrieked (I’m serious…shrieked), “MAMA!! IT’S GOOFY AND DONALD!!” This was the face I saw as they skated around, and suddenly I realized I would have paid $50 per ticket, instead of the $17, just to see that little face light up again. I fully admit to tearing up, watching her. It was so worth every penny. Ariel came out for the Little Mermaid segment and she was still pretty excited. One of her favorite Disney DVDs is a Mickey’s Sing Along with Ariel, so she was into it. At one point she said, “Mama can I want to [Layla speak for, “can I”] go dance?” and I said, “Sure you can dance!” Then she pointed. Oops. “No, Mama, can I want to go dance with the Layla Mermaid [yep, that’s what she calls her]?” So I had to break the news that no, we couldn’t go down on the ice with all the characters. She wasn’t really happy about that, but got over it once Ariel started doing acrobatics from the ceiling. Pretty impressive!
After that her attention started to wander a bit. This was a princess-themed show, and she’s not really into the princesses as much yet. She likes to play with princess stuff, but would much rather watch Jake and the Never Land Pirates or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse if she can watch TV. We made it to intermission and I asked if she wanted to go. She said no, so I took her to the bathroom with me. Again, she waited patiently and chatted with other little kids in line. Then when we got to the front of the line she said, “Mama I have to go potty.” I assumed it was just because we were in there, but I’ve been trying to be supportive and let her go whenever she asks (even when I know for a fact she doesn’t have to go), so I plopped her down on the seat…AND SHE WENT! So there I was, shrieking what a great job she did in the middle of a public bathroom as she giggled at my theatrics. This was turning out to be the BEST. DAY.
After intermission was over I think the cotton candy started to kick in, because suddenly she couldn’t sit still and was starting to get a little wild. I was trying to keep her from bouncing off the walls, and the Brave segment of the show is really where we lost her. As it was ending she said she wanted to go see Daddy, and I asked if she wanted to leave. She said yes, so off we went. 3/4 of a 2 hour show is pretty impressive to me, so I grabbed our stuff and we were off before the last segment (Beauty and the Beast! Go figure. I was really excited for “Be Our Guest”). We trekked through the parking lot and swap meet again, and headed home. We topped it off with a special trip to McDonald’s, which I’m pretty sure just kicked everything over into “toddler nirvana” territory, and then we came home and she passed out after being in tears because she ripped her tights in the car.
All in all, I’d say the day was a major success, and it was great to do something just the two of us so the kids each got some one-on-one time. I can’t wait to figure out our next adventure!