Yesterday was Haruka’s second birthday, so we decided to take her to Tokyo Disneyland. I always believed that anyone under five years old is too young for Disneyland, especially a two year old. But since my cousins have taken their kids to Disneyland on several occasions, my wife insisted that we spend Haru’s second birthday there.
For the most part, the day went without incident. However, lately Haruka has been expressing fear emotions. In terms of emotional growth and milestones, I’m not sure if she’s on par or late. She certainly isn’t early, because up until a week or so ago, she seemed to not to fear anything. But now she fears dark rooms, and certain objects (even some of her toys that she use to play with all the time, like Howard, her realistically creepy baby doll.
After having woken up at around 6:30am, spending an hour getting ready, and the hour to drive out to Chiba prefecture where Tokyo Disneyland is located, we arrived at around at about 8:30am to an already huge crowd of people waiting for the front gates to open. The main reason we chose to go on a Friday instead of Saturday, was to avoid the weekend crowd. However, that didn’t really seem to matter at all since there were tons of people with children there anyways. The whole entire time, I wondered why those kids weren’t in school.
At precisely 9am, the crowd of waiting visitors poured into the front gates and immediately began to scatter. Many people were running, undoubtedly trying to get a good position in line at some of the more popular rides. Although in the past, my mission was to hit as many popular rides that I could, but the mission this time was just to enjoy Disneyland and get on the rides we could get on without having to wait in the ridiculously long lines.
Haruka was still groggy and grumpy from having been woken up so early, and I don’t think she understood the whole concept of Disneyland. To her, we were just in a place with a lot of people. But after we got on the first ride, which was It’s a Small World,which is officially her favorite ride, I think she began to understand that Disneyland is a fun place. However, after we rode on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and The Pirates of the Caribbean, she also equated many of the rides as being scary. She never cried, but she would get antsy while in line and repeatedly say “scary scary”.
After a small lunch, Haru took a long 90 minute nap. During this time, my wife and I sat around for a while, contemplating on what to do next while snacking on popcorn and ice cream.
Haruka woke up a bit grumpy again, so we gave her some of our left over ice cream to bring up her spirits.
Afterwards, we took Haru on It’s a Small World again, and also the Merrie-Go-Round. She enjoyed It’s a Small World but the Merrie-Go-Round seemed to have bored her. She also seemed to also enjoy the Buzz Lightyear ride; I wanted to take her on the Haunted Mansion, but given the negative reaction she had to Winne the Pooh, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Peter Pan, we decided to save it for the next time.
Later in evening, we went to the Chef Mickey Restaurant at the Disney Ambassador Hotel. My wife had been trying for weeks to get a reservation at this somewhat exclusive restaurant, and eventually was able to pull through after someone had canceled. The restaurant is a buffet style restaurant where the Disney characters come and visit and greet customers at their tables. I think this was the highlight of the day for Haruka. Although she seemed to be a bit reluctant to approach the characters at first, she eventually got use them. In the course of the evening, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto visited Haruka 4 times each. By the fourth visit to our table, Haru was dancing with the characters and giving them kisses.
After dinner, we took the shuttle bus back to the Magic Kingdom, and watched the closing fireworks by Cinderalla’s Castle. Haruka seemed to enjoy that show as well. We then hit the shops where my wife bought some hair accessories for Haru, and we also got her new blanket complete Disney characters on it.
Overall, despite Haruka’s continuous complaints of certain rides, it went pretty well. I still do believe that Disneyland is for children 5 years old and older, but given her age I think it was as good as it could get. I, however was really exhausted after the day was over. And as much as I like Disneyland, I don’t think we’ll be going back until Haru is old enough to understand a bit more about what it’s all about.
Haru and Donald Duck
Haru and Pluto
Haru and Mickey Mouse
Haru and the Ducks
Haru and Minnie Mouse, her favorite character
giant x-mas tree on Main Street
Fireworks at Cinderella’s castle
Here is a video of the day’s highlights: