A Lavish Disneyland Lifestyle

A Lavish Disneyland Lifestyle

When I moved to Los Angeles it was a novelty being in close proximity to Disneyland. Growing up in Maryland, Disney World in Florida was 900 miles away so it was a full on vacation trip to visit.  Living in California and having Mickey Mouse’s house a “quick” drive down the 5 seemed well, pretty magical. Except then I went there on a date with my girlfriend (now my wife) and it was lame. I mean, I’m a grown ass man who just paid a bazillion dollars to wait in line for a fortnight to ride a flying plastic elephant. One and done. Oh Mickey, you are so not fine. So not fine it blows my mind. Hey Mickey. Hey Mickey.

Then, a few years later, my son was born. Anyone who knows me is aware that the arrival of Frankie 4 immediately caused me to enter an alternate universe. Black was white, left was right, and Disneyland was calling my name like Will called his mom from the upside down. Hence, when he was exactly 21 months old, I dropped a bag of money in Goofy’s hands and made off with a couple of annual passes for me and the wife. For those not in the know, you don’t need a pass or ticket for kids 2 and under. (Side note: Frankie is now cryogenically frozen at age 2 and will remain so until I tire of Disneyland).

I didn’t skimp either. I copped the big baller pass with no blackout dates. You don’t tell me when I can and can’t go to the Magic Kingdom. Since it was Thanksgiving weekend, we booked three nights in a hotel next to the park and treated ourselves to a little staycation. Over the course of that weekend I believe we went to the parks 5 times. I say “parks” because the pass is actually good for both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure (occasionally referred to as “DL and CA respectively). We explored each in an effort to see what we (the grownups) and he (the child) preferred in the way of rides, food, and lines. Turned out, we liked California Adventure better than Disneyland. I think I’ll save the comparison for another post, but suffice to say that California Adventure is underrated.

Over the course of the year we made the occasional trek to Disney. And by “occasional” I mean that I personally went 44 times. Yes, you are reading that correctly. I went to either/both DL or CA FORTY-FOUR TIMES. That’s like I made 11 visits 4 times. Or that for every 10 visits I went for one extra visit x 4. Or like I went 1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1, never mind.

Suffice to say that I went a lot. One of those times, the final visit before the passes expired, was a date night with my wife. We went just us so we could finally ride the grown up rides. Oh, and one of those trips was a man-date with my buddy and Superior Podcast co-host, Hal Sparks. It’s a very manly thing for two grown dudes to do. It is. No seriously. Shut up. And the wife and I went with other families on two occasions. The rest of the trips were either all three of us, or just Frankie and Daddy.

I know it all sounds crazy, but part of being Bad Ass is getting your money’s worth. Check out this math.

$1,049     Annual pass covering both parks.

$244        2-day pass covering both parks
($122 per day)

So, to average my annual pass out to the standard cost I had to visit 8.6 times.

However, I visited 44 times.

$1,049 divided by 44 visits = $23.84 per visit.

But wait, there’s more!

Parking at the parks is $20 per visit, but it was included with my pass. That’s an additional $880 I did not pay.

Take my $23.84 per visit, and subtract the $20 parking fee I did not pay and you get:

$3.84 per visit!

I won’t even try to calculate how much I saved with the 20% discount on food and merch, but it’s significant. Truth be told, I’m not even sure the math I outlined above is accurate because I’m terrible at math. The point is, I spent a shit ton of time at the Disney parks and my average cost was insanely low because I am a genius.

How, you might ask, does one end up going to DL/CA so many times? Easily. Every time I took my son I forgot about the outside world. Ol’ Walt knew what he was doing when he created this immersive experience that envelops you in magic with a seamless setting, smile-inducing rides, and more junk food than you can shake a gut roll at. So on any given weekend day, when we had nothing else planned, I forced my son asked my son if he wanted to go to Disney. And he always did as he was told shouted an enthusiastic yes! Sometimes we went and stayed for hours going on ride after ride if the lines weren’t too long. A few times were barely spent more than an hour because the park was crowded. It didn’t matter. What mattered is that we were having fun. We were experiencing, on a very regular basis, something that most families dream about doing every few years, if that.

This isn’t something we’ll do forever. In fact, we haven’t even renewed our passes and they expired three months ago. I’m sure we’ll do it again but I certainly haven’t decided when. Right now we have memberships to the Natural History Museum, the Kidspace Museum, the zoo, the Aquarium, and a local play space called Adventureplex. We even bought an annual pass to Legoland recently. It’s not like we don’t have plenty of things to do.

It’s just that none of these places compares to the emotional attachment I have to taking Frankie to Disneyland.  I know that he’ll look at the pictures when he’s an adult and think, “That’s nice, my parents did fun things with me when I was little.” However he won’t remember actually going there, but that’s not the point. Because I will.

Halloween And The Kiss Of Death

Halloween And The Kiss Of Death

Frankie Four just hit 20 months old so this was his first real Halloween. I tried to ease him into it by taking him shopping for decorations at the 99 Cent Store. He’s a smart kid so he immediately tried to cover his face lest someone see him shopping at the 99 Cent Store.


The previous year we took him to a Halloween party where he went as a lump of fat that didn’t do anything useful or say any meaningful words (insert Trump joke here).


This year, however, he went as some sort of a smudge that once looked like a skeleton but ended up as kind of a panda. His mother, the world famous makeup artist known as www.makeupartist411.com, struggled valiantly to apply makeup to a two-foot tall tornado who promptly rubbed his face on the sofa, the floor, my pants, and a peanut butter sandwich.

0familyMother Smudger.

Eventually we made our way toward the neighbors house where he would have his first ever trick or treating experience and/or learn to case a house. With mommy and grandma in tow, we crossed the street and I set him down on the sidewalk so he could approach the house on his own two feet like a man.

I said, “Hold daddy’s hand,” and my favorite human being that’s ever lived looked up at me and put his tiny hand in mine. I can’t even try to come up with a funny or sarcastic comment about that. I almost lost it right there in front of my wife, mother-in-law, neighbors, and strangers on the street. There are moments like this one that force me to stop in my tracks because I feel dizzy. It’s like I can’t handle the amount of love that flows through my body. All of his little milestones are a big deal to me but some effect me more than others. Frankie carrying a jack-o-lantern bucket in one hand and grasping my fingers with the other just overwhelmed me.

3firsthouseThe pic is blurry but so were my eyes. Shut up.

After shaking off my almost emotional breakdown, we arrived at that first door which was definitely the most fun of the night. F4’s eyes were full of wonder at the decorations and lights, but when my neighbor held out a bowl of candy he looked frozen in time. He doesn’t know what “trick or treat” means. Hell, he can’t even say it. Plus, he’s had very little candy in his short life so, while he recognizes a small piece of chocolate, an entire bowl of diabetes delights is foreign to him. He just stood there while my neighbor grabbed a handful of goodies and dropped them in his bucket.


I don’t think he completely grasped the glory of the situation he was in—free candy, by the bucket, and daddy was allowing it. Pretty sure he thought I was entrapping him rather than what I was actually doing which was using him as a front to get me free candy by the bucket. Much easier than my usual method of candy collecting by way of home invasion.

I did allow him a few pieces of candy which, as you can see below, caused me great personal joy.

5daddyand4Enjoy it kid. Tomorrow you’re back on protein shakes and broccoli.

With a few stops under his belt F4 finally started to pick up on the protocol. It took some prompting but most houses got a “Peas” in place of “Trick-or-treat” followed by the blowing of a kiss in place of a “Thank you”. At one point my wife told one of the ladies handing out candy that it was “the kiss of death” which caused a look of genuine horror. I don’t know if the woman was superstitious or dying of something but that was the last time that happened.

The grand finale of every stop was an unsolicited, top-of-his-lungs shouting of “BYEEEE!” which got a huge laugh and a return “Bye!” What no one anticipated was that for every “Bye!” they put in the pot, Frankie would raise them one exponentially louder “BYEEEE!” even if we were halfway down the block. Eventually they’d just give up because, like the Terminator, F4 would never stop. He always got the last word which he clearly learned by watching me is just because he’s friendly.

After what felt like 100 houses, but was probably more like 10, we were all exhausted. Some of us from trying to pull others to the ground.


And others from having to be carried from house to house.


Eventually those who had exerted themselves were just dead tired.


So we decided to call it a night, head home, and hand out candy to kids that didn’t require me to wear a weightlifting belt to hold them.


All in all our first big Halloween outing was a huge success. The entire family and, most importantly, Frankie Four, had a great time. We were all tuckered out but mommy and me managed to stay up long enough to eat enough candy to feed John Candy. Alas, the boy couldn’t quite hang.

10dunzoBest Halloween ever.

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