When we were putting some thought into planning our trip a few weeks ago, Geoff and I had assumed that we would, of course, be going to Disney Land's amusement park. To our chagrin, we discovered that this particular time of year is the absolute busiest for Disney Land and we were strongly advised to be prepared for ride wait times of up to 90 minutes! We grimaced, but thought that this was simply the price we'd have to pay to make this happen for Matthew's sake.
In preparing Matthew for the wait times and trying in advance to prioritize which rides he'd really want to go on, it suddenly dawned on Geoff and me that he didn't actually seem that interested in the rides - he kept saying that he didn't want to go on this ride, or that ride, etc. He's been on enough rides in his little life to speak knowledgeably about this, so we just kept working on it. Well, long story short, it turns out that what Matthew was most interested in was seeing Mickey and Minnie Mouse! Hmmm, we thought... perhaps there's a way to make that work, without even attending the amusement park part of Disney. Well, we spent a few hours researching via the internet and discovered that to enjoy a 'character breakfast' with Mickey meant having to pay admission to Disney...that is, until we discovered that on December 11th, one hotel just outside of the Disney gates had started a pilot "Breakfast with Mickey and Friends." Well, let me tell you that we hopped on the phone right fast and booked ourselves a breakfast with Mickey (not cheap, I might add, but a lot cheaper than having to pay admission to Disney). Matthew was totally and completely fine with this plan, especially given that we'll also be going to Lego Land, which has rides inside the complex that he may (or may not!) want to go on. He even wrote a little letter to Mickey (on red paper with black pen, "to match" Mickey's colours), telling him that he loved him, etc.
Hence we drove to Anaheim yesterday evening...residence of Disney Land and, more important in our case, home of Mickey Mouse. This morning, we woke up to an alarm clock for the first time on our trip and went to the hotel where Mickey was hosting breakfast! Now, I need to add something here. Of all the Disney characters that Matthew loves, he loves only one more than Mickey Mouse...it's Minnie Mouse that is his real love (he loves her eyelashes and the bow in her hair!). Unfortunately, the restaurant hosting the breakfast with Mickey said that, although a few other characters would show up for breakfast, Minnie would definitely not, because she had her own daily breakfast event inside of Disney amusement park. This was confirmed for us by others. Thus, we prepared Matthew for the fact that he unfortunately would not be seeing Minnie Mouse this time round. He was ok, but sad about this.
What Matthew didn't know is that for the past two days leading up to today's short Disney visit, I have been praying about this issue. Now, for the non-prayers amongst my readers, you may want to skip this paragraph. But I prayed that somehow, by some miracle, Matthew would get to see Minnie Mouse. I knew that Matthew would survive brilliantly without seeing her, but he'd been pretty sad about it and it hurt my heart to see him cry about this loss. So I prayed, even knowing that when we walked into the DisneyLand Hotel this morning for breakfast, it was to see Mickey and maybe a few others, such as Pluto or Goofy or some other such characters.
Imagine our surprise, then, when we walked in to the restaurant and the very first character that we saw was not Mickey Mouse, but - wait for it - MINNIE MOUSE!! There she stood beside Mickey, dancing and laughing (silently, of course!)!! Neither Geoff nor Matthew saw the tears in my eyes as I said a silent thank you to God for surprising us with this gift. I know it's not a significant thing in the course of life, but it meant a lot to Matthew and, frankly, even more to me - knowing that God took to heart something that Matthew loved. Matthew was giddy with excitement and was hopping up and down like a little jumping bean, so over-joyed was he! He got to pose with Mickey and Minnie both (and Mickey loved getting Matthew's letter!) and you can well imagine, I'm sure, that we later ended up buying (for a whopping $29.95!) the professional pictures...some of the best money we've spent on this whole trip so far! The picture below is not quite as good as the professional picture that we purchased (his smile is huge in the pro one), but I love it nontheless!
More about Christmas Eve a bit later!!