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“Surprise! We Won Tickets to Disney Junior Dance Party On Tour!”

As a full-time working mom, I’m constantly doing all that I can to make the most of the time I spend with my family on the weekends. This endeavor has recently caused me to step outside the comfort zone we have previously resided in by searching kid friendly activities in the tri-state area as well. I have found that the 1-2 hour drive gives my husband and I plenty of time to catch up on our own conversation, allows me some time to spend with my kindle (whenever he’s willing to take on the driving requirements) and often allows our kids their much needed nap time before or after said activities to re-charge their batteries as they often refuse to do on the weekend.

I also find that by traveling to different activities within a reasonable travel distance as opposed to staying quite close to home, the kids get used to car travel all the while getting to see new and exciting places and experiences alike.

And so, that is how I discovered and their recent contest for Disney Junior Dance Party tickets. Alas, I seemed to have stumbled upon some much needed luck because I later found out I was the winner and recipient of these tickets! The excitement was immeasurable- and that was only Mom’s excitement- as I decided immediately these would be a much needed reward and surprise for my older daughter, McKenna (4) who had recently started pre-school despite some summer potty training troubles we had experienced right before school was set to begin.

Originally I looked forward to sharing the experience with my better half, but due to the extremely high cost of adding out-of-state football games onto our streaming package, I had no issues with informing him I had elected him to stay home and watch the Packers (sadly lose) and that my Mother-in-Law would be taking our fourth ticket, and opting in to assist herd the excited little ones on the big day!

The ride to Wallingford from where we live in Highland Falls, NY is not a difficult one, and in fact, aside from questioning my decision to “surprise” the kids (“MOMMY ARE WE AT THE SURPRISE YET?” “ARE WE THERE YET??? “WHAT’S OUR SURPRISE, MOMMY??) it was quite nice. Upon winning the tickets, I was more than aware of the venue. While it is a little more than a hop, skip, and jump from home- I surprisingly had seen a few shows at the Toyota Oakdale Theatre before.  All embarrassment aside, my teenage and early-twenty year old self had been quite the fan-girl of a boy”band” that shall remain nameless, and my travels from that era in my life had led me far beyond the confines of NY and CT- the Oakdale Theatre being one venue in that roster.

I have to say, in all honesty, the Oakdale has always been a favorite venue of mine (and I must admit- these crazy years in my life brought me as far west as Albuquerque and as far south as Orlando). So as my family and I entered the venue, I was reminded just why this is so.

You see, the thing about this venue is that when you enter it, you don’t feel like you’re visiting a Live Nation amphitheater concert venue, but rather a good friend’s living room. The décor is warm and inviting and even the different vendors for food and drink around the foyer look like small bars or a set up you would see at a nice wedding reception. The staff’s sweet comments about my daughter’s costumes (McKenna had dressed in her Doc McStuffins costume, while Maddie stayed loyal to her absolute favorite- Minnie Mouse) amped them up big time- and once we had checked in to VIP – the excitement only escalated to an all-time high.

Other strong points to note about the Oakdale are that it is extremely kid friendly. I’m certain this is very “event specific” as far as the degree of kid friendly that the particular event is targeted at demographic wise, but strollers were allowed (a god-send to anyone with a fast moving two year old).  We found our seats quite easily and the show began only a few minutes behind- which was also a godsend in the sense that we had hit just enough traffic and had one-too-many potty breaks and would have missed the opening number if it had been started right at 4 on the dot.

The show itself was superb. The songs were the memorable favorites, with a few new upbeat and exciting songs to accompany it. My girls were lit up brighter than Christmas trees as they watched their favorite celebrities and characters dance and sing on stage. I was impressed at the degree the show went to excite the little ones. There was plenty of audience engagement encouraged by the actors, and when I expected some characters to appear on a big screen behind the state- I found them coming out in full costume (a gigantic Rolly and Bingo!) rather than merely being a fun cartoon!

If I had to make but one single improvement, it would have been to have some sort of warning that intermission was ending in five minutes, but only because between bathroom breaks and long-merchandise lines (we just HAD to have a Vampirina microphone), we almost missed Vampirina’s opening tune- and she is a family favorite in our home! Even the merchandise was reasonable, which any parent can appreciate when bringing their child to an event like this. I find we often spent $25-50 when attending other Disney events (Disney on Ice, or visiting the parks in person) but this show had a firm line at the $10-25 mark- which again, a parents dreammmm!!! I don’t know about you, but this is a big deal for me as a Mom. Tickets can be costly, and we got lucky there, but to get out of the woods with both girls happy at $40 ($20 for the microphone, and another $20 for a plush Miss. Piggy my 2 year old Maddie hasn’t put down since!)

The show was about 75 minutes in length, just long enough, as any longer they would have been “done”, if you catch my drift. Afterwards, the VIP party that has been an ongoing affair with this touring show took part in the lounge. It was easy to tell where we needed to be, and when, another very important piece when you’re on the move with small children. We suited up and got ready to meet some of the characters from the show- what I did not expect though, was a full on after party extravaganza!

The post-show party, which anyone could buy a ticket into (albeit a hefty price tag- from one mom to another, I have to say, up front) was totally worth it. There are few things money can buy, in this case, a parent can purchase an experience for your child like no other. For a family like ours (who will not be able to afford a Disney parks trip until my girls are probably 5 and 7 respectively) it was an opportunity to see my girl’s faces light up in front of THE Mickey and Minnie. But despite that, as that was advertised- there was so much more!

The VIP room was set up with a dance floor, a DJ- who was a spirited dancer from the show (who was AMAZING with kids!), a all-you-can-grab-and-eat buffet from a child’s dream, consisting of lemonade and water, goldfish, cheez-its, pretzels, apples, and pizza, and balloons  all over. There was also an adorable set up of Disney VTech trains and toys featuring Mickey and Friends for the kids to play with if they opted out of the “after-dance party”.

As you can see from my photos, the smiles and fun were in the many- and that was before we even met the exciting Mickey & Minnie, Vampirina and Fancy Nancy! I never will stop crying at the sight of my youngest next to Minnie in their red and pink polka dots!!

The trip and experience was so worthwhile. I have to give major, huge, gigantic thanks to Kidtivity, the Toyota Oakdale Theatre, and the entire Disney Junior Dance Party cast for an experience we will remember always! I could not truly express our gratitude with this post, but hopefully the smiles resonating on my daughter’s faces can.  ~ Priscilla Young

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