In addition to being super-romantic cuddly Valentine's Day, February 14th is also Jean's birthday. I knew it had to be epic and awesome, but Seanie's surgery distracted me from planning an event worthy of her. Alas. Luckily, the Walt Disney Family Museum stepped in and provided a perfect party with their February Animate Your Night event. As described on their website:
"Someday My Prince Will Come"
Be our Valentine at a special love-laden Animate Your Night after-hour party! Join us for an evening of adoration, animation, and inspiration. Experience the galleries in a whole new light and search for love with a special Valentine scavenger hunt. Illuminate your heart with Disney love-themed shorts on the big screen and sip our signature cocktail—the Prince Charming.
Sounds like fun, right? Originally, I meant for the event to be a surprise, but this was complicated by two problems. The first was that Jeans drives everywhere, especially big cities like San Francisco. Getting us there without her knowing the destination would be a challenge. Secondly, I let our destination slip on Facebook when Jeans innocently asked me a question about the museum, so I ruined my own surprise plans.
Yeah, I'm smooth like that.
Even though I had a cool evening figured out, I still needed to find a present for Jeans. This was problematic, because I was out of awesome present ideas. At first I thought I'd just get her something at the museum, but then she wouldn't get to open a gift-wrapped box - and that's half the fun. But I did want the present to reflect the Disney-themed evening, so I was mindlessly browsing the Disney Store's website when I came across the doll for Prince Eric, Jeannie's favorite character.
Me: Jeannie's always saying she wishes she could be at Disneyland on V-Day so she could get a picture with Eric. We should get her an Eric!
Me: The doll. Getting her Eric would be perfect?
Seanie: A doll?
But one Eric doll just wasn't going to cut it, so I began to brainstorm. If you can't give a good birthday present, make it a memorable one! And I thought of something good - I decided to make a Jeannie doll to hang out with Eric. I went to the store and tried to find a Barbie that looked reasonably like Jeannie, but even the ethnic ones didn't look anything like her. I went into the Disney Store and picked up the Eric doll, and then started looking at the various girl dolls to see if anyone could be a viable Jeannie.
Cinderella? Heck no. Not even close.
Belle? Her hair's too light and curly.
Mulan? Too pale.
Jasmine? Eyes too big.
Pocahontas? ...well, actually...
I bought the Pocahontas doll and Eric, plus a back-up Flynn Rider on the off-chance Jeannie had already bought an Eric at some point. (Turns out she had, so good planning there.) I then went to every Target and Toys 'R Us in
the tri-state area San Jose, trying to find an outfit for the Jeannie doll. See, when I was a kid I remember finding tons of outfits in the Barbie section, sold without dolls. I guess they don't do that so much anymore, because I had such a hard time finding Barbie clothes that weren't
B/ Day-Glo colors
I finally found a doll wearing leggings and a pink cowl-neck top that wasn't too objectionable, so I bought her.
Sadly, it was a Hannah Montana doll, so I now have a naked blond celebrity on the floor of my bedroom. Since Hannah Montana is past its prime, the doll was on clearance - even better.
So this is what I had to work with:
One Native American Disney Princess.
Hannah even had alternate outfits...I've never seen Jeans wear orange, but maybe the purple dress would have been more her style.
I gave Pocahontas a haircut and dressed her up, and we were ready for Jeans.
Jeans and Prince Eric
Jeans = broken. She couldn't process the present.
Jeans and her new doll.
She may not love the new present, but Jeans will never, ever forget it. So I'm going to call this a win. After that, we drove up to San Francisco, which took forever because everyone and their date was on the freeway, driving up to the city for a night of romance. But eventually, we got to the Walt Disney Family Museum, and had a blast.
The first thing we did was make a stop motion animated movie, using the camera and computer software in the museum's studio. We didn't have a lot of props to work with, so we made some silly sort of romance about a lizard and a frog. It was really fun to make. I'd never attempted any sort of animation before.
Continuing in a creative streak, we went into the next room and made origami hearts for Valentine's Day. They had a couple of other projects, and if we'd had more time we probably would have made a Dumbo with heart-shaped ears and some sort of collage, but there were other things to do.
We went on a scavenger hunt through the museum's galleries, trying to locate different love-related relics in the glass cases like Walt Disney's marriage certificate and a hat with a heart-shaped indentation. That was fun! There were other little challenges on the page, like 'hug a stranger' and 'write a romantic poem with a rhyming stanza'. My poem went like this:
My husband is my love giraffe
Because he always makes me laugh
Shakespeare I'm not. When we finished we turned in our scavenger hunt forms and they gave us each a vintage-looking postcard with Snow White art, because the current special exhibition is Snow White themed.
One of the last things we did was get our handwriting analyzed. We were at the end of a long, long line, and by the time we made it to the front the analyst had given up on doing indepth conversations. She just glanced at my handwriting sample and told me, "School is important to you," which frankly I didn't need to talk to a handwriting specialist to figure out. Oh well.
As we were waiting in line, men kept bringing trays of hors d'oeuvres, which was great because I hadn't really eaten dinner. Some of them were a little weird, though, like a strawberry with cream cheese and cinnamon sauce, or some vinegar-y artichoke thing. I was hungry so I didn't care. We also had a dessert ticket that we traded for a bundt cake - red velvet with cream cheese frosting, yum.
But I think my favorite thing that we did, because it was so silly, was take Disney-themed pictures in front of a green screen. The museum provided a small pile of Disney-themed props, so we ran with it:
Disney Villains! (Why were Maleficent's horns upside down? You can see the stick poking out of the top!)
Cap'n Hook and Tinkerbell! (Clearly, I was never meant to be blonde.)
It was a ridiculous but delightful evening.