My friend Jordan and I were college roommates and stood up in each other’s weddings. We used to send each other texts like, “OMG, I’m sooo hungover” and “Last night was crazy, LOL.” And then I got pregnant and had a baby, and Jordan and I briefly stopped speaking the same language because I was living in the sleep-deprived, self- involved world of the new mother, and she was still a carefree newlywed. When my daughter was only a few months old, though, I got a text that said, “Three pregnancy tests can’t be wrong, right?!” And about eight months later, Jordan and I were back in sync.

Now our texts say things like, “Remember when weekends were relaxing?” and “If I have to listen to that whiny brat Caillou for one more minute, I might snap.” We both have particular ire for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and the “Hot Diggity Dog” song (aka the “Mousekedance”) –– our kids love it, but it just wears on our nerves.

As annoying as the “Mouseketools” (nope, not making that up) and the unceasing questions and the “oh, Toodles” are, it’s damn near impossible to hate Mickey Mouse.

Walt Disney was a Missouri boy, which makes me automatically like him, and Disney as a whole has been pretty great to New Orleans lately, which makes me automatically like it.

The Imagination Movers, for instance –– everyone knows the story of how Disney came calling and the Imagination Movers, instead of going off to L.A. and turning their backs on the city, lobbied for their show to be filmed here, and Disney, to its everlasting credit, agreed. I might tolerate Mickey Mouse, but I love the Imagination Movers. (When I worked with them on a photo shoot for New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles, I learned, in classic New Orleans fashion, that Rich Collins had been my editor when I was a high school intern at Gambit, and on top of that, his son’s current teacher was my beloved Ms. Sirgo, the only reason, I believe, that I made it through the rough days of kindergarten and whom I thanked in the acknowledgments of my master’s thesis.)

In addition to the Imagination Movers, of course, The Princess and the Frog was an amazing hand-drawn love story to the city, and the filmmakers painstakingly researched (inasmuch as riding in a Carnival parade and hanging out with Leah Chase can be called “painstaking”) every last detail.

I’m grateful to Disney; they’ve been amazing to New Orleans, but even so, I can think of a lot of things I’d love to do on the last Friday night of Jazz Fest that aren’t Disney-related.

But, as they say, parenthood changes everything. And so I won’t be headed to see Old Crow Medicine Show at House of Blues or the Radiators at Tip’s tonight. I’ll be headed to Disney on Ice with my daughter –– and honestly, I can’t imagine enjoying anything else as much. As much fun as I have had at those shows –– and as much fun as I know I would still have now –– dancing through my flip-flops, making friends with strangers, singing myself hoarse, drinking and laughing and watching the sun rise as I drove home, I know it wouldn’t compare to the joy I’ll feel when I see the look of wonder on my daughter’s face as her princesses take to the ice. 

Five years ago, I would’ve woken up late on Saturday morning with a headache and texted Jordan something like, “What an incredible night!” Now, I’m probably going to wake up at dawn on Saturday morning with a toddler in my bed and text Jordan something like, “What an incredible night!”

And I will mean absolutely every word.