My youngest daughter turned four yesterday, and we had a small party that turned out nearly perfect—meaning, in essence, she and her guests had a good time, and the adults in attendance didn't go crazy (thanks to Fazal Majid for that link). Here's what we did:
- Booked the party into the McDonald's caboose, which is a genuine, old railway caboose that is parked next to the McDonald's restaurant at Boundary Road and Lougheed Highway in Vancouver, and which has been renovated and painted up exclusively for kids' parties. (I had a party there once about 30 years ago, when my parents tell me I pronounced it cabamoose.)
- Invited only three other kids—with our two daughters, there were just five there (and the fifth one had to come late anyway).
- Had McDonald's provide all the food and the cake.
- Started at 4:30 in the afternoon on a Monday.
- Left by 6:30.
The two best things are (a) that the caboose is completely isolated—it's next to the parking lot, and with the door closed the kids can romp around and make as much noise as they want without disturbing anyone or hurting themselves seriously; and (b) we don't have to clean up. Plus it was cheap.
Most of the time there were only four kids there, but the noise level was still pretty intense. Our older daughter wants her birthday at the same place in a couple of weeks, and since she wants a few more kids to come, I'm considering issuing earplugs to the grownups.
Oh, and on a winter day, McDonald's needs to turn on the heater a bit further in advance. But otherwise it went great.
By the way, there appears to be no easy way to find McDonald's locations on their Canadian website. Whose idea was that? And why is something as cool as the McDonald's caboose not featured on a web page somewhere?
Though it is now, I guess.