Dapper Delight

My dad and I did some cool things together when I was a kid.  He used to take me to interesting things like the Scottish Highland Games. We spent many early mornings at Motocross tracks. If our family wasn’t on Soccer fields, ballet class or some other outdoor adventure, we might be found watching some Saturday morning television.  I remember some unique things on the television, as well.  My mom would come downstairs to find us watching Professional Bowling, or one of my favorites, the National Barbershop Quartet competition. I think my dad sang in his youth, and he loves the sound of an old-fashioned quartet.

Never in my dreams did I imagine I would be spending so much time with a quartet.  My 5 year old son is in love with a pretty famous one.  The Dapper Dans of Disneyland can be found on Main Street, USA every day entertaining and bringing joy to those wandering or stopping to hear them sing.  They had Zak at hello, and a friend of my daughter was so impressed with his youthful, honest love for them that he made him his very own Dapper Dan outfit.  It is supremely authentic and is quite the crowd pleaser.

The sweetest thing is that it isn’t a typical child having affection for a character.  True, Zak loves Peter Pan, Pirates, Super Heroes and all things boy.  There is something about the Dans that speaks to Zakary’s heart.  Last week, after they performed one of their sets, they said their good-byes and as the dapper quartet walked away, Zak said, “Mom, those are the coolest guys…ever.” 

Zak has learned that being a little Dapper Dan, or as he is known on the internet, #dapperzak, comes with some responsibility.  People stop him for photos constantly.  The Dapper Dan’s are gentleman, and Zakary is doing his best to emulate. While most kids are whining, picking their noses, annoying their siblings or pouting while waiting in line for a ride, Zak may be posing for photos with squealing girls, sweet old ladies and serious Disney fans.

We knew yesterday would be a big deal, as it was one of the official “Dapper Days” at the park.  Hundreds of people were strolling into the park in their stepping out clothes and looking mighty dapper.  Zak was asked for photos at least 50 times, and he obliged ever.single.time.  Never have we seen such big crowds at the Dapper Dan sets and after each set, people would ask the quartet for a photo, and then they would make a second stop, to ask for one with Zak.  It was surreal.

Now you can’t work a 5 year old like a circus monkey without some fun and rewards.  We managed the precious Matterhorn, and got fast passes for Star Tours and Space Mountain, saw some princesses and parades and usual Disney magic.

When I woke this morning, I looked in his eyes and got misty. He asked me why my eyes were watering and I told him how much I loved him and how proud I was of him yesterday.  He told me how much fun he had, and that he was excited to do it again.  I asked him if he realized how much happiness he brought to so many people.  He said, “No. Why did I bring people happiness?”  I said, “People really like the Dapper Dans buddy.  It makes them really happy to see such a young fan.”  He said, “Oh, ok. Well, I’m Dapper Zak, and I’m just being myself.”  I smiled, kissed him, and thought to myself, “Exactly.” 




photo credit: Maya Novicki

Dapper Zak pictured with the Dapper Dans of Disneyland, and Nam Mai, our friend who hand made the costume. 


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