The trope "Willy Wonka Divorced Parent was launched prematurely and must be redone.
A Disneyland Dad (term found at the Urban Dictionary and elsewhere) is one who feels that he has to take his kid somewhere spectacular and do expensive stuff to earn your affection. Usually these are divorced parents with limited visitation rights.
A more sinister implication is that since he doesn't live with the kids anymore, he doesn't have to be a disciplinarian and can be the "fun parent." Needless to say, this can annoy Mom, as it makes her look like the bad guy.
An article and comments about the phenomenon can be found here
Up for Grabs
- In Better Off Ted Ted complains that his ex-wife lets Rose run wild when staying with her, and that he has to be the responsible one because he's "an actual parent, not Willy Wonka."
Ted: Really, sweetie? Ice cream for breakfast? No, you're right, I don't let you do that. You know what I do let you do? Get vaccinated.
- Castle's ex-wife Meredith, Alexis' mother, actually makes Castle look like the responsible parent. Apparently she once dropped by Alexis' school to take her to Paris on a whim. Alexis, fortunately, is more responsible than either of her parents and basically sets the rules for herself.
- One episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody establishes that the twins' father is a crazy rock star who sets no boundaries at all.
- Manny's dad on Modern Family.
- Also, (a different) Manny's mom in El Tigre.
- Paul in Dexter acts like this toward Astor and Cody in season 1.
- Ludmila in Daddy's Daughters.