Monday, April 21, 2014

Disney...The Facts No One Tells You

So, Disney World. It is an intense vacation. It's not like driving to the beach, staying in a house, and driving home. You have to know things. And pay attention to details. I am not much of a detail person. I am more of a show up, have fun, and leave kind of person. I am the baby. Everyone knows the last born is never to be trusted with making any kind of important decisions. We have spent our whole lives with other people telling us what to do. I married an oldest child for a reason. I don't do decisions for a group. It makes me sweat and heavy breathe. What if everyone hates it and gets mad at me? What if I pick the wrong meal plan? What if I choose the wrong hotel? (Which I did, and the one time I let my dad in on the process he changed where we were staying and upgraded us so that was actually a win.) What if I get the dates wrong and tell the whole family we are going on Monday, but our reservations aren't really until Tuesday? Oh wait, I did do that last thing. We spent all day on Saturday getting ready to go. Haircuts, shoe shopping, last minute run for snacks. We up early Sunday and as we are finishing up packing, I happen to glance at the carefully made itinerary packet Corby put together. And happen to glance at the date of check in. Tuesday. Wait, what? Tuesday. Check 7345 more times. Look at my calendar. Check 2690 more times. Then calmly and quietly tell Anthony that we were actually supposed to be leaving Monday. And then calmly call my father and tell him we would be there a day late. Then, the worst part of all, tell the child that mommy had the days wrong and we really weren't leaving for Disney until the next day. She put her head in her hands and said, "you've got to be kidding me." Wish I was, baby girl. Then we took her out for guilt pancakes and promised her we really were leaving the next day. I am just thankful we didn't get to our hotel to discover we actually didn't have reservations yet. I would have died. Thankfully, it was the only true snafu.

Below is a little list of "facts" that I learned during our time in Disney. There are things we loved, things we would do different, things we would skip, things we would make time for. But what I have compiled below are things no one thinks to tell you. Or maybe they do, but they just forget to tell me. 


She is posing like she is a model on Star Search.
Please notice the kiss on Van's head from that
minx Snow White.
1.   Fact: The Bibbity Bobbity Boutique (BBB) is not for the faint of heart. It's basically pricey little endeavor that transforms your sweet little girl into a contestant on Toddlers and Tiaras. Imagine if Honey Booboo and a caboodle full of Wet n Wild and LA Looks  had a baby. Also, it was emotionally overwhelming for our girl. She was so intent on being a big girl and holding it together she was a hot mess after we left. Basically a fairy Godmother (in our case a lovely young girl in a maiden's frock and hipster black glasses named Sierra) gives the little "princess" a complete makeover including an updo with optional hairpiece (which we got, of course), makeup, nails, face stickers and lots of fairy dust (glitter. everywhere.). Once Her Highness determined Sierra was not going to actually cut her hair, only fix it, she relaxed. There was minimal crying when the bun hurt a little, but the real tears came at the big reveal. She took one look at that big, teased up white bun and started bawling. Sierra handled like a champ and took another five minutes mashing it back down while the princess whimpered. I was torn between being proud that she was horrified, and sad that she didn't love it. She recovered and left all smiles. We probably won't do it the next time we go, but I think she has fond memories. And she loves that damn white and blue hair weave.  

2.   Fact: The people who Disney employs to be in charge of the character meet and greet lines must have to pass a test proving that they are stone cold emotionless in the face of sobbing children. Both times we went to see Mary Poppins we missed that fool woman by mere seconds. Then it happened again with Pluto. None of the line people even flinched when my sweet child started crying. They are no joke. Hard. Core. Don't bother pleading or making sad eyes. They don't care. Seriously. Not a bit. There only concern is making sure their character doesn't pee his furry suit or stroke out in the heat.

3.   Fact: WDW is very baby friendly. Stroller parking everywhere. Almost all the rides that we went on Baby Bear went on too. I even fed him in Mickey's Philharmagic and on Spaceship Earth. I seriously hope there were not any cameras or the security people got to see full boob. Much like the group of middle school boys who happened to stroll by when I was feeding him in the shade while everyone else rode Haunted Mansion. Babe pulled back to yell at me mid-meal and I wasn't fast enough. Let's just say those boys went home men. He was quite the trooper for the whole trip. If anyone asks about taking a baby to Disney, I tell them the truth. He was the easiest to make happy out of everyone in our party.

4.  Fact: The more reservations you have, the more stressful your trip is. We planned left for Orlando an hour and a half late, (right on time for anyone in my family). Or course we arrived at the hotel late and had to speed to our reservation at The Rainforest Cafe. Apparently they are used to harried mothers running up with a look of desperation, apologizing for being an hour late, because they sat us immediately. We had a lovely dinner amidst the gorillas and thunderstorms, and ate an amazing dessert called The Volcano which I ate until I thought I would die. The first morning we had an 8:40am reservation at the BBB for the full hooker Princess makeover, and then 10:05 reservation to have breakfast at Cinderella castle. The night before I was frantically making sure we were 100% ready.  Laying out clothes, packing the backpack with all essentials, double checking times. And because she chose to take her Elsa dress to her makeover and because she is adverse to any of the cheap netting touching her skin, I had to cut the long sleeves off her dress. Yes, you read that right. I was the mom at the front desk of the hotel at 10:30pm hacking the sleeves off of a dress that is currently selling on eBay for at least double. We had a reservation at Chef Mickey for the Mickey and friends meet and greet at 5pm for the second night. Our plan was to return to the hotel mid afternoon, rest, and head upstairs for an early dinner, and then go back to the park. That was all great except we didn't get back until about 3:30 and meltdown was imminent. I attempted to change the reservations, but there were none to be had. I was fairly certain the concierge was smirking at me when I asked him to call and check, but whatevs. So we let Her Highness sleep for an hour then we went and hoped for the best. Sometimes a little nap is worse than no nap, but thankfully seeing her large dancing furry friends and eating chicken nuggets and a huge brownie was enough to pull her through. I am not saying to not do things that take reservations, but just keep in mind the timetable can be a little, uh, stressful. Especially when dealing with a fickle four year old. 

5. Fact: Seeing my kid meet all the characters and princesses
Her smile says it all. She loves those vermin.
was awesome. If you are in a Disney movie, more than likely she knows and loves you. 
We enjoyed an overly salted breakfast in Cinderella Castle and it was totally worth being dehydrated the rest of the day to watch my girl's excitement while meeting her princess heroes. She was awestruck at first, but by the end she was charming them. We waited in line for only about fifteen minuets and we got a one-on-one meet and greet with The Mouse. HB was completely awestruck. It makes sense considering her entire life, since the age of 6 months, has been been building to the exact moment she got to hug Mickey. She almost wet her pants waiting to hug Chip and Dale. Literally. We waited in long lines to meet Rapunzel and Belle and Daisy. She carried her little pink autograph book and passed many a minute waiting in various lines talking about and gazing at the autographs. Don't stress about the lines for meeting the characters. If that's what they want to do, let them do it. It is not everyday that Jasmine hands you a bag of extra special fairy dust or you see Alice in Wonderland. 

6.  Fact: Even though they are at freaking Disney World, sometimes all the kids want to do is swim in the pool. And that's okay. Or they want to sit and color a mask in Epcot that you can buy in the dollar bin at Target. Or they just want to ride the monorail. Or they just want to rest in their stroller. And it's all okay. Having that much fun and excitement is hard work. Halfway through the first day, HB was fried. She asked to go back to the pool three times. Finally we relented and that afternoon we had a great time watching her do the water slide over and over. At first it was hard to go back to the hotel when we had only been in Magic a Kingdom for 4 hours, but doing that enabled us to go back in after dinner and last through the nighttime parade. Totally worth the break. 

7.  Fact: Waiting in line can be confusing. For our first ride we got in line to ride the carousel post BBB makeover. She immediately saw a decked out purple horse and proclaimed that it would be hers. Except another little girl got to it first. Cue the crying and wailing. And then a rude woman snagged the other one she wanted, and there was more screaming. I wrestled her into the chariot that no one wanted so the ride could start, and spent the full two minutes trying not to barf while I held her down and attempted to explain the process. Waiting in line, getting what we get, and that we could do it as more than once. While we waited in line the second time, she cried when the ride started. I finally figured out that she thought she was missing it. Point taken. Make sure to explain to your kids that the rides run over and over again. I was almost in tears at this point considering this was the first ride of a long three days of riding rides. There was not enough patience in the world to survive that. Then we went on "It's a Small World." Halfway through the ride she looked at me and said, "this is the best moment of my life." And that my friends, is why you take your chilruns to Disney. After she got the whole "waiting in line" bit down, she was good. We did catch her licking the handrails, and that was kind of gross. More for the lady who was staring at her doing it and less for me, who has seen the Badger do way worse.

8. Fact: There is a lot of crying at the happiest place on earth. I actually loved the sound of other people's kids crying. It made me feel better when mine was losing her mind. Post BBB there were 4236 mood swings. Apparently having your hair in a tight ass bun can make you unpredictable and volatile. And that was just day one. They all freak out at some point, if not many points. It's really okay. In the line for the Belle meet and greet you end up standing in a tiny "cottage." There was a boy in there with us who was screaming and crying like he was waiting to watch Mrs. Potts murder Belle. His mom had him in a corner doing that thing we all do where you get in your kid's face and whisper scream in such an intense fashion you are both sweating and heavy breathing. I wanted to hug them both. With the amount of emotional overload and high energy fun, parents must mentally prepare for the intense emotional swings. Enjoy walking through the park and listening to other people's crying children. That's the sound of a great trip.

Disney is amazing. Way better then when you went as a kid. Because you are experiencing it through your child's eyes. And in the words of my girl, "this is the best time I have ever had in my life." Don't stress and go with the flow. Kids know what they do and don't want to do. Follow their lead. Don't freak when they want a ten dollar balloon or when they want ice cream for lunch or when they just want to ride the same ride five times. What happens in Disney stays in Disney. Except the $10 balloon. That rides all the way home and then their dad accidentally pops it unpacking the car. Or the BBB hairpiece. When you unzip the suitcase that jumps out and gives you a heart attack because you think an electric blue and white rodent has stowed away in your child's bag. 

Take your kids to Disney. You won't be sorry. 

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