Friday, June 29, 2012

101 Things #7: Take the kids to Disney World -- DONE!


Do you hear that?  That's the sweet sound of perfect contentment.  We did it!  We took the kids to Disney World Saturday morning (thank you to Courtney and her DW friends who got us in free!) and it was every bit as amazing as we'd hoped it would be.

But, like yesterday's post, let me back up here and give you the details.

Courtney used to work at Disney World, and has moved to Orlando to return to Disney.  She still has friends there, and if you don't already know this, friends can get you ParkHopper passes.  These are good friends to have.  HOWEVER, because of moving Courtney and Dom and the potential (which was realized) for truck troubles, we did not want to tell the kids we were going to take them to Disney World -- in case, for whatever of countless possible reasons, it didn't or couldn't happen.  There are a lot of things I don't mind sharing with the kids, and I am not exactly the world's biggest cynic, but I was NOT going to break their hearts on this one if it all fell apart.  And besides, the surprise would be fantastic.

But it didn't fall apart, we made it safely to Orlando, and despite being exhausted, Saturday morning we all got up and showered and headed over to Magic Kingdom.  (Thank goodness we went Saturday, too, and not Sunday, because Sunday was the start of hurricane Debby and it's been wretched weather every day since we left.)  Mick and the kids and I followed Courtney and Dom.  Although we passed more than a few signs with Mickey and the kids saw Cinderella's castle in the distance, we'd told them that we were following Aunt Courtney and Uncle Dom because we had to run some errands.  When they asked if we were going to Disney World, we just told them that Aunt Courtney used to work there and is going to work there again, and we just thought her errands must be close.  We didn't let on whatsoever, and the kids are still young enough to be so sweetly gullible!

So, we parked and we started walking to the trams, and if you've ever been to Disney World, you might be in the parking lot, but you're still not close to Magic Kingdom, and it didn't feel quite real yet.  Still, that's where we told the kids where we were and what we were doing, and although their reactions weren't quite YouTube freak-out-level, they were pretty excited.  Even so, we were in a big sea of a parking lot.  They didn't get it, and it was cool to see how that changed...

... we rode the tram to the ticket booths, and from the ticket booths, we rode "Shiny Dinah" (what WHM called the monorail -- Shiny Dinah is a much-loved character from Kindermusik book we have) over to the park entrance.

See for yourself:
image from

image from

And here, my friends, here is where the kids got it.  WE ARE AT DISNEY WORLD!!!!!

The view as the monorail arrived.

Main Street, USA right after we caught a dance.

Requisite family photo.  I promise I do not have a paunch, but I sure did pick a bad shirt!  Yikes.
 First thing we did?  Ride a carousel, of course!

 Next up?  Merida and the BRAVE exhibit!

Here is Merida telling CAM they must surely be sisters.  Her crazy feet and knees are a nervous habit.  CAM was truly beside herself.  A. Real. Princess. Said. We. Are. Sisters!!!!!!  I seriously had tears in my eyes.  It was every ounce of amazing, and if our day had ended there, that would have been fine for all of us.

I am pointing out crayons, not casting a spell.  I promise.
 OKay, so at this point,  WHM was downright grumpy.  (Look at the picture above.  That is NOT his happy face.)  He was exhausted and hadn't yet eaten, it was hot and muggy, and we'd only ridden a tram and a monorail and some carousel we could ride in the mall?  What kind of Disney World is this?!  We went straight to lunch -- and thankfully, that transformed him.  Mick and I had been afraid that WHM was going to be awful all day, but as it turned out, the kid needed a little food and air conditioning and he was back to happy.  Yep, he's my son alright!

Much happier, thank you!

We tried really hard to balance interests between CAM and WHM, so after Merida and lunch, we did the race cars. 
waiting our turn to drive the race cars

CAM rode with Aunt Courtney. 

WHM rode with me, and although he wasn't allowed to (or able to) drive, we pretended he was driving.  

Here's Mick, bringing up the rear of our little entourage:

We redheads also did the tea cups -- Mick and Courtney don't do spinny rides -- and then made our way across the park to Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear.

Yes, Mom and Dad, I guided them to a blue-ish cup especially for your sake.  :)  (I really did!)
WHM wasn't too excited to actually talk to Buzz, despite being the driving force behind waiting in line for 30 minutes to see him!

Here's CAM showing us she can ride the roller coaster!

Space Mountain, here we come! 
We also rode other rides throughout the day, waited in lots of lines, caught the 3pm parade ...

Mommy!  Cinderella!

Who's next?!  Who's next?!

The lighting is terrible, but this is Ariel -- who waved specifically to CAM and showed her how they had the same hair!  Another magical moment!
 ... and then made our way back through the park with two exhausted kids and an exhausted Mick, just in time to catch a show at the castle and the afternoon fireworks.  I love these photos of everyone watching the show.

Yes, we were kind-of far away, but we could see and hear perfectly, believe it or not.

Just like Mommy.
 At this point it was late in the afternoon, WHM hadn't been able to ride too many rides (he was too short, and we thought it was selfish for him to constantly have to wait for us), and we decided it was probably time to head home.

On our way out, though, we stopped by the Theater.  We thought we were waiting in line to see a real show -- but it turned out we were waiting in line for a meet-and-greet with Cinderella, Belle, and Sleeping Beauty!!

CAM was beside herself.  And guess what?  Cinderella told CAM that THEY could be sisters, too!  Sisters with TWO princesses?!  CAM talks about it every single day. 

I can't believe I am sisters with Cinderella!!!!!!

Hey, these princesses aren't my thing.  Can we go home now?

On the other side of the theater, we were able to wait in another line to see Mickey and Minnie.  It was fabulous!  Here's our family photo.

And finally, a few photos before we left the park.

Outside the theater.  Aunt Courtney and her favorite redheads.

The gang of us!  Dom stayed home to recover from his all-nighter. We missed you, Uncle Dom!
 If you are big Disney-goers, then all of this amazing-ness this is nothing new to you, and of course we all know the reputation Disney has for doing a top-notch job at everything and really making your experience magical, but I'll tell you what -- I expected the characters to be gracious, but never in a million years expected all the stray cast members who would walk by and just ask us how we were, how we were doing, told CAM she looked like Merida, or complimented the kids on their hair, or their buttons, or asked how their ice cream tasted, or ... well, any of the countless things they did to really engage with us at every turn.  It truly was magical, and CAM and WHM will remember this day forever.  It's one thing to go above and beyond; it's quite another to try to describe what they do at Disney World.

Thank you, Courtney, for jumping through hoops to make it happen!


p.s.  we have literally hundreds more photos.  I have a few things to do to update this post, but I will spare you all the pain of posting every single pic. 


  1. Why not? Keep the pics coming! I love a happy Disney family vacation story! Glad you guys had fun!

  2. This is so cute! I love all the brave pictures. I just found some discount tickets for Disney world so I'm trying to convince my husband to let us go!