"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Sunday, February 20, 2011

the disney post

So I'm not going to review rides, shows, or attractions. I'm not going to rate the restaurants we ate at or give you insider secrets on how You Too can master the FastPass system. There are plenty of Disney Bloggers out there with waaaaaaaay more Disney experience that can give you that information. But why let them? Go for yourself. No one else's words or pictures will do justice to the experience that your family can enjoy at Walt Disney World. You've heard it said, but it's true: Disney World is Magical. Seriously. Start planning your trip. It's that good.

And that's coming from someone who got FOOD POISONING at the Magic Kingdom. Just saying.

So this is not a blog post for Disney Trip Planners. This is my Disney Post. My memorykeeper of all of the things that I never want to forget about our trip. Which is why all discussion of the food poisoning ends here. THAT was awful. And I'm not going to even MENTION the fact that somehow my Big Boy managed to throw a tantrum or two a day. AT DISNEY WORLD! Luckily, most were thrown in the privacy of our own room to start or end our day...except for one epic tantrum that he saved for the very end of our trip, right as we were leaving Animal Kingdom, and right in front of my brother's lovely girlfriend and her adorable and charming 2-year old daughter whom I'm sure has never witnessed such out-of-control behavior...sorry, Meredith. I guess that's what we get when we throw schedules to the wind, over-stimulate, sleep-deprive, and over-sugar our little guy. 

I'm not going to post all 386 pictures I took (not exaggerating). And I'm not even going to mention favorites. This is my Little Things Disney Post. Well, okay....some big things. Like this. I never want to forget this:

Standing at the foot of the castle and listening to Evan say, almost to himself, "It's just like at the beginning of Toy Story..."

I'm also never going to forget the food. I can literally say that we went to Disney World for the food. Food has been an obstacle for us for three years as we have learned to navigate the world of food allergies. As soon as I found out about how accommodating Disney is for special diets, I knew we had to go. And look how accommodating they were: 

And I probably don't have to remind myself that Max was in his glory with all of the all-you-can-eat-ness of Disney. But I can't resist. This is Max eating his weight in Lo Mein.

 I never want to forget how sweet my boys were when it came to Souvenir Shopping. On our first day there, we browsed through the World of Disney at Downtown Disney. The boys both wandered around, looking, but not latching on to anything in particular. And then Evan spotted the Cars display. He went right over and picked up a matchbox car-sized Cars tow truck (No. Not Mater. I know Mater. This is one of the Piston Cup tow trucks...I'm not even sure it was actually in the movie.). He held it up to me and said, "I just love this Dinoco Tow Truck, mom! It's just what I always wanted!" In a store full of extravagance, Evan had picked out an inexpensive, no-frills, no-gadgets, little thing. But love it he did. He carried that tow truck with him, literally, Everywhere during our entire vacation. While we watched a parade or a show, he would hold the tow truck up so "he" could see, too. He even slept with it. Best $5 ever spent at Disney.

And then Max. Max wandered into a gift shop and was having the time of his life looking, grabbing, picking up and dropping everything in sight. Until he saw them: 5-inch tall, hard, plastic Mickey and Minnie dolls that have movable limbs. He carefully selected the two he wanted from the bin, held them up to me and babbled some very serious baby talk and put them in his stroller. They were his. And, just like his big brother, Max carried them with him for the rest of the vacation. We will keep these forever.

Magic, and movies, come to life. Evan stood, mesmerized, and watched as the piano player began to play the familiar song from the Toy Story movies, "You've Got a Friend in Me." It was as if he was thinking, How do you know that song, too? He really couldn't move until the song was through.

 The rides. Yes, it did take the bribe of a Pez to get Evan on his first ride of the trip (not proud of it, but it worked). Although, it was the Winnie the Pooh ride, and I happen to be, I think, the only person in the world who finds Pooh creepy and weird rather than whimsical and wise--and the ride confirmed my opinion, by the way...what the hell was with those heffalumps? And I thought they were from Dumbo...? ANYWAY. So we promised him a Pez if he would just, please, ride the ride...and be HAPPY about it. And he did it. And LOVED it. And then there was no stopping him. Well, not really. He wanted nothing to do with the flying elephants, the teacups, or the racecars. But the rides he did ride, he rode with sheer joy and excitement. On the People Mover, there was a sticker with two pictures: one, an Orderly pair of riders, and the other, a pair of Disorderly riders with an ominous slash through it. Evan interpreted the sticker as a pair of buttons, and saw a golden opportunity to practice Disorderly.

Monkey see, Monkey do Max did, too.

And really, who doesn't have "Climb a Corythesaurus with My Brother" on their childhood bucket list?

There is something really amazing about retracing the steps you remember taking in your own childhood with your children. I distinctly remember riding on this ride numerous times on both of my family's trips to Disney World, and loved watching my boys see the same sights, listen to the same music, and make their own memories. Even if this, too, is one of the weirder, creepier rides of Disney World.

By the time we got to Animal Kingdom, Evan had started to come out of his shell a little bit. Evan had spent two whole days in the Magic Kingdom looking at the characters from a safe distance and through hand "binoculars" (while Max, meanwhile, tried to bulldoze down the line-formation ropes to greet his Disney faves....except at the character dinner we went to. Apparently, characters and dining don't mix for Max. One innocent pat on the head from Tigger and Max went into full-on hysterics). But something changed at the second park...perhaps it was the lack of costumes. Evan engaged no less than three, maybe more, Animal Guides in thoughtful, elaborate conversations about animals, dinosaurs, and other Things He Knows. He even brought several imaginary books, charts, and field guides with him to share with the Cast Members...much to their amusement. I loved watching my smart and imaginative little boy interact with these patient and kind strangers. He was brave. And did you know that baby storks "mew" like a kitten? Evan did.

The beauty of the place. I don't care whether it's natural or if hundreds of Disney imagineers carefully constructed, planted, pruned, and perfected each and every square inch of Walt Disney World. The place is breathtakingly beautiful.

And finally.


Look at the reflection in Evan's sunglasses. This, in my opinion, should be a Disney ad.

Lesson Learned:
I can't wait to go again....when Max is a little bit bigger and can appreciate Disney as much as Evan did....and when Evan is a little bit bigger and can appreciate Disney even more.


  1. Looks and sounds fantastic! And your retelling would be a better sell on me than any touristy presentation...just sayin'!
    We are hoping to go next year when the new Legoland opens. I may need some advice on traveling with a large family.
    I may need to just see you sometime in between though. (((Hugs)))

  2. Oh, Molly, I HOPE you guys can go! (And I may hitch a ride in your suitcase.) YES, PLEASE let's get together!