I have to say, I totally buy into the whole “magic” kingdom thing. I think Walt Disney was a man with tremendous vision (in addition to the marketing thing). I don’t think Disney World is the “happiest place on earth” (as demonstrated by the number of shrieking
parents kids), but I do love the propagation of the power of imagination.
In my experience, the cast (all the people who work at Disney) are unerringly polite, happy and friendly. I love that people from so many different countries work there, and they seem to be the cream of the crop. I wish I had a peek into the behind-the-scenes magic of how the parks work, but maybe that would take away some of the sparkle. (I did briefly speak to a former Disney employee who said there was pretty high turnover. The Darling Husband–showing off how invaluable his iPhone is–found a website while we strolled through Epcot with articles written by a former cast member, click here for the articles.)
We had my parents-in-law, their foreign exchange student and some of her family with us, so we got to see America and Disney through their eyes a bit. Since they are from Norway, we booked The Princess Storybook lunch at the Norway pavilion at Epcot for a late lunch that day. The character dining is a bit pricey, but the food is good and plentiful and it is a great way to spend a few extra minutes with the characters. As a note, turns out that our view of the Viking hats with the horns on it is all propaganda. The horns could easily be grabbed by an enemy, so I guess version 2.0 without the horns was the one they actually used, though I imagine they wouldn’t sell as well.
We spent a little bit of time poking around Norway and The Pixie Child discovered the craft area that was sponsored by Sharpie. They have spots in the different countries at Epcot where kids can get their Epcot passport stamped and do a craft. Sharpie. You know, the PERMANENT MARKER company. What the heck were they thinking? I hovered slightly nervously bout while The Pixie completed her ELABORATE and TIME-CONSUMING mask. Honestly—permanent markers and kids?? Sigh. Did I mention that they have such a station in all of the 11 worlds at Epcot? With helpful little signs and arrows to direct the children?
We went to on a few rides at Epcot and the girls played on a water playground. Epcot is one of our favorite places and we plan to come back later in the week.
We headed back to the hotel where The Toddler’s travel crib fit very nicely in the walk-in closet, so she had a little spot all to herself. It seems vaguely wrong to put her in the closet, but it just works out so well. She’s happy, we’re happy…
Hot. Really, really hot. Even though it is barely April, it is seriously hot and humid in Orlando. Like wilting hot. Ugh. Last time we visited it was November and the weather was very comfy. We have made a mental note about that for future trips.
So, our assault on the Mouse really started on Tuesday morning and the Magic Kingdom. Our first order of business was taking The Pixie Child on her first roller coaster ride on Splash Mountain. The Sunshine Child had taken her first ride here four years ago and we wanted to keep with tradition. She is a very adventurous child and she loved it, though she barely made the 40” height requirement. We taught her the proper way to raise her hands and scream, so I considered it a success. My favorite coaster is probably Big Thunder Mountain, and despite the fact that The Pixie Child slid all-over the seat the whole ride, she loved it, too.
Did I mention that it was hot? Spirits were revived with mouse-shaped ice cream and we headed to Fantasyland and The Toddler’s inaugural ride on Dumbo. She liked going up and down, but really, it was more for me to get pictures for her scrapbook to prove to her that we love her as much as her older sisters, even though we only have about 5 pictures of her.
Maternal guilt abated for the moment, we dinked around Fantasyland for a bit, including meeting up with the whole gang for It’s a Small World. It is complete sensory overload for me, but I still find it oddly appealing. The girls liked it a lot and, more importantly, it was air conditioned…yay!
We did a few things in Tomorrowland, including the Monster’s Inc comedy show, which was, indeed, funny. The Darling Husband, Pixie, Toddler and I all had a cameo on the show (due to where we were sitting, not because we looked all that funny, I’m sure). The Pixie was very cute on camera. When asked where she was from, she correctly identified her state (a proud mothering moment) and chatted back and forth with the animated monster on the screen.
We rounded out the day with dinner at Cracker Barrel (I think their breakfasts are better then their dinners, btw). The Toddler was a wiggly wreck at that point we just had to keep popping bites of food in her mouth. She did manage to grab a plate and throw it onto the ground when I had my head turned. Nothing like the sound of shattering dishware to grab attention. Grrr. The Pixie and Sunshine had a great time playing that little peg game where I can never get fewer then 2 pegs…
Tomorrow is a full day at Animal Kingdom, so hiegh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to bed I go….
p.s. stay tuned for my “Traveling Tips with Toddlers” blog…