We went to see the princesses, and by god, the princesses we did see. So much so, that by the time we saw Snow White (again) my son decided he had absolutely had enough and flatly refused a picture. But my daughter, she just could not get enough. As expected, she wore a different princess dress each day and just loved how many people complimented her outfits, addressed her by title, or bowed to her as she walked past. I don’t think she stopped smiling from the moment we entered the park to the moment we left. Heaven, to my daughter, looks just like Cinderella’s castle.
Now, while my son’s memories of this momentous vacation will be zero (he’s not quite 3), the cost of bringing him (excluding flights) was also zero. He pretty much ignored all the characters the first day, but when we saw Woody and Jessie on the second day, he was primed and ready to go. He ran right into the loving arms of his favorite cowboy and cowgirl and then very carefully gave them his book for them to sign. His one request, to see Winnie the Pooh, was granted by means of a character dinner, and his smile could have lit a room. He hugged Pooh so hard I expected to see stuffing start flying out through the poor bear’s ears.
As for the rest of us, fun was indeed had by all. I left my dignity at the gates and found that I had a far better experience because of it. I happily bought a pair of Tinkerbelle ears to go with my assortment of multi-colored Tink shirts and could have made a blind man squint, but what the hell. I did a conga line with Eeyore as my son danced and clapped along beside me and shook my money-maker at the street party while my daughter carefully copied the dancer’s every move in front of me. I oohed and aahed at story time with Belle, chatted like best friends with Tiana, blushed at Naveen, took silly pictures with Peter Pan and Goofy, and tried to make sure my children had the time of their lives.
I did, however, forget to schedule in time for eating. As a result, my very hungry husband ate two meals out of the hotel market, and my kids had a meal consisting of nothing but goldfish and pretzels. They didn’t mind. He did. Poor guy. He walked the park in a pair of ears that had Mickey’s face with a mini-sorcerer’s apprentice cap on top, engraved to say “Daddy.” The least I could have done was fed him more often.
But kids are funny little people. If the ride was old enough that Uncle Walt could have built it with his own two hands, then my kids loved it. If it was modern, 3-D, and “cool”, they cried. I might have scared them permanently with our visit to Pirates of the Caribbean, and Mickey’s Philharmagic was an absolute disaster, but anything audio-animatronic, from the Hall of Presidents to the Country Bears was a win. My son thought the general forms of transportation around the park, including the tram, monorail, ferry, and train, were part of the amusements, and my daughter just couldn’t get over that the castle changed color every few minutes at night. It truly was the simple things that made them happy. That, and It’s a Small World. I still have that song in my head.
Overall, it was a perfect vacation. And as for rule-breaking, well, let’s just say my children drank 17 juice boxes (just flavored water, but still!) in two days. Rules? What rules?