Best of...

In light of tonight's Academy Awards- and my need to write an update blog- let's do the "Best of" awards for Disney World!

Best Purchase of the Week:


We arrived to Epcot about 3 hours after our flight landed and 10 minutes after it started raining.  I LOVE a poncho so I immediately bought myself one.  The rest of the crew took a little convincing, but soon enough we matched EVERY OTHER person at the park in our ponchos!

The pouring rain lasted the ENTIRE evening which brings us to our next award...

Best MacGyver Moment:

Coralynn, plastic-wrapped cups, and Mommy!

I only had packed two pairs of shoes per person, one pair of flip flops and one pair of tennis shoes.  It never occurred to me that our shoes would become completely drenched.  There was no way Coralynn was going to be able to walk, in flip flops, ALL the miles that Disney requires, but I also didn't feel comfortable with her wearing wet shoes for 10 hours.  Tony and I did our best to dry her shoes with the hair dryer and towels to no avail.  By Tuesday morning, her shoes were still squeezable wet.    Enter MomGyver!  I took the plastic wrapping off the cups in the hotel room, and had Coralynn  put her socky feet in those before she put them in her shoes.  And, Coralynn, for her part, didn't complain at all.  She wore those baggies the entire day and came home with dry toes!  Yee!

Best Princess Interaction:

This is a major category because a major amount of our time was spent seeing princesses.  We ended up getting our picture with 10 princesses, By far, the best interaction because of general warmth, kindness, and consistency with her role, was our time with Belle!

(Both photos brought to you by Camilla's amazing new camera)

We waited almost an hour to get to see Belle, and she made the wait SO worth it.  She did a phenomenal job of making each of the girls feel like she had come to just see them.

Best Act of Kindness:

After living in the South, my frustration with forced-fake kindness heightened to levels I didn't know existed.  Saying "yes, ma'am" or "my pleasure" doesn't change your heart or your attitude.  Parrots repeat what they're told.  I like kind to be real.  (Diatribe over.)  Disney, and all their "cast members" certainly provide plenty of friendly help and service.  We never had a bad encounter, but I never felt particularly "magical" from any of the encounters.  Until, I met the man in Liberty Square.  The biggest regret from the whole trip is that I didn't get the gentleman's information so that I could write everyone at WDW to praise him.

It really is very simple.  I was looking to buy a Sharpie.  I never planned to get autographs so I wasn't prepared with proper pens.  The night before meeting Anna and Elsa I decided that I wanted them to sign Coralynn's shirt, hence, the pen hunt.  I asked in the store in the Art of Animation resort where we were staying.  Definitely no Sharpies there.  The firmness of the answer convinced me that Sharpies simply weren't available at Disney.

Fast forward, several hours later, to us in Magic Kingdom.  We were waiting outside Liberty Square to see Princess Tiana.  Because we had some time to kill, and because the line was super friendly, I decided to go on one more Sharpie hunt.  I found a "cast member."  He was probably 50, and his name tag said he was from Long Island.   I asked if he knew somewhere I could buy a Sharpie.  He asked why I needed it.  I explained that later that night (7:40) we were going to meet the Frozen princesses and that I wanted them to sign a shirt.  He asked if the color ink mattered.  I said, "No."  He handed me a Sharpie.  I thanked him, but quickly reiterated that I didn't need the pen for hours, that I had no way to return it, and that I really just did want to buy one.

He softly assured me that the pen was mine and to tell the Anna and Elsa that he said hello.

And, with that, I left feeling like WDW is the happiest place on Earth and that Long Island has an unfair reputation.  I know it sounds so silly, but he made my day.  He was SINCERELY being helpful.  And that tiny bit of true kindness made life a little better.  (And, just so you know I'm a total sap, I still have the Sharpie in my purse.  Makes me happy every time I see it.)

Best Single Comment from My Family:

We had some time to kill in between FastPass times so we headed to see Captain EO.  The kids asked a lot about what I remember from my trip to the parks so I thought taking them to see the 1986 classic would give them a real taste of my experience at Disney World.  We waited in line explaining to them who Michael Jackson was, and answering all their questions about life in the 80's.

We sat down to watch the show and put on our 3D glasses.  I remember being a kid with those glasses and reaching out to try to touch the characters that seemed to be right in front of my face.  Big smiles when I looked over and saw my kids (and half the audience) with their hands up to try to grab something that seemed so close.

Michael Jackson, as Captain EO, came on the screen.  I had no recollection of the show, so it was fun watching it fresh.  About 5 minutes after Jackson first came on the screen, other characters were discussing him.  And I heard a gasp.  I looked over, and Chloe had her 3D glasses propped up on her head.  "MOM, Michael Jackson is a MAN!?!"

I thought I was going to cry I was laughing so hard.  Watching the movie as a child in the 80's, it never occurred to me that it was strange that Captain EO had SO MUCH makeup on.  I don't even remember it registering with me at all.  But as an adult, and not living in 1986, it was VERY clear that he was wearing plenty of makeup.

Best Reaction to Walt Disney World:

The kids loved everything we did at WDW- except the Dinosaur ride at Animal Kingdom.  They really had an amazing time, were in great moods, and were up for anything.  We rode roller coasters, watched shows, ate at weird hours, and got too little sleep.

I loved watching them see new things and just absorb the whole experience.

But, there is no question that one single moment will forever be etched into my memory.

It was on Tuesday, our second day at the parks, and the first day at Magic Kingdom.  We'd gotten there before the park opened, saw the opening show, and walked to Fantasyland.  We'd visited Cinderella and Rapunzel, rode Dumbo, and tried out the Barnstormer.  Coralynn loved it all, but she seemed to take most of it in stride.

Until.  (Don't you love when a good "until" rocks your boat!)

Speaking of boats, we waited in line for It's A Small World.  As far as I know, It's A Small World is a hundred years old.   I remember riding it as a child, and I remember as a child thinking the ride was old then.  The stand by line was only about 15 minutes, though, and everyone needs to ride IASW, so I made my people get in line.  We chatted, my WiFi was uncooperative, and Carson plotted our next stop.  We got in the boat for the ride, (Coralynn to my right)  and the kids all seemed to be completely disengaged with the ride.

Until.  (Here it comes!!!)

Until we turned the corner into the first hall of dancing dolls singing the world's most contagious song, and Coralynn's face lit up.  Her jaw dropped slowly turning into a sweet smile.  She just gazed at all the dolls with pure joy on her face.  I've never been more thankful to happen to be looking at the right child at the right moment.

Best Realization from WDW:

There the 6 of us were in Walt Disney World, the center of commercialism and marketing overload, having just ridden the iconic Dumbo and seeing the princesses, preparing to ride the latest, greatest and newest, finest and my 4-year-old's most sweetly stunned moment came from the hundred year old ride.

The best realization was definitely that my kids, who have the "adventure" of living internationally, who've traveled more than many people have as adults, who have seen and done so much, are still brought to moments of joy from a silly, lo-tech, ancient ride.   That, my friends, made the trip far more "worth it" than all the princesses or magic that Disney could ever create.


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