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We Went to Disney and All You Get is this Lousy Blog Post

At the beginning was a small world and at the end was a small world and in between was an adventure that took us on flying elephants past pirates until we were left, fairy-dusted and wish-drenched.

*******

We went to Disney World last week.  We saved for two years and the final amount came from selling our baby stuff, so in the spring, Josh and I booked four tickets to Orlando, reserved a room at a hotel, and purchased five days worth of park passes.

Going to Disney World sort of feels like a giant game of double dutch where you need to time it perfectly or you get caught up in the ropes.  Go too early and you need to navigate strollers and naps.  Go too late and you miss that stage where your child believes that they are meeting real princesses.

Because our children believed they were meeting real princesses.  They stood speechless in front of Aurora and bowed for Belle and they hugged Tigger and Winnie the Pooh and told Mickey that they loved him.  I was terrified that we’d miss this window, bring them to the Magic Kingdom when they were already peeling back the edges of myth and closely examining its contents.  But we slid in under the wire and I cried watching them meet each character for the first time, going up to Mickey and Minnie after they moved on to Donald and Goofy to whisper a grateful thank you.

It’s not just gratitude at instilling a sense of magic into a turbulent and terrifying world–it’s the fact that I never thought I’d see my children meet Mickey and Minnie because in those darkest moments, I never thought I’d have children to bring to Disney World.

We went to the park while doing treatments and while watching the Spectromagic parade, Fauna saw me crying and touched her heart and then waved her wand directly at me and I made the same wish I had been making on every star, penny, and railroad crossing.  The twins know this story, believe their entire existence hinges on this moment of magic, and I allow them to believe it because why not cement the idea that the impossible can sometimes be possible?  Why not raise the next inventor or artist or dreamer?

The Spectromagic parade was bumped out of the night line-up this summer in favour of the old Electric Main Street Parade.  We lined up in Liberty Square over an hour before it was set to begin, eating lollipops and musing about which characters we’d see on the floats.  A little after 9, the lights dimmed through the park and the electronic voice announced the start of the parade and the street was filled with thousands of tiny lights.

[audio:http://www.stirrup-queens.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Disneyland-s-Main-Street-Electrical-Parade-Music.mp3]

It was like the twins returning to the time before they were egg meeting sperm, when they were just a wish thumping against the ventricles and atriums of their parents’ hearts.  I kept whispering, “this was how it happened.  This is really magic.  I was given a wish and you came true.”

As Cinderella’s fairy godmother was about to pass, I blew her a kiss and she blew a kiss back and waved her wand at me and I made a new wish and said to Josh, “I can’t believe that I am so lucky that it could happen twice–that I was picked out of the crowd and she waved her wand RIGHT AT ME.”  And he pointed out that I am the only woman sitting in the crowd with tears streaming down my face, who is so obviously desperate for a wish, who will believe that a woman in a costume has the power to change my life.

And I do.

I didn’t really need to worry about the twins aging into cynical doubters; I’m 36 and obviously still believe that wishes can come true.

*******

I have one wild child and one mild child.  One wanted to ride the People Mover on a continual loop.  The other wanted to go on roller coasters and the Haunted Mansion.  We moved them through the rides as if it were a military maneuver, grabbing Fast Passes and plotting out trails through the parks on slips of paper.  We sucked the marrow out of every park, staying well-past human endurance petered out, leaving each night damp and limp.  At home, they go to bed at 7 p.m.  At Disney, they were wide-eyed and manically riding Winnie the Pooh’s honey pot at 10 p.m.

We shut out the rest of the world while we were down there.  I sometimes checked my blackberry when I was emailing out another picture of them in front of a particular landmark; I vaguely knew what was happening with friends and family, the rest of the world.

But frankly, the rest of the world feels too huge and damaging.  We created this little cocoon where the largest travesty was that Chip and Dale thwarted us five times (five times!  Seriously–we met Mickey twice and we couldn’t get a picture with chipmunks even once).  In the real world, there were hurt feelings and losses and frustrations and problems that needed solving.  In Disney, we pretended that life was just one happy boat ride down the Kali River.

It is hard to leave that bubble of magic, where things feel safe.  Not just in the gritty, danger-laden sense of the world–Disney truly feels as if nothing bad could ever happen there–but that the world is designed only to bring you light and happiness.  When we told a cast member that we had been thwarted five times by Chip and Dale, he let the twins pick out shiny pins as a consolation prize.  Where in the real world does that happen?  Where your feelings are so carefully considered, where someone listens to your tale of woe and then tries to make it better.  There are no shrugged shoulders at Disney, no dismissing your needs.  If they could do something about it, they did do something about it, and that is an element sorely lacking sometimes in my life.

Lindsay took us out for ice cream when we got back and we sat on a bench in the park while our husbands ran the kids ragged (fine, the ChickieNob was already ragged from lack of sleep and sat on a swing and cried).  It was a hard landing returning home.  Friends who listen are like receiving a pin after missing a chipmunk for the fifth time.

It is both good and terrible to be back.

43 comments

1 Tara { 06.28.10 at 1:04 pm }

What a beautiful post! I’d type more but I have to get some kleenex to wipe my tears…thank you!

2 Bummed Uterus { 06.28.10 at 1:04 pm }

I’m so glad you got to have another moment of magic, but with your children this time. <3

Great post.

3 Myndi { 06.28.10 at 1:18 pm }

Your post made me cry. I love Disney World. We had our honeymoon there (10 days of Disney!), and I remember when my daughter was 8 and I was able to take her the first time. Being from the west coast, Disneyland is the staple and Disney World is…expensive. Whether here or there, it always feel supremely magical to me, and I dare say I get more excited than anyone I know. I’ve been wanting to go back so badly, and now with triplets on the way, I worry about how we’ll be able to afford it when they are the right age, but we’ll make it happen. Because it really is the most magical and amazing place and every kid should have the opportunity to visit at least once!

4 Washington "Mouseketeer Roll Call" Cube { 06.28.10 at 1:29 pm }

I just blogged about Disney in a less than spectacular light…based on a story based on by another blogger. Glad your experience was better.

5 Suzanna Catherine { 06.28.10 at 1:39 pm }

It truly is the Magic Kingdom! I hope with all my heart your wish will be granted.

6 Katie { 06.28.10 at 1:40 pm }

So glad to have you back! We’ve missed you, but it sounds like you had an amazing time. 🙂

7 Kir { 06.28.10 at 1:47 pm }

Oh Mel…the whole post made me cry , with happy tears (as I look forward to taking the boys there, when they are 5!!) and just imagining you sitting there with all these wishes and a fairy godmother waving her wand to make them come true.

I believe in angels , and magic, and second chances and loving beyond yourself, DISNEY seems like the kind of place where all of that is true all the time.

So glad you had such a good trip and I do hope that WISH comes true. (*HUGS*)

8 Jamie { 06.28.10 at 2:20 pm }

When we were going through treatments, my husband’s work sent him to Orlando every year for a conference and I tagged along so we could spend a day or two at the park. I loved it, but it was hard to see so many children and wonder if we would ever get the chance to take our own child there. After our third trip (in 2008), I told my husband that I didn’t know if I could go again because it just made my heart so sad. He ended up changing jobs a little later that year and I felt a little relieved not to have to go back to Disney World, childless.

Now that we are expecting our IVF miracle baby, I am SO looking forward to going again with her. It will be an entirely different (and better!) experience, I’m sure.

Glad you had a great time 🙂

9 Susy { 06.28.10 at 2:26 pm }

Oh I had so close, but so far! Yet, if I could read this post about how it turned out before I’d ask you to meet up while in town, I’d tell you no thanks b/c I wouldn’t have wanted to get in the middle of such a wonderful time you had w/ Josh and the kiddies. : ) I’m so glad that it was so magical and that you got a fairy wand your way. Oh, how I’m making a wish in your honor that magic hits you twice (or three times..)! Awesome for believing in fairies, princesses and mice that are just so sweet – as in the twins and you! Disney’s awesome, isn’t it?

10 April { 06.28.10 at 2:28 pm }

I’m glad to hear you had such a wonderful vacation with your family! I hope the twins never lose the magic they saw there.

11 HereWeGoAJen { 06.28.10 at 2:36 pm }

Oh, I sobbed. I am so happy that you had this fairy dusted trip.

12 Silya { 06.28.10 at 2:40 pm }

Mel, you always make me cry when you talk about Disneyworld. Beautiful post.

13 Lyn C { 06.28.10 at 2:48 pm }

This is beautiful. Welcome home.

14 Bree { 06.28.10 at 3:50 pm }

A well-deserved moment of magic. It makes my heart swell, remembering how wonderful it was to take our daughter at that age. Hooray for your vacation of wonder. Hooray.

15 jrs { 06.28.10 at 4:06 pm }

Loved the post. it was beautiful, funny, and great.
glad you all had a great time.
and i hope your next wish comes true.

16 Melissa G. { 06.28.10 at 4:11 pm }

What a lovely post. So glad you had another magical trip back.

17 Mina { 06.28.10 at 4:52 pm }

Oh, what a wonderful post! And what a great time you had! I believe in magic too. And I so hope we’ll go there too.

For a while I was commuting in France and the one stop I never got down at was Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy, i.e. Europe’s Disneyland. I saw parts of the wonders in there from afar, I saw balloons and costumes and other merchandise you can get there (you can bet the children were alight with excitement in the train), I was told by a sweet lilting girl about the princes and cartoon characters and the magic you can find in there. But I never went there. We never found the time or drive to go there. All those months I commuted, I felt like Cinderella or like the little match girl. Frustrating… Not even chocolate made it easier!

I try not to plan too much the future, because plans are so easily thwarted, as we all know, but, boy, do I feel giddy just thinking about a possible future trip with my kid at Disneyland!
Thanks for giving me something so nice to dream about tonight. And not only tonight.

18 Vee { 06.28.10 at 4:54 pm }

Oh so, so special, what beautiful post. I am so happy you got to go at the right moment. I hope your second wish comes true.

19 Sunny { 06.28.10 at 7:23 pm }

Never have I heard such a beautiful description of a Disney vacation. I am so grateful that while there is a whole lot of pain in the world, there is also the opportunity for you to having this experience with your family.

20 IF Crossroads { 06.28.10 at 7:57 pm }

Tears. I have tears.
The Mr. and I honeymooned in Disney almost 12 years ago, and I too think I will cry when I get to take Kaitlin to see Micky and Pluto. And I believe in fairytales and all the magic and sparkle that comes along with WDW.

21 a { 06.28.10 at 8:13 pm }

Sounds like a wonderful trip. I hope that your wish comes true again…

22 Sarah { 06.28.10 at 8:16 pm }

I love Disney Land so much – when I was in the Army stationed in Northern CA, I used to take trips down to Anaheim at least every 6 months and visit the park. It truly is the happiest place on earth! I refuse to go again until we have children to bring however. I don’t want it to have lost it’s shine because I can’t share it with my little ones.
Glad you had a great time :).

23 Mrs. Gamgee { 06.28.10 at 8:23 pm }

Oh Mel… this was such a beautiful post! You had me blubbering by the time you got to the parade. I am so glad that you all had a grand time there and were able to leave the cares of the world behind. We all need magic in our lives.

A dream is a wish your heart makes…

(I really hope that we are able to take this little Halfling to WDW before he/she forgets the magic of childhood)

24 LJ { 06.28.10 at 8:37 pm }

I love that you believe in magic. The world is so chaotic and random, that we have to, right?

25 PaleMother { 06.28.10 at 8:39 pm }

Mel, I am sorry for the hard landing. Wishing you lots of shiney pins and more than that.

“Fauna saw me crying and touched her heart and then waved her wand directly at me and I made the same wish I had been making on every star, penny, and railroad crossing” … this made me tear up. Kindness is so powerful. Especially the type that picks you out of a crowd when the rest of the world seems to be passing you by.

XXOO

26 Calliope { 06.28.10 at 9:08 pm }

I loved this post! And I love that there is another wish out there floating around awaiting the magic moment to become real.

27 Jonelle { 06.28.10 at 9:31 pm }

Aww Melissa this post made me cry. Its so beautifully written. I love Disneyland (we have season passes), and its my happy place. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad time there, because you’re right. Its the only place that they actually go out of their way to make you feel better. No other place does that, not the real world. And sometimes we need to get away and allow the magic of Disney to carry us to another world, if only for a few hours.

28 jodifur { 06.28.10 at 9:41 pm }

I went to Disney last year with my who family, and everyone, 60 to 3, felt that same kind of magic. There is just something about that place. I hope we never lose it.

29 Blondie { 06.28.10 at 10:09 pm }

…and now I’m crying right along with you! Disney World has been like a second home to me, as I’ve been every year (some years more than once!) since I was a little girl, and my husband and I desperately look forward to the day when we can bring a child of our own to the most Magical Place on Earth. Maybe when that day comes, I’ll think of your post and feel just as lucky as I look upon a magical parade or fireworks!

30 luna { 06.28.10 at 11:54 pm }

I love that they believe their existence hinges on that very moment. what a wonderful experience to share with them now.

I went to disney 2 summer ago, when I was in the thick of the darkness. I went to be with my 4yo niece and 1yo nephew, and it was totally magic seeing it all through their eyes (esp hers). we had lunch with princesses and stood in line for pics and did it all. now M can’t wait to bring our little one some day. we’re trying to determine that window, but I don’t think we can wait another 4 yrs!
the pics are here:
http://lifefromhere.wordpress.com/2008/06/15/enchanted-in-magic-blingdom/

31 Lisa { 06.29.10 at 4:05 am }

I’m so glad that you got your timing right, because I know too well the wish to bring your children to DisneyWorld at that very precious stage when they still believe, or are willing to suspend reality, wanting to still believe. I felt the same way, but it’s come and gone. We wanted both kids to be tall enough to go on the same rides. Although the rides and fireworks would still be fun, neither of my children is still at that stage. We can’t spend the kind of money that DisneyWorld costs, as it would cost about $1500 just for airfare from the UK. Disneyland Paris just wouldn’t be the same…Quel horreur… a French speaking Cinderella or Mickey!
I hope you are granted your wish.

Lisa

32 Bea { 06.29.10 at 6:51 am }

Sounds like you had a terrific, and very magical trip. Very true about the window of opportunity! Although yes, with a mother like you, maybe not such a narrow one after all.

And I hope that wish comes through for you.

Bea

33 loribeth { 06.29.10 at 8:37 am }

OK, you made me cry too. I’ve never been to Disney, but I don’t believe you’re ever too old for it (hint, hint, dh). ; ) At the same time, I know what you mean about wanting to take your kids while they’re still at that magical age of believing. I’m so glad your family vacation was everything you dreamed it would be… & I hope that new wish comes true too. : )

34 WiseGuy { 06.29.10 at 9:40 am }

Woot Woot Woot!

I am completely obsessed with going to Disney World atleast once in my lifetime. Any post on it, and I am so hot about it again!

35 Orodemniades { 06.29.10 at 12:36 pm }

A lovely post…even though I totally don’t get the Disney thing.

36 coffeegrl { 06.29.10 at 4:02 pm }

I haven’t been to Disney World in probably 15 years or more, but this means I was there (with my Mom and Dad and Sister) when I was about 20 years old! I was fortunate to be able to go several times during my childhood (and young adulthood!). And every time it was magical. There is something about a world filled with music and happiness and good, kind people that I just loved. My husband isn’t nearly as familiar with the lore and magic of Disney (he’s not American and therefore wasn’t quite as subject to all the Disney stuff we get as kids here) but I keep telling him it would be a memorable experience for our girls someday. I think he’ll succumb – for the sake of his girls! This is the kind of experience that sells me on the whole idea and I think will work wonders on him!

37 tara { 06.29.10 at 7:06 pm }

this was a lovely post- I still like the magic part but we went to Disney on Christmas one year and that ruined it for me. The other people at Disney were as far from a holiday spirit/ disney magic that you could possibly be. But I’d like to little man there at some point- just not on a holiday.

38 Ms. C { 06.29.10 at 7:36 pm }

This post totally had me in tears! I would definately not classify is as getting a “lousy post”. 😉
I’m so thrilled that your family all had a magical vacation. It was always a dream of mine to be able to take my children there, as it is truly my most favorite place on earth.
Your description of parade experiences is so precious. Thank you.

39 Kristin { 06.30.10 at 9:57 am }

I love Disney and I am thrilled you got your magic moments with the twins and your magic moment with your fairy godmother.

40 Tara { 06.30.10 at 10:45 am }

What a magical post! We went to DisneyWorld for our first honeymoon and DisneyLand for our second (with a 4-month deployment in between). DH wants to take the boys there for their 1-year birthday but I fear the magic would be lost in the need for strollers and naps and they’re not quite understanding of the whole place.

41 Battynurse { 07.05.10 at 4:27 pm }

Sounds like so much fun. I love Disneyland (I’ve never been to Disney World) and yes, I still believe in wishes too. There’s something about the place that feels more magical than your average theme park.

42 LJ { 07.09.10 at 9:04 am }

Just a quick scan through the comments – and I’m sure I had the same reaction to this post as most people! I think the people in the office think I’m a little soft in the head now, if they hadn’t thought so before!
Your post is beautiful – firstly because everyone needs to believe there is some magic left in the world, and secondly that sometimes wishes do come true.
Thanks for this lovely post, I now feel the need to go re-watch one of my Disney movies when I get home!

43 Barb { 08.09.10 at 4:44 pm }

So glad you enjoyed. 🙂 Oro, come down and I’ll show you a good time I promise! 😉

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