June 2, 2009

Back from Disney

I must congratulate the authors/compilers of this magnificent tome. I mentioned earlier that I was using it for our week-long Disney trip and it was indeed all that! Every time we stuck to their touring plans, we were delighted. Every time we tried to wing it or went against their advice, we were grumpy. Mostly, we were quite happy. We met princesses and other characters, did three of the major parks, saw shows, parades, had her made up like a princess, rode boats and buses and trains, and enjoyed the hotel pool. A full week indeed!

I am not a fan of long lines, large crowds, or mind-numbing heat so this kind of vacation is not at the top of my list. But I have a six year old daughter who I would do just about anything for (proof), so way back when she first discovered the existence of a Disney park, I started considering options and browsing travel books. I told my wife I'd like to wait until she was either 40 inches tall or 7 years old and I would encourage anyone going to take this advice to heart. It's an expensive trip and everyone I saw that didn't fit either of these two requirements were usually having a temper tantrum or sleeping in strollers.

I saw many grown ups having temper tantrums as well. More than half the fathers I witnessed seemed to think of themselves as generals of an army and the only words they spoke to their children were barked orders, sometimes accompanied by fingers to the chest cavities of the little ones. Some slaps as well. Why were they even there?

I know I'm biased, but I think our daughter was the best behaved of all the children, and this is not something we focus on. I honestly think it's because we simply talk to her about everything. We would talk to her about the schedule and warn her when lines might be long. We discussed choices and how if we rode something again we might not be able to do something else. We even (gasp!) involved her in the decisions.

We're not the kind of people who think this is the "most magical place on Earth" and don't want to do this every year or anything. So we were ready to blow our wad for the week and make it as memorable as possible (another reason for waiting--three year-olds might have fun but won't remember a thing). The Unofficial Guide and Small World Vacations did us up right.

One funny story. While we were watching a performance in front of the castle one afternoon featuring Mickey, Donald, Goofy, princesses, pirates, and dancers all about your dreams coming true, Micky asked the crowd to shout out their dreams. Among many "I want to be a princess/pirate" responses, Harper looked at us and shouted, "This! This is my dream come true!" She was so incredibly happy. Then she laughed when I shouted that my dream was to be a...librarian.