It’s no secret that living in central Florida has its advantages. One of the biggest is our proximity to all of the Disney parks. I never went to Disney until I was seventeen years old, and much of the intended magic was lost on my adolescent self. I wanted big thrills, which is not at all what Disney is about. But with two little boys who are still discovering the magic in this world, Disney is the most amazing place to be. So obviously we are annual passholders, making use of our tickets often to visit all of the various parks and amenities.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we braved the crowds and headed over to the biggest park, Disney’s Magic Kingdom. We don’t often go to this one, as it is quite a trek to actually get IN to the park. It’s the farthest away, it involves parking, taking a tram, and then boarding the monorail or a ferry to actually GET to the park. Then there are lines for bag checks and ticket checks before you can actually get inside. So usually, we visit one of the easier parks. But since we had a nice long weekend, we decided to go for it with the big one.
And I’m so glad we did. We only spent about four or five hours there, but we packed a lot more in than usual.
First up was a visit to see Santa Claus! I knew Dexter would be iffy (he always is) but it was to be Dan’s first Santa experience, and I wanted it to go well.
We waited in line with no issues, snapping pictures with some giant nutcrackers and waiting for the other children (and adults!) in line to have their turns with the big guy. I was surprised as we watched that none of the kids seemed scared of St Nick, and all of them were very well behaved, getting their photos taken and taking their candy canes with glee. It gave me hope.
So much hope.
But alas, it was as I feared. Dex just HATES new people and hates being touched and he especially hates having his photo taken by people he doesn’t know. I think he feels too much like a performing monkey, and as such, he puts up a certain resistance.
It was only embarrassing for a little while. His screams and frantic crawling away were seen by a big crowd, and I could see the mamas in the line grimacing and holding their own kids a little tighter, worried about their performance. When I finally got him under control, he buried his face in my neck and refused to look forward at all. The Santa tried to talk to him, but it just wasn’t working. The photographer tried all of her tricks, but nothing helped. Finally, we conspired with gestures and silent looks to trick the kid into ONE forward facing photo. I quickly said, “Alright, let’s go!” and Dex immediately made to jump off my lap and run away. The photographer caught it quickly, and we had one very awkward family photo. Ah well, what can ya do?
I should mention that Dan was fine. It figures.
Anyway, after the trauma of meeting Santa, we headed over to Casey’s for some fries and nachos, while we made a plan on where to go. Since we always have the kids with us, we almost never get to go on any rides, so this time we were determined to try and actually enjoy the park by experiencing all it had to offer. We went over to Adventureland and immediately made our way through the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, which Dexter adored. Anything with climbing, he’s hooked.
Then we went across to The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, which I was pleased to see could be ridden by all of us. Hurrah!
Then we headed over to Pirates of the Caribbean, which Dexter was SUPER stoked about. The whole way through, I kept asking, “What does a pirate say?” and he would respond with swinging his arm and yelling, “YARRRR.” It was adorable, and he learned this from his Uncle Chris when we were in Las Vegas for our wedding. We were staying at Treasure Island, and he loved all the pirate themed stuff there.
Anyway, we had so much fun chasing Jack Sparrow and being part of the cannonball fights, and we all got a little bit wet.
After this, we were in desperate need of coffee, and I knew that Starbucks had recently been added to the Main Street Bakery, so we headed over and grabbed us some brew. A nice rest and a bathroom break, and we decided to head to New Fantasyland. But as we were making our way up the street, I noticed a parade was about to start, and I figured the kids would love to see it up close. We found a spot right on a corner, front and center to the action, and we set up camp.
There were a few bands who started things off, one of which was from Dorset, UK and made me very happy. The second was from Edinboro, PA, near my hometown, and that made me even happier!
When the parade started in earnest (which ended up being quite a long wait!), Dexter was enthralled! He was so happy to see all of his favorite characters right there in front of him, all of them coming up and trying to give him high fives. Amazingly, he was so shy that he hid away from every single one of them bar one: the wolf from Pinocchio! Dexter was so excited to high five him, and I have no idea why since he’s never even seen that movie!
It was amazing, though, to be so close and to have so many characters coming up and interacting with the kids. I felt like a kid again myself! I think my favorite part was seeing Mary Poppins!
Once the parade was over, I think we were all fairly worn out. Knowing there was still a long trek back to the car and home again, we decided to call it a day and get going.
The kids of course fell asleep on the way home. And we were left with a fun family memory to share.