Disney-pline

"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.
My very favorite Disney moment.
 (pic taken by a random mom in the crowd, 3/12/11)
See this picture? So it's a little fuzzy and off-center, but it means so much to me. It captured a moment that can't be repeated. It was about 7.30pm on Saturday and we had just finished dinner at Captain Jack's in Downtown Disney. Lila and I split off from AJ and Ang so we could have the all-important "girl time" and we soon found ourselves in the midst of hungry, AmEx-toting Disney throngs. Lila suddenly screamed with such desperation and magnitude I thought her Baby Gap jelly shoes had lit on fire. But I looked at the object of her gaze (Hell, she broke her clasp from my hand and had begun sprinting...), and then I realized: She had seen Cinderella... err, rather, her plaster equivalent. We hugged the life-sized statue and kissed her. I think Lila licked her. Definitely a Disney moment. One of those moments that make time stand still and help parents realize what it's really and truly all about.

Just like the next day when Lila threw a 27-minute fit because she didn't get her "spinny Minnie." Yep: The yin and the yang; the good and the bad; the Cinderella statue lovin' and the Minnie souvenir meltdown. All that needs to be said is, it was the eleventh hour of our whirlwind weekend (3.45pm on Sunday), 82 degrees, post-psychotic-Disney parade, and we were enjoying the holding tank-like atmosphere of the waiting-for-a-souvenir-and-apple-juice-before-we-go-dammitt-I'm-only-threeeeeee exit line. *sigh*

But in true superhero fashion (shhh... Just go with me, here. I was at Disney.), I jumped over lazy (drunken?) parade goers, ran through store fronts, politely inquired about the actual existence of (Lila's term) "Spinny Minnies", all while flying through air and desperately applying lipgloss, patting my very own AmEx-toting ass to make sure the plastic that would end my daughter's lamentations was securely stationed in my right corner pocket to soon bring forth a rotating, flashing, plastic figurine to my tear-stained monkey. <-- [English teacher in Omaha = pissed at that run-on.] Well, Spinny Minnie existed; I bought her; Lila stopped crying; we drove three hours back home; and I proceeded to question the hell out of my parenting techniques.

Discipline. Shit. I swear it all goes to hell at Disney. Ang and I saw children on leashes, babies drinking soda, parents screaming at their charges to "shut the hell up, Carter", and one little guy with an unfortunate mustache painted on his cheek. (Not... sure... what that was about.) But ya know what? No judging here! Our kickass, adorable bunnies presented their sure share of crazy in the Magic Kingdom. And in Animal Kingdom. Hell, they kicked it up a notch in Hollywood, to boot.

What's a sure thing to quell the swells of Biasi monkey angst? For Lila, it comes in the form of something plush. For AJ, it's all about lollipops. I get that it's not cool to bribe. I'm hearing y'all when it comes to "Giving them what they want doesn't teach them a thing about how it works in the real world." I spend the majority of my awake hours trying to instill exactly this. It's just that, well... When one is allotted a singular long weekend of "magic," perfect discipline may, perchance, be thrown to the wayside. Landing on its Goofy ass. I see Disney as being the G-rated version of Las Vegas: "What happens in Disney, stays in Disney. And passes out in Target pj's by 6pm."

Anyway, let's just say we were a bit... mellow when it came to Disney-pline. I do have a few thoughts on attractions with regard to toddlers, in case you're interested in this ne-'er-do well's take on things...

m a g i c    k i n g d o m
Dumbo ride? Long-ass wait for a short-ass ride. But it's a classic, and if you have the time to spend, I think it's cool to hold your bunny's hand, close your eyes, and envision Disney, and life, decades ago, before all of the buzz and the tinkering came along... (One very forward-thinking gent suggested to us a beer cart for the parents on line. Kudos to you, Steve from Michigan. I like where you're going with this.)
Mad Tea Party? Shorter wait, just as classic. Beer cart still optimal.
Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin? Scared our bunnies last year, but they still came away from it raving. This year they 100% dug it. Pretty cool shit.
Swiss Family Treehouse? Toddlers have zero interest in this, other than counting the (hundreds of) steps and wondering how much it would hurt if they fell. I witnessed this spectacle not just with my own children. Holding hands = too freaking necessary. That said, pretty mellow if you forget the possibility of falling aspect, and OK if you have time and there aren't lines.
Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor? Pretty lame. And they didn't accept my joke: "I walked into a bar last night, and it hurt." Not sure why. Bitter. (By the way, we waited about 30 minutes for this one and at the very split second before we entered the theatre, AJ had to pee. Off he went with Ang, as Lila and I grabbed our seats. I found out after the show that Ang broke a few rules and jumped a few turnstiles to get back in before the Disney "police" reprimanded him and kicked him out. God, I love him. I think there should be a new Disney character named Angelo, the Disney Rebel. Well, he's my hero, anyway.)

a n i m a l   k i n g d o m
Affection Section? This is a petting zoo, and that is all. Goats, cows, sheep, and the errant llama. [On a side note, I informed Ang that I love llamas and he responded with something to the effect of, "Great. Now I've got to remember you like llamas, in addition to the fact that you prefer sunflowers to roses and you hate baby's breath." Ummm, yep. Random tangent, my love, but all good. Thanks for remembering.] Lila loved this, by the way. AJ just kept murmuring "I'm hungry" as we passed by several people with that all-too-familiar, cocked eyebrow look of, "Y'all better feed your kid." *sigh*
Dinosaur? Heard it was too scary. Judging from how frightened the kids were of the love bugs lighting upon the sheep in Affection Section, it was perhaps a good decision not to pay a visit to this one.
Kilimanjaro Safari? Kicked. Ass.
Wildlife Express Train? A great way to get from wherever the petting zoo was back to Africa, but don't expect major entertainment. Or any. We were told it was the "backstage" of the safari, so I was expecting to, at the very least, see a few rhinos maybe smoking cigarettes and talking on their cell phones... a couple of hyenas hanging out by the water cooler telling jokes. Alas, it's basically a form of transportation, sprinkled with odd views of safari animal cages, sans inhabitants. I did catch a glimpse of a hippo, but she was too into reading her Star magazine to notice us.
.
h o l l y w o o d   s t u d i o s
Toy Story Mania? This attraction actually runs out of fast passes. We got there at about 11am aaaand, nope. No fast passes. The guy in front of us, along with his daughters, apparently ran his ass off to get there by 9am for a fast pass which was for (drum roll...) 7.05pm. We waited in line for over an hour. Though pretty cool, it wasn't worth the wait in my 42-year-old eyes, but... nothing compares to the "I am so excited, mom. I am so excited!" from a 3-D bespectacled AJ right before... So, I change my answer: YES, it was worth the wait.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid?  Welcome to a dark, bubble-filled, underwater cavern with junior high school special effects in 1990, folks. Ugh. It was like dinner theatre for the Red Lobster. Even Lila said, "I am never coming back to this."
Honey I Shrunk the Kids?  This playground scared the shit out of Ang and me. Lila and AJ would disappear into an innocent "ant hole," only to appear on some sort of gangplank at what seemed like eleven levels above, ready to slide down a chute made for Olympian snowboarders. Hell, maybe I'm too much of a wuss. But if I'm a wuss, well, then there are a bunch of us out there. A whole contingent of us could be found at the entrance to any of these bug homes, pleading for our children to "follow mommy's voice, dammitt!!"

Wow, I just read through this and it appears I may have some issues... Meh, it's who I am, take it or leave it. Because at the end of the day, I still say Disney is wonderful and 100% worth every second. I've never smiled so much; I've never been so proud of my family; and I haven't acted like (such) a little kid in way too long. We'll head on over to Italy, Australia, Sweden, Africa, India in the years to come... But this week? This week we had Disney, and it was magic.










[Cute little sidenote: Ang had bought little Disney souvenirs for the kids which he placed under their pillows Sunday evening, along with Post-it notes from Buzz and Snow White. When they hopped into bed, he informed them that sometimes, when you come back from Disney and you've been a really good kid, someone from the Magic Kingdom will leave a lil' surprise under your pillow. The kids were over the moon about their prizes, and their notes, which read: "We love you - be good to your parents. Love, Snow White and Buzz", accompanied by something we'd "heard from Buzz": "If you're good to your parents, and go to sleep right away, tomorrow can be another Disney day!" The kids fell asleep on the spot and woke up the next morning repeating, "We have to be good to our parents and go to sleep right away!" Angelo the Disney Rebel had struck again, and it was pretty amazing.]
Every child is born blessed with a vivid imagination. But just as a muscle grows flabby with disuse, so the bright imagination of a child pales in later years if he ceases to exercise it ~ Walt Disney 

Comments

SwedishJenn said…
I'm trying to think of how many posts I read of yours where I cry and those that I read where I laugh. I think it's mostly all of them. "Follow Mommy's voice dammit" bahahahahaha...a good chuckle to start the morning so thanks for that. And then the whole Magic line at the end that tugged at my heart, pulling me even moreso towards The Kingdom.
Thanks so much for sharing your park insights too, will be very helpful for us when we finally arrive to the promised land. I really want it to be this year, more than ever, especially after this post. Bring on the Disney-pline (you should trademark that). Lots of love to all of you, SJ
Kelly said…
I loved every word of this post - the Cinderella story made me smile; especially her jelly shoes being on fire. I can so see that scene and there's nothing that makes a mom happier.
Heidi said…
ha, jenn this post made me laugh like at least 43 times!

totally hear ya on your 'cinderella moment!' been there and it's tear inducing to say the least. our moment was with belle from beauty and the beast. ah, memories!

totally agree with you...beer carts are an AWESOME idea.

leashes, crazy parents, wind kids...yup, sound like disney. love it.

xoxo
Heidi Lee said…
Your blog is very sweet. You have a beautiful family.

We go to Disney every January, so I very much enjoyed your Disney pictures and reading about Downtown Disney..love that place!
JennyCB said…
Thank you, beautiful women.
Three beers - I mean cheers - for moms surviving Disney!
:o)
xoxox

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