In which we arrive and the magic begins.
We had a 7:30 AM flight, because I foolishly assumed that since she always sleeps in her seat in the car, she’d sleep in it on the plane. She was generally cranky and irritable most of the trip down, and didn’t like being confined to the seat or the small space in our row. Of course, when we had to buckle her in for final descent, she fell fast asleep. I got to carry her, in her car seat, through much of Orlando International Airport, thus preparing my back for the rest of the trip. The magical express bus took us to the Pop Century Hotel where we checked in. Anabelle marveled at the “Big Giant Baloo and Mowgli” by the pool and the other giant props as well. I was excited to find out we were in the Giant Big Wheel and Foosball Table building. Adding in the Giant Mickey Phone across the way, it was like being in a Dick Sprang Batman comic.
We took our first bus to the park. A side note about the buses: That’s the big advantage to the deluxe resorts…it’s not the service, it’s not the restaurants, it’s not even the rooms, it’s the fact that you don’t have to take a bus every single place you have to go. Because lets face it…even with Disney magic, a crowded bus is still a crowded bus. What makes the busses worse is the enormous number of those rented scooters. I have nothing against people who are legitimately handicapped, or otherwise cannot walk. But seriously, if your handicap is that you can’t resist the dessert counter on the buffet line, you shouldn’t be renting one of these things. The scooters themselves take up three seats on the bus, and that’s not counting how many seats the person’s gonna overflow into. Also since they are rentals, these people have no idea how to drive them, let alone back them into a bus, making the rest of us stand in the heat while they figure it out. There were three of them getting on one bus, and another bus came and picked us up before they finished loading the first. One last scooter rant and I promise I’ll stop: just because one member of the family can't walk, doesn’t mean you should rent them for the whole clan. Some places looked like the “Hell’s Tubbos” biker gang cruising by.
Once we all got on the bus, we heard the wonderful announcement telling us to make sure we don’t stand up while the bus is moving, unless you don’t have a seat, in which case you should hold on for dear life. We finally took our baby to the most magical place on earth.
She talked the whole way down about how she wanted to see Baloo and Mowgli at Disney, having watched Jungle Book upwards of a thousand times before the trip. Who, to our delight, did we see as we entered the park? Baloo and King Louis right inside the gate. We excitedly brought her over to meet Baloo, and in a moment that was a good foreshadowing of many of our excited times, she ran screaming in the opposite direction.
Mickey and Minnie were together on main street, and in another “first of many"s, they went on an extended break as soon as we got on line, and we had to go to our lunch reservation. We had a nice meal at Tony’s, where I actually ate and enjoyed the spinach dip (this place really is magical). Anabelle was very excited to see the fountain in Tony’s that she named, “Raining on Lady and the Tramp”. After lunch we bought her ears, and caught the parade much to Anabelle’s enjoyment. Then it started to rain, forcing us to put her in the stroller to cover her, while we tried to figure out what to bring her on first. By the time we reached the castle, she fell asleep. As this was before we learned that this was when we should take turns on rides, we went shopping.
When she awoke, we took her on the first (of many many) small world rides, followed by a couple more small world rides, then Peter Pan, which she liked. Although truthfully, I don’t think she saw almost any of the ride, as she was too short to see over the edge of the ship. She was in a good mood, giving us confidence to try Snow White’s Scary Adventures, and though she said “Wanna Go Back” (which would later become her mantra) at some of the spooky parts, once the dwarfs showed up she was happy again.
To “calm her down” after the witch, we took her to the Winnie the Pooh ride. On the line she was all excited that she could hear Tigger talking.
Then the ride began…
She spent the ENTIRE ride screaming “WANNA GO BACK” in abject panic and terror, reaching a crescendo in the surreal heffalump and woozle scene, which I foolishly assumed would be her favorite part. She was so panicked that it took several small worlds and a carousel ride to calm her down. We also went to the grotto to see Ariel (where she got over "being a little guppy" quickly and gave the mermaid hugs and kisses), and visited Minnie’s house (which she played in a lot). Both of which were much happier times.
I had planned for us to eat outside the restaurant/ice cream parlor on Main Street and catch the Spectromagic parade. There were some slight flaws with this plan.
That restaurant severely limited its dessert selection since the last time I’d gone…
and they appeared to have removed the outside seating.
(Or I was remembering Disneyland, not Disney World…your mileage may vary.)
Midway through dinner, I yanked my poor tired and hungry daughter out of her high chair, and ran outside with her on my shoulders to catch the parade. It worked out well for Rosa too, giving her time to actually feed herself for a change. We finished up, and I bought Anabelle the Minnie balloon I promised her for our room. I was incensed on the bus when I realized that they gave me a Mickey balloon…until I realized that all the balloons have Mickey on one side and Minnie on the other. This pretty much sums up my mental state during this trip. We saw some fireworks from the bus window, and collapsed back at the hotel, where our child was very excited to sleep in "Anabelle's big bed".