As 2015 faded into 2016, Interstate 75 faded from Tennessee into Georgia, and then into Florida. The Vols received a bowl bid to Tampa Bay’s Outback Bowl, which is conveniently within driving distance of both Orlando and the beach. Because Florida is a long, long drive, and ballgames are a long event for little boys to sit through, Ian’s Grandpoppa decided that we would leave a day early in order to spend a day at the Magic Kingdom.
Ian lately has been obsessing over Planes. Both the film and toys. For Christmas he received the film on DVD (in anticipation of a 9 hour Florida drive) and a few of the toys. Surprisingly Drip and not Dusty has become Ian’s favorite character. We started coaching Ian a few weeks before the trip. Mainly during the opening of Planes, Planes: Fire and Rescue, and Cars. We would ask Ian about the castle and if he would like to visit it someday. When we entered the Magic Kingdom, the first thing Ian focused on was the castle in the background. Then he grew so excited he was almost vibrating. Now, every time we watch a Disney movie, Ian excitedly shares with everyone “I’ve been to that castle!”
Like Ian, Brinn had never been to a Disney park before. Unlike Ian, Brinn couldn’t see the point in getting too excited about another theme park. Walking in through the main gates converted Brinn to believing the Magic Kingdom just might be the most magical place on earth.
So here were our favorites from the Magic Kingdom:
Grandpoppa: The Dole Whips
Google or Pinterest this culinary delight’s name, and you’ll find about 3 million mom blogs bemoaning the fact that they can’t quite get the copy cat recipe to come out as good as Disney’s, and that the Magic Kingdom is the only place on the planet that serves them. While Ian and I rode Aladdin’s magic carpet for the third or fourth time, I sent Joy a picture of Ian grinning and pulling the lever to make our “carpter” go up higher. Instead of admiring my cute kid and sending a complementary response message about he cute he is, she laid down explicit instructions for heading straight to the Tiki Hut upon our departure. She demanded that we try a Dole Whip before we do anything else. After an initial bout of skepticism over an overpriced glorified ice cream, Grandpoppa quickly changed his mind and has now entered into an understanding with mom bloggers. He has declared that he will be spending his retirement in learning to make the perfect Dole Whip.
Ashlee: Pirates of the Carribbean
My favorite Disney movies of all time. And they were based on a ride! I was super pumped about the ride, but I did find that I was a bit anxious to see if the ride would measure up to expectation. Short answer: yes, it absolutely did. Like Joy explained, the ride itself was not all that exciting, but the attention Disney put into every last detail was breathtaking.
Brinn: Buzz LightYear
This ride definitely did not exist when I last visited Disney as a seven year old. The student
worker in my office recommended that we use one of our fast passes for it, and boy was Ryan dead on with this recommendation. It’s a ride where you get to shoot aliens with laser beams. Did Disney know we were bringing Brinn?
Ian: the train
Another current obsession of Ian’s are trains. He still doesn’t show much interest in
watching Shining Time Station, but he sure does know the names for all the trains in Sodor. He’ll ask me to read his Thomas the Train book (thanks Joy, really, I love books that whistle at me the whole time I’m trying to read) for hours at a time. Ian absolutely loved riding the train all the way around the Magic Kingdom and seeing everything the park offered. The train would be Ian’s favorite ride anywhere he went right now. But Ian did laugh and shout and shoot on Buzz LightYear, he ran all the way to the top, and back to the bottom of the Swiss Family Robinson tree house, he very seriously followed every goofy command of our tour guide on the jungle cruise, and he dragged me back to the line for the magic carpets over and over.
Surprisingly none of us were struck with materialism during our day at the Magic Kingdom, and only two of us made requests for purchases: Grandpoppa requested two more Dole Whips (the first one was just to determine if he liked them, the second to cool down, and the third to finally sit back and enjoy one) and Ian requested first a stroller (his poor little legs were just too worn out) and a green Micky Mouse balloon. While we waited around the balloon lady, she had to first help several children in line ahead of Ian. A little girl requested a green balloon. Poor Ian was nearly sick with apprehension. He was so worried about that little girl getting his green balloon. Fortunately, the wise balloon lady selected a green balloon from the other side of her mass of balloons, and saved the one closest to Ian for him. At the time, $12 seemed astronomical for a balloon, but that balloon is still holding air, 50 days later!
Unfortunately our first family Disney trip did not end with the big firework display after dark. Even with the stroller, Ian’s energy had fully depleted. We made the collective decision to end on a good note, and made mental notes for planning a longer stay at Disney when Ian’s a little bit older. Ian dragged himself back to the truck with Grandpoppa, and didn’t even make it back to highway before he conked out completely. After such a busy day, I thought he would be hungry enough to wake up for some dinner after a 45 minute nap during our drive. Ian did wake up just long enough to fight with me about why I would not let him take his balloon into Applebee’s, and then he slipped back into oblivion.
Our day at Disney was brief, but utterly magical.