Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Magical Disney Balloon

All things Disney have always been a big part of my life. Ever since I was 3 years old I have been going to Disney World at least twice a year, and when we moved to Florida, when I was 13, I went 4-5 times a year. Then I worked there for a semester in college - making minimum wage and working until 3 AM, but having the best time of my life. I have seen every single animated movie they have made multiple times (even the  Mulans, Pochahantas and Hunchback-type films). I have been to Disney Land as well as Tokyo Disney. I have Mickey heads on my Christmas tree right now.

Now, I am not the type of person that collects memorabilia or anything, I just love Disney. Disney World is a magical place, that holds a special place in my heart. I have always thought about brining my children with me for their first time and looked so forward to seeing their little faces light up when they got off the Monorail and walked down that ramp to the entrance.

When my parents offered up the opportunity to meet them in Orlando last month, while my dad was in a golf tournament just outside the Disney property, I felt like I couldn't pass up the chance. With everything else that was going on in my life, I needed a "Disney fix" as my mom and I call it. I was a bit hesitant at first because my husband was not able to come down with us, and I really wanted him to be there the first time M got to go. He told me "I want to be there the first time she goes and will actually remember it. I am totally fine with you going without me."

a not-too-happy M
And he made a good point. At the time we went, M was 23 months old. I knew she would not remember her first trip to Disney. I do not remember mine at 3 years old. Come to think of it, I don't remember much before 4 years old. Even trips to Disney when I was older I don't have memories of - just flashes because of the photos I have seen so many times. But I really wanted to go, and just because she won't remember it, doesn't mean I didn't want her to go, so we met my parents down in Orlando for 3 days.

(I have to say this: I realize that I am extremely lucky when it comes to going to Disney World. I know that families plan for months or even years in advance, and save up money, and take off work, and it is this huge ordeal that they strategically plan out, etc.. But here I am booking plane tickets a week before, and getting in to parks for free (my mother's best friend has worked there for almost 20 years), so it is something that I can easily do on a whim. Also, I am not the planner type - I like to just go with the flow and do what we want, whenever - this was one of those trips. I know this is a rare case.)

I won't go into detail about our daily activity at the parks, but I will say this - we could have gone to the Disney Store and gotten the same reaction out of M! Ok, that is a little exaggeration, but seriously she was somewhat non-plus about the whole thing.

I got teary eyed when we walked through the turnstiles and saw the train at the entrance, and I kept pointing things out for her to look at, expecting cheers of joy, but she would just look and then go back to trying to zip up her sweatshirt. On rides it was the same way - she sat there silently and maybe occasionally would point out a character she knew, but there were no screams of excitement as I had hoped.

And when it came to meeting the characters face-to-face, she wanted none of it. Seeing them on TV or in small plush form is fine, but a 7 foot tall Goofy was not right. We did get some pretty funny photos of this though (see above).

Ballon Day 1
It was so different going to the parks with a toddler. Having to push around a stroller, and park it in designated parking spots, is a pain in the balls. Working around her nap schedule was also a pain. She would sleep from like 11-1, but thankfully my mom would sit with her and I was able to run on some rides by myself. There are also a lot of rides she can't go on, of course, so it is a totally different experience than I am used to. You can't do whatever, whenever, which I was fine with, it was just different.

The highlight of M's day at the Magic Kingdom was getting a Mickey Head Balloon on Main Street. For $10 we got a yellow (of course) Mickey Head as we were leaving the park, after the 3 PM parade. After 3 days we took it back to South Florida with us to my parents house, and then a couple days later we headed back to Boston. Believe it or not, that sucker is still standing - 32 days later!!! Seriously, they must use some sort of Disney Magic to inflate this balloon. At the time of purchase I couldn't believe I was spending $10 on a balloon, but damn if that wasn't worth every penny...I can't wait to see M's face next week when we arrive at my parents house and "yellow Mickey balloon" is still floating.
Mickey Balloon in it's current state 

So to sum it up, we had a great time, and I think M had fun, but if you ask her about it now she has no clue what you are talking about. 23 months is way too young to go to Disney (if you are not the youngest sibling), especially if you are spending a fortune and taking off work, etc.. I think we will take her back when she is over 3 and at the rate she is growing she will probably be tall enough for Space Mountain then!

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