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Walt Disney Has Some Explaining To Do

In an effort to show Elby that she is still king of the castle figuratively and literally, her daddy and I decided to take her to the magical place where dreams and wishes come true – Disneyland. The only condition was that she remember that she is two years old. “No, I’m three!” “Not today you’re not! Let me see your game face!” Apparently once you turn three, Disneyland thinks you’re going to be having sixty bucks worth of fun but until then, you’re still luggage.

Our scheme kind of reminded me of when I was sixteen and trying to get into bars with a welfare ID given to me by a coworker at Burger King. I always felt a little nervous that I wouldn’t pass for Dawn, twenty-six year old single mother of two on the dole. But it worked nine times out of ten. Ah, memories. The entrance to Mouseville went down smoothly. Once in, we headed immediately to the Princess Pavilion. Problem one: the line to have a short meet and greet with the Princesses (and I use that term loosely because is Pocahontas officially royalty or does she just wear a cute dress?) was over an hour long. But we waited because E desperately wanted to meet Ariel. She looooves Ariel. The other princesses are okay in her book but Ariel is the sweet spot. Finally, I let Jon hold our place in line and I went to investigate just what was in store for us after our wait. Turns out, Ariel is not even in the Princess Pavilion. She resided in a cove on the other side of the Matterhorn. So we grabbed Elby and dragged her meet her muse.
Is it just my imagination or did Disneyland used to be totally different? Characters would be running around the park on a constant basis. You couldn’t walk five feet without slamming into a Goofy or Eeyore. The Princesses were friendly in the days of yore and would walk right up to you and eat out of your hand. Now everything is just for the photo op. You have to wait in a long line to meet every character. The longest line was to meet the Godfather of mice, Mickey. We had to wind all around Mickey’s fun house and watch old Mickey movies and after about fifty minutes, Elby got to shyly kneel at the at the big mouse’s feet and say hi.
Get this, the fucker doesn’t even talk. He’s like an over sized mime. Was that from like silent movie Mickey days? I don’t get it. And why do they have only one of every character? We didn’t get to meet Buzz Lightyear because “he was going on break!” Would kill them to have another guy in a Buzz Lightyear costume run around yelling “To infinity and beyond”? The whole thing is that they try to get you to buy photo cards so that they take your photo and then you buy it online. As if everyone and their cat doesn’t have a quality camera at this point.

The Teacups ride was a big hit. But, just a tip: this ride exists at my local mall. Elby likes it just as much there. Then we went on Alice in Wonderland which scared the shit out of her. We had to promise her like a hundred times on the way home that she wouldn’t have to go under any “tunnels where people do silly things and it’s very loud and scary.”
And then we were off for a mellow face painting which is another thing that can be accomplished without driving all the way to Disneyland.

Then we had lunch. This is Elby looking at the menu. “A chicken sandwich is HOW MUCH?”
The thing E liked best? Getting a princess hat at the end! I know I sound cynical. And I am. Disneyland is not like I remember in my childish haze. But, it was worth every Euro – oh yeah, did I mention we flew to Paris Disney?
Elby had an amazing time and I fell in love with her smile and enthusiasm and humor over and over again. I loved that it was just the three of us. And I hadn’t seen her look this content in a long time.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on June 4, 2008 10:18 pmUncategorized39 comments  

39 Comments

  1. Backpacking Dad said,

    It was just after walking down the hallway out of Mickey’s Barn that my wife dropped our camera. On my daughter’s first birthday.

    We’re Disney freaks, and we went 3 times in Erin’s first year.

    The characters did used to wander around a lot, even as recently as five or six years ago.

    Babies love “Small World” (which is closed this year) and “Pirates” and the “Haunted Mansion”. Or, at least, my baby does. She wasn’t too keen on “Finding Nemo”, but she was only 7 weeks old when we went on it. The fear of her screeching like a banshee in an enclosed, submerged cylinder that we couldn’t exit gracefully for 10 minutes kept us from taking her on that one again the last two visits.

    | June 4, 2008 @ 11:38 pm

  2. Heather said,

    Oh, so you’re one of those parents who buys their child’s love. ME TOO!

    | June 5, 2008 @ 12:03 am

  3. Anonymous said,

    careful-you might get a cease and desist letter from the Disney company.
    I’m bummed, my daughter just turned two and I was getting all excited about being able to take her Disneyland sometime in the near future. This doesn’t sound so great. Lines make everything suck.

    | June 5, 2008 @ 12:13 am

  4. Stefanie said,

    Listen, I’m not trying to be a Disneyland Scrooge or anything. I like to complain. We did have fun. I just think Disneyland is overblown for very young kids. Better for when they’re like 6. And it’s a Smallworld is closed like someone said. Also, the new Toystory ride should be good. Wait, I don’t need to be all Pollyanna. It’s just my opinion.

    | June 5, 2008 @ 12:21 am

  5. Suzy said,

    Disneyland yeah yeah, Princesses blah blah blah, long line etc etc etc, Disneyland is overrated duh duh duh what I really want to know IS ARE YOU STANDING ME UP FOR LUNCH TOMORROW OR NOT BITCH?

    | June 5, 2008 @ 12:29 am

  6. giggleblue said,

    ah, the joys of euro disney. i sometimes dread the day that i will have to take our children – and we don’t even have any yet.

    i completely see where you are coming from!

    for more lower cost excitement, declare the day as your daughters birthday everytime you go to a resturant! my parents used to do that to tease me, but then i was in middle school by that time. it’s still not funny.

    | June 5, 2008 @ 1:03 am

  7. Always Home and Uncool said,

    This is such a buzzkill.My 8-year-old daughter has a Make-a-Wish trip to Disney in December. It’s bad enough Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride has bit the dust.

    | June 5, 2008 @ 1:38 am

  8. sarah said,

    I’ve never done Disney Land (although I sense the inaugural visit is mere weeks away), but Disney World in Orlando was always packed with wandering characters. Not sure what we’d find if we went there now, but the idea of them standing around at the end of a long line makes me sad.

    That last picture is to die for. Is there anything sweeter than the toddler who’s so satisfied with and exhausted by life that they just pass out the second they hit the car seat? She is beyond precious!

    | June 5, 2008 @ 2:05 am

  9. momomax said,

    What a cute kid!

    As much as I dislike Disney, I can’t wait to take my kid(s) to disney land/world, whatever.

    I was at Disney world once with my ex-husband of all people. It was pretty boring, but then again, it’s really for people under 10 isn’t it?

    It sounds like it was good day mostly because the three of you got to get reacquainted.

    | June 5, 2008 @ 2:19 am

  10. Land of Bean said,

    My parents never took me to Disneyland/world and I’ve always felt like a little part of me was missing. I am desperately excited to take our daughter there. Of course I will hate it once I’m there because I can’t stand crowds, lines, heat, other people’s children, etc., but at least MY girl won’t grow up incomplete.

    | June 5, 2008 @ 2:48 am

  11. Kari said,

    We just did a Disney World trip in Feb. w/ my 4 year old son and 2 and a half year old daughter and they LOVED it (so did we). But, we lucked out b/c they weren’t yet interested in waiting in line to meet the characters, they were more interested in the rides, etc. The characters don’t wander around Disney World either, and that’s b/c of the “autograph” book craziness that started in the last few years. Now everyone wants to mob the characters and cut to get an autograph, so unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your view) the characters are placed in those specific sections/buildings so everyone gets their turn to meet them. Also, the only characters allowed to speak are the “face” characters (the ones w/their faces uncovered). So anyone under a mask or “head” isn’t allowed to talk. Anwyay, your pics are so cute! And I’m glad your daughter had such a fun time:)

    | June 5, 2008 @ 3:11 am

  12. Undomestic Diva said,

    The Disney characters blow. Lines. And long lines at that… What happened to the good ol’ days when it was just a free-for-all and everyone just pushed & shoved their way to the character of choice?

    Now Universal Studios? Totally awesome characters that are not only out and about CONSTANTLY, but Spiderman made my 2 year old feel like a hero when he took A FEW MINUTES (!) and showed him how to throw web from his wrist. Then signed his t-shirt. Then I made out with him.

    (OK, not the last part. But I coulda.)

    | June 5, 2008 @ 3:54 am

  13. Mama's Losin' It said,

    Awww how sweet! I can’t wait to take my kids!!…or can I??

    | June 5, 2008 @ 4:05 am

  14. Shannon said,

    We had a blast when we went in February. Having a boy who could care less about Princesses saved us from the ridiculous lines there. And the prices, oy! You just have to pay without looking at the prices, after all buying their love is EXPENSIVE. Caleb still talks about it, so it was worth it! Glad she got some alone time with you guys. Being dethroned is so hard. A few more months though and she won’t be able to remember a time they weren’t a part of your family. It gets easier then. It has helped us to make a point to take Caleb anywhere we can alone. I make the biggest deal about taking him to the store with me to get milk. It also has the added benefit of giving me a break from the bloodsucking infant. 😉

    | June 5, 2008 @ 5:52 am

  15. Carey said,

    Mickey’s schedule is so tight that there is only one Mickey out and about at any one time – at any of the parks. So, Mickey is not posing for pics at Magic Kingdom and Epcot at the same time… cause, there’s only one Mickey ya know… and chances are, that Mickey is a girl under that costume!! Or a really short guy!! I think the cutoff for Mickey is like 5’4 or something like that?? I even know someone who played Mickey once… and they puked in their costume cause it was so flippin’ hot. Gross. I never looked at Mickey quite the same after that!! Or the time I saw Tigger with his head off smoking a cigarette… kinda takes away the magic.

    | June 5, 2008 @ 5:53 am

  16. Whit said,

    The characters still walk around. They just have certain areas they are supposed to stay in.

    Granted, they aren’t out like they once were, but they’re there. We go fairly often (even before we had kids, who said it’s for 10 and under?) and on days that aren’t as busy we’ve had everyone from Cinderella to Capt. Hook sit at a table or bench with us for a good 10 minutes while we eat our “healthy” breakfast of whatever crap we buy on Main Street. It is nicer when characters that can talk join you.

    BTW, one of the comments mentioned Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride being closed. That never happened. The fans were able to change Disney’s mind on the matter.

    | June 5, 2008 @ 7:39 am

  17. Black Hockey Jesus said,

    Love the intensity of the painted face pose. She’s like “Take it take it and make sure you get all the white curly things. Did you get all the white curly things?”

    | June 5, 2008 @ 9:55 am

  18. Cory said,

    She is precious. I love love love the curly hair. I’m sure she loved having all of your attention for a day. Sometimes buying their love is totally worth it!

    | June 5, 2008 @ 1:41 pm

  19. Kari said,

    Whit, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is closed in Disney World, it closed in the 90’s sometime. It’s still open in DisneyLand.

    | June 5, 2008 @ 1:47 pm

  20. MetroDad said,

    Only one of each character? Lining up for photo ops? Wow, I didn’t realize that Disneyland had many so many changes.

    Of course, the last time I was there, I was on acid. Man, that seems like several lifetimes ago.

    | June 5, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

  21. Aunt Becky said,

    I got a little misty-eyed, Stef. I really did.

    What?

    NO, I’M NOT HORMONAL, HOW DARE YOU?

    | June 5, 2008 @ 2:51 pm

  22. Catwoman said,

    The picture where she’s in shock over the menu prices totally made me laugh and made me wish you were my mother so my hair could look like that. Man is she cute.

    And did you get a matching princess hat so that she’d really feel loved, because come on, you know you wanted to!

    | June 5, 2008 @ 2:57 pm

  23. Miss said,

    My son LOVES Disneyland. He has a pattern of things he needs to go on. I am always bummed when something is closed. You would think that with all the money they are making off of 8 dollar bottled water, they could afford a good handyman.

    | June 5, 2008 @ 3:20 pm

  24. Anonymous said,

    I agree, I was expecting that “magical” place to rain down cotton candy and have a milk chocolate river.My Dad once told me,”lower expectations = greater happiness” My Dad has the same voice as the teacher on Ferris Bueller.

    | June 5, 2008 @ 3:45 pm

  25. Lynsey said,

    Yes Disneyland has changed but as a kid, it is still the coolest place ever! We didn’t care about prices or how long the wait was when we were kids.

    We went there three years ago and had the worse trip ever. We started it with Mr. Toads and my son thought he was really in hell and screamed and screamed and tried to get out. I spent the whole ride holding him with all my might while he screamed bloody murder. He hated every ride except Winny the Poo and the Pirates of Carribian. Then at the hotel he decided to do a backflip off the pool and cracked the top of his head open and had 5 staples at the local emergency room. And then I lost him for about 15 minutes which terrified me and he didn’t find it too fun either. His dad is taking him next week for a whole week…hopefully his trip goes better.

    And by the way, I want your daughters hair, it’s gorgeous!

    Anyway, I’ve talked enough.

    Lyns

    | June 5, 2008 @ 4:58 pm

  26. Am I doing okay? said,

    You probably subscribe or write for, but your post reminded me of this article:

    http://www.lamag.com/featuredarticle.aspx?id=7016&source=rss

    Just because it is about Dland and gossip.

    Who watched the twins? Or did you just put in a DVD on a auto-loop?

    | June 5, 2008 @ 5:02 pm

  27. MereCat said,

    Oh that was good! I’m sure she loved it so so so much. It was a special trip just for her! She’s a beautiful, little precious girl. Thanks for sharing the story.

    I’m looking forward to the time when stuff like that gets my kids all excited. We saw the big stuffed Chik-fil-a cow today at the pediatrician’s office and they really couldn’t have cared less about the cow or the pediatrician.

    | June 5, 2008 @ 5:14 pm

  28. Becky said,

    Oh my gosh, that last picture is my favorite! So Cute!! I am sure that, to her, it was the most magical experience ever!

    Becky
    http://www.stinkylemsky.typepad.com/

    | June 5, 2008 @ 6:01 pm

  29. Leslie said,

    That is one pooped princess! She does look like she had a fantastic time. Thanks for clueing me in on what’s ahead for us when it’s time to finally drop some serious cash and do the “Disney thing” for our boys. I’ll remember to take on a second job several months before the trip so we can afford lunch while we’re there. Ha!

    | June 5, 2008 @ 6:04 pm

  30. Dawn said,

    this is why we waited until my twin girls were 5 to take them. Even then A was still spooked by silent beings with oversized heads, but the princesses at that age were a hit. Now they are 8 and it’s all about the wild rollercoasters – it’s all about progress around here!

    | June 5, 2008 @ 7:07 pm

  31. Bonnie said,

    God, Jack has been a pill lately too. Maybe he’s tired of being a big brother.

    I know those Minnies and Mickey’s used to walk around. They have totally gone cold-hard-cash on us.

    I love the last photo. At peace…

    | June 5, 2008 @ 8:03 pm

  32. Rachael said,

    Isn’t it funny when you find out that things might not be quite the way you remember them being? I remember Disney being so cool and magic as a kid, but going back after high school it was a little different. I’m sure that she had an AMAZING time, which is really why you went anyway!

    | June 6, 2008 @ 4:45 am

  33. Jennifer said,

    Wait, you didn’t really go to Euro Disney, did you? Because Euro Disney still has random characters walking around, unlike Disney in FL, with the long lines. Of course, then you have to fight the mob. Plus…much emphasis on Mickey, Minnie, and the gang and much less emphasis on princesses, to the disappointment of our 5-yr-old daughter. And, uh, French standards of customer service, not uber-cheerful American Disney standards. Euro Disney is no Disney World, I’ll tell you that. But the pink Sleeping Beauty castle and cool European weather somewhat makes up for it.

    | June 6, 2008 @ 10:39 am

  34. Anonymous said,

    What is it that you want Disney to explain?

    | June 6, 2008 @ 7:32 pm

  35. immigrantmomma said,

    The lines were a real killer for our kids – we went with our five children (ages 6 to 1 year old) and the only one who had fun was the 7 year old. The lines and the heat make it tough for the little ones
    But we try right?

    | June 6, 2008 @ 9:24 pm

  36. anita said,

    The lines were a real killer for our kids – we went with our five children (ages 7 to 1 year old) and the only one who had fun was the 7 year old. The lines and the heat make it tough for the little ones
    But we try right?
    http://www.outoftheblue.typepad.com

    | June 6, 2008 @ 9:32 pm

  37. Christine said,

    That’s so sweet you two did that for her. She’ll remember it forever.

    But your photos…MAHvelous. I see you put the tips from my li’l photo tutorial guest post over at Fussy’s to good use ;).

    And if you win the Parenting Mag deal, will you give me a shout-out? Better yet, just send the cash award my way, kay?

    So, I’m planning on starting back up my photo series. If you’re interested, email me some photos and I’ll use them in a post (if you followed the link on my post at Fussy’s, you can see how I reworked one of her photos).

    Rock on.

    | June 7, 2008 @ 1:03 am

  38. Jerseygirl89 said,

    Oh yeah, this is why I spent last night being jostled by dirty people at a local carnival – it’s how we show love. :)

    | June 7, 2008 @ 4:58 pm

  39. Andee said,

    We went to Disney World for the first time with out kids this past January. And you are absolutely right – it is WAY too expensive. My youngest got in for free, but I couldn’t pass the 4 year old off, so it was $565 for a 3 day pass. Unbelievable. I do miss the good old days. It is worth it though to see the happiness on their faces though.

    | June 9, 2008 @ 8:50 pm

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