Preface #1: Let me start off by saying that every time I take a vacation, I feel like Ashton Kutcher’s going to jump out and tell me I’m being punkd. Because this happens every damn time.
Preface #2: I love Disney World. Always have. Spent my life watching The Little Mermaid over and over. Sing the song. Got engaged at Magic Kingdom. So I’m not a hater.
Preface #3: This post may be long and sarcastic.
And now, the story: For months, I’ve been planning our spring break vacation. My husband and I haven’t taken a real vacation since our honeymoon, we very rarely spend money on ourselves, and I wanted to go big. We decided—despite the possible lines, despite the fact that Disney blocks out the cheaper park-hopper passes on certain dates, despite the possible exhaustion, despite the unpredictable weather—to take our son to Disney.
I researched. I planned. I selected a hotel. I wrote an itinerary. I printed maps.
On social media, we see people post pictures and statuses about their lives. Many mommy bloggers in particular receive scrutiny because they try to portray lives full of rainbows and roses. They feign that they succeed creating masterpieces from steps they learned on pinterest, that their children never have tantrums and smiles abound.
I have a tattoo of an open book on my wrist, and although many people assume the ink relates to my love of literature, in actuality, I care deeply about honesty. I’m an open book. Always have been. I don’t hide who I am, even the parts about myself that I don’t like. And that’s just me.
So why hide anything about our trip?
As soon as we turned onto the exit on Saturday afternoon, I knew we were heading for the wrong hotel. Thanks a lot, Marriott! Although we spoke to a woman on the phone from a village of hotels with multiple pools and splash areas for children to choose from and booked with that woman, we ended up with a reservation confirmation for a smaller, lonely Marriott with a pool no bigger than the kidney-shaped pool in my parents’ screen room and without a hot tub or splash areas for children. My husband and I failed to check the reservation before we drove there (our fault) and the place we really wanted to be was sold out.
The plus side? We have a one-room suite, which means a LOT more room for the baby to run around, a lot more room for dining in (which we did after our long day at Magic Kingdom), and a lot more room for Walking Dead watching on Sunday night after the baby went to sleep in the OTHER room. And, the weather wasn’t exactly pool weather anyway. So there’s that.
We decided to go out to Kobe Japanese Steakhouse after we checked into the hotel. Where my son threw his sippy cup in the fish pond, stood up in his highchair, yelled, and spit rice all over the table and floor.
And no one at the table was remotely sympathetic. Apparently they’ve never had kids. Or theirs are always gems in public. I call BS.
The baby slept great, thank goodness. He slept from about 8:30 p.m. until about 8:00, when I was already showered and dressed and ready to take him to Magic Kingdom! New day, new attitude, new smiles, ready to go.
We ate breakfast, left the hotel at 9:00, and at 9:30, boarded the monorail to the mother effing happiest place on earth.
We stopped to take the obligatory picture—you know, you offer to take one for a couple who speaks no English, and they take yours—in front of the “Let the Memories Begin” grass sign. Then we entered.
And all was bliss. Cloudy day. A little breezy. Baby in a good mood. Mommy and Daddy skipping happily behind the stroller. Daddy carrying a backpack full of everything we could possibly need to have a successful day.
Street parade. The baby danced. Dumbo. New and improved! Ariel. Adorable. Winnie the Pooh. Sweet. It’s a Small World. Same as it was 50 years ago. Not one line was longer than 20 minutes. My dad drove over to surprise and meet us. My baby smiled. Lunch reservation at Liberty Tree Tavern. Delicious food, good service, baby sat in his high chair and ate all his food.
Could it be?
Oh, no. Ashton Kutcher was just getting started.
Now that we’ve finished day one here and our first trip to a Disney park with William, I am sitting here, dumbfounded and exhausted. But am I exhausted from a baby’s temper tantrums? Nope. Am I exhausted from all the walking of the streets of Magic Kingdom? Bring on the exercise.
I am exhausted from Florida. Freaking Florida weather. And shitty, inconsiderate service.
After our lunch, my dad, his girlfriend, my husband, my son and I walked to Peter Pan’s Flight to use our fast passes. The little man enjoyed looking over his little flying ship. When we exited that ride, I knew that I would eventually want to punch my husband for not buying the ponchos I asked for when planning the trip.
Jimmy wanted to go get fast passes for another ride, and since we weren’t alone anymore, he suggested I film my son on the carousel with his grandpa while he went to run to Buzz Lightyear in Tomorrow Land. Sure, I said.
What a bad decision.
The sky went from cloudy to torrential in about 4 seconds. We stood in line for the carousel, the workers running frantically and shouting, “We’re closing the ride!” They didn’t help anyone get off the ride or get out of the way or get somewhere dry. Children screamed. Thunder clapped. Rain shot from EVERY direction, hard. I stood shielding my son with a sweatshirt while my dad tried to shield me. He was soaked. I was cold. The baby was totally upset and confused.
We ended up standing in a princess store—A PRINCESS STORE which had neither toys for my son nor a dry t-shirt for my dad—for an hour. Or maybe a little less. But it seemed like an hour. Since my husband took our stroller and bag, I had no money, no clean clothes, no diapers, and a wet baby.
Eventually, my dad dropped money on ponchos so we could leave. Thank God he was there. We made our way to find my husband. Somehow, in the midst of this, my son fell asleep on my shoulder. I’m so thankful he did.
We ended up in a café which was packed with people. Approximately 30 women stood lined up waiting for the restroom, about 8 people stood waiting with children for the family restroom, and—SHOCKER—no one stood in front of the men’s room. I had to pee, and I had a baby to change. And guess what? A janitor—a janitor who takes his job way too seriously, I might add—blocked the door. Told me even if no one was in there, I couldn’t use the men’s room to go to the bathroom or change the baby.
And that’s when I wanted to cry. I was too tired to be my bitchy self and push passed him. I bit my lip and waited in line. For the bathroom. Longer than I had for every ride. Watching no one go in or out of the men’s room.
We sat in the café for another hour, pacing, but thankful that the baby slept through it.
When he woke up, the rain was light enough that we decided to make our way to another ride. We made our way to Buzz Lightyear to use our fast passes, parked our wet stroller, left our beloved ponchos in the basket, and went on the ride.
There was no wait for the ride, the clouds were parting—or so it seemed—so, maybe we were on the up and up.
After we got off the ride, we couldn’t find the stroller. Evidently, despite the fact that 12 other people parked their strollers where we did, they were not in “designated” stroller parking areas. To which I say, WHO GIVES A SHIT?
A “cast member”—which, sorry, but no—told me that they have a right to move my property—MY PERSONAL PROPERTY—if it’s in the wrong place. We spent a decent amount of time looking for the stroller without the help of any of the careless “cast members” and finally found it across Tomorrow Land in front of a completely different attraction.
And I wanted to cry. Again. So this time, I did.
I am so glad my son did not notice my quiet tears as he sat on my dad’s shoulders, laughing and banging on his head.
We went ahead and enjoyed the Swiss Family Treehouse—baby loved climbing the steps—Aladdin’s Magic Carpet, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
And then the clouds came back. I was too afraid to stay later.
So I did what I always do. As we left the park, I stopped in guest relations and I complained. I decided that I hadn’t experienced pleasantness from any of the staff members at Magic Kingdom, and someone needed to know about it.
I’m always the one to complain. When we go to restaurants, if something isn’t cooked properly, I say something. When our phones get poor service or shut off or our laptops need work, I argue with customer service. Sometimes, complaining gets you somewhere. Sometimes, you just have to hope that you tell the right person and maybe the wrong that was done to you isn’t done in the future to anyone else.
Today, I spoke to a delightful man named Austin about my experience with the café janitor and with the cast members in Tomorrow Land who moved my stroller and scared the bejesus out of me and wouldn’t help me find it. He listened. He took notes. He expressed his regrets that we hadn’t had the best experience and that he wanted to help us.
And my son got a huge stuffed Mickey Mouse toy for free, and we got passes to come to Disney another day.
So, I left there smiling. We experienced many of the rides we wanted to. My dad’s shirt dried. My son was still laughing and smiling. And we could come again if we wanted to test the unpredictable Florida skies another day. More positives than negatives, right?
We ordered take out, brought it back to the room, sat on the couch and relaxed.
And just before bath time, as we cleaned up our food and water ran in the tub, the baby pooped on the floor of the hotel room. Just because.
Thank God for The Walking Dead, or I would have had to call the whole day a draw
And on to Day 2…