As I sit in the darkened room at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel (pure fantasy hotel – another story will come), I think about the year that has passed and the speed that it flew.
I couldn’t think of a finer way to finish 2009 than to go to the happiest place on earth and watch how its lights, sounds, animations, people, rides, food and happy chaos sent Maxie man on a tail spin where we had no choice than to step into the updraft, follow along and “enjoy” the ride!
From an early age Max has been completely enamored with book characters, movie characters, TV characters. Rose was a traditional Barbie/Polly Pocket Girl (and in fact at 16 still gets heart palpitations when Max plays with her pollys!) but Max broke the mold. Actually he has broken quite a few molds!
HE LOVES MICKEY. Now I mean TRULY LOVES MICKEY. So it seemed appropriate to take a few days before Christmas to reenact the last time we went to Disney but skip the part where the only ride we took was in an ambulance from Epcot to Celebration hospital.
Disney puts new meaning to the statement “Lights Camera Action”…of course for us it is “Lights - Action” and quick grab the camera!
We drove to Florida.
This created shockwaves in the community! I still find it amazing when we (Australians) do something that we find natural … like drive to our holiday and they (our US friends) keel over in shock. But we had a great time – in the traffic, pit stopping at the rest stops where you need a paper towel to open the door going into the toilet (why is it at these times I always think of my mother?) and the coffee is so delicious – made two days prior and reheated just for us! I do joke … a little. Thankfully both children don’t mind the car – 3 year old loves it. Particularly with the portable DVD that was replenished by
willing and able sister. The sister with ipod now firmly implanted in her ears (I do believe she should eventually be a specialist in hearing aids…I am sure it is going to be the career of the future…) – she sleeps and pretends sleeps (the sleep you do when your brother wants the DVD changed). The Engineer has of course done the jobs set for him by the event manager and they included re-sorting the CD music prior to leaving (I know – I smacked myself later) to ensure in no radio zones, we have something worthwhile to listen to. So we had a mix of Shrek, Handel, Best of Barbie and a little Christmas music – supposedly something for everyone!
We arrive in Florida the
Sunshine State (it was freezing) - screaming in on two wheels. The two wheels? Well Max had come to the end of the line with his DVD’s and was enjoying his father’s Christmas music selection. However 40 minutes out from destination YES 40 MINUTES – the song Santa Claus is Coming to Town complete with Michael Jackson came on and that was it. Car happiness depended on this song being repeated for 40 minutes. This of course occurred while Sister was “Pretend sleeping” (see previous note), and Mother was in the back seat (the thing you do to show Number 1 daughter that it isn’t really ALL about Number 1 son) and couldn’t reach. So it was left to the Engineer to keep car happiness and in true Engineer form (leopards never change their spots regardless of how many Mr Muscle scrubby pads you use) he would let it go to the next song. For some bizarre reason he enjoyed his seat being kicked and his youngest screaming for “more” Santa. So yes – two wheels and screaming we arrived at our destination.
Each morning we had “breakfast with the stars” – that would be the College All Stars who ate anything that wasn’t moving or nailed to the floor (thank goodness Max never sits still). So we would be in and out with our plates piled with necessary, fulfilling dietary items – pastries, biscuits and gravy, hash and coffee (Engineer’s breakfast). We would escape up stairs, largely due to the mass of All Star eaters but also because it required a ride on the elevator.
Do you have an addiction? Can you get through the day without your favorite starbucks? Perhaps it is a little chocolate every day to keep you sane? Well for Maxie Man his addiction is elevators and escalators which has lead to us taking shares in the local Borders that has both. He will now sort my plastic bag stash into “elevator stores” and “other”. He waves to buildings as we drive past them if they have an elevator and we now start each day telling him if it is an “elevator day” or not.
The parks were packed (who forgot that Florida State broke early for Christmas) but we managed a few rides, a few shows and a few sights. Patience is certainly a virtue and thank goodness flossy is virtuous! She and her father finally got to do a few rides while Maxie man and I did what anyone would do when they pay a princely sum to go to Disney….we played in Winnie the Pooh’s 100 acre wood and ran under the sprinklers!
Of course we could have done this at home – I know this! But it is just not the same as doing it at Disney where you are virtually the only parent who wasn’t cringing because their child had the audacity to play with water – For I am the experienced mother with a change of clothes packed for the unexpected. That is what it is like living with Max – it is living with the unexpected and I try very hard to go with his flow for I feel somewhere along the line, we were led down this path of parenthood again for a reason and perhaps, just maybe that reason was going to be in Winnie the Pooh’s garden or Handy Manny’s workshop! Whatever the case, going with his flow does mean a few tears which were compounded by the chirpy Disney employees who would come up and pat him on the head and say “oh dear…cheer up this is the happiest place on earth”!
We loved the Nemo show – Broadway Quality!
and met a few characters -
We rode the train
and the Merry Go Round
and moments after this photo, we had at least 6 park employees looking for us in Honey I shrunk the Kids maze (the maze is really really really good…you can actually get lost!
We discovered the fun of sticking our head into holes
We caught up with friends…
We even celebrated my birthday at Magic Kingdom. I was given a huge (disney sized) badge to wear that said Happy Birthday Sallianne and then I spent the rest of the day perplexed as people would walk past and say “Happy Birthday”, “Hi Sallianne” and I wondered, how did they know my name and my birthday????
We didn’t stop too often and when we did, I had the hand sanitizer going in and out. We put the Engineer in the back to entertain the Man and to discover the intricacies of attempting to make up a milk cup while balancing milk, cup and bag in your lap, without turning the overhead light on – it is an art that flossy and I have perfected but the Engineer needs to work on it more over think the process less!(refer to previous leopard and spots comment).
Our arrival home gave us a moment to unpack, breathe a little, shovel snow (engineer), play in snow (max), catch up on facebook (flossy) and get ready for Santa to arrive (the hero).
Of course you are now all thinking, I could have just gone to the local Borders, taken the elevator down, purchased all the Disney DVD’s and taken the escalator up – but then where would the memories be?
Our 2009 trip to Disney will be remembered – Flossy in shorts in below freezing conditions, the Engineer and his pastries, Maxie Man and his EXTREME joy and me – well I just try and steer the wagon that we are all on and remember that I get to choose the music next time!