Disney World. The mecca of magic. A hub of happiness. A locale for shrieking children. A venue to observe parents wrangling 50lb bundles of human with looks of shell-shock in their eyes.
Who wouldn’t want to be there?
We’ve been heading towards Disney for the past 6 months. Slowly, with a plethora of pit-stops for exploration on the way. Our niece and nephew are both 6, and we figured that now was the time to drag their tiny butts down to the house of mouse and force them to experience every man or woman in a furry suit that we could find.
A quick run-down of the particulars of this trip:
- Dexter: my beloved, stuffed animal loving, stubborn and fiery as all get-out nephew, age 6 (he turned 6 on his first day at Disney! Yay!)
- Eden: Jake’s sweet, princess loving, creative, cautious niece, age 6
- Daddin: aka, Andy, father to Dexter, brother to me, ice cream eating extraordinaire
- Jillian: Eden’s mother, Jake’s sister, intellect and talented writer
- Emily: Jake’s youngest sister, college nursing student, expert on and lover of Shawn Mendes
- Lucy (not a people – cat)
- Dyna, parked on Disney campus in Fort Wilderness
- Tent set up behind Dyna with air mattresses and a super swanky light hanging from the ceiling
We arrived at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds, prepared to pay our $145 average per night camping fee on Friday. After squeezing into our initially assigned ‘preferred’ level campsite (200 loop), we decided to take a walk about and see if there was anything a bit more spacious available. I had booked us a ‘preferred’ level site on the premise that it would be plenty large enough for Dyna, and it would have a tent pad. We knew we’d need a tent pad – at our capacity peak we were planning for 7 people. ‘Preferred’ also promised a ‘wooded area’ on at least one side of the site. However, our assigned preferred site was towards the rear of the park – close to the boat launch to Magic Kingdom, but not close to the pool. The pool is important. Tiny humans love pools. And since both of the tiny humans we were hosting for a week at Disney were also going through a ‘showers suck’ phase, the pool was especially important. In addition, we settled on 4 days of park passes, but the tiny humans and their corresponding adults would be with us for 7 days. That meant that we would be relying on the pool for a good bit of entertainment during our Disney adventure.
So, we walked. And we looked. And we found a decent site to move into. After a bit of wrangling (we had booked half of our stay through a friend’s Disney Vacation Club points and the other half through regular Disney Resorts), we got settled into our new site (1700 loop). This new site happened to be a ‘full-hook-up’ site, which is apparently a ‘step down’ from preferred sites. However, I would deem our second (1700 loop) site much more spacious than our original ‘preferred’ site.
But 1700 loop wouldn’t up being ‘the one’. After 2 nights in our chosen spot, we realized that the airbrakes from the buses toting Disney lovers butts up and down the roads of the campground paired with the incessant whir of golf cart engines buzzing by all day and night were not compatible for tent sleeping. So, again, we walked. And back in the loop behind us, we found a bounty of unoccupied sites. Quiet sites. Without buses. Another perk of arriving towards the tail end of school’s Spring breaks. This time, Disney was able to move us without a hiccup. They were really pleasant about us moving sites each time, even if it took them some work to be able to do it with our Vacation Club reservation the first time around- which is deemed ‘non-adjustable’ in the rules of Vacation Club. (The first rule of Vacation Club is there are lots of hidden rules of Vacation Club – we’ve decided we don’t ever plan on becoming members of the club).
Then, we went to WalMart to provision for the week. The WalMart closest to Disney World. Need I say more?
We spent that evening cleansing our souls of the atrocities of making a 2 shopping cart trip to Disney WalMart by drinking and dining at Cooke’s in
Downtown Disney Springs.
So, that pretty much sums up how our weekend before the arrival of the tiny humans and their guardians went. We worked on Monday, and by 11:00pm Monday night, Dyna was bustling with the sights (think: blurs of color, crashing objects) and sounds (think: screeches and fart noises) of two 6 year olds and their travel weary adults.
Our week in Disney with (most) of our siblings (Kay, I’m looking at you for dipping on us!) and their off-spring was great.
We witnessed wonder in the eyes of developing minds. We worked through fatigue and overstimulation induced tantrums. We held tiny hands as they skipped along the paths of their favorite storybook characters. We delighted in their captivation of the ‘magic’ that is Disney. We were secretly, and guiltily amused by the moments we witnessed mental scarring in action. Yes, even with all of it’s magic, the first time a 6 year old watches a grown man in a Darth Vader costume enter stage left 10 feet in front of him can be slightly scarring. We paddled around pools which I’m sure were composed of 70% urine while the littles clung to our back demanding that we “swim under the water (pee)!”
Disney was awesome.
We did have one hiccup – and since it’s not my story to tell, I’ll have to gloss over it. But Jake & his sister Jill did have to leave us for a few days to take care of some stuff. This left our adult-to-child ratio severely reduced. Whereas in the beginning of our trip we had a 2:1 ratio going, we were now 1:1. I’m no parent, and while I didn’t have time to fret over this change in plans, looking back, it was a bit daunting. While I did get to practice on Dexter for the few months last Spring when he lived with us in Dyna, we still had a 3:1 adult to child ratio on him (me, Jake, DavidMoon). Having two tiny humans to wrangle with only two adults was a whole new league of adulting. Thank goodness Daddin’ is an expert child wrangler. And the kids we were in charge of wrangling are solidly good tiny humans.
So, yes, Disney was still awesome. Emily arrived on Friday afternoon, which swayed our ratio of adults to littles back into positive territory. And, on Saturday, Jake came to play with us at Hollywood Studios. Jillian was able to rejoin the ranks of Disney on Saturday night, which was cool.
Disney was a blast.
A 4:15am wake-up call and transfer of family to the airport; and now, we deal with a Disney hang-over. Real thing. Jake & I are going to go hang out in small town Georgia as we go cold-turkey on Disney Magic.