We are leaving for Disney World on Saturday. This is not because we are morons and think that late August is the ideal time to be in Florida but because we have been saving frequent flier miles and Disney points from our Mickey credit card for 18 months now, and when we saw that we could get the meal plan for free if we went during that week, we figured we could swing the cost of the trip. Plus, the lines are short the last week in August when it seems like ¾ of American children are already back in school because so many U.S. school districts have lost their souls and now start school prior to Labor Day. We’re fortunate enough to be in a school district that has its priorities straight, so off we go.
We got Zachary his own guide book in the spring, and he has been diligently reading it and checking off rides and attractions ever since. He checks in with me periodically to make sure he’ll be going on Expedition Everest, Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and the granddaddy of them all – Space Mountain. One night this week, my husband shook his head to watch the two of us at the kitchen table, guide books in hand, going over the plans for which rides we’ll be doing in which order each day. I have a typed-out schedule, in case anyone was wondering. Laugh if you want, but I’ve taken into account which rides will build lines earliest, Fastpass accessibility, and the need to intersperse outdoor attractions with air conditioning. Why be Type A if you can’t put it to good use?
The schedule also indicates restaurant reservations, and we’re taking one for the team and dining at Cinderella’s castle. We want to do it while the youngest still believes in the magic and the middle child is still willing to lie to himself about it. The schedule does not, however, include the Beauty and the Beast show at Hollywood Studios, because Peggy Orenstein tells us to draw a line about the princesses somewhere, and I choose to draw the line at a thirty-minute open-air show that doesn’t start until 11:30 AM in Orlando in August.
Benjamin has been wavering between reluctance to show his brother that he fears roller coasters and terror of getting on The Great Goofini. He’s fixating on the hotel pool and the Pirates of the Caribbean.
Lilah, meanwhile, has been counting down since the middle of last week, showing a remarkable ability in subtraction for a not-quite-four-year-old and allowing us to chalk this up as an educational experience.
Yesterday, she said, “My Mickey shirt is all ready.”
“Are you going to wear it on the plane so the captain knows where we’re going?”
“No, I’m gonna wear it…” Then, she got that look on her face she gets sometimes, that earnest, something-just-occurred-to-me look. “Um… wait. Does Mickey Mouse live in Disney World or Disneyland?”
Now, I know those of you who preserve the mystery of Santa and the Easter Bunny for your kids have tons of experience fielding this type of question, but it was new territory for me. Nevertheless, I think I handled it pretty well. “He lives some of the time in one and some of the time in the other, but we checked to make sure he’ll be in Disney World while we’re there.”
She nodded. This seemed reasonable to her. Then she added, “We’re going to Disney World in three days.”