I drank two cups of coffee to prepare me for what would lie ahead-Magic Kingdom! I did my very best to make it exciting for the kids, turning into Mary Poppins, almost. Katerina was dressed in her Minnie Mouse attire, and most especially wearing her M.M. ears. She smiled from one black circle ear to the other, and it was such a delight to be a part of her excitement. We quickly caught the bus and we were off! That was when I noticed some weird object that Nikolas was holding. It smelled and was even shedding, and I told him he had exactly until we stepped off of the bus to get rid of it.
The lines to enter the park were long, babies were crying, parents were grouchy and it wasn’t even 9 a.m. My caffeine still kept me chipper and Nikos was subdued. Finally, we were through and excitedly rushed along Main Street. There it was, that artificial yet magnificent castle, capable of filling even the most skeptical with awe.
Our breakfast consisted of monstrous-sized cinnamon rolls and grapes. After treating our bellies, we headed straight toward It’s a Small World, to serve as our first ride. There wasn’t even a five minute wait. The guys behind us were annoying, shouting out every country they saw. Wow, what geniuses they are (sarcasm), the decor makes it so easy to distinguish, Katerina even knew Mexico. It’s a beautiful ride, but more lovely was the delight I saw in the kids’ smiles. Elizabeth was singing along with those happy dolls or whatever they are. Hands down, it’s the best ride in the park!
We then went to Tomorrowland and took turns riding Space Mountain since Katerina of course couldn’t ride. We hit most rides quickly, since it wasn’t overly crowded. Nikos must have been in an exceptionally tolerant mood because I would not stop repeating how much more crowded it had been three years ago.
There was a show at the castle so we stopped for that before lunch. Katerina gasped when she spied Minnie Mouse singing, and waved nearly frantically at her.
We ate at some baseball shop for Nikolas, and it was uncomfortable. The chairs and tables were jammed together and all of that togetherness with strangers made me shudder. I might need to get some professional help at some point in my life! The piano clinked obnoxiously behind us and the unpleasant quick-pace of it added to my irritability. I chewed my hot dog rhythmically with that 1920’s piano and nearly choked. The kids had loaded nachos and I lost Nikos momentarily. I found him, hanging on the piano enjoying the tunes-he even left a tip!
The day wore on and our feet were inexplicably tired. Some of Fantasyland was closed, which felt like a break to me. We rode mostly everything, but I never got to go on my second favorite ride, Winnie the Pooh. Katerina was able to go on most rides, and we took plenty of breaks. I sat by Katerina on the speed track ride, and let her drive. I thought with certainly the car would topple off of the track. We jerked left then right and at one point Katerina fell clear on the side and almost out of the car. She had reached the height limit but I’m sure not the weight! I tried to help her steer, but I’d like to meet anyone with a three year old who can manage such a feat! Somehow, besides Elizabeth acting up a little, we had passed a peaceful day. This place can transform the most patient of parents into purse-slinging, cussing, hair-pulling abusive parents, yet somehow we were spared the wrath. Nikos held the backpack without complaining and we took turns holding Katerina when she was too tired to walk.
The very best part of this entire trip to Florida was when Katerina went to meet Minnie Mouse. That tiny precious girl was trembling, she could hardly contain her excitement. I felt giddy just watching her carefully step up and hug her hero. People waiting in line were taking pictures of Katerina, it really was that precious! Katerina was speechless and my cheeks ached from smiling.
It wasn’t until the kids were going to bed that Nikolas expressed feeling sad that we hadn’t taken a picture of him when he hugged Mickey Mouse. He said we were all too busy taking pictures of Katerina and Minnie. Honestly, this was one of the first times I witnessed Nikolas being outright jealous of Katerina, or at least telling me about it. How was I supposed to know that Nikolas liked Mickey Mouse?! I’m now at 175,943 reasons to feel guilty as a mother.
I chanced buying one package of cotton candy, expecting the kids would squabble unrelentlessly over who got more. I believe this was Katerina’s first time trying it, and out popped a new addition to the squabbling.
Dinner was at Pinnochio’s, fast food garbage. We dined where we could watch the people riding It’s a Small World. After, we went on it once more. It was nearly time for my favorite, the light-up parade! The kids begged for popcorn but I didn’t want to take any chances missing the parade or one of us getting lost. Just as the parade was about to begin, Nikolas needed to pee. I sent Nikos with him. I was temporarily immersed in a conversation with a grandmother from Chetticamp, Nova Scotia. We’d been there! It is a lovely quaint town, with a small population. I think the grandma was more surprised. We discussed primarily the view and the bakeries her town held.
The parade was all that I’d expected and pleasantly not too crowded. It was fun watching Katerina, and several of the characters spoke to her and blew kisses her way. None were as special to her as Minnie Mouse’s attention. On the way out, we stopped in the photo center to purchase a couple of pictures. Katerina wailed “Mama, help! Me need to go pee pee!” I looked down and right there on the red carpet, pee was running down her legs and shoes. There was nothing to be done.
I had to turn one last time as we exited the park, and see that amazing castle. For an instant, I was one of the thousands of little girls there that evening wearing their Cinderellas dresses, hoping to one day grow up to be a princess, and live in a castle just like the one before me.
We walked to our shuttle bus and watched the fireworks from there. My sweet little Minnie Mouse was asleep as soon as the bus departed. It had been a long, exhausting, fulfilling, even a magical day!