Wednesday, June 8, 2011

disney: largecostumedcharacterphobia

We woke up super excited about our first Magic Kingdom day. We came here nearly every year when I was a kid, and these trips will always be among my happiest childhood memories. Much as I love the other parks, to me nothing compares to the Magic Kingdom.

Our plan was to start the day at a classic character breakfast at Chef Mickey's:

I'd long seen this breakfast from the monorail while riding through the Contemporary and have always wanted to schedule it. With an 8, 6 and 3 year old, this seemed like the perfect year to finally do it.

Anyone who knows Caroline knows that she hates large costumed characters ("LCCs") with an intensity usually reserved for mass murderers or an SEC rival school. She always has, and at this point I'm starting to wonder if she always will. She hates Santa Claus to the point that, when asked, she says that she would rather him just not bring her any presents. I've never seen quite the look of unmitigated terror than the one on Caroline's face when she happens upon the Easter Bunny (although the EB seems to frighten even kids who don't have a preternatural fear of LCCs). The Chick-Fil-A cow, Sparky the Firehouse Dalmation -- it really doesn't matter. She is an equal-opportunity LCC hater.

And I know this, as her mother, the one who has spent hours consoling her after the Chick-Fil-A cow shows up for no apparent reason at the local kids' science center or she runs into an oversized two-legged dalmation while at a firehouse birthday party. And I don't know why I thought that it would be any different just because we were at Disney World. But I really did. I really thought she'd love Mickey & Friends, invite Chip & Dale to sit down next to her (as Elizabeth did just days after turning two) and deliver generous hugs to whichever LCC was in her path. After all, I'd spent at least six months brainwashing her about how sweet these characters are, and, well, I figured she was getting a little older; plus, she is certainly familiar with the Disney characters from books and television. So on December 1, exactly 180 days before our trip, I called Walt Disney World Dining and booked six (6), yes, that's right, I said six (6), character meals.

Here is our family outside of Chef Mickey's, right before we got our table. LCCs had not actually visited us yet, but Caroline, who is no dummy, knew what was coming:

And it pretty much went downhill from there (as far as Caroline was concerned; the big kids were thrilled to be there and were not about to let their little sister's quirkiness slow them down on their quest to obtain as many autographs as possible). David managed to scarf down a little bit of breakfast (I think? Can't be 100% sure about that) before he simply had to remove Caroline from the dining room for the duration of the meal. As Jacob was quick to point out (using slightly different words), there were tons of kids of all ages in the room and Caroline was the only one losing her $%@*!, but what can you do? We love her anyway.

With David and Caroline safe from the LCCs in the lobby of the Contemporary, Jacob, Elizabeth and I were able to get down to the serious business of meeting, greeting, autograph collecting and capturing magical Disney moments.

Objectively speaking, I'd say that Goofy is the scariest of the LCCs; I kind of see Caroline's point with that one.

Next came The Mouse himself:

Then Donald Duck:

Sweet Minnie Mouse:

Love her!

Then Pluto headed our way:

I swear, this guy is goofier than Goofy himself. He used his nose to rest the autograph books when signing - you crazy dog you!

My children {who weren't completely petrified of him} loved him!

Meanwhile, back in the lobby . . .

Caroline had been hanging out with David, presumably recovering from the trauma of it all. Her sweet big brother and sister thought of her and had Mickey and friends sign her autograph book too. So when we were done meeting the characters, the big kids were excited to show Caroline her autographs:

After one more frustrating backlit picture at 1600 ISO, we were off!

Oh, how it pains me to my very core that I cut Mickey's ears off in this photo. Will try a do-over in 2014!

I know if you made it through this entire post it must feel like it should be bedtime by now, but nope, we're just beginning! Off to the Magic Kingdom and our lunch date with Pooh & Friends!


Amanda said...

Sorry, but this is really funny! I will NEVER forget the story about Caroline getting upset when Santa called her classroom!!!! P.S. I wouldn't have even noticed the cut off ears. All the pics are great. I would have put my camera on Auto the entire time and then regretted it!

Mom to 3 C's said...

Poor Caroline! Someday she will look back on this and laugh. At least she will see that she had an awesome wardrobe for the trip... LOVE those dresses!

Pamela said...

I love the photo of you all must before you got your table. Poor Caroline! I am impressed that you did 6 character meals, though! Impressive. I hope to subject Marc to many more of them on our next trip. :-)