Disney World – It’s the happiest place on Earth. Unless I’m miscalculating, I’ve visited the various parks on twelve separate occasions. But none of those trips have come since 2006, and none of them have included the Cutlet, so Mrs. Cutter and I decided that it was time for me to visit for a thirteenth time.
Unfortunately, we weren’t loaded with unlimited funds nor unlimited vacation time. (Actually, at my new job, I do have unlimited vacation time. But I didn’t know that when we planned the trip.) As a result, it would have to be a relatively short trip. Which meant we’d have to hit Disney fast and hard.
As a Disney veteran, I have a pretty good idea of how to optimize my time at the parks. Or at least I used to have a good idea. On this trip, I’d be bringing along a three-year old girl, and that meant the rules of the game had changed considerably. There was only one thing that I was absolutely sure of: We would be seeing a lot of princesses.
Our journey began when we picked the Cutlet up from school early on Friday night. Mrs. Cutter and I got our obligatory airport fight out of the way in relatively quick fashion, and after that, it was smooth sailing to Orlando.
The smooth sailing was partially due to the effort of a friendly fellow passenger. For some reason, USAirways decided to change our seat selection (much like they did the last time we flew with them!), and had the three of us seated in different rows. Obviously, they weren’t going to let a three-year-old sit by herself, so Mrs. Cutter got her seat changed. But I was going to be seated separately further back in the plane.
Thankfully, the man seated next to the Cutlet offered to switch seats with me. This was a very nice gesture considering I had a middle seat. Then again, it’s possible that he thought a middle seat was preferable to sitting next to a potentially cranky toddler. Either way, it worked out well for me.
Once we arrived at our hotel room, it was past the Cutlet’s bedtime but she didn’t appear to be quite ready to go to sleep yet. She was WAY too pumped up about going to Disney the next day, and I was reminded of this commercial:
We had been somewhat concerned about sharing a room with her. We envisioned an early morning wake up call, but she stayed asleep until 7:45. That was actually later than we had planned on, so we had to hurry to get ready.
The journey to the Magic Kingdom was not a short one. First, we needed to take a shuttle bus from our hotel to the ticket and transportation hub where we obtained our tickets. Next, we boarded the ferry-boat that would deliver us to the gates of the Magic Kingdom.
We decided that it wasn’t enough to simply ride a bus and a boat, so we immediately hopped aboard the train that took us from Main Street to Fantasyland.
We were finally ready to see our first princess of the trip, so we got in line for Belle’s Enchanted Tales.
We soon learned that the wait times for these rides and shows can feel quite different depending on how the line moves. If a line is constantly moving, it doesn’t seem quite as painful. But when a line moves in fits and starts – as this one did – patience levels tend to drop quickly.
Thankfully, the family behind us had a three-year old girl of their own, and the Cutlet soon befriended her. I think they began talking about the Cutlet’s Rapunzel dress (Did you really think she wouldn’t wear a princess dress to Disney World?) and after a few minutes, they were hugging and dancing together.
Mostly due to advanced planning on our part, long waits were the exception rather than the rule. One of the reasons we chose this weekend for our trip was because it appeared to be a bit of a “sweet spot” in the busy spring schedule at Disney. Most colleges had already wrapped up their Spring Breaks, but grade schools usually don’t have their breaks for another week or so. So while there were certainly plenty of people around, the crowds were far from overwhelming.
The rest of the day was crammed with fun. The Cutlet got to meet several more princesses, and unlike when she appeared at the Cutlet’s birthday party, Merida hadn’t seemed to have done drugs immediately before our encounter.
We also got to watch singing birds and singing bears. We rode on flying carpets, explored a giant treehouse, flew to Neverland, and encountered some ferocious pirates.
I’ll admit that I was a little worried about seeing the new Pirates of the Caribbean ride. This was always one of my favorite attractions at Disney, and I was taken aback that they added Jack Sparrow a few years ago. However, the Sparrow additions weren’t overwhelming, and the spirit of the original ride was largely left intact.
It was a long day, and there were a few moments when it looked like the Cutlet wasn’t going to be able to continue. But thanks to our stroller, a few carefully timed rest breaks, and a good deal of determination on our part, we were able to power through.
On the long bus ride back to the hotel, most of the children on board were exhausted. A few were even passed out. But one child in particular was wide awake and seemed to be full of energy.
Mrs. Cutter did not share her daughter’s level of energy. She looked like she would have fallen asleep if she could have.
It was a very busy day, and we had another eventful day looming. Would the Cutlet be up for it? And would her parents survive the experience? Find out in the next installment!
Of course, I couldn’t I couldn’t leave without sharing a little part of my day with you all. So please enjoy watching this video!