Disney World Recap: The Princess, the TSA, and the Barf Bag
We just got back from a whirlwind trip to Disney World with my husband’s entire family. Four days in the Disney parks with nine kids between the ages of 2 and 12, and six adults. We do this every other year as a great way to spend time with the family. Are we nuts? Yeah, a little. But we do have a blast each time. Although, as our kids all get older, we’re realizing that they can and want to do so many new things that we barely had a moment to see each other with all fifteen of us present at the same time.
This year held lots of surprises for me. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a planner. I like to know what’s coming around each corner, so I plan things out as much as possible ahead of time. That personality trait got in the way a bit on this trip. Despite the surprises, we still managed to have a ton of fun and a few laughs along the way. I’ll share our story in three parts.
On the first day in the parks, we all boarded the earliest bus together so my father-in-law could activate our park-hopper passes in person. On the bus, my sister-in-law shared her experience with the TSA out of Richmond. Now, as a mom of three, I think I have it bad when it comes to packing. But I am trumped and humbled by her. She has six kids — that’s right, SIX kids. As is common knowledge, Dads are responsible for packing one bag and their carry-on. Moms get the job of packing everyone else. In my house, that meant that I packed a total of six bags before our trip. For my sister-in-law, that task was doubled. Just absorb that one for a minute. Yeah.
Anyway, when packing bags to be checked versus carry-ons these days, we stress over remembering to put all liquids in the checked bags to avoid any complications with security. (By the way, my husband now wants to know where the TSA draws the line between liquids and solids. Can you bring Jello? How about a coconut?)
After all of the packing and organizing, they got to the security checkpoint and were stopped. For a fairy wand. In her infinite wisdom, my sister-in-law allowed her daughter to bring her plastic light-up fairy wand to Disney World for the electric parade. Since she spent the money at Disney on Ice, she thought it was worth it to bring instead of buy another one new in Florida. The TSA didn’t agree.
“I can’t let you through with that,” said the TSA agent.
“The fairy wand?” asked my sister-in-law incredulously.
“There’s water in the star,” he explained.
In the bus as she was telling this story, our whole family was doubled-over with laughter at this moment. For all her careful planning, she was being stopped for the glittery water in the star at the top of her daughter’s fairy wand. My husband had the best response.
“Forget shoes and box cutters, that Bippity Boppity Bomb is the newest threat!”
We continued laughing all the way to the Animal Kingdom. In hindsight, I now realize that my own daughter would probably get more use from a Bippity Boppity Bomb wand than a princess fairy wand anyway. That was one of my biggest surprises of the trip. Which brings me to my next story.
I have two boys and a girl. My boys are now seven- and eight-years-old and both are tall enough to ride every ride in all four Disney parks. We knew this would be the year of the roller coaster for them. My daughter, however, is four. She still lets me “help” pick out her clothes and put her hair in pigtails with ribbons. She’ll even occasionally play dress-up in one of her princess gowns. I should have taken note when, the last time she was in her Belle gown, she ran after her brothers claiming to be Princess Cinder, the Skylander dragon dressed in a princess gown.
I had high hopes for the new Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom. I envisioned taking my daughter there to frolic among the castle walls and do all sorts of girly things while my daredevil boys took the more high-octane tour. It started out that way, at least.
My husband took my boys to Space Mountain and the Buzz Lightyear ride when the park first opened, and I took my daughter to the Harmony Barber Shop in Main Street USA for glitter in her hair. (Disney Tip: hair spray and glitter is free at the Harmony Barber Shop, off to the left by the Fire station when you first walk in the park. Do your daughter’s hair yourself and just breeze in and out in under 5 minutes instead of dropping a fortune at the boutique!)
After her pixie dust, she begged to walk through Cinderella’s castle where she saw the carousel. As horses are her favorite animal, we rode it twice since there was no line. A quick call to my husband confirmed we had enough time to squeeze in the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cup ride before meeting up with the boys and figuring out our next plan. My daughter and I were in princess and girlie heaven. As we boarded our tea cup, I explained that Daddy and the boys were just now getting on Space Mountain since that line got long early.
“We’ve done three rides and glitter hair in the time it took them to do one ride, Peanut!” I told her.
“Girls rule and boys drool!!” she shouted and gave me a high-five.
She quickly learned how to control the speed of the spin (full tilt, spinning as fast as her little hands could make it go, of course), and decided that she LOVED Magic Kingdom and wanted to ride every ride she was tall enough to board. We met up with the boys and headed over to Frontierland to get Fast Passes for Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad before heading back over to Fantasyland for more princess fun. We picked up the new Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom cards to occupy the boys while we were in princess mode.
At least, that was the plan. One ride on Thunder Mountain and my daughter decided she was done with princesses. Four more rides and Fast Passes later, we had to head over to meet the family for lunch at the new Be Our Guest restaurant in Fantasyland. I was sure she’d see the castles and reclaim her love of princesses. But I was wrong.
My big plans for girl time were thwarted. Though I tried my best, I couldn’t convince her to stay. Recognizing defeat, we headed back over to Frontierland where we spent the rest of the day with my three daredevils riding as many times as lines would allow. For this planner, that was a big blow to me. I don’t know if it’ll be any different in two years, or if I’ll just have to adjust to my new role as the mom of three roller-coaster junkies. I suppose I win out either way. Which brings me to my last Disney story.
The Barf Bag
We rode every possible roller coaster Disney has to offer over the course of four days. My husband and I both love the thrill rides and were grateful to have my in-laws with us so no one had to sit out on the few rides that my daughter was too short to clear. On my sister-in-law’s side of the family, though, they have one son who has a history of carsickness, and a dad who doesn’t love coasters, so they are used to the divide and conquer method of the parks.
Each family found a way to make it work, though, and we laughed when my niece grabbed a couple of extra motion sickness bags from EPCOT’s Test Track after riding, “as a gift” for her brother. All fifteen of us were grateful that no one actually needed to use one from the rides this trip. Or so we thought.
In past years, we’ve taken this trip in June. Orlando is HOT in June. Sweaty, thick, and so humid it’s hard to breathe. So this year, we tried something new by going in April. Our weather while there was incredibly perfect. High 70’s to low 80’s with low humidity. We couldn’t have asked for better. Flying there and back in April is a different story, though. The different pockets of warm and cool April air made for two of the most turbulent flights I’ve ever been on. And I’ve flown a LOT.
On the trip back home, our plane was the kind with only two seats on either side of the aisle. With a family of five, that means someone is sitting alone. We put my husband with my daughter and my two boys together, with me just across the aisle from the boys. On our final descent back to Newark airport, my younger son coughed a few times before looking at me. His face was pale and pasty.
“Mommy, I don’t feel well,” he said.
I quickly grabbed the handy white barf bag in my seat pocket and reached across the aisle to hold it to his mouth. With the flight attendant looking concerned for my breach of landing rules by blocking the aisle, I rubbed my son’s back and helped him to lose his lunch in the bag in my hand.
We finally touched down and my son leaned back after wiping his mouth. I got a congratulations on a clean job from the grandmother with whom I was sharing my row as I tucked the white bag inside of plastic grocery bag I had stuffed in my carry-on. After we disembarked and were headed to baggage claim, my son looked up at me.
“Mom, Evan must really want to walk everywhere in life, huh?” he said, thinking of his carsick cousin.
Needless to say, we were grateful to be on solid ground and back home. Turns out, my son loved every crazy twist and turn of Disney roller coasters, including the drops in the Tower of Terror and the upside-down loops in Space Mountain and Aerosmith’s Rockin’ Roller Coaster. But the turbulence on the flight home was just too much for his stomach.
Next time, I’ll be sure to grab a few extra bags from Test Track as his gift, too.