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Happiest Place on Earth

When Fiddledaddy first began campaigning for us to move from Los Angeles to Florida, he used any and all tactics at his disposal.

At the top of the list was simply, Walt Disney World.


That was easy.

And since then, our collective shadows have graced the tree lined streets of the Magic Kingdom right up until I became pregnant with Jensen.

So, it has been 4 years since we’ve been back.

Sunday was the big day. Anticipation was high, and the excitement of three children had reached a fever pitch.

Well, 5 children, if you count the parents.

When we entered the gates (now flanked by security guards whose job it is to pilfer through your bags in search of contraband, or worse, bombs) it was easy to spot the tourists from colder climates.

They were the patrons wearing bermuda shorts and tank tops. The native Floridians were bundled up in parkas and caps.

We piled all of our winter blizzard wear on top of the stroller, and sat Jensen at the peak. As though he were the grand marshall in our little rag tag parade.

Strolling down Main Street, we turned the corner and pointed, “LOOK JENSEN, CINDERELLA’S CASTLE.”

And at about that time, Mickey, Donald, and their friends were putting on a little stage show in front of said castle. And as we neared, A WITCH WITH A REALLY SCARY VOICE APPEARED. LAUGHING MANIACALLY AND THREATENING MICKEY MOUSE AND HIS LITTLE FRIENDS WITH CERTAIN DEATH.

What luck.

Tears began shooting from Jensen’s eyes, “I don’t wike dat squarey voice.'” Which he kept repeating, through sobs while clutching his beloved stuffed Mickey Mouse doll, until we could careen the stroller through crowded sidewalks in an attempt to get him as far from the squarey voice as possible.

The tears subsided when we entered Mickey’s Toon Town.

Nothing scary there.

In fact, there’s even a roller coaster, made just for the ankle biters. Cailey rode it when she was 3, and looked forward to the experience again. Jensen simply could not wait for his very first roller coaster experience.

Emme wanted nothing to do with it.

But, I decided it was high time for Emme to face her fears head on. I mean, we’re a roller coaster riding family. And what better roller coaster to cut your teeth on than one intended for the preschool set.

For the entire 50 minutes that we stood in line, I tried to sell her on the merits of roller coaster riding. She was dubious. Finally, I told her I would give her a dollar if she tried it.

My parenting prowess, at its finest.

Our turn finally came. Cailey, who does not have a fearful bone in her little body, sat in a seat to herself. Jensen and Fiddledaddy took up residence behind her. And bringing up the rear was Emme and me.

I felt sure that once she rode it, she would LOVE the experience, and then want to ride THE REALLY BIG SCARY ONES THAT FLIP YOU UPSIDE-DOWN.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

She screamed and cried as though she were being murdered for the entire 23 second ride.


We stood in line for 50 minutes to ride a TWENTY THREE SECOND ride.

And now my daughter is requesting therapy.

As she was shakily walking with her daddy to the nice safe playground 20 feet away, she took note of a child throwing up into their mother’s hands.

“Look Dad, I bet her mother made her ride the roller coaster, too.”

We finished up our day by riding the Merry-go-round. There were no tears to report, happily. We all named our respective horses. Mine was “Trigger”, Cailey named her horse “Angel”, Emme dubbed hers “Thunder” and Jensen christened his horse “Walmart.” But then immediately recanted and his horse was thereafter known as “Target.”

Fiddledaddy was horse free, and captured the happy ending on camera.

All things considered, and emotional scarring aside, it was a good day at the happiest place on earth.

18 Responses to Happiest Place on Earth

  • Sounds like fun! I have always wanted to go to Disney World. Lucky.
    Our daughter BEGGED us to take her to Disneyland so she could go in the Haunted House. Being good parents, how could we say no? So we went. She had a small cow and wanted nothing to do with it when we got there. Since there was no line at all and our loud verbal threats did nothing to change her mind, we hauled her bodily into the Haunted House. She screamed and cried like she was being killed. I really thought we would be arrested. But dang it, we drove hundreds of miles to get to the Happiest Place on Earth and we were going to have FUN!

  • I had the exact same experience with my 3 year old. For a while afterward she wouldn’t even trust me that that carousel was OK.

    I’m sure it will come up in counseling in about 25 years:)

  • Never thought the magic kingdom could bring on such angst. Last time I was there I think I was 12.
    Walmart and Target horses, too funny…have a good one!

  • This is a hilarious tale of a trip to the Happiest Place of Earth. Thanks for sharing.

    Toon Town is great. Perfectly sized for toddlers. We’ve never been to Walt Disney World, just the “Land” in California. They have Goofy’s house there. After all the hype and build-up to our trip, we seriously spent an entire day in Toon Town/Goofy’s house. Not exactly worth the worth the $55 entry fee per adult, but oh well. Our little tike was in heaven.

    Loved the story about your daughter. Super funny.


  • I can’t wait. 9 years of marriage, 17 trips to Disney in those 9 years (we live in Georgia), wishing & praying for a little one to enjoy the trips with us. I now have a miracle blessing of being preggers. (and we’re working with an adoption agency so hey, we may have two!!) We are headed to Disney in January for our last “hurrah” down there “just us” and to anticipate next years trip with our new little one! Yep, we’ll be the one with the 3 month old walking around like idiots! We can’t wait!!!!!!!!

  • hahaha! oh deedee… your family is priceless! and i love that your son named his horse “walmart”. i should name my next pet that… ;o)

    i went to disneyworld with my parents and sister when i was three. aka: too young to remember more that brief snippets. i want to go back SOOO BAD!!!

  • Ahhh, the Disney memories. I just love them. One year we went to Universal Islands of Adventure. I rode the Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat ride for the little ones. I threw up.

    Trigger and Target. Love it.

  • I must confess. Emme and I, we must be soul sisters. I haven’t been on a roller coaster in about 10 years. And even then, the ones I have been on you can count on one hand. I don’t know WHY I don’t like them. I just know they scare me to death. My kids however, will go on them with daddy and get to make up their own minds. While Mommy rides the ferris wheel hundreds of times!

  • I had to read this to my eight year old Rachel. We had a very similar experience on said roller coaster. I love the part where you offered her a dollar. I’ll never forget the summer that I offered Rachel a costume from the Disney Store if she would just get in the pool. I was desperate as she stood on the side having a tantrum. She was six.

  • If it makes you feel better, I forced my son on the same roller coaster at Disneyland. (I don’t believe I bribed him with money, but there may have been mention of ice cream if he would just give it a whirl.)

    Like Emme, he screamed and cried and got off and shot me a look that said, “Are you happy now, you torturous parent?!?”

    You are not alone.

  • So funny. Thanks for sharing your trip to Happiest Place.

    I about lost it with the horse named Wal-Mart. That is great!!

  • I’ll tell you what, I can totally understand where Emme is coming from 🙂 haha

    I loved the horse named Walmart! 🙂 and the “squarey” voice!

  • I’m laughing SO hard! I grew up in LA, so going to Disneyland wasn’t a big deal because, well, we went there all the time! But now, being stationed in the southeast for the last 9 years, our one bribe upon hearing that we were moving to FL was “But we’ll be by Disney World!” Apparently NOT looking at the map and realizing that we are actually much closer to Alabama (as in, 10 miles away) than Orlando. Sigh… I don’t think we’ll be allowed to move from here without a trip to Disney World, “squarey” voices and all!

    And kudos to you for making Jensen recant and name his horse Target – we do have standards after all!

  • I shudder at the memories this post brought back. My dad made me ride the regular roller coaster at the state fair when I was 8 years old. I threw up. Again and again.

    My kids are not chips off the old block. Their excitement quotient is higher than mine by far, and even higher than my hubby (who dreams of going hang gliding in the mountains). When they outgrew the kiddie rides and I no longer had an excuse to ride the carousel, I was SO SAD.

  • I can’t wait to take the kids to WDW. I fear the same reaction from my older one though. He’s not so good with “new experiences”…

  • We had a similar story at the local Six Flags. My younger daughter, Catherine, was looking forward to riding a roller coaster, and after listening to her two older siblings rhapsodize over the “Batman” coaster, she was determined that that would be the one.

    I have to point out that although I have nothing against coasters, Catherine has CP with a seizure disorder, but the seizures don’t seem to be sparked by any one thing so I figured we could try one and see how it went.

    All the way into the park, all I heard from her was “Where’s the rollercoasters? I want to go on the coaster first!”

    I let the two older kids go off on their own, and my B-I-L and I took the two younger ones. He agreed to take Cath on a not-so-large coaster while I found a smaller ride for Adam, the youngest kid at 4. We met up afterwards.

    Catherine firmly stated that she would never, NEVER, go on another roller coaster. She flatly refused for the rest of the day to try any ride that wasn’t geared for three-year-olds.

    Joe, the B-I-L, looked kind of white around the edges also. When the kids weren’t listening, he told me that Cath had spent the entire ride screaming, and he was just petrified that she’d have a seizure in the middle of the ride, so he spent it hugging her and trying to comfort her.

    He has no kids of his own and tolerates mine with barely maintained patience. So at that point, he abandoned me and went off on HIS own.

    But at least we tried.

  • Lucky you there was no “inciden” at the carousel. My five year had a major fit for the entire ride because his horrible mother had put him on the pink horse instead of the orange one (shoot me, pink has always been his favorite color).

  • I don’t do the roller coaster thing, but I would love to do the Disney thing. Someday we’ll be in a place where we can enjoy our day in a park; until then, I’ll find things around home to make the kids need therapy. I’m good at that.