We like to move it, move it. Day One.

With the knowledge that we were all fighting off colds, shivering from the dip in temps over the weekend, and likely to miss all Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras Day celebrations if we stayed home… we took off for Disney World. On Monday night we drove 140 miles to Mobile to stay with my parents. Tuesday morning, we left at 9am to travel the remaining 500 miles. Thank goodness we filched my parents’ portable DVD player… the kids were tired enough to zone out to the glow of the screen for most of the trip.

Driving to the park Wednesday morning was fantastic. Our car was filled with the popping sound of exploding heads — each sign, each character, each step was almost too much for them. Paul and I were convinced we were the World’s Best Parents.

Not that it lasted long. A few minutes later, when Will fell against a pole he’d been leaning and dancing around and hit his head for the 8th time in less than 24 hours, Paul and I fell into laughter so hard and long that we were instantly brought back down to our usual status as Parenting Embarrassments. Will, by the way, is fine. And did not need stitches for any of his injuries.

Kate was equally enthralled, but handled her excitement by running a verbal play-by-play of everything we encountered. Under usual circumstances, I would say that 2 is too young for Disney. After all, a 2-year old gets freaked out easily, tires too easily, is not tall enough to enjoy most attractions, and won’t remember it, anyway. Kate roundly provided that each of those points do not apply to her. Further, her running commentary was the stuff of comic genius and kept us laughing all day long.

“Tigger, I’m taking you home. I’ll teach you to say, ‘throw me somethin’ Mister!'”

Here is Kate in Minnie Mouse’s house.

Minnie lives in a cute purple house filled with everything that reinforces gender stereotypes. Actually, this is my biggest and perhaps only complaint about Disney these days: the codification of rigid, insulting, and simply ridiculous gender stereotypes goes beyond annoying to boarder on the grotesque.

Here is a mild example of what I’m talking about.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d prefer my daughter (and son) have heroes whose daily lists involve things like, “attend Swahili language class,” “volunteer at the animal shelter,” “practice cello for next week’s concert,” “help Mickey rewire the junction box,” and “give lecture on brain surgery techniques to new residents.”

Why does Disney think it’s okay for kids to aspire to be love-sick saps who are fixated on dieting?!?!

*deep breaths* *deeeeep breaths*

Refocusing on the situation, Kate can’t read yet, so I’m free to interpret for her.  I’m used to doing this, since I get a lot of practice when I read them anything by Richard Scary.

“This is where Minnie does her math homework.” “This is the window where she uses her telescope to study the stars!”

This chair, by the way, was where Minnie studies medicinal properties of plants to use in curing disease.

I do what I can.

All that aside, the day was spectacular.

Here is our pictorial representation of the Mad Hatter’s tea cup ride. Paul and I didn’t spin the cup, by the way. Will and Kate did.

Paul was so darn awesome all day.  It was amazing to be together, ALL DAY LONG, as a family.  He did get an inordinate amount of phone calls from recruiters and co-workers, but managed to keep most of the calls short.

One of our favorites was Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blaster in Tomorrowland.  The jist is that Buzz has picked up bad activity in Sector 9 and needs help to zap Zurg and his no-good aliens.  Below is Will, studying up on Zurg’s symbol (this is what you’re asked to “zap” during the ride.)

Here is Buzz talking to us while we wait to get on board.  He’s giving us our assignments.  Unfortunately, I had to manipulate the camera to get the picture and Buzz’s face was a bit too lit to show up…

You ride in pairs.  The capsules spin around, which is how I was able to turn and get pictures of Will riding.  He’s using the lazer to zap Zurg’s insignia.

“Hi Mom, I got Zurg!”

Incidentally, Paul out ranked all of us by scoring over 110,000 points during one of our times on the ride.  I topped out at 86,000.  Kate routinely scored in the 400-800 range.  Will?  Well, he never made it past 400 (Kate beat him everytime).  But he WAY made up for it in ethusiasm!

At lunchtime, we exited the park for naps back at the motel.  On the way out, we caught a parade!  The conga line involved the crowd with a chorus of “I LIKE TO MOVE IT MOVE IT.”

Oh, Yes.  I picked up Kate and we danced the line.  Paul grabbed the camera, but missed us shimming with Mickey and Minnie on the other side of the float.  We moved it, moved it!

That’s us, finishing up our crowd-pleasing dance and waving to our celebrity dance partners (or, in this case, pah-ners).

After a great family nap, we arrived back at the park around 3.  A band was playing just past the entrance gates and right as we walked through, they struck up “When the Saints Go Marching In.”  No kidding. 

We took the remaining beads from our bag (having given out a ton throughout the park that morning) and passed them out in the crowd watching the band.  It was a perfect moment that called for nothing less.

We weren’t the only ones throwing through the park, either.  Other folks from the Gret Stet were doing a fantastic job spreading the love, as was clear from all the beads we saw in the park!

Both kids surprised me by taking The Pirates of the Carribean, a wonderful, classic boat ride with some spooky elements… including a 10-15 foot plunge down a waterfall, skeletons, darkness, mist, and ghosts.  Kate asked to go on it again.

Then the kids got some lessons in pirating from this guy:

We took in almost all of the Magic Kingdom that day — including the classic Haunted Mansion (one of the rides my Grandfather worked on), Winnie the Pooh (which Kate LOVED), Peter Pan’s Flight (Kate yelled, “We can Fly!” over and over again for the entire ride, much to our delight), and PhilharMagic, a new 3D movie.  Kate sat in her own seat and wore the 3D glasses like a pro, flinching minimally when champagne corks flew past her head.

We even rode Dumbo when the lines diminished at the end of the day.

Although it’s just a simple hub-and-wheel ride, Dumbo is a perennial favorite of children who force their parents to wait for unbelievably long stretches of time to circle the skies of Fantasyland.  It was beautiful to do the ride at night, watching the castle change colors from up high.

Even with getting caught in the post-firework traffic jam leaving the park, we were back to our car by 9pm and asleep at a reasonable hour… thus ending Disney, Day One.