Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, Day Two

Where were we before school madness, the pressure of three projects, summer camps, donor fatigue, and worrying about my Mom?

Right.  Disney.

On Day two of our 3 days in The World and it’s orbiting moons, we took a day off from parks and went to Downtown Disney.  Once Upon A Time, this was simply called Lake Buena Vista.  You could rent paddle boats and feed ducks.  There were a bunch of little specialty shops and tiny boutiques.  Now it’s pretty much Disney oriented, with a performance stage (think: cheesy high school jazz choirs), a few cheap and free kid-oriented attractions, and stores.  It’s actually a nice place to spend the morning.

Kate and I rode the carousel.

By the way, any horse that Kate rides is christened with the name “Lucky” by The Patootie Herself.

Copious amount of cute pictures with Winnie the Pooh.  Paul kept saying that it looked like Pooh’s hand was cut off and oozing.

Paul joined the kids for a photo.  Not that Kate initially approved.

The LEGO store has some fantastic displays.  I love the waves in this pirate display.   (That’s Will, checking it out in the corner of the picture.)  I also like the kid in the background.  I think she’s freaking out about the half-of-a-guy in the water.  Did the nearby shark get the rest?

Outside of the LEGO stores are a good dozen tables for little builders, as well as a racing table for trying out self-made cars.

The windows are portholes to famous cities.  This one is Paris.  Will LOVES to see anything with the Eiffel Tower on it and is quick to point out that “that pictures speaks French.”  Of course it does.

Here’s London.  I told them that Aunt Lee was moving here just as soon as she gets her visa.

One of the toy stores had a huge build-your-own Potato Head table.  We built fairy, mermaid, storm trooper, and Han Solo potato heads.  Then we went to explore more of the store and stumbled into a “Make Your Own Light Saber” table.  Uh-oh.  We broke down and bought the kid a light saber, something that not even Santa Claus was willing to do.  Upside?  He was able to defend Cinderella.

Okay.  Now is where I should spill about the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  It’s actually happening in the window behind Cinderella.  There is a child in that window whose parents have paid $200 bucks or so to have their kid made up (hair, makeup, glitter, tiara) with full costume (clickity-shoes, dress, prom court sash) to be their favorite princess.  I’m not joking.  It’s very… um… well, it’s very Jon Benet… a cute idea taken to the point where it’s just sorta creepy.  I think I’d be better with it if it went a little further to be more inclusive. If they are “making dreams come true” then why not dress up girls to be pirates, or Minnie Mouse, or spooky ghosts, or astronauts?  Aren’t those dreams, too?  And more inclusive for boys, for that matter (I hear that there is a ‘prince’ package for boys, but I think most parents understand that this would not be worth their child’s future therapy bills.)

Really, though, shouldn’t girls get to imagine being more than just princesses?  And when you get right down to it, consider how downright DULL some of those princesses are.  Aurora from Sleeping Beauty is such a wuss that a tiny prick of blood sends her into a coma… who’d want to be that boring??  Especially when you consider the other female lead in the story, Maleficent, is so bad-ass that she can turn into a dragon and summon up all the powers of hell.  Ask a 4-year old what they’d rather pretend to be — a sleeping lump of boring or a fierce and powerful dragon?  — and it’s no contest.  So seriously Disney.  Re-think the oversexualization of preschoolers boo-tique, please.

Speaking of cool dragons, LEGO has one in Buena Vista Lake.  Notice the change in blocks on it’s neck?  That’s because a hurricane (Charley, maybe?) took off it’s head when it rolled over Orlando.

We learned that tidbit from my friend, Jennae, who works for Disney and met us for dinner.   Jennae has worked for Disney since college and worked in just about every place one can work — including donning those famous ears to be The Boss, himself.  She said that being Mickey is by far the hardest job in the park, as the heartbreak of hearing the stories from parents, children, and just random visitors — and not being able to say anything from inside that costume! — is difficult over time.  There’s a niche job to get with Disney… being the therapist for Mickey actors!

Now Jennae gets paid to accompany families on Disney vacations.  She plays the travel “host” and gets to see the world in Disney four-star luxury.  And gets paid for it.

For dinner, we went to the T-REX restaurant, which is more an entertainment venue than place to eat. It’s filled with impressive robotic dinosaurs… including a roaring T-Rex that meets you at the door. We ate in an ice cave that changed colors, under a HUGE dinosaur skeleton “frozen” in the ice above us. The kids were ga-ga the entire time. It’s was incredibly over-stimulating, but thankfully the kids waited until the after dinner walk to the car to completely melt down. It was our only Disney-related melt-down and completely understandable, considering the stress they had of keeping track of 50 different dinosaurs while they ate. And because they didn’t want to leave Jennae once they learned that if they travel with her, they can stick to places with running, potable water and regular electricity service. The sort of stuff that is not necessarily guaranteed when I am your tour guide.

But back to the Dragon, whose job at Disney is not quite so glamorous.