So this post practically wrote itself.
It was a bright, sunny, delightful day back in March. We were gearing up for one final day of Disney World after a week and a half of cruising the parks almost every single day. The weather had been perfect. The mood had been wonderful. We were all filled with the Zippity-Doo-Dah Spirit and, more importantly, we were all still speaking to each other.
It was on that fateful day that we started out bright and early. We had an early morning reservation at a Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot Center. We would be dining with the Disney princesses for breakfast and Lily Bean could not wait. She chose her Belle dress for the morning and we packed her custom-ordered Minnie Mouse dress (complete with “Lilyana” embroidered on it) in the backpack for the afternoon.
Breakfast was great. The meal started out with a meet and greet with Belle from Beauty and the Beast, one of Lily’s favorites. Lily was only too experienced in posing with princesses by this point – note her toe pointing out for her princess picture in this snapshot.
We moved along to our table and enjoyed our meal. Everything was delicious – served hot and fresh from the kitchen. Heaping piles of bacon, eggs and hashbrowns, along with cinnamon buns and other breakfast delicacies. As we ate, some of Lily’s favorite princesses made their way around the restaurant, stopping at each table to say “hi,” sign autograph books and take pictures. Lily was a meet-and-greet expert by this point in the week. She waited excitedly for each princess to make her way to our table and was only too happy to greet them, say hello, shove her autograph book in their royal faces for signing, and, of course, pose for the obligatory picture.
Some highlights from her princess experience at this meal included Ariel commenting on their matching hair color and Snow White inviting her to hold hands while they paraded around the restaurant.
After our meal we left the restaurant full and happy and ready to make our final rounds in the parks. We ducked into a bathroom and changed Lily from her Belle princess dress into her Minnie Mouse pillowcase dress.
We were ready to explore.
Sidenote: Perhaps if I hadn’t been in such a vacation coma I might have noticed the wicked shade of pale ashy-green that Lily’s face was turning. Oops.
We hopped on the monorail to Magic Kingdom and planned to spend the rest of the day doing all of our one-last-time rides, etc. – all within the shadows of Cinderella’s Castle.
That day was Lily’s last chance to meet any of the characters that we hadn’t yet met during our week in Florida.
At the top of her list were Tinker Bell and Rapunzel (no short order if you are familiar with character popularity and their typical wait times). Just after arriving at Magic Kingdom, we found our way towards Adventure Land and noticed that there were FAIRIES available for meeting. The wait time boasted a trivial 30 minute wait – and the line just so happened to be in the shade. We hopped into line and only about 20 minutes later Lily checked yet another DREAM off of her life list – “Meet Tinkerbell.”
It was now approaching mid afternoon. The temperature was on the rise. We were hungry. We were tired. Lily was in dire need of a nap and we were thinking about pushing her around in her stroller just so she could catch a snooze.
As we walked past the area where RAPUNZEL does her meet-and-greet, we noticed something very different than we had observed in the past. There was NO LINE. Scratch that. There was ONE LADY in line. ONE. Every other time we had walked past (with Lily screeching that she desperately wanted to meet Rapunzel), the line had swelled to well past a 1 hour wait time.
Curiosity got the better of us and we walked over to ask the lady if she was in line for Rapunzel. She told us that she was in line – she was the first person in the maybe line. Rapunzel only had 30 minutes left before her royal bathroom break. IF the people in line beyond the magical velvet rope were through the meet and greet BEFORE 30 minutes were up, this lady and perhaps the first few people behind her would get to scoot on in and meet the Tangled super star.
30 minutes for a chance to meet Rapunzel as opposed to 1.5 hours?
Icing on the cake as Lily would get to meet the last of the SUPER OMG PRINCESSES THAT SHE WAS JUST SUPER PUFFY HEART IN LOVE WITH?
Nice stone wall to lean against as we waited in our stand-by line?
SOLD on all accounts.
So there we stood, chatting it up with the nice lady from Tennessee. Lily drifted off to sleep after about 10 minutes of waiting in line. Heat and sheer exhaustion from the rest of the week were finally catching up to her. After only about 20 minutes or so, the park employee let us know that we would indeed get the chance to meet Rapunzel. This required us to wake Lily from her not-NEARLY-long-enough slumber so that Bob could park her stroller in the nearest STROLLER CORRAL.
Lily woke up but she was in a complete zombie state. Her face was pasty pale. She looked dazed and confused. The confusion increased when Bob and I chattered with excitement about meeting RAPUNZEL.
We moved closer and closer to the long-haired purple-clad princess. With only about 5 children in front of us, Bob grabbed my arm and in a fairly alarming tone said, “After she meets Rapunzel, we need to GRAB HER and take her TO THE NEAREST BATHROOM!” I (ever the oblivious one) looked at him in bewilderment. Then I looked down at Lily. She was shaking, crying, grabbing her stomach.
Just as I became convinced that we were about to have “Disney Diarrhea Mania 2012″ it happened: Lily projectile vomited ALL OVER HERSELF – from her Minnie Mouse dress right down to her brand new $30 glittery Disney princess shoes.
Bob and I went into hyper-clean-up-parental-unit-maniac mode. We moved her to the side of the line just in time for Wave of Vomit #2. Wave #2 missed Lily almost entirely. Instead it splashed on my shoes, my purse and several royal rocks that decorated the path.
Trying to hide our disappointment that she would NOT, after all that waiting, get to meet Rapunzel, we once again jumped into crazy cleaning mode. In all of about 20 seconds, we had the Minnie dress and barf-coated shoes off and stashed into a spare plastic bag. I refuse to leave home without a small stockpile of baby wipes for occasions just such as these, so I wiped her down as best as I could. On went her Belle dress and sandals from breakfast earlier that morning.
I glanced behind us to see the park employee who had let us in line walking over with those GOD AWFUL BARF CHIPS that the school janitor ALWAYS had on hand for those unfortunate some-kid-tossed-his-cookies-at-school events. Don’t believe me? Yep, I took a picture. (OH COME ON PEOPLE – THESE ARE MEMORIES!)
After apologizing profusely to the unfazed man, he simply replied, “Oh it’s no problem. Certainly isn’t the first time a little one has become overwhelmed at meeting their hero.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that there were probably other factors at play here – instead I just nodded in agreement.
Color returning to her face, Lily seemed to be making a swift recovery. We were now at the very back of the line, but it appeared that Lily would still get a chance to meet Rapunzel.
Bob and I stood back as Lily marched up to Rapunzel. We watched Lily with adoration and love. We watched Lily while cringing at the thought of her emptying the rest of her breakfast on Rapunzel’s royal purple gown.
Most kids greet their heroes with small talk – “hi, how ya doin’?, I like cats.” Not Lily. She walked right up and asked with concern, “AND WHERE IS EUGENE!?!?!!?” (Eugene = Rapunzel’s prince)
Caught completely off-guard by the question, Rapunzel could do nothing but laugh.
After she regained control of herself, Rapunzel told Lily a delightful tale about how he must be off picking apples again. Bob and I agreed that this excuse was a bit far-fetched, but Lily seemed to buy it.
We said goodbye to Rapunzel and thanked the barf-chip-spreading-employee again. We threw Lily back in her stroller and began re-hydrating her with water and gave her a PB&J sandwich for lunch. We even purchased a psychotically over-priced water/fan spritzer bottle in an attempt to cool her off even more.
Both my own and Bob’s heart rate started to return to normal as we walked away and realized how close we had been to a Princess-Vomit-Take-Down. We joked nervously about how mad the people in line behind us would have been if Rapunzel went out of commission early thanks to a drive-by-barfing compliments of our daughter. We also surmised that the Royal Dry Cleaning Bill might have required us to pawn some of our Disney souvenirs in order to raise the necessary funds.
To this day, if you were to ask Lily about her trip to Disney, she is almost guaranteed to recount this story to you in detail. She tells it with a sense of pride – as if it was truly a highlight of her vacation.. right up there with fireworks and parade watching.
I’m thinking that these are pretty high standards for our next trip to live up to. Don’t we sound like a fun family to travel with? At least it’s never a dull moment.