Monday, January 14, 2013

Disney Day 1: Or, why the little things are huge

The Shoups (minus the zoo) are in Florida to celebrate KIC's fifth birthday.  We have some super special things planned all week for KIC.  When you visit Disney, you must accept the fact that not only can you not possibly do everything in one park, but you can't even really do all the things on your to do list.  This is a complete anathema to my very engineer, very organized mind.   Last year, when we came, I had everything planned to the hour (just ask any of my family members) but surprisingly, had no issues when most of the itinerary was thrown out the window on the first day.  This year, learning a lesson from last year, I scheduled one fun thing for KIC per day and left the rest of the day "loose".   My family members are teasing me about the lack of planning on the itinerary, but it's helped to keep the trip stress free.

The thing that impresses us all about Disney, and the reason we came back so soon after last year, is that they take great pride in the small details.  Seriously.  I won't tell you about our entire day, as that would be the blogger's version of a slideshow, but I'll tell you about two things that rocked my world in a good way.

Special Touch #1:  Because of the type of ticket we purchased, the box office inquired about the dates of birth of all the members in our party.  My dad's birthday is coming up soon and the box office lady noticed it.  He made sure she noticed KIC's birthday was also coming up.  Both of them got buttons announcing to the entire world that it was their birthday.

Notice, even the "I" has some love!

Throughout the park, KIC was hailed with "Hello, Princess!  Happy Birthday!!!" turning this mommy into a blubbering mess.  Where else will she get nearly bombarded with birthday greetings?  During a parade, one of the dancers even called out to her "Happy birthday, sweetie!"  It takes someone less than thirty seconds to say "Happy birthday, princess!" or "Happy birthday, Kaitlyn!" but I can guarantee it will make a lifetime memory for both of us.

Special Touch #2:  While at Disney, guests have the opportunity to meet and greet characters.  This is a fairly straightforward process.  You wait in line, you hug the character, they chat with you a bit, you get your picture and you're on your way.  Having been rookies last year, we did not narrow our character meet and greet focus.  Winnie the Pooh, not so much for KIC, but we took pictures with him.  Ariel would have been a big win and yet we missed out.

This year, armed with experience, we are making it a point to visit the characters who have meaning (or are at least recognizable for us).  We have been watching a LOT of "Princess and the Frog" lately, so Tiana was high on our list.  We had one near miss and almost didn't make it back (with the knowledge that we would have other opportunities), but we did go back today and I'm prepared to go back every day this week after today's experience.

If you don't know the movie, Tiana has what passes as a friend in a girl named Lottie.  Tiana is a very busy woman chasing her dream, so she doesn't really give herself time for friends.  Tiana and Lottie grew up together as Tiana's mom worked for Lottie's dad in the movie.

       Lottie is the one in pink

When it was KIC's turn to meet Tiana, the first thing Tiana said to KIC was "Oh my goodness, Lottie!"  This absolutely made KIC's day.  From that point on, she was absolutely beaming.  The care Tiana and Prince Naveen took during their visit with KIC was unlike anything I had witnessed to that point.  Them being awestruck might have been an act, but they were very convincing and it was the best character interaction KIC had all day.  See for yourself:

Magical.  And we've only just begun.

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