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The Happiest Place on Earth

Yesterday I spent the day with the kids, my mom and my aunt at Disney World.  We left the Hubs home, because he has little patience for waiting in long lines, large groups of idiots, screaming children and life-sized stuffed animals who want to hug him.  Leaving him back at the condo was the best decision I ever made.  Yesterday was nutty and my aunt kept assuring me that this was "the off season."  If that was the "off season" then I never want to come during the "on season."

Here are a few things/people I saw yesterday:

1.  Couples on their anniversary.  I'm not talking about every couple there on their anniversary.  I'm talking about one couple in particular.  We were walking into the park and I noticed that 3 "cast members"  (not employees) wished someone behind me "Happy Anniversary!"  I finally had to turn around to see what was going on.  There was a couple in their fifties behind me holding hands and wearing huge buttons that said, "It's my anniversary."  Duh.  That's how the cast members knew.  I laughed and said, "I thought maybe people were psychic at this park!  I couldn't figure out how they knew it was your anniversary!  Now I see."  They both gave me sheepish grins and said, "Yeah, they made us wear the pins."  HUH?  You are 50 years old.  NO ONE made you wear that pin.  Unless you are getting a free pass to the park there should be no reason you would NEED to wear that pin.  You WANT to wear that pin, but suddenly you realized you're embarrassed by your pin and so you try to pull the whole, "They made us wear it."

I don't think this was their first Disney rodeo either.  They were going through that park with a purpose and they knew exactly where the best traffic lanes were, when you came to a fork in the lines, they knew which way to go, they were pros.  I told Gomer, "Stay on their heels.  They know the secret.  Follow them and don't worry about me.  I'll be right behind you."  By following them, we were able to do 3 rides in 1 hour.  Quite the record for my slow poke family!  In the end, they redeemed themselves in my eyes.  Happy Anniversary, indeed!

2.  Kids melting down left and right.  I don't know how to say this without being offensive, so I'm just going to say it and then those of you in the know can help me with my sensitivity.  We came across kids all day in various levels of meltdown.  From minor to nuclear.  One little girl in particular stands out.  She was about 10 years old and she was obsessed with trying to get a Sword out of a Stone.  I wanted a pic of Gomer doing it and so we were waiting behind a couple of other kids on line.  The little girl kept trying and trying with her father constantly encouraging her to take "one more shot at it."  After 10 minutes (no exaggeration) the mom in front of me said, "Can I just snap a quick picture of my kids and then you can try again?"  The girl wouldn't budge.  The rest of the family left and now it was just the girl and her mother.  Her mother was trying to cajole the little girl into stepping down.  "Let these kids get their picture taken and then you can have another few minutes to try."  That's when my mother spoke up, "Uhhh, there are other kids waiting too."  At this point the mother flew over to us and got in my mother's face and very politely said, "Look, I understand, but here's the thing.  She's a very sick little girl and she has brain damage.  We're trying to make today special for her.  Thanks."  Whoa.  In the immortal words of my mother, "Wow, now I feel like a shit."  Uh yeah, pretty much.  Here's where I need sensitivity training.  There were no outward signs this little girl had these problems.  Is there a way a child like this could wear a button that says, "Mickey's Special Guest" or something like that so that I KNOW this child needs some space and she needs some patience?  Is that PC???  The Hubs thinks I'm horrible for suggesting this.  Maybe I am.  I'm not trying to say that kids with special needs to be singled out and open them to ridicule.  I'm really trying to make her mom's job easier.  We passed the Sword in the Stone about 40 minutes later and her daughter was still working on it and the mom was still explaining to people why they needed patience and why no one (including Gomer) could get a picture with the sword.  A button would help tremendously.  We felt terrible and we knew we deserved the punch on this one.  I think my experience with this little girl helped instill patience in me for the rest of the day.  I gave EVERYONE a grain of salt after that.  I'm not trying to be an asshole here, so tell me if I'm wrong.

3.  Not trying to be an asshole again, because I get that Disney is a once in a lifetime kind of thing and everyone celebrates differently, but if you are an adult who wears mouse ears can you please tell me why?  When you are 65 years old and driving a Rascal through Disney why do you need Minnie Mouse ears and why does your husband (in a matching Rascal) need a Goofy hat with ears?  Tell me why you wear your ears so I can understand the passion.

4.  Parents SCREAMING at their kids.  You would have been so proud of me yesterday.  I was so Zen as I moved through the park.  I never yelled at my kids when they whined for another $50 worth of food or $25 mouse ears.  I never threatened them within inches of their lives while we waited on long lines and they told me they were "melting."  I kept telling myself:  This is one day, this is the happiest place on Earth, we will have fun, damn it and I will not cause a scene.

It was easy for me, because we only spent one day there.  We didn't buy the resort package where we stay on the property and have a 7 day park hopper pass.  I think those were the parents going ballistic.  Here are some the best quotes I heard yesterday:

"Do you have any idea how much I spent to be here?  Put a smile on your goddamned face."

"I've already bought you Jasmine and Belle dresses, I will not buy Sleeping Beauty too!"

"Shut up, already or we will go back to the hotel right this minute!"

"Michael, move your ass, people are passing us!"  (Michael was about 6.)


"That is Snow White!  You've been asking to see Snow White for 2 months.  That's what we're here for!  Now get over there and give her a hug!"

"I rode 7 hours on a plane to be here.  You.  Will.  Have.  Fun.  Now."

Ahh....the Happiest Place on Earth!!  Glad we went.  Glad it's over.

Today we're off to the beach!

182 comments:

  1. I *loved* my trip to Disney - but Mommy was very mindful of my nap schedule and didn't try to do EVERYTHING in our limited time; when I was tired, we went back to the hotel for some quiet time. I think your "Mickey's Special Guest" pin is a GREAT idea; it gives a head's up without being like a giant dunce cap or something offensive...

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    1. MAYBE I need the "mickeys special pin" here... Was this comment written by a small child? Cause if so, wow.
      If it was written by their parent supposedly in their child's voice, that person needs a "special guest" pin.

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    2. Anonymous09:55

      this... exactly this

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    3. Anonymous11:18

      Oh god, STOP

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    4. Anonymous13:15

      My daughter has Aspberger's and I would never let her spend even 20 minutes trying to pull the sword if there were other people waiting. There are a million and ten ways to make a child's day special at Disney without encroaching on other children's rights to have a special day.

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    5. Anonymous20:37

      I don't think the kid needs a special guest pin...the parent does. The parent should explain to their child BEFORE going that if you want to keep doing something you may have to give other people a try, just like if they want to go on a ride again - they have to wait in line again. It should work the same way...whether or not the child has an issue.

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    6. Anonymous09:40

      Disney sucks! Everyone that even goes to Disney needs a "Special Guest" pin.

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    7. I have 2 kids with diasabilities- one obvious and one not so much. If anyone gives me a pin to put on them I will shove it up their ass- pinpoint first! Just what they need- an actual label. That being said, mom should have brought staff with her if she can't get her kid away from a sword. Most parents know how to handle the very special meltdown the kids have and expecting not to have any would be delusional. Ten minutes tops at the sword! But I don't think it was about the daughter. It seems like it was about mom, unfotunately, trying to get that perfect day, just once. Sometimes when you are in a family with special needs, the only thing you want is for your kid to have fun like everyone else's.
      Go ahead and punch me- I've had a lot worse

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    8. I have a son with special needs who has tantrums regularly. We have been to Disney World 3 or 4 times and love it! That said, I have been on both sides of this debate. Once, on the ferry from the cabins to the park, I was hot and irritable. My special needs child was screaming, disturbing other passengers. I was rocking his stroller backwards and using sign language for "stop". One mother, not realizing this, assumed I was smacking my child's face. I heard her whisper, loudly, that she would call DCFS if I touched him again. I realized I had mishandled the situation. The next time, I came prepared. Wyatt, my son, was in a more secure wheelchair to inhibit his ability to throw large tantrums. We stayed in a facility with easy access to the air conditioned monorail. We did one park at a time, so as not to overload. We took afternoon breaks in the air conditioning. We accepted the fact that we couldn't see everything. My husband and I would switch off with activities for the other kids. The melt downs happen with kids and parents for the same reason. The parent says, "I paid this much, I'm going to do everything I want to do.". The kid says, " I am at Disney and I want to do everything now, my way!". I know the price is crazy, but no one can run on high without a break. If your time is short, pick the 2 or 3 things you want to do most and enjoy them. If you cram in 10 things and spend the day hot, irritable, and grouchy, do you have fun? Can I hear an Amen!

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  2. I like the idea of the "Mickey's Special Guest" as well. Disney is great for kids with special needs - you register when you arrive, and can get line passes etc. Absolutely fantastic for kids who absolutely cannot bear standing in line. (I have a 9 yr old son with autism)

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    1. My daughter has special needs and I think a pin like that is much better than that card you have to keep track of. Besides, maybe some of the asshats (who are ADULTS btw) can be a little nicer to the kids who have invisible disabilities.

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    2. Anonymous19:04

      As a sister of a person with autism AND being his primary caregiver, I get it. I remember when we were young and he had alot of public meltdowns, especially while having to wait. But kids with special needs need limits too. All children have tantrums and I know you want to prevent ruining a day (esp @ Disney!!) but you still have to teach your child to respect others. Even if you spend your whole day in the park taking turns with a Sword in a Stone.

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  3. Anonymous09:04

    Which beach????? I don't want to be punched! Lol! Loved your trip to disney!

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  4. hate the idea of Mickey's Special Guest. We get stared enough as it is.

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  5. Anonymous09:08

    Look, I don't care if the kid is "special needs", they can't just hog one place all afternoon. Patience is one thing, but then the mother just needs to step in. Everyone paid the same entry fee, so wtf? If you think I'm horrible now, go ahead.

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    1. Anonymous09:18

      AMEN!!! After so long, it's time for the mom to step in an say okay it's time for us to ride the tea cups

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    2. Kelly10:01

      As a Mom with a 10 year old boy with Autism and other cognitive issues, I would NEVER allow him to occupy an area beyond his turn while there are others waiting. (Even if I had to haul him off kicking and screaming.) That scenario would have been a great teachable moment. Just because the child has special needs does not allow said child to be a brat-just my opinion.

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    3. pamb10:02

      Another agree-er here! After over 40 minutes, it's time to move on. I'm surprised the child didn't have a breakdown after trying for so long and not succeeding. Did the mother not know that you CAN'T pull the Sword out of the Stone? It's a photo op spot, nothing more.

      I get that she wanted to let her daughter play, but I guarantee that same would not have let someone else tie up the Sword for over 40 minutes if her child wanted to use it!

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    4. Allison11:30

      Another "Completely Agree with you here"! Patience is one thing. Letting a special needs child have a bit longer to complete a normal task is also just fine. But letting a special needs child hog one thing for MUCH longer than necessary is NOT ok. I agree with Kelly- that would have been a great teachable moment for the child- not the other onlookers.

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    5. Give me a break, all of you. When you have a special needs kid who will never be independent, a few extra minutes with Snow White means everything to this child and NOTHING to you in the long run.

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    6. Margaret12:20

      I have a very large family with multiple members who are special needs and I agree a little extra time is necessary but 40 minutes is excessive and inconsiderate to all the other children.

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    7. I agree with you. I am all for extra time, but 40 minutes. Other kids deserved the chance at the Sword in the Stone the MOM should have been considerate of the other families.

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    8. Anonymous14:32

      I absolutely agree that we can all have extra grace with "special needs" situations. But it can not be so one-sided (as it appears to have been in Jen's original post situation) that it impedes the experience of other park-goers. The parents of the little girl should understand this and divert her attention to something else. Parents of special needs children must recognize that EVERY child is special to their family and deserves a chance to participate in everything the park has to offer.

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    9. I have 3 kiddos with peculiar special needs(even more so that people don't understand them nor even see them as special needs).
      The PARENTS should have stepped in and let their girl tAKE TURNS. 40 minutes hogging a spot when you're supposed to stay 2 to 4 minutes tops, waou. that's some of the experiences that makes it difficult for normal kids to see the good in special needs kids (they always have a pass). There are boundaries, give a little extra if you are asked to by parents to give a little time seems fine but expecting to use something for 40 minutes is mad

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    10. Anonymous16:29

      Shit, if the kid has special needs, why take them to the most "over-crowded" place on Earth? This doesn't seem like fun for anybody.

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  6. I totally agree with you. I myself am a a Disney World vet(I've been to the parks way more times than I care to admit), so I've seen it from every angle,from childhood to adulthood. Great job on keeping your patience because I know how hard it is. I don't think you were being a dick about any of it.

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  7. Anonymous09:08

    this little snippet is exactly the reason why I live less than 20 miles from "The Happiest Place on Earth" and my kids have never been.

    Correction...Kid #1 and #2 have been on school event trips, their band/chorus/whatever have performed there, so they've been in that capacity, but we've never taken a family "Fun" day to disney.

    I prefer Sea World and Aquatica...where there is actually fun to be had, because the crowds are smaller and lines are shorter...and people are infinitely happier!!

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    1. Anonymous19:52

      Couldn't agree with you more. Keep my passes and happy kids at Sea World and Aquatica. Not even the Florida resident 3 day $99 has tempted us to go.

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  8. Anonymous09:09

    I detest the idea of Disney and you've confirmed my fears. Most disturbing are adults that go there w/o children. Why would you subject yourself to that chaos if you don't have to???

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    1. Anonymous11:19

      Birth control...

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    2. What about those newlyweds who wear the Minnie Bride and Mickey Groom hats all over the parks?!? They should be beaten.

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    3. Anonymous12:45

      Ok, that's not fair. Don't hate on others' choices just because it's not your cup of tea. My husand and I have been as a childless couple and had a blast. Maybe because we weren't hauling around tired and overstimulated kids, or because we could focus on the things that appealed to us, or because we could tune out the unhappy people by walking away (or grabbing a beer). I don't know. Whatever, I had fun. And I don't think that is "disturbing" in the least. Now that I have a kid, I will probably take her when she is 6-7 and I will enjoy being able to show her the places my husband and I enjoyed when we were there (or at least the ones that don't serve alcohol).

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    4. Anonymous18:53

      I totally agree. I have no interest in ever taking my sons. My husband thinks I'm a horrible, mean mom because of it. My parents never took me and I survived. I just have no interest in spending my money and vacation time fighting crowds. There are plenty of other enjoyable things we can do as a family.

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    5. Anonymous22:58

      I dont think there is anything wrong with going to disney with out kids. Me and my husband have gotten some to watch our kids and went there for a couple of days just me and him. I have been to disney world every year since I was two. No my parents didn't have a lot of money but they just saved and took us there. I got Married at the Happiest place on earth it was the best thing ever. And yes we did wear the Mickey and Minnie bride a groom hats and every one in our wedding party got hats that said Brides maids and grooms men. We had the best time after the wedding going around the park. Living in Southern California my children have been to Disneyland so many times I loss count. I have also been to Tokyo Disney and Hong Kong Disney. I guess you either love it or hate.

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    6. Guess what? Even adults love Disney! I am proud to be a Disney vet with or without my kids. Just because you are impatient in a crowd, hate lines, and hate the cost, doesn't make you any more sophisticated than I am.

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  9. Shelley in So. IL09:11

    You have no idea the amount of crazy you will encounter if you keep talking about Disney. If there ever was a can of worms, then you just opened it. I love Disney, but there are entire discussion boards of thousands of people just to talk about fast passes and which hotel has the best snacks in the concierge level lounge. Then there are other boards that sit back and poke fun at the other nuts. It is a vicious cycle. Start looking up Disboards then venture to the dark side of the UnDis.

    You are welcome...I think.

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    1. That's so funny! DH is on that first dis board, while I am on the one that makes fun of him LOL

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    2. Anonymous06:31

      You can laugh, but it's a great source of information! You definitely need to plan well before attempting Disney and that's what the DISboards are great for.

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  10. Anonymous09:11

    I think the pins are a great idea. My brother-in-law is older now and pretty high-functioning--waiting in line would not be a problem...but he talks to kids and has conversations with people and sometimes they give him looks instead of realizing he is just making conversation the only way he knows how.

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    1. Sadly, the pins are really for the cranky parents who have to wait in line with their typical kids. It's the way of saying to the parents (like those posting here): calm the hell down. I can't help it. That will cause them to (hopefully) stop complaining.

      When we took my daughter, she was 5 at the time and we had the guest pass. We received numerous comments from parents when we went through the handicapped entrance on the Dumbo ride: "must be nice to cut in line..." and "no one looks handicapped to me." Have a little compassion, people. We all want to have a good time and my daughter needs some extra concessions to do that.

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    2. How about giving these families a cast member to help out, tell the cranky people why it's taking so long, help them get through lines...that way the cast member gets the crazy stares, and honestly, isn't that what every cast member wants, to be looked at?
      Also we went last May, crowds weren't too bad, we went to parks early, left around 2-3pm to swim at the resort and back to the parks in the evening for more rides while everyone was watching the damn parades. I will say it was hotter then we expected it to be in mid May. But we had a blast and only wore ears the day we got them...because that's what you do. You wear red or green at Christmas, fancy dresses for Easter, big hats at the Kentucky derby...ears at Disney...you just do.

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  11. I also have a child who, from all outward appearances, look like a totally "normal" 6 year old boy. But he isn't. We get stares, glares and the occassional comment from "well meaning" parents. Disney World is not one of the places I would take him (we went when he was 11 months old. My Dad works there, we get in for free thankfully because we weren't there long)because I know he can't handle it. I think the pin is a good idea for parents who would want to bring their kids. The only tricky part would be being able to "prove" the child has some sort of issue.

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    1. pamb10:06

      I believe that Disney has forms that you submit ahead of time, so you don't have to 'prove' anything to the park workers. If you've got your special pass/button , they know you're the real deal! As far as what qualifies for the special pass, I'm not sure, but I think a doctor's note is required.

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    2. When we've taken my daughter, all we've needed is a doctor's note to get the pass.

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    3. Anonymous22:28

      We had proof but Disney did not request it. Disney is one of the best places to take special needs kid and their siblings without disabilities. I probably would not let my guy take up 40 minutes but I use our pass and enjoy it. I probably spend more energy getting my child dressed in the morning tan typical parents spend in the whole day. Give the family a break... glad you were patient after. Invisible disabilities are challenging in their own ways because kids and parents are always judged. There are different passes for different issues.

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  12. Anonymous09:12

    Happiest place on earth my ass! :)

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  13. Anonymous09:13

    i was shocked by the amount of adults there w/o children. i found it a little creepy that grown men and women (again w/o children) were waiting in line to get their pictures taken along with my 4 yr old daughter.

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    1. Yes. It is totally gross.

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    2. Anonymous09:15

      oops...forgot to mention they were waiting in line to get pictures taken with the princesses...yikes.

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    3. Anonymous09:20

      I totally agree with the picture thing. I had total strangers--ALL MEN--taking pictures of my daughter and niece once. Needless to say, I gave them an EAR FULL and park security made them leave. Freaking pedophiles. ;)

      I will say this--I LOVE Disney and would LOVE to go without my kids. I would not get my picture made with characters and would happily drink myself around the world at Epcot. The crazy people around me, including all the whiny, bratty kids wouldn't bother me one bit.

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    4. Anonymous09:43

      I took a picture with Belle, nothing creepy, I just wanted one for my kids

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    5. I don't think grown adults taking pictures with the characters is creepy. Most of the time, it's just people having fun, or sometimes actually taking a picture with a co-worker or friend who is in the costume.

      And many people go to Disney just to have fun or even hangout. Especially if they're passholders, which seems to be more and more common around Disneyland. Tons of my friends are passholders and are spending every week at Disney. Not to be around kids, but just to goof off, have fun, hang out, and drink.

      The Anon comment above, about grown men taking pictures of their children. That's nasty, and creepy.

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    6. Why is it creepy? Is every childless adult an automatic pedo? I'm 29 and enjoying acting like a douche canoe at Tokyo Disneyland... And I hate the badges because I can't cut in line!! But my boyfriend likes to embarrass me and asks the staff for them. I'm too nice to say no :(

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  14. Bridget09:13

    Disney is MY happy face and yes we do wear matching shirts and I wear my Minnie ears only when I am not wearing my tiara. I have worn every button they have even made a special button for my "girls only" trip. I have been with out kids. My DH and I went for our 20th anniversary and had a blast dressed up and went to the Halloween party. To me doing all these things are part of the magic ...part of the fun.
    Now for the sword kid the button would be ok. I have a son with special needs and Disney does a wonderful job making our trips special. They issue Guest Assistance Cards to let us go through the fast pass lane with no fast pass or us an alterative entrance away from the crowds that set my son off. They have other accommodations also depending on your needs That being said I would never ever let my kid get away with hogging the sword for that huge period of time. If it caused a melt down from me taking him away then so be it we would go back to our resort.
    Lastly we know how to DO Disney and what suits out kids the best. We go early at well really before opening when there at NO CROWDS do a whole bunch of rides have lunch before the lunch crowds go back to our resort in the after noon and rest and swim (we do stay on property) then go back to the parks when people are leaving. OH and use Fast pass to the max always get a new one when you can . OH and any sign of melt down we head back to the resort part of the perks of staying on property easy to do that.

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    1. Anonymous09:31

      100% agree. Plan a longer stay and go back when the kids melt down...Disney is expensive. Know that before going.

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  15. Anonymous09:13

    I agree. The pin idea would be great and they could write about it in the "Unofficial Guide to Disney World" (which honestly is a GREAT purchase, especially if you're going to be at Disney for more than a day like you were). Our week at Disney World when my daughter was 4 was an amazing experience but we went with my Disney fanatical best friend and her family and they are pros (like your anniversary couple). Sounds like you handled your day very well. I'm proud to know you didn't punch that lady in the throat and THEN find out her daughter's story. :o)

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  16. Anonymous09:15

    We took our 6 yr old there last year and all she wanted to do was go back to the hotel and swim. We even surprised her with a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for the way over priced makeover. She looked soo cute but complained her head hurt cause the bun was too tight. She whined the whole day. Her head hurt, the dress was hot, her feet hurt from walking!!! We finally broke down and rented a freakin stroller (something we swore we were not doing) Lesson learned: Next time we go on vacation, we will more than likely go to the Cape Codder (20 minutes away) so she can swim in the pool and we can save a few grand :)

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  17. Anonymous09:15

    I just took my daughter there. We stayed five days, did the park hopper and now I say it is the land of empty threats. There are parents everywhere telling their children "i'll take you home right now if you don't stop acting this way." Oh man, I'd prefer not to go back. Bravery at its best.

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  18. Anonymous09:16

    OMG, I sooooo needed this laugh!! We are Disney Vacation Club members (the Disney timeshare) and we go AT LEAST once a year! Our kids are expected to go non-stop, without whining for 7 days out of the year and so far, they haven't failed us!! Our experiences (like the anniversary couple) have taught us how to navigate like pros, too! We make sure to point out to our kids other children who are melting down so they know how NOT to act. I mean, who wants to look THAT stupid and bratty at Disney of all places!! I once watched a child have an HOUR LONG TEMPER TANTRUM because his dad wouldn't take him on Splash Mountain. Yep, I videoed it. :) It was the most awesome, awe-inspiring temper tantrum I had ever seen. His mother kept walking away from him, leaving him sprawled out on the bridge for other people to step over! Haha! She acted like she had no clue who he was! I wanted to give her a medal. I really wanted to see her whip out a wooden spoon--LOL. My BIGGEST peeve on our trip last summer was a woman who let her toddler urinate on the sidewalk outside Cinderella's castle. YES. I kid you not. She took this little girl's diaper off--she looked about 3 years old and shouldn't have had a diaper on anyway--and told her to PEE right where she was, standing up!! I was FLOORED!!!! Someone should have told the mom of "Mickey's Special Guest" that the sword doesn't come out of that stone. Its a bronze statue. I wonder if they are still trying?

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    1. Anonymous10:48

      Bahahahahahahaha

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    2. Anonymous21:46

      Loved your comment except the diaper judging. I'm a mom of a child who has serious GI issues and I detest when parents judge kids for being in a diaper at 3.

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    3. Actually, the sword DOES come out of the stone, or maybe I should say CAN come out of the stone. They have shows where there is a cast member dressed like Merlin who picks a child out of the crowd to pull out the sword. And YES, I am a die-hard Disney addict.

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  19. Anonymous09:18

    I must comment because my child had a melt down. She was 9 at the time and we went on what was possible the worst day of the year: Black Friday. She has ADHD and high anxiety and for some reason, I didn't quite explain what the Disney experience would be like. The crowds, noise, rides and everything SCARED/SCARRED her! She doesn't even want to go back. Last year, we purchased a Sea World fun pass. Much better, quieter, experience!

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  20. Anonymous09:18

    As the mother of 2 special needs children and 3 typically developing children, I say a big HELL NO to the Mickey's Special Guest pin! Parents of special needs children need to respect the families of typically developing children too! Brain damage or not that child wasn't the only one who's parents were trying to make the day really special. Special needs is not an excuse to do whatever you want and expect everyone else to just suck it up and understand.

    Stephanie K.

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    1. Anonymous09:23

      amen! Mutual respect for all children and their parent's who spent way too much to go to Disney for that special day!

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    2. Exactly! My son has special needs and we've been to Disney numerous times. We don't expect less of him because of it. If he can't handle something we leave.

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  21. Anonymous09:22

    We are planning a trip to Disney in May for several days there and one at Universal..and now I am...scared! lol, I think with anything like that you have to have a general idea of what the craziness is you are getting into and if you expect perfection it will just be one big let down. having worked with many children with special needs, yes it is nice to give them extended time and to encourage them to do things but at the same time you can't monopolize everything just because your child is special needs. You need to be reasonable and respectful of others just as you expect them to be to your child and set some boundries, special needs or not!

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    1. Anonymous00:22

      We went in May last year. It was great! Never had longer then a 20 minute line. I had a plan for everyday dinner reservations made and we took a break back at the resort every afternoon. I also put my 7 and 8 year old on a budget so they weren't constantly asking for stuff. Go with a plan and take your time and you will have a great time.

      Delete
  22. Ok in defense of Adults there w/o children. I went last year at Christmas time with my mom & uncle, who are 60 and 65,and I'm 30. We go because it's a family tradition that we've been doing since I was 5 years old. My Aunt worked for the park for almost 30 years before she passed away so we have the "Magic Card" as I like to call it, for free admission and % off products. For the three of us who are full grown adults, it's our way of being kids again and spending quality time as a family.

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    1. Anonymous09:53

      I will still be going when I am 85. In fact, I plan to retire there and get a job as a greeter! haha! I love seeing sweet, old couples at Disney. There is no age limit to have fun!! I will be concerned if I see an elderly couple having a melt-down, though. haha!

      Liz S.

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  23. My son has autism and as far as that other special needs child I think you had every right to be upset. 10 minutes is enough to hold up a line. If it is really important they should have gotten back in the line and waited for another turn. I know my son in that spot would have a melt down but really who are they to keep anyone else from the experience! It's rude on the parents part!

    I agree about the "special guest" thing though. It would be helpful in some situations.

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  24. We LOVE Disney and wore the ears the first time. I can't explain why. I think it's something in the water.

    Oh yes.... the people at Disney. I've heard those quotes and variations of them.

    Our meltdown memory is my Mom Meltdown. We were there during an "on" time. It was beyond packed. DH kept disappearing as I tried to keep pace while dragging our daughter (literally) through the crowd. I was calling DH's cell phone, which he couldn't hear ringing, to find a spot to reunite. Long story short after hours of losing and finding him, I finally lost it on him. I still expect to find the video of me to show up on YouTube. It would be a video of a crazy woman yelling, swearing, and pacing in a small circle while her child tries desparately to disown her. Not my finest moment

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  25. I think the brain damage mom was faking. There, now you aren't the insensitive one.

    I also am that guy with the goofy hat. We are going in September, and I am already pondering what sort if hat would mist embarrass my family. That's fun to me. I can't explain why.

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  26. Anonymous09:26

    It's actually more fun without kids. I just ignore the children and the moron parents who did not read blogs such is this prior to dropping 5k. It's hot and difficult. Doing it with children is harder (I don't envy you). I was a Cast Member and I have seen it all from within Alice's dress and thru Pooh's eyes...

    I loved my experience working there and I love going back. I am very calculated and planned when I go, thus making for a better experience. I know I will need more than one day. Rushing makes it miserable. I stay at one of the more high-end hotels (blah blah, yes I know not everyone can do that - again no kids -- it's a privledge not a right) and enjoy the fact that my pool isn't swarming with children. Believe me, I love the children related to me, but I don't 100% love other people's kids (or their parents inability to discipline them).

    Working at Disney taught me the positives of birth control, tolerance and travel organization. As with anything, you can't knock it till you've tried it (for those of you complaining before the fact of actually attending). I am not completely evil. I do remember how nice it felt to get a hug from a sweet little kid who was genuinely happy to be there...magical indeed.

    As for your "Mickey's Special Guest". I personally think this is a Disney failure. That damn sword does come out. If a cast member had witnessed this, then I don't understand why they didn't push the button for the poor kid. Problem solved. Drama over.

    I will post again someday when I take my own children...I am sure I will have a different attitude, and certainly lack of sleep from staying at one of the god awful All-Star resorts.

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    1. love that you were Alice! (Yes I'm aware this makes me a total dork!)
      And I agree, I had more fun being there as a grown up.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:38

      :) I just said I wore her dress...hahaha! Yes I drank the water...lots of it. I should post on her FB link so that I am not being oddly annoymous! I stand by my uber opinions.

      Delete
    3. My DD walked up for her turn so I could take a photo of her "trying" to pull the sword out. Priceless moment when it DID come up! It's the only time I've seen it move and it was a super magical moment. I thought it was random. Thanks for sharing that!

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:52

      Oh yes..."Merlin" has a "magic" button when he does his show and select cast members at surrounding shops also have this magic ability. You rarely see Mr. Merlin, so if you did...lucky you.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:57

      Seriously? The sword DOES come out??!! Sweet!!

      Is this the sword in front of the carousel? I swore, last time we went, I checked that thing out with a fine toothed comb and it looked IMPOSSIBLE. Looked like it was welded in there! I can't wait to go and try it out next time!

      Delete
    6. Anonymous10:02

      Of course you can't tell...it's Disney! They did have a show with Merlin from Sword in the Stone. I worked there in 98-99 and it certainly came out. I went back in 08 and requested it for my nephews (when you are in the know...) and they pulled it out!

      Delete
  27. I hate amusement parks. Really loath them. So I was expecting Disney to be the biggest beating of all. Turns out it was one of the best vacations we have ever had! We are looking forward to going back when the youngest is old enough (and tall enough) to ride everything. The key to blissful happiness in a sea of potential Hell? Lots and lots of advance planning. I put more time into planning our Disney trip then I did our wedding! Crazy, I know! I am sooo not an anal person. Honestly! Luckily, I had friends who had been before who prepared me for what I needed to do 6 months in advance. If you are willing to do some research and take the advice of a couple website dedicated to making your Disney experience a great time versus a living Hell, then you will avoid most of the meltdowns, crowds and "greedies" (you know, "Mom I HAVE to have ...."). I bet the anniversary couple had done their homework...

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  28. Anonymous09:28

    "Do you have any idea how much I spent to be here? Put a smile on your goddamned face."

    This is my favorite and would most definately be something i would say!! HAHAHA

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  29. Oh... My... God!!! Never in a million years - I don't care my daughter claims I ruined her life - I didn't I saved my own sanity, what little there was.

    Only theme park ever really done was Legoland in Denmark when the lad was 4 - he was great, the Germans - not so - they seemed to have separate queues for themselves, it is called "pushing in" but we did (just) get through that one.

    I stayed in the the Disney thing at The Swan I think, for a conference that was a nightmare frankly!!!

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  30. Anonymous09:31

    My parents live near Disneyland and I take my kids there probably every other year. I've had years where I get stressed over every little thing and it's miserable. This past November I made a conscious decision to just relax, go with the flow and HAVE FUN! It went great and fun was had by all.

    I'm confused about the sword and stone thing, though. Someone needed to just tell this girl that IT DOESN'T COME OUT!!!!! I'm sorry, but the fantasy bubble that she could remove it needed to be burst! I understand that she had special needs, but you can't ruin everyone else's experience because of that. She deserved a fair amount of time, sure. After that it was her mom's responsibility to move her along. That was bad parenting from my outside perspective.

    Okay, now it's time for me to get bashed. . .

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  31. I bought the Pirates of the Caribbean themed Mickey Mouse ears because... well... where ELSE could I wear Mickey Mouse ears???? Going to Disney at the age of 26 was a good opportunity to be a care free kid again and be silly, so I totally embraced it.

    My friend and I went together and we had the best time. I went as an 8 year old and a teenager and this was definitely the most fun I ever had at Disney. We ate whatever we wanted, did everything, and silently thanked God that we didn't have any kids in tow whenever we saw the meltdowns happening or the poor Mom pushing the giant stroller up a hill.

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  32. Anonymous09:37

    Haha -- last time we went to Disney, my sister and I got matching Germany-themed mouse ears and drank our way around the world at Epcot. I think we had more fun than the kids.

    I think the key is waiting until your kids are a bit older. My kids are 12 and 7. They have the patience to deal with the crowds, and I did extensive research before the trip to get the most bang for our buck. My in-laws, who had a 5-year-old and a toddler, did not fare as well. :)

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  33. Anonymous09:38

    It's definitely all in how you "do" Disney. My husband and I went on our honeymoon and had a blast. We laughed at the idiots changing diapers in line and the people at pleasure island at 11:00 at night with 5 year olds screaming "I wanna go HOME". Of course you do sweetheart, your parents are douchebags for keeping you out so late! We took our 5 kids this Xmas (ages 3-12) and had a fabulous time. No major meltdowns on anyone's part. Go at a kids pace, not with the "I just dropped 10k on this trip and goddammityouwillhavefun24/7 attitude" You.will.get.burned if you do. Nuff said

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  34. Anonymous09:38

    Having been to Disney many times, and seen all of the things you reference, I agree with "some" but not all of what you said. I am one of those ear wearing adults. Disney is my happy place where some of my best memories have been made with my kids. We have a plan to avoid meltdowns. Unfortunately, some parents think because they are at Disney and paid the price to be there, everyone needs to understand that their child is having a bad day. To that, I say HELL NO!!!!!! I paid just as much if not more than you to enjoy the parks. If my kid melts down, we leave and go nap or find an area where no one else is witness to the meltdown. No it's not cute that your kid is sad, it's not cute when your kid is screaming and mouthy. I would have felt bad when I found out about the sword kid for 5 minutes. After I looked around and saw the other kids waiting who may also have an invisible illness, I would have been pissed. The special guest button is a good idea but does the button entitle you to take something away from a just as ill or more child? That sword mother is a perfect example of someone who would think so.

    About the ears on adults, I wear mine all the time. I get the headband kind...saves me time on primping. If I look ridiculous with them on, I would look like a complete hot mess without them. Plus my kids get a kick out of it.

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  35. Anonymous09:47

    Spring break season is the "off season"? When does Disney REALLY get busy then? Last year I took my then 5-yr-old daughter during spring break and lucked out in the Magic Kingdom... it rained. The morning started off with thunderstorms but by 10a it cleared up. Everybody had decided to go elsewhere for the day so we had the park to ourselves. My daughter was in heaven. The next day the crowds were back (an intern told us they were considering closing the gates it was so busy) but she didn't mind at all waiting in lines for her favorites.

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    1. Anonymous09:54

      Christmas week is the absolute worst. We has 65K in the park (As in Magic Kingdom). The park was restricted to resort guest only. Now that is misery for all...guest and cast.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:03

      No doubt, Christmas is the WORST. I nearly lost my sanity the week after Christmas last year. We will NEVER go that time of the year again. I would go into detail, but would subsequently be called horrible names by the other readers because I would bash many people of other nationalities as well as the rude Americans. haha. Best to refrain here. :) Our BEST two trips have been last summer the first week of August and when we went the first week of March, before the Spring Break season.

      Delete
  36. Anonymous09:49

    I'm a special education teacher and mother to a child with special needs. I actually think the idea of a pin that says "Mickey's Special Guest" is a great idea. Sesame Place actually has something like this (it's a bracelet which identifies children with autism and other special needs and allows them to move to the head of the line or wait in a less congested area). I think that identifying kids who need a little extra understanding would be an enormous weight off the parent's shoulders. They can spend their time trying to manage their child's behavior and trying to give their child a positive experience instead of wasting time explaining to strangers why their child isn't behaving "normally".
    That being said, in the situation you described, I think at some point a "Cast member" needed to step in and either help the kid do what she was trying to do, or ask the family to move on. Just because the kid has special needs doesn't mean that everyone else's needs don't matter. All too often, parents (of children with and without special needs) forget that their children are not the only children that matter. Everyone else on that line was trying to make a nice memory for their child as well.

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    1. Amy G09:55

      I completely agree. I think it's a fantastic idea to have a special bracelet to identify special needs children in a park setting. We don't go to very many places that have long lines because my son can't stand the wait or to many people. Being able to "wait in line" in a less congested area would be fabulous!

      Delete
  37. Amy G09:50

    I have 4 kids, 2 of them are on the autism spectrum. One of which has behavior issues. I fully understand the position that mother was in. With that being said she's out of line!! Who does she think she is??? There are other people at the park who want to enjoy their time there too! Maybe I need a punch for thinking she needs a punch for being so inconsiderate! She should have dragged her daughter away and if she knows that her daughter acts in that manner, maybe Disney isn't the best place to go. Perhaps when the girl is a little older would have been a better time to take her? I'm sure I am going to make people mad for saying that, but oh well.

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    1. Anonymous22:43

      I am thinking that maybe the mom was a jerk, or maybe she was exhausted and did not have the fight left in her. Sometimes, the rest of us need to learn that fair is not the same as equal. Some of us need to learn that putting others who are less fortunate is worth learning and teaching our kids too.

      Delete
  38. Anonymous09:52

    We went to the Magic Kingdom years ago with another family. We noticed a family bypassing some of the lines, and the other mother was annoyed. Then I noticed the child was wearing a pin, something like "Today my wish came true." Something like that. Apparently, they were there courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a group that helps children with life-threatening illnesses. My husband and i were very moved. I said to the mom, "Kind of puts things in perspective, no?" and she answered, "I still don't see why they don't have to wait." We are no longer friends with them, and I wished I'd punched her in the throat.

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    1. Anonymous10:13

      Handicapped people get this privilege as well. My mother is handicapped and brings her own scooter and I always feel so guilty when we are directed to the front of the line. Anyone who would say something ugly about a child receiving their last wish is a horrible person!! However, last year, we saw a couple from the Netherlands take total advantage of this. How did I know they were from the Netherlands you ask? The sign on the scooter told me so. Every Disney rented scooter or stroller has a place for a name card and these two proudly displayed their names and where they were from. They rented scooters and proceeded to go to the front of EVERY line. How did I know they weren't handicapped? Because we saw them get off the bus and WALK, almost run to the rental area. Because they would park them and get off for rides that didn't have a line. They also would park them and walk to the bathrooms, to eat, to stand in line for pictures (yes ADULTS). They also were riding the Dinosaur ride, which specifically says it isn't for people with physical handicaps! If you have a legitimate back problem or leg problem and you ride THAT ride, you may need hospitalization afterwards! These people didn't have oxygen tanks or anything else that would indicate they had a "non-obvious" handicap. We also saw them leave the park and they both started sprinting to the bus stop when they saw their resort bus pull up!! I finally said to my husband that may be they think the purpose of them IS to get in the front of the line? Maybe they didn't know they were for PHYSICALLY handicapped people? Like, renting one was an expensive privilege? I don't know, but I found it equally funny and disturbing at the same time. I also wanted to punch them both in the throat.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous12:28

      Except fOr the fact that you saw them sprinting, that would be me - I'm renting a scooter bEcause I can't stand or walk for lOng periods but I can leave the scooter and get on some rides (not the back breaker ones though).

      Delete
  39. The hubs and kids LOVE Disneyland! We live nearby, get our annual passes and go multiple times a year BUT you have to know how to work it to avoid the lines and chaos. We have a nearly full-proof system and my kids (7&9) have no concept of waiting in lines longer than 20 minutes ever...which makes Legoland and other themeparks tough to visit!
    I hate the idea of Mickey's Special Guest pass unless they have to pay extra for it. Honestly, there are enough "special" privileges granted without a pass for handicaps at Disneyland including the bump to the front of the line - check with guest services if you don't know about this. Besides, special needs is no excuse for being a douche canoe. Other families came to the park, (some for their once in a lifetime trip, too) and your kid's needs doesn't outweigh everyone else for the entire day. Deal with the tantrum when you have to move them off of something just like the rest of the parents...don't let your guilt or fears keep you from PARENTING.
    As for the adults that go there without kids...it completely boggles the mind. My own sister went to DisneyWorld for her HONEYMOON! Really?!? Really...I can barely tolerate the place with my family and go only because I know my husband and kids love it. If the hubs ever asked me to go without the kids, he'd get a punch in the throat for sure!

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    1. I want to go all the time with or without our kids (13&9) but the hubs hates Disney and only tolerates it for us. I grew up going as a child to Disneyland. I love it!!! I would so celebrate my anniversary there. I think you either love it or hate it.

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  40. Anonymous09:56

    Me and my family are attempting this chaotic trip in April. Please pray for my sanity and serenity. I have comtemplated being heavily medicated but my husband wont let me. I am frightened. I am scared of the plane ride for one since I have a 17 month old who doesnt for the life of me ever sit. Really never, ever. I hope I dont have a meltdown. HAHA

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  41. Anonymous10:07

    We went to Disneyworld with our son when he was 3, on a Make-A-Wish trip. Outwardly, our son looks fine, but at one point, he was very, VERY sick. Since we were there with Make-A-Wish, we had a button that either myself, or my wife wore (but if the child is older, he can wear it) and a special pass (which either myself or my wife wore around her neck), so the staff can identify us as a Make-A-Wish family. If there were staff around the Sword in the Stone, they could have told the others what was going on, so the mother wouldn't have had to explain the situation to everyone. I know when we went with our son, the Disney staff around the rides/characters would have explained that to the people in line. That's what they did for us, anyway.

    -Joey Lirette

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  42. I went to Disney with just other adults in my early 20s and we had the best time. One friend was from the area and knew all the secrets - it rained when we were there and, when everyone else was running for shelter, we ran for Space Mountain and took advantage of no line.

    I've also been with kids - and it takes different planning, including naps and downtime so you avoid the meltdowns.

    I might need a punch, too - because I totally agree with the people who say that the girl with special needs needed to move on already. Sorry, you don't get to spoil everyone else's day at Disney - plus, how much fun was this situation for her? Her MOM is the one who needed a punch. Seriously.

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  43. Maura B10:41

    There's no substitute for good manners and civility. In real life and at Disney! And they don't cost a thing, anywhere **sigh** when will people realize this?
    I'm going to nominate you to be a CNN hero, for holding the mirror up to all of us and for making us laugh in the process :)

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  44. Anonymous11:20

    We do go to Disney World often, and love it. But I think because we go often, we're not so crazed to see ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING there and try to cram it all in. That's where you get the screaming and the meltdowns. I know it's expensive and you want to try to get your money's worth, but is it worth being miserable? Disney is expensive. Face the reality. And have FUN!

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  45. Don't you know? There's no crying at Disney! It's the most miserable, I mean MAGICAL place on Earth! That's what my hubs and I always say when the kids are in the middle of a meltdown at Disney.

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  46. I think you answered the questions about adults wearing ears and things when you indicated it is a once-in-a-lifetime thing for some people. I have been lucky enough to go to Disney 3 times in my life. I was 21 the last time and it was by far the most fun I had there. My parents were on a budget when I was a kid, so we didn't stay at the park or have a meal with the characters. When I was older, it was my chance to have fun and be a kid again. I don't know about you, but I have very few and far between moments in my life as a working mom where I can just let loose and have fun. When my son is old enough to take the Disney trek, you better believe I am going to run that park like I am 6 again and have as much assinine fun as possible. You have to admit, walking in and seeing Cinderella's castle gave you just a little bit of nostalgia for being a kid, didn't it?

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  47. Anonymous11:36

    OMG!! You kill me! I live in Cocoa Beach and totally want you to come and have cocktails with me!!

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  48. Anonymous12:02

    We went to Disney in 2008 with our 5, 3 and 2 year old children (we were very, very stupid). My son ended up falling down in Liberty Square and cracking his head open, sending us in an ambulance to "Celebration Hospital" ( a seriously stupid name for a hospital, I might add) for a head CT, and staples. Disney was so excellent in helping us out, we never received a bill for the ambulance, and they paid for our cab ride back to the hotel. We tried to salvage the trip, but then my daughter threw up the entire next day, and then I got it, too. My son threw up on the plane ride home.Once again, Disney refunded a bunch of money on our meal plan. Although Disney was great, I could not even watch the Disney channel for awhile there without breaking out in hives. I know it is the happiest place on earth for some, but for me, not so much!

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  49. Maybe I need a punch because I got pissed reading about the special needs kids. Even special needs kids need to be taught limits and be told no. How long would that parent kept everyone else away from that experience just to satisfy their kid?

    I don't understand the lure of Disney. Took my kids once when they were little and that was enough. I have adult friends that go multiple times a year ... really? WTF? You're ADULTS.

    Enjoy the beach - that's where I'd spend all my time!

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    1. Anonymous06:48

      Beaches are boring! All you do is sit, sunbathe, read a book, sunbathe some more..

      Delete
  50. I grew up with a special needs brother (fragile x and he was two years younger than me ). Brian looked pretty typical when he was younger ( until he adapted a odd fashion statement that made it clear something was off at around 16 he decided he would only wear blue Nike top and pants a frank sonata hat, aviator glasses, and carry a briefcase and cane, and god bless my patient mother for the last 12 years has daily abided by this, with the exception of adding a tie and losing the hat in church for my wedding ). There is no way in he'll my mother would have ever let him pull a sword in the stone stunt..... Granted he was too overstimulated in crowds so we never took him to Disney. But it's common decency when you are in a public place to be fair. Moms all over fought for mainstreaming our special needs children to help them advance and that's pretty hypocritical to say hey guess what this time, sure let us be treated unfairly as long as we get the upper hand. That said it would be nice if people would just in general think about shit before they say it, I was very sensitive and growing up had my feelings hurt a lot by people making rude comments. To this day my most hated word in the English language is "retard". Anyone let's that one out in my prescence gets an earful now that I'm grown up.

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  51. I've been to Disney twice as an adult, the first time I was 7 months pregnant and didn't really want to go but my in-laws where paying for the whole family to go and I didn't really have a choice. I was fun, I was childless at the time, my two nieces and their parents were along, they were three. I learned a LOT about what not to do there w/ kids from that experience.

    The second time, I had two children, again the in-laws paid for it all( I really miss having them for in-laws, I hate my current ones) we still had a great time, they are also members of the VacationClub(Disney timeshare) so we were on the property, shuttled around on Disney buses. My oldest son was 4 and my youngest at the time was 1, they had a blast. It was enjoyable, we spent four days, and had parkhopper passes. We were not in a hurry, we didn't care if they saw EVERYthing, we just rambled along and did what they wanted to do. We'd go out in the morning and come back to swim, eat lunch, and take naps when the parks started getting full. There were no melt downs from my children, but I sure saw plenty of others.

    I agree about the special needs kid, really there's no reason for the parents to let it go on that long, disability or not. If that's being insensitive put me in line w/ everyone else.

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  52. Sorry but 40 mins is WAY to long for any child to monopolize a theme park photo opportunity, especially when there are thosewaitng in a long ass line. At an aquarium once with my niece (who was 4), a boy of about 10 pushed her out of the way so he could hog the particular view. I said to my step mom how rude that was and got ready to walk away with my niece, when the boys mother got into my face yelled at me that her kid had turrets and then SHOVED me aside, literally! I was shocked and ready to have her ass thrown out, but she disappeared with her kid before I could even get a good description. I'm not a rude person, the child wasn't in hearing distance when I mentioned his rudeness. I guess son and mother were one and the sameso, I tend to agree, a button would've been nice, that and some manners by the family in general...

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    Replies
    1. The apple usually never falls far from the tree, does it?

      Delete
  53. I have a 9 year old with Asperger's Syndrome (a form of high-functioning Autism) and I'm sorry, but it does not excuse him from bad behavior. He needs to learn, perhaps even more than a neuro-typical kid, that he has to take turns and wait for things. God-willing he's not going to live at home forever and needs to learn how to get by in society. That woman was not doing her child a favor by letting her daughter believe that her wants are the only ones that matter.

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  54. We have lived in Orlando 25 years. My son was at Disney one day as a teen. He & a friend spent the day doing their own informal poll, asking every Dad, when the family couldn't hear. "Would you rather be here or someplace else, if so where?" The most common answer was "Anyplace else on earth!! Get me out of here!" My son & his friend had a residents pass & as usual had a great time, hit a couple of rides, ate junk, took their poll.
    Advice for parents, every time you pass a water fountain, everyone has to drink some water, thirsty or not. A lot of the whining & tantrums is because of dehydration. Cocacola gives them the coke for free, advertising, & then they charge you lots of money.

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  55. Thanks for this - you remind me why I will never, ever, EVER go to Disneyworld, Disneyland, EuroDisney, etc. Hell, I don't even go to Disney movies. I hate everything Disney stands for, planting unrealistic expectations and gender roles into children's heads.

    My husband and his first wife honeymooned at Disney. I still tease him about that since that sounds about as pleasurable to me as spending my honeymoon tied in a dentist's chair having teeth extracted.

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  56. Anonymous13:23

    You guys went JUST in time....Disney hosts the national cheer/ dance competitions and there is one this weekend. Take it from someone who worked them February-April for 4 years...IT.IS.AWFUL. Think about it, thousands of cheerleaders, their coaches, the crazy family members, and all of the emotions that go along with the competitions. I had never been to Disney before I started working for the company and let me just tell ya, the normal Disney crowd combined with the cheer crowd made me want to jump out of the tallest roller coaster and end my miserable weekend. Im having war like flashbacks just thinking about it right now....

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    1. ROFLMAO My step-daughter is going there for her honeymoon next week, and she is SO not a patient person....

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    2. My sister in law has her girls in cheering. I don't think their actual cheering event takes place at Disney but I don't doubt they'll try to get the kids there. She tried to get me to enroll my daughter for cheering... that was a loud NO. She's due to be in Florida Easter weekend for a National competition.

      Delete
  57. What would qualify a child as "Special Needs"?? I'll be totally insensitive here and ask why would there be special consideration outside of physical access to one child over another when it comes to something that requires taking turns? I agree with an earlier poster that said that the mom totally missed a teaching moment.

    Don't kids with Special Needs want to feel just as "normal" as the next child? If so, how is slapping a sticker on them that says "I'm different from your kid so make sure to look at me in pity or keep your kid away from me in case whatever I have is contagious" does any good whatsoever.

    And we were just at WDW a month ago. You can go up to a bin and take whatever pin or sticker you want. If I want all the castmembers to have shouted Happy Birthday to one of my kids all day, I could have taken one without even proving it was his birthday. Who's to say some asshole (like me) wouldn't take a "Special Guest" pin just so I wouldn't have to wait in line like everybody else who paid the park admission?

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    Replies
    1. If you understood what it means to have a child with special needs, you wouldn't ask such insensitive questions. Yes, these kids need to learn boundaries just like every other kid. But if you have a child on the spectrum or a child like mine who has a severe mood disorder (a chemical imbalance), asking them "just to be patient and wait" is not a solution. Watch a child like mine have a major meltdown because his anxiety has caused him to have a panic attack after waiting in a long line and you'll understand what a special guest pass is for. Of course my kid wants to feel just as normal as the next kid. He'd give anything to feel that way. The problem is, his brain doesn't allow him to do that. He truly can't help it. If we could just "be firm" and tell him no, we would. While I don't agree with giving a child all the time in the world to pull the sword out of the stone, I do believe in giving the kid a couple extra tries. Think before you pass judgement on something you know nothing about.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous22:45

      Amen!

      Delete
    3. How would you feel if your child was required to wear a label at his school or his playground? I don't hold my child to a lower standard or think he needs to have special treatment over and above any one else's child.

      You know nothing about me or my child and yet you passed your judgement. Just because I didn't qualify my comment originally with "...if you have a child on the spectrum like mine..." just shows *I* don't require special treatment either. Would you have taken my comment differently if you had known? Did you check out the link to my website before passing your judgement onto me?

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  58. Anonymous13:36

    On one of our trips to Disney I was yelling at my children while waiting for the monorail to get the hell out of dodge. A British family was coming off and was appalled and said, "How could you be angry in the happiest place on earth?" I said....."give it a few hours and you will look just like me, trust me."

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  59. My husband and I have said since we have been together that we must be awful parents because our poor children will probably NEVER see Disney World. We are both very impatient with lines and crowds. Plus my DS5 is prone to melt-downs and Im certain I could bank on one if we went. So no Disney for this family as long as I have anything to say about it.... :-)

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  60. LMAO @ "Michael, move your ass." That is hilarious. Kudos to you, Jen, for your Zen attitude and patience. I would have gone ape-shit at the Sword and the Stone scenario, "dame bramage" or not. Hop up there, take a tug at the sword, snap the picture and Photoshop out the photo bombers later. Happy Friday!

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  61. Jamie S14:50

    I agree the ears are ridiculous but I have to admit, I wore them to the parks every day the last time we were there...my entire family did. My twins are 7 and they asked us to do it. I figured what could it hurt. I'm hoping next trip they are as over the ears as I was!

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  62. I think that mom was completely out of line! She deserves the punch, not you! Your mom was right and shouldn't feel like shit. It's sad and unfortunate that her daughter has brain damage, but that doesn't mean she can do anything she wants. 10 minutes was more than fair for her turn. It sounds like the other mom was polite in asking for a turn and she should have pulled her daughter away then. They could have gotten back in line and stayed there all day taking turns. Maybe I'm just an insensitive ass...

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  63. Jenny15:44

    Why would the father of any child repeatedly encourage her to do something that he knows she cannot do, especially if the child has a condition which makes transitions difficult or even accomplishable tasks frustrating?!?! Both of those parents needed a PITT.

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  64. You definitely do not need sensitivity training. It's another burden on an already over-burdened family, but if your kid has special needs and they can't help but act out then please please please inform the people around you who are effected. My friend spent a whole movie turning around and scowling at a little girl who incessantly kicked the back of her chair. Finally she spoke up and firmly asked the girl to stop. The mother leaned forward and ripped her a new one for telling her little girl with special needs to stop a behaviour that she can't stop. That's ridiculous! If my child cannot help a behaviour that effects others, I immediately let that person know. Setting expectation immediately calms a situation down and makes the "victim" way more forgiving and understanding. I know that these parents are overwhelmed, I do get that, but speaking up should reduce the tension around them rather then letting it build until someone says something that, in knowing the situation, they never would have said.

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  65. Personal fave overheard parental comment....40 something African American mom to her sullen pre-teen son," I am sick AND tired of your stank-ass attitude!" Precisely the same thing I was hoping my glaring eye was saying to my 14 year old.

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  66. I'm pretty sure the mom with the kid at the stone lied about her having brain damage because the girl is probably a spoiled rotten brat and her mom knew if she tried to get her away she'd cause a scene and she just didn't want to deal with it. Of course everyone would be like 'o, I'm so sorry. I didn't know. You just keep letting her try something that'll never happen..my kids don't need to see it.'

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  67. I guess i'm just a total insensitive bitch because that sword and the stone shit would just not fly with me. Are you telling me that your special 10 year old girl has overpowering will-power... at 10? GREAT. What is she going to be like when she is 16? 21? Just because she is special does not mean mom cannot enforce rules and that she can't shed a few tears for being told NO. Sorry. No one is THAT special.

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  68. Anonymous19:06

    My DH and I love Disney World. We have been with kids and without. This past year we took one of our daughters and our 3.5 yr old granddaughter. The 3yr old was great, but her mother on the other hand, whiney and annoying. I finally told her that we put up with the lines and crowds for her when she was little and that now it was her daughter's turn she needed to do the same. Next time I'm taking just the granddaughter.

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  69. Anonymous20:19

    My hubby is ABC employee so our passes are free. He loves Disney, I am okay with Disney and now that my (only) daughter is 12 we are going again. I agree, its not just 'special' kids. we have had people try to butt in line because their kid 'absolutely loves' whatever character.... like nobody else's kid does. and another thing that irks me is the parents who over pack their strollers and are surprised when they collapse and their baby gets hurt. A stroller is for your baby, not a suitcase for all that you buy. Oh and when our girl was a baby... we still went back to the hotel for nap time. We stuck to her schedule and she also to this day, knows you can only get one thing a day, that is a rule! so make it count. any whining we go back to our room. and Yes, you are in Disney... you stand in lines, get over it.

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  70. Truth be told. I peed myself at this comment. "Michael, move your ass, people are passing us!" (Michael was about 6.) Totally hilarious post.
    My Disney blog was called Strollerderby.

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  71. My 9 year old special needs daughter is getting a wish from Make a Wish-guess where she wants to go? Aargh-just reading your post made me break out in hives-however-it is her wish and so be it-I do promise that she will not be hanging out anywhere for that length of time unless it is a pool!

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  72. Here's the thing. My kids are both on the autism spectrum. You wouldn't know it to look at them. (Most irritating comment, but she doesn't LOOK like she has autism.)

    But.

    You weren't entirely the ones who needed a punch. Patience, yes. Ages of it? No. If that Mom had identified to the crew members, they would have found her appropriate windows for most stuff. Mom may not have been aware of it or something. If our daughter has tried for that long to do something and still can't, then she is likely to have a meltdown whether she actually succeeds or not. She spirals down to focus on one thing. Mom needed help navigating the park, and she should have asked for it so that she could enjoy the place with her kid, make that day special and fun, and NOT feel like the person who was inconveniencing everybody.

    We did not need help when we went to Disney for that kid, but we also had four kids and four parents, and only my two kids were on the spectrum.

    http://jesterqueen.com

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  73. Being married into a Disney family is both a blessing and a curse. I adore going to Disney, but by no means is it a "vacation." We were gifted a trip to Disney as our honeymoon (who in their right mind turns down a free honeymoon?!?!?). We wore the buttons and got free stuff and line jumps ALL OVER THE PLACE! It's worth it to wear the buttons! Btw, we got married on July 4th.......NEVER, EVER go to Disney in July. It is not worth it and even for adults it's trying in the heat.
    I'm on the fence about the Mickey's Special Button deal, but I certainly don't think you are a horrible person Jen! I agree with everyone that invisible disabilities are hard on the child and parents when it's not obvious that a child needs some extra time places, but I also agree with the statements that a child with disabilities usually gets stared at and singled out enough on their own. I do not, however, agree with the mother or her way of "handling" the situation. 40 minutes at a photo op is assinine and no parent should allow that. The sword in the stone alone does not a special day at Disney make.

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  74. Anonymous20:56

    We were there this week as well...my fav's
    1). Dad to his wife...." Your turn to deal with him (their son) because I'm gonna f'ing kill him if I dont walk away now!"

    2). All the couples without kids...REALLY??? For the amount of money you spend you could go to Aruba? If I didnt have my kids with me I would NOT be at the Magic Kingdom.

    3). All the people rolling around in Hover rounds. I'm sorry fat is not a handicap! The only thing wrong with 3/4 of those people is they need to push away from the dinner table . (apologies in advance to those who truly do need the chairs)

    4). Whats up with all the women carrying around babies who who were literally hours old. I mean did you discharge from the hospital and say I think we should take our newborn to the most germ infested place on Earth...I know lets hit the House of Mouse on our way home! WTH!!! I understand you have other kids and are trying to be good parents but maybe letting your baby achieve the 24 hr mark may make a little more sense. I mean you were pregnant for 9 months...not like a baby or a Disney trip sneak up on you!

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  75. Anonymous21:03

    LMFAO at the comments of parents.

    I don't think you were out of line with the little girl. I understand she has issues but other families paid lots of money to be there as well and the parents should have picked her up and got her out of the way so other kids could try the sword as well. I also think that the parents tossing her brain damage out there so much is a bit much. Were they purposely trying to make people feel like shit so they could justify hogging the sword?

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  76. Anonymous22:13

    A pin? Really? I'm a big fan of your blog but that had to be one of the stupidest things I have read in quite some time. I have a child with Autism (he doesn't "look" disabled) and I wouldn't allow him to spend an extraordinary amount of time hogging anything in an amusement park. On the flip side, if I saw a 10 year-old that enthralled with something my common sense would kick in and I'd assume there was more to the story (i.e. a disability of some sort). Finally, I don't think her mother was using her brain damage as an excuse to hog the sword (that's the winner for second dumbest comment I have read in awhile). She was trying to explain the situation so people in line would stop yelling at her daughter.

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    1. Anonymous11:21

      That would be true if so many idiots didn't just let their kids act rude... honestly, you have to know some people would let their kid do that and not even care. If you think that common sense would kick in, you are wrong on both sides... people don't assume that unless they have a challenged person they deal with in their everyday lives. People are more than happy to wait a few extra minutes for someone who has a disability, but you are assuming everyone who has a kid with special needs is considerate like you. They aren't.

      Delete
  77. Anonymous22:37

    I don't think the sword actually comes out of the stone. I don't think Big D wants kids wielding real swords in the park.

    That being said, the Big D usually knows how to go above and beyond to accommodate kids with special needs, especially life threatening illnesses. Props to Disney for this, really. If this activity was really the child's goal and the mother asked for help I think Disney would have made it happen for her. Something does not calculate here...

    Did anyone tell you that Disney owns Babble?

    We loved the parks, but hated the stupid people. I've never seen more people that need to ditch the rascal scooter and walk their fat ass in my life.

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    Replies
    1. The sword will come out of the stone, but a Cast Member has to push a button somewhere that makes it release. It doesn't just happen for anyone.

      Delete
  78. Here's a story- spring break last year, pay a ridiculous amount of $ to stay at the Beach Club. So excited to take our 4.5 year old to Disney. First ride, complete meltdown... pretty much refuses to go back-- he was talking like Dr Seuss at the time-- I do not like the rides, I do not like the shows, I do not like Disney, I do not. Good thing we were at a nice hotel, as the husband and youngest son spent a lot of time at the pool! The 11 year old and I take full advantage of the parks opening early and make it to all the key rides before 9am!
    On the last day, finally get the young one to the park-- he LOVES Toy Story Mania, wants to go again. Ok, lets wait in line. About 1/2 hour into the wait, gets explosive diaherria- IN LINE-- the crowds parted, kind moms pulled out their wet ones to help me clean him and the floor up. Poor kid, poor mom.
    The only bright spot, he still thinks that Belle is his girlfriend (somehow my husband did get him to go to dinner at the Castle). He does want to go back (over my dead, bloated body).

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  79. TOO FUNNY!!! We have been there one without before kids and then 3 times once we had them. It gets CRAZy up in there. But we just head back for a nap/pool time when the kids get tired. I refuse to get to the point of a meltdown. Also, we did have fun when we went before we had kids but we were with family members that did have kids (so we basically could laugh at them while we drank it up in Epcot...little did we know that would be us with the kids in tow one day). I would NEVER EVER NEVER wear a pin or hat. Just plain ridiculous. Now the kids can be as gaudy as they want there. No problem! I think a Mickey's special guest pin would be nice. Not to single them out or make them feel like a spectacle, but just to give all the other well-meaning adults a heads up!

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  80. The least the woman with the child who couldn't get the sword out of the stone was apologize to the people behind her. The child had an issue, not the mom, so there was no need to get in your face about it. It's just like bathrooms. Little kids have to go and they need to go NOW. That doesn't mean cutting in front of me. That means while cutting in front of me, throw me an apology and I'll totally understand and won't feel the need to punch you in the throat. Yeesh.

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  81. I have lots of friends with special needs children - some significant, life-altering, and even fatal special needs and NOT ONE OF THEM would have ever behaved in such an inconsiderate way--EVEN THOUGH surprisingly and sadly people often are to them even after they understand the challenges. They would have taken a resonable amount of time for a turn (a few minutes) and moved on to allow others a turn. Because more than a special day they want their children to have a special life that includes a kind heart and a family they can be proud of.

    And the crying thing - I could not believe the people who kept standing in line when their children were clearly not having any more fun.

    And the parent's causing a scene - my middle son (9) whose unrealistically high expecations for life often leave him disappointed did have to be told that "There is no complaining at the happiest place on earth." several. times.

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  82. Anonymous07:25

    We took a trip to Florida back in 2001. My son was only 2 at the time so we skipped Disney World and only my parents, sister and her family went. When they got back to the house that evening, my mom said, "happiest place on Earth my ass! I don't think I saw one kid smiling the whole time we were there." Ha! So glad we didn't go.

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  83. Special needs does mean being excused from the norms of being polite. People, don't make your problems other peoples problems. Like when our kid starts screaming in a restaurant. We leave immediately. That's our problem.

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  84. This is *NOT* the off season for Disney. You're entering peak season. From President's Day through the end of March it's BUSY. Off season would be January, first two weeks of May, almost all of September (about a week after Labor Day, some of October, part of November and the 1st 2 weeks of December. You wouldn't catch me at Disney World right now even if it was totally free.

    (I'm one of those Ear-wearing freaks, too. I'm 39. Disney just makes me feel like being a kid, so I wear them. That is why.)

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  85. I'm sorry, but that special needs mom was being pretty selfish. From the sounds of your account, she was hogging the whole sword thing for a huge part of the day. I see, interact and help with special needs kids in our homeschool group on a weekly basis, so I'm sensitive to the allowances that should be made and feel I have some perspective about what's reasonable.

    For whatever reason, that lady was going waaaaay overboard with her special needs kid trying to make "Disney Happy Endings" a reality in the real world. I'm sorry, but Disney lies to the world about the whole happy ending bit and sometimes (many times) life just won't give you a storybook outcome. And that's OK.

    This lady needed to stop hogging one attraction with folks obviously being *very* patient with her *before* even knowing the child was special needs. Pulling out the "she has brain damage and we're trying to give her a perfect day" card was BS. Perhaps she has transferred a load of guilt onto herself about her child and is overcompensating by trying to make everything else in life "perfect" for her. I feel for her and her pain, as well as the eventual pain when she has to admit that life isn't going to be "perfect" (in the storybook sense) and no one can make it so, no matter how hard they try.

    There comes a time when one has to stop trying so hard and just let life happen the way it will. Sometimes when things don't go the way you expect or plan, wonderful things happen anyway. Can anyone explain that to this lady? Well, probably not. I'm just thinking that what she did is probably a symptom of her personal inner anguish, but that does not mean that the rest of the kids (waiting and waiting and waiting) there are any less important or any less deserving of her respect and she's obviously lost sight of that. What about the other hundred or so kids' waiting in line "perfect days"? If you expect people to accommodate you, you need to reciprocate and attempt to accommodate them as well.

    I've seen folks getting confused over reasonable accommodation for special needs and over accommodation/over protection using the special needs as a rationalization or justification. Children still need to know that the other people around them (their parents, siblings, society) have needs that are just as worthy of respect and that their "special needs" don't automatically trump everyone else's.

    Just to clarify, I'm not talking about reasonable accommodation, here, but the impulse to override and steamroll over everyone else. I am willing to bet that mom is burning herself out sacrificing all her needs at the expense of going over the top caring for her child. She's gong to burn out unless she finds a balance. And she needs to find a balance otherwise her child will suffer now and as an adult. Society bending over backwards to make an extreme exception for her is enabling codependant behavior.

    Jen, I wouldn't feel guilty or bad about being impatient. By your account, it sounds like you and many other people were already being very patient. This lady was refusing to reciprocate (for whatever reason) and using her child as a justification.

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  86. My son is in a wheelchair, and we've done Disney twice since October (we live in Illinois). We don't get to go to the front of the line, just a separate line. We still need to get fast passes like everyone else if we want to move up in line. At Epcot, in particular, in the Sphere/Big Silver Ball, we walk in the back door, and there is a special waiting area, and even if there is no one in line, at that door, they make you wait and take you in a few at a time to keep it "fair." Believe me, I would rather wait in line then have this "privilege."

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  87. Do NOT call them employees. They are above that.

    We live an hour from Disneyland and go often. My daughter has been videotaped by someone during a meltdown. Awesome.

    My last post included me on the phone making reservations for my daugther and her cousin to do the 'bippidi bobbidi boutique' makeovers at the castle. The CAST MEMBER told me to have a 'magical day' upon hanging up.

    Even awesomer.

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  88. My parents took me to Disney for the first time when I was 13. They had decided that if they were going to shell out a fortune to go, it was going to be when I was old enough to remember it for a while. We went in September (summer and spring break were out due to dance and we wanted to avoid crowds if possible), and it just so happened that we went exactly a week after 9/11. No lines (as in riding Splash Mountain six times in a row without waiting more than five minutes), small crowds, AMAZING experience.

    I was thinking about one day going again as an adult, but the comments about crazy people, crazy lines, and just general mania has made me rethink that. I admire all of you brave souls!

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  89. I may sound like an insensitive bitch, but having a disability does not give the parents a right to hold up that many other people (and kids!) for that long. I would have said something about it to the mom if it were me, lol. That's just being rude.

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  90. Anonymous21:58

    Disney is by no means a "vacation" and when we go we stay in a nice 2 bedroom condo timeshare with 4 pools and kids activities so we feel like we are at a real resort - The parks 1 DAY - anything more than that it becomes much worse than "no fun" - We have been twice and to aruba twice - I ask my kids (10,9,5) do you want to go to Disney or Aruba - where there is nothing to do but sit in the sun and gamble btw - They will pick Aruba every time because there is no stress or hurry to get to the show in time or the next ride line - Calling Disney the happiest place on earth is like calling my house the happiest place on earth with everyone puking (except it is a LOT cheaper!!)

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  91. Anonymous21:58

    My older son (age 6) has ADHD and OCD and i dread the day we talk him to Disney. My younger son (age 3) is a typically developing kid. The older one has less patience and understanding of social situation than the 3 year-old, but in NO CIRCUMSTANCES would we allow him to monopolize the sword like that. Like one of the posts above said, even if it means we are walking away with him kicking and screaming (which is totally normal for us), he gets a turn (after waiting in line) just like everyone else. No kid is going to understand being told, "Sorry Timmy, you don't get a turn at the sword because that little boy/girl is special so he/she gets all the turns they want." I hate the stares and looks of disapproval we sometimes get, but I don't expect special treatment for my son and our family because of his invisible disability.

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  92. Anonymous22:01

    WHO the hell would go to Disney without kids - and on a honeymoon no less - I've been there with kids and no way I would choose to go there as an adult without kids - stupid asses... Spend the money and go to a nice relaxing adult resort - I hate morons

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  93. Anonymous22:11

    Last trip to Disney..... Mommy PLEEEEAAASSSEEEE i want to get my face painted - for $30 EACH!!!! i say - it's too hot, there is a line (of course) and it will bother you in about 30 seconds plus it is a total rip off. My mother, "Give-In-Grammy", who was with us of course gave in and paid for all 3 of my kids get their faces painted. $120 and 10 minutes later they were begging to wash it off because they were hot and it itched - HAHAHAHAHA - Told you!!! Line too long at the bathroom - deal with it or go bitch to "Give-In-Grammy" because I am going to find the nearest bar!

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  94. This post was freaking hilarious. My wife and I went to Disney our first year of marriage. She said out loud, "If one more person runs into my ankle with their stroller, I'm gonna kick their kid."

    It is only the happiest place on earth if you own a great deal of Disney stock.

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  95. Yennybutplenty01:26

    I've been 3x and only with kids - totally don't get the adult-only experience, by the looks of them, definitely no one I would want to spend time. It does take a rest before and after - you totally have to physically and mentally prepare for that shit! I've casually observed the crowds (I'm a people watcher) and my favorites are the couples with 4 children under 6. They totally LOSE their shit! "Are you going to the character breakfast too?" Got that 2x on the tram. Ummmm, no. We ate breakfast at our room. That's stupid. My favorite? When they're taking a breather in the park and plotting their next move- guy with Khaki shorts and beer belly hanging over belt: "I have to take 1 and 2 to Frontier Land, we have to hit that before the parade - we can meet back after that.". Poor mom with no make-up, sunburn and a look of pain on her face. "Suuuurrreeee. I will take the 2 month old and the 2 year old and find something fun to do.". Btw- that woman always looks like she's about to cry. I wonder if she got the 4 entirely from just being polite! Couple later (after looking through crowds trying to find each other in Frontier Land):: not so polite! I would love to see a study on how long after Disney divorces happen. It is the happiest place on Earth for families that stay on site, for 7 days and do the pool mostly, drink at night, only go to 2 or 3 parks that entire time and, I do suggest Epcot at night!!! So much fun!

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  96. Maybe this will make you feel better -- I am from Florida, and this is NOT the "off season" for Disney. This is prime spring break season! :-) I am sure the park was packed. Also, I visited recently, and my husband and I commented on the parents talking so harshly to their children.

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  97. Anonymous18:53

    I was at Disney a few months ago and there was an autistic boy we ran into several times that had a sticker on the back of his shirt that said "Hi, I'm _____. I am autistic. Please be patient with me" and had a phone number in case he got lost/separated. Not sure if it was Disney's doing or the parent's, but genius either way.

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  98. We had an ill-fated DW trip last May with a (former) friend and her girls. The highlight was when the older daughter was getting her butt paddled in the bathroom outside Cinderella's castle because she wouldn't get with the game. The phone call to her father was filled with idle threats that if she didn't buck up, he'd drive 6 hours to get her (HA! He can barely drive 15 min. to pick them up for a visitation weekend). Throw in some eating spaghetti with her hands (at age 8)and just general bad behavior for good mix. Mom was too busy texting everyone on her contacts list to care until I had enough & would comment on how her kid's behavior was impacting mine. Suddenly I'm the bad guy. *eye roll*

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  99. Anonymous23:17

    To #2, it sounds like a kid who might have Asperger's Syndrome...

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  100. We go every year (for reasons I won't and can't get into here.) The happiest place on earth turned into the zone of death this year, though! I'm not kidding: http://experiencedbadmom.com/2012/02/the-hawk-baby-ducklings-and-pool-of-death-disney-week/

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  101. I went several years back during Christmas vacation. It was so crowded that I felt like cattle being herded from one attraction to the other, shoulder to shoulder with other patrons unknown to me, slowly moving like mud down the streets. The stress of just getting from one place to another, then waiting in lines for hours while trying to keep track of the kids was more than I could bare, and I vowed NEVER to go back. All I could say, is thank God they served alcohol, or I'd have been one of those melt-down parents.

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  102. Anonymous16:13

    I was in Disney this week, and can't help but laugh at this... The entire time, all I could think is 'who the hell wears those ears?'.. I bought my 2 year old a pair with her name embroidered as a souvenir, but even she wasn't wearing them! And if that's 'off-season', excuse my language, but they're peak season can suck it! I'll never be visiting in a 'peak season'.

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  103. Speaking of Disney: my friend is going on a Disney Cruise. She had something called a "Fish Extender" handmade for her children. According to her, prior to the cruise, you join a Fish Extender online group to meet people who will be on the cruise with you. While on the cruise, you hang your Fish Extender on your cabin door, and you drop treats into the Fish Extenders of your new friends. It blew my mind that people could plan this far ahead. (She's also an Elf on the Shelf mama, so I'm not too surprised...)

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  104. As a parent to a special needs child with brain damage, on the autism spectrum and a host of other things. I don't expect any extra graces from those around me. If she wants to pull on the damn sword for hours on end too damn bad, consideration for others ranks higher.

    Hell no to a special guest pin. I need a pin on her telling the world she is special needs like I need another jackass judgmental person to gawk while she has a meltdown.

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  105. Anonymous20:35

    Oh, man. I do NOT get all the hate for Disney Adults Without Kids. It's fun! You get to be silly, ride the rides, and relax. Some places in Disney, it's better to be a grown-up (I *love* Epcot - yum!). And as for the person up above who said that we were morons for not using the money on a "real" resort - a "real" resort sounds boring as hell to me. Ooh, a spa. Strangers touching me, weird goop plastered over my body, and steam. Yick-o. But then again, I think people obsessed with shoes are really weird, so to each his own.

    My best girlfriend and I have done Disney every year since we were 25. We steal away from the husbands, and be super-silly. For my 30th birthday, we're going on a Disney cruise! (I've always wanted to go on a cruise, and at least on a Disney one, I know everything will be clean).

    These experiences have taught me that when I take my son (eventually, he's still a peanut-sized baby), we're going to do Disney smart. We'll go for maybe three days. Spend the morning at the park, ride Small World, Winnie the Pooh, maybe stay long enough to catch the parade, and then go to the hotel in mid-day. Depending on what kind of kid he turns out to be, we might go back in the evening. You have to go slow with the little guys, and not put the pressure on to "do everything". Disney's huge. Pick out a few things and just take it easy. Most of all, don't be *that* parent. You make it sound like a fun, easy day (zen as Jen says) and the kids'll pick up on your attitude and won't feel pressured.

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  106. Anonymous07:40

    1. Anyone whose been to that park twice probably knows it in and out. My high school marching band went every-other year since I was in 8th grade (so 3times while I was a teen). We were absolute pros, you should have followed us :)

    2.You might be giving me a punch here, but I don't think you asking the girl to share was rude. Everyone waiting there was being patient, by waiting. I would say snapping a picture with one child and a prop should take around 2 minutes, 5 minutes absolute top. You all waited twice that time and then politely asked for a turn. I don't care what type of disability she has, being rude to other people isn't an excuse; will it take maybe twice the time for a non-disabled child, maybe, but that's how long you waited. Also, if they're trying to make her day special why did the rest of the family leave? And how is her trying to pull a fake sword out of molded plastic rock for the entire day a good memory? Shes not gonna get that shit out.

    3. First time I went to Disney I was 5. I did not get, or want mouse ears; I have been several times since and still don't get the mouse ears. To each their own.

    4.this is NEVER ok. Some people just don't know how to parent. There, I said it. They more than likely didn't have boundaries set early on for their kids, and clearly didn't set them before going into the park. You don't want to buy food inside the park, make that clear before you even get to Florida. Kids get cranky while in line? bring/plan/find them something to do. Play a game while in line: eye-spy, see how quietly you can sing a song (as to not get mauled by other guests), tickle their ears, time how long it takes to get 20', quiz them about age-relevant material: letters, colors, addition, multiplication, state names, state capitols. Put five minutes worth of effort into the thing you thrust into this world and now are responsible for!

    ~Nicole

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  107. Let me just start off by stating that I have yet to read all 168 comments above. So if I repeat what others have already said I apologize.

    My daughter, who is terminally ill, was granted a wish by the Make A Wish foundation. Her wish was to go to Disney World. So like Aladdin with the lamp her wish was granted.

    Disney DOES give out buttons for this occasion. They gave them out to me, my daughters, and my husband. BUT we also were required to wear our MAW buttons and Megs had to wear her Give Kids the WOrld Button. Along with wearing a special badge. (All of us had saggy shirts that week from the weight of the buttons)

    As a mother of a "special needs" child and the mother of a "healthy" child I can see both sides. On the one hand you want this experience to be special and memorable. You don't want to spend the day making all your memories about standing in line. On the other hand, it made me feel like a POS to jump in line in front of other kids who had been waiting forever to ride a ride or visit a character. If that had been me with my child, MAW trip or not, special badge, button, etc or not, I would have pulled her ass down and let others have their turn. Its a fine line but not a hard line to figure out. Other children deserve to have a wonderful experience at Disney, no matter their reason for being there.

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  108. Anonymous10:05

    And what happens when the kids without special needs see the "Mickey's Special Pal" and want a button because they want to be "Mickey's Special Pal", too? Want to see meltdowns? Watch as Veruca Salt screams "But I am Mickey's Special Pal and I want a Mickey's Special Pal pin noooooow!" repeatedly.

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  109. We were at DisneyWorld in November and I wanted to punch every married couple who was wearing those stupid Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears with the bridal veil and little tuxedo on them. Seriously, do they know what lick knobs they look like? ESPECIALLY them husband with that stupid little tuxedo tail hanging on the back of their head. GRRR!

    And I think everyone there is rude. I've had people get in my face for making comments about them or their children (which in my defense I thought I was only thinking in my head, not saying out loud - oops!) and thought one crazy ass mom was going to punch me for saying that her child was rude. Hello! He was! He kept going up behind my mom and screaming BOO! and scaring the crap out of her and the boy and his mom would laugh about it. She made a big scene right in front of the Mexico exhibit at EPCOT and was screaming in my face to keep my comments to myself and if I didn't like people, I should go to Disney. I calmly replied, "I do like people. Just not you and your son. You are rude and socially retarded. You are the perfect example that apples don't fall far from the tree. This is the happiest place on Earth. Now get out of my face. I feel sorry for your son. You are a sad example of a parent." Some people just suck. Period.

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  110. All I can think is, why didn't someone tell the poor kid the sword doesn't actually come out of the damn stone?! And sorry but the mom was an asshole. Pretty sure her kid wasn't the only one with special needs who wanted a shot at the sword that day. If her idea of a special day for the girl was letting her exhaust herself trying to accomplish something that was never going to happen, disapoint a bunch of innocent kids and not see the rest of the park.....well then bravo.

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  111. Anonymous11:10

    I like the "Mickey's Special Guest" pin idea because some people really do deserve a punch in the throat and it makes it easier to tell who. I felt the same way once when I was helping with a GS meeting and I had to bring the snacks. This one kid, who was quite a bit older and the leader's son, was over at the snacks immediately, before any of the girls got one. I told him he had to wait until the girls had theirs first, but he didn't listen and grabbed one anyway. Then he came back for more. I wasn't even sure there would be enough left for anyone, so I again told him to wait until everyone was served. I went home an ranted to my hub that he was rude and I couldn't believe he was at all the girls meetings. Months later, I saw a post by his mom about how insensitive people are to kids with autism. I felt like an ass... but some people really do let their kids act like that and don't say a word... how are we supposed to know who deserves the sensitivity and who deserves a punch?

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