{So, ummmm, we went to Disney World in October, and I’d nearly completed this blog four months ago, but I guess I got distracted by being miserably pregnant and didn’t finish it.  Here it is, for anybody who cares to read about our long ago vacation.}

We’ve put it off for years now–Disney World.  Monetarily, logistically, stressfully…we found many reasons to wait.  However, after moving back to within driving distance of “the most magical place on earth” and having an enormous belly reminding me daily that we will soon have a GOOD reason not to brave the theme parks, Jeremiah and I decided it was time.

So, after several (hundred) hours spent planning, trying to decipher the rigamarole that is a personally planned trip to Disney, and coming out on the other side feeling as though I deserve a diploma from Walt Disney himself–I did succeed.  And we decided that we would make it a birthday surprise for both girls.

We left on the day before Mary Aplin’s birthday, telling the girls that we were taking a trip to a beach that was farther south than our normal beach destination.  Six hours later, we pulled into a parking lot and told the girls to close their eyes because we had a little surprise for them.


We placed tickets in their hands that we said a very special mouse had sent just for them.DSC_0007

Realization dawned.DSC_0010

And then I pointed to something poking out above the tree line in front of our car.DSC_0011

“Do you see that?  THAT’S the top of Cinderella’s castle!  We’re here!”DSC_0016

It was an unforgettable moment.DSC_0013

The next day was Dapple’s actual birthday and we had a few more surprises in store.  First, a trip to the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique.  Because, while I didn’t like the idea of my sweet farm girls being turned into John Benet Ramsey look-alikes, I also couldn’t think of anything that would have been more exciting to me as a little girl than being transformed into a princess at Disney World.DSC_0032

To my dismay, Pace made an executive decision at some point that she wanted pink hair extensions and a bump-it.  Lord have mercy.DSC_0043

I must say, they did look beautiful…and way too much all at once.  “Think fairy tale not beauty pageant, think fairy tale not beauty pageant…” I kept telling myself.DSC_0051

After some part-of-the-package glamour shots–that I have had some majorly good laughs over–we shed the cumbersome costumes (with many reassurances that they would get to put them on again later) and entered the magic kingdom (pink rat tail hair extensions still in tact).


We rode rides with our little chicken wings and their crowns.  And every single person who worked at Disney World wished Mary Aplin a happy birthday.  Some even burst into song.  I’ve decided that Disney must be the best place in the world to spend your birthday.  It was like Facebook birthday wishes in live person 🙂DSC_0071After riding every kiddie ride there was, we hurriedly re-dressed the girls (actually as we stood in line for a ride :)) in princess attire and rushed to Cinderella’s castle for our 5:30 dinner reservation with the real princesses.



We stepped inside the castle and got in line to meet Cinderella before we took our seats.  I turned around to see why Pace wasn’t standing with the rest of us.  This is what I saw…She turned the corner, saw Cinderella and was awestruck.  Priceless…even in her pink hair extensions.DSC_0087

Mary Aplin was less than impressed with the princesses.  Every shot she is making a face sort of like this and began covering up her birthday button as the ladies approached our tables.  Jeremiah leaned over and said, “This is what you call OVER saturation.”  “The word for that is supersaturated…and you’re right.”  “It’s the same effect that happens at Christmas.  They both get overwhelmed and glazed over.”DSC_0112

I still think she had a pretty sweet fourth birthday…and we still had more surprises in store.DSC_0114


As though it had not been a full day already, we still had “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party” to attend.


And on our way to the parade, guess who surprised the girls?? Moogie! and


Popon (Jeremiah’s Mom and Dad)!!  I wish I had a picture of the girls’ first surprise meeting with their grandparents, when we acted like we just bumped into them in the park.  The girls were shocked and overjoyed!  In these pictures, watching the parade 20 minutes later, all that you can see is the exhaustion of a long day.


After the parade, we rode every big Magic Kingdom ride with NO LINES.  Both of the girls rode Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain railroad.  Pace even braved SPACE MOUNTAIN!  The most fun I think I’ve ever had on a ride was riding in the car with Moogie on Thunder Mountain railroad.  She is terrified of roller coasters but couldn’t very well be out-braved by a five year old and a three year old.  It’s hard to explain, but she is a HILARIOUS scared person!!!  As in, her head was in my lap as she simultaneously screamed and laughed her head off.  I don’t know how I didn’t wet my pants.  I was laughing so. hard.


As the night wore on, we all became a little delirious.


I think this may have been our seventh meal of the day???

While the princesses didn’t do anything for Mary Aplin, and she had been hiding her birthday button for much of the afternoon and evening, as soon as she caught a glimpse of this guy dancing on the stage, she made a bee-line for him screaming, “It’s my BIRTHDAY!!” As she pointed frantically to her button.


When he leaned down from the stage and kissed her on the nose, this is the priceless look I captured.  I could have saved all that money on the princess dinner in the castle.  Pluto was much more exciting to my funny little chicken wing.

The only day I could get a reservation for a character breakfast at the Grand Floridian (something I’d done as a child and never forgotten) was the next morning at 8 am.  Ok??!!  We’d been up until 1 am the night before.  Because Mary Aplin loves Tigger almost as much as Pluto, we have this one good picture from the breakfast.


The rest of the pictures look more like this one:


Sorry Mary Poppins.  And sorry that I didn’t take one photo the rest of day 2.  I think I was too exhausted.  But, we went to Hollywood studios where the girls, who I thought would probably only ride rides like Dumbo in Fantasyland, continued to Wow us with their bravery.  Pace rode the Aerosmith roller coaster and both she and Mary Aplin rode the Tower of Terror.  I began to wonder if I should be proud or worried about dealing with death-defying thrill seekers in their teenage years.

Day 3, we went to Animal Kingdom, which wasn’t in existence when I was a kid.  I was amazed!



A close up of the carvings on that magnificent tree.

While the girls were marveling at rides and characters, we adults did a lot of marveling at the genius of Walt Disney.  I mean, the whole place is stinkin’ amazing.  Just so well done, and when Jeremiah learned that it all began with a Dad who wanted something fun to do with his two girls on a Saturday (besides riding a carousel) I think Jeremiah felt a certain kinship.


Popon is good at adding an air of magic and wonder, even to waiting in long lines.



Did yall know my husband is really cute?


And that my mother-in-law can manage to look like a movie star whether she's cleaning dog pens or riding rides?



After taking an extra turn with Mary Aplin on the water rapids ride (while Pace and the other non-pregnant people went to ride another roller coaster), and getting utterly DRENCHED, I looked like a pregnant, drowned rat.


And, if you’d like to know the back story to this particular shot, I was on the verge of tears because we were about to leave the parks for good.  I wanted a Mickey Mouse t-shirt and Jeremiah made fun of me, asking if I really needed that.  “You’ve been overcome by the magic,” he said.  “Once we get home, you’ll never wear it.”  Well, I don’t know if it was the hormones or the exhaustion at the end of the whirlwind, but I started to cry….He went back and bought the t-shirt 🙂

That night, when we got back to our hotel room, the hotel staff had made mischief with the girls’ Mickey and Minnie dolls that they had gotten as souvenirs (and are still sleeping with every night four months later), making it look as though they had gotten tangled up playing in our curtains.  Pace said, “Mommy, do you think Mickey and Minnie were really in our room today?”

“I don’t know Pace, it sure looks like it.  What do you think?”

“There was a certain smell I smelled when Mickey and Minnie rode by us in the parade, and I smelled it again when we walked into the room tonight.  So, I really do think they were here.”

Jeremiah and I both had to admit, the Disney Magic is real.  And on our drive home, Jeremiah–the one who had been borderline dreading the trip–said, “I don’t want to wait until Jay Paul is five  to come back, do you?”


Ahhh Mickey, we’ll be coming back soon.


12 Responses to “Disney World”

  1. Taylor says:

    I love those girls ! I also literally died laughing –still laughing– about your dire need for the mickey mouse shirt– plan to see you wearing that thang @ our next family gathering 🙂

  2. Konie says:

    HUMMMMM……better hide that shirt or you might happen to see ME in it:) Beautiful princess’s in all the pics:)

  3. Emily says:

    Mary Aplin’s face in some of those pictures is PRICELESS. You have such a sweet life! 🙂

  4. Elaina says:

    I love hearing stories about a family’s first trip to Disney! My sister works for Disney and we park hop often to see her projects and enjoy events at the parks. I honestly will say that it is nothing like seeing a family pose on Main St. or in front of the Tree of Life! Thank you for sharing your little wings’ (and big wing’s) excitement;-)

  5. Nancy says:

    SO precious. Wish we could take our little’s this weekend 🙂

  6. Wendy says:

    Sooooo….have you worn the T-Shirt??

    Love your blog and your beautiful writing. Glad you had a wonderful trip to Disney World.

  7. Susannah says:

    We LOVE Disney World too!! It just has a magical pull that seems to draw you in again and again. The pictures are so great and my son loved seeing the pictures of Animal Kingdom(he’s an animal freak). Thanks for posting this and just a FYI Disney is great for infants to go to also. 🙂

  8. lori says:

    I couldn’t stop laughing at that pink hair!!! I want to go to Disney world, never have been and I need a mickey mouse shirt too

  9. Andi says:

    I love.that.place.
    Now to get Ben there! 😉

  10. Andi says:

    Please wear the Mickey shirt soon.

  11. Emily says:

    You captured some of THE MOST priceless pictures!! Looks like a wonderful trip … and y’all definitely can’t wait until J. Paul is 5 to go again!! 🙂

  12. I don’t comment too often, but this post was right up my alley. Your girls faces are precious in all these photos – I adore the one of them dressed up in front of the castle. We just booked TWO WEEKS in Disney World for our 10th anniversary this fall – needless to say, I can’t wait!

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