By Angie Roberts Harris
The Cranky Family
Several years ago while visiting the Magic Kingdom with our teenage baby duck, we encountered an interesting family consisting of mom, dad, and two children about eight and eleven-years old. They were standing near us while waiting in line to board the bus for the park and were obviously tired, not fully awake, cranky, and very vocal about their situation. For reference sake, we will call them ‘the cranky family’. The parents were rolling their eyes, the kids were whining, and the rest of the guests were avoiding eye contact.
We bumped into the ‘cranky family’ a few more times in the Magic Kingdom and their day did not seem to be getting any better. The final time we came across them was at the end of the day while watching the parade. Who doesn’t love a parade? Well, evidently, the cranky children were not enjoying themselves and my family will never forget watching their father as he bent down and with no vocal control, spat at the children, “I spent all this money and you are at the happiest @#$% place on earth so you need to suck it up and get happy.” We have reminisced and laughed about that poor cranky family many times throughout the years!
Smalls is sick
Many years later, we were on our big Christmas extravaganza adventure with all fifteen of our Disney crew when early one morning, our daughter called and said, “Smalls has an ear infection and we need to go to the walk-in clinic for antibiotics.” While the rest of the crew went to the park, Papa Bear and daddy Kevin took two-year-old Smalls to the walk-in clinic, only to find that their health insurance was not accepted and they had to go to the emergency room. All went well but as expected, they lost half a day of vacation and the little guy did not feel well for the rest of the trip. No worries. We were on track and after all, we were at Disney World! Side note: I would suggest calling the facility before leaving your hotel room if medical care is needed to verify if they take your health insurance.
The Crystal Palace
A few days later, we had a character breakfast reserved at Crystal Palace. It is a bright and beautiful place and Winnie the Pooh and friends march with the kids throughout the restaurant. Due to our large crew, we were sitting at two side by side tables. Smalls was still sick and although a bit whiny, he was eating his breakfast and sitting by his four-year-old cousin, Ana, whose thumb was constantly on the twirl button of her light up Elsa.
Uncle Jesse Changes Tables
Without warning, Smalls puked. I mean a Hollywood, rated R, water hose kind of puke that crossed the big round table and headed straight for Uncle Jesse, who jumped up and ran! Honestly, the entire table scattered like cockroaches except for little Ana, who simply scooted her plate over a few inches and continued eating like nothing unusual had happened.
Oh my goodness, how we laughed and laughed about how many people could fit around one table and the love Ana must have for her cousin Smalls in order to stay by his side while he puked. Did you know Disney World has a puke team? I am sure there is a technical name but following an event, the Disney staff makes a phone call and the puke specialist comes running to quickly clean up the mess, and I am sure chemically adequate to kill any lurking germs.
Poor Smalls had to have new clothes. His sister’s sweet shirt trimmed in pink with princesses was in the bag and was what he chose to wear for the remainder of the day. No doubt, the family was wearing down; Smalls fell to the ground every chance he got regardless of where we were, the big kids were tired of chasing the little ones, and the adults were burning the candle at both ends while trying to open and close down the parks with six children!
Whose kids are these?
At the end of the day, Maryann and her family were on the bus going back to the resort. Kevin had the double stroller, bags, balloons, plus all the kid paraphernalia and was standing several feet from the rest of the family while Maryann had Smalls and four-year -old Elizabeth on her lap. They were fighting sleep, the boy had an earache and things were not looking good. Nothing could be done to help them and yes, it was exactly what you think; fit throwing on a bus full of tired people leaving Disney World. Dad watched helplessly from a distance until the guy next to him leaned over and whispered, “Aren’t you glad those aren't your kids?”
All is well
Kevin was tempted to agree, but wearily admitted, “They ARE my kids!”
I watched my grandchildren the entire week as they lay on the ground, cried, threw fits, and puked, and I was reminded of that dad years ago who exploded at his kids at the end of a frustrating day, “you are at the happiest @#$% place on earth.” I agree. For me, it was the happiest place on earth, observing my children with their own children.
Despite the challenges, they chose to travel and expose their families to sights, sounds, and emotions that only come from adventures outside their normal world and watched as their kids laughed, danced, and loved the magic of Disney. Kids are going to get sick, tired, and just plain cranky, but is it worth the effort? ABSOLUTELY!
“Our greatest natural resource is the mind of our children.” Walter Elias Disney
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Angie Roberts Harris has been Going Out The Door to Disney since 1974 when she was 11 years old. Today she travels to the ‘happiest place on earth’ with her husband and their crew of 5 children and their families.