The Birds, Proposals and Other Great Memories (Disney – Part 3)

This is the third part of a series of recapping our recent Disney vacation. Follow these links for Part 1 and Part 2.

Our week wasn’t all pixie dust and enchanted roses. Sure, it was quite amazing and without a doubt the best family vacation we’ve ever had. But there were a few less than stellar moments. Like the birds.

For our first full day at Disney we went to Animal Kingdom. There we discovered Zach may have a brilliant future as a poopologist.

Yup. That kid can identify exactly what feces comes from what animal. He can also tell you whether or not said animal is an herbivore, carnivore or omnivore … simply by looking at their shellacked poo. We’re so proud.

We saw a couple shows and toured Dinoland where Z and I rode the Triceratops Spin.

Eventually it was time for lunch. We grabbed some BBQ (all reports assured us it was the best) and walked down the river path to find a place to enjoy it. We found this beautiful open-air pavilion that offered spectacular water views and the promise of a long, peaceful lunch.

Our serenity, however, was shattered by one of these:

Actually, it wasn’t the bird so much as the blood-curdling screams emitted from our daughter when she saw it. There were maybe four or five of them scavenging around the picnic area, kind of like pigeons back home. Maybe it was the curved, pointed beaks or their stealthy walk. I don’t know. Whatever it was, these birds totally freaked out our kid. SERIOUSLY, freaked her out. We couldn’t calm her down.

Families all around stared. Some gave sympathetic looks; others encouraged their kids to feed the little winged rats as we furiously tried to comfort Ellie, assure her she was safe, and get her to eat something. After twenty non-stop minutes of hysterics, we dumped our uneaten food in the closest receptacle and headed for the park’s exit.

Before surrendering, however — it was only noon and I wasn’t about to waste our first day in Disney by sitting in our hotel room! — I took Ellie to the bathroom, washed her face and gave her a stern talking to. We prayed together and quoted Joshua 1:9 again and again. Then we went back outside where Rick and I forced the kids to chase birds until they weren’t afraid. She still screamed, but this time it was less horrified and more “I’m not afraid of you, and God will protect me, you crazy little bird!!!”

That was fun.

Another interesting adventure happened that night at dinner. We ate at 1900 Park Fare (which is in the Grand Floridian Resort) with Cinderella and friends. The “friends” included Anastasia and Drizella (the step-sisters), Lady Tremaine (the wicked step-mother) and, of course, Prince Charming. Because this was a character meal, we simply ate and waited for them to visit our table in turn. They did a wonderful job staying in character … which may have been part of the problem.

Lady Tremaine visited us first.

We had brought blank journals from home for the kids to write in each day. These quickly doubled as their autograph books, and so both kids wanted to get everyone’s John Hancock. She signed and moved on. After all, she doesn’t mess with commoners like us for long.

Anastasia came next. She was sweet and funny. But we could tell Zach was getting to the end of his princess tolerance level. She asked if he was a prince and he clammed up pretty quick. She persisted by asking if he was looking for a princess to marry. He was appalled and proclaimed that his plans to live with me forever. While he let her sign his book, he refused to be photographed with her.

Next came Drizella … and perhaps my favorite part of the night.


She was sassy and totally in character. Ellie told her all that had just happened with Anastasia and that Zach had hidden his book under his napkin; he didn’t want it signed. Drizella gave my son a scandalous look, grabbed his book and not only signed it, but kissed the page, too.

He was furious! My little man instantly insisted that he and I trade spots so that he could sit close to the wall away from the “mean people.” Then, when we returned to our room, he ripped all the princess pages out of his journal claiming they had “ruined” his book.

Now, what kind of mother would I be if I failed to rescue those sweet memories from the trash can?

We ended the day by walking back to our resort for the nightly fireworks. (The Grand Floridian and The Polynesian are actually quite close, separated only by the Wedding Chapel, which, of course, caught Ellie’s attention. I’m afraid she’s making more plans.) We strolled along the beach through a gorgeous sunset and a gloriously warm Florida evening.

So, it seems even the less-than-perfect parts were still pretty perfect.

Talk to me!

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