I’m back. I took my 3-year old to Disney World by myself and...it wasn’t terrible. I feel much worse for those uptight mommies who were trying to take photos of their kids with Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. My child was in the backgorund of many of their well-composed shots. Sometimes in the foreground too.
The way to do Disney as a single mom is to just say…whatever.
If it gets too much there always seem to be a smiley cast member to help you herd your daughter to the right side of the velvet ropes or put 5000 plush animals back on the shelves. Somehow they all fell in the 2 minutes I turned my back on my daughter.
I have to say being in a group of two is liberating. So many of the rides are made for two people. If there’s a third member of the family they have to ride solo in the car behind the others. The clever ones would use that time to check their Blackberries or take quick sips from their pocket flasks. The others would sit there, willing themselves to have fun. On some rides they’d even ask if there were groups of only two riders and we slipped onto the Jungle Cruise, surpassing the true herds.
I also could move around easily and maneuver through the crowds. And there was absolutely no debate with another adult. Penelope did all the thinking for us. We rode the train and the steamboat. And Dumbo and the race cars. She had a long conversation with Snow White, a longer conversation than Snow White had with her prince before she married him.
Penelope wanted to go on the rollercoaster. She had gone on a littler one at the youth fair and thought this would be similar. She passed the Disney height approval so we were cleared to go. I told her they scare me - which they do I have never understood the pleasure of volunteering to be frightened - but as the only adult in the group, if anyone had to sacrifice themselves it would have to be me. “I’ll hold you mommy,” she said. I still have the little nail marks in my arm to prove that she really did keep her word. But she made it through like a trooper. And thankfully, didn’t want to go on again.
We did Small World many, many, many times. Here a daddy might have been helpful. He would certainly have played the bad guy, stopping her from the 80th ride through the land of chorusing children by grumbling, “ Daddy’s had enough.”
We also did the carousel 100 times. But she was so happy it was worth it. Perhaps because there were only two of us, they let us ride on it again and again without getting back in line.
I proved to her and myself that mommy’s keep going and never run out of energy or patience. She wanted to see the parade in the 105-degree heat and we did.
She saw siblings hitting each other in line and that was a good lesson, as well, lest she romanticize the idea.
On the negative side, it was challenging to take photos. She is going to believe she went everywhere alone as she is in almost every picture alone. Also the quality of my camera is not so hot. I can’t carry the backpack with the snacks, water, extra underwear, potty protectors, AND one of those giant digital cameras which are the ones that get the good quality snaps. Plus, that extra item would make it too hard to chase her. But between the heat and the 99% humidity, occassionally broken up with a tropical rainstorm, neither of us was having good hair days anyway.
It was a rotten few days for food. I found myself eating a lot of chicken fingers and PB&J. When items like that are priced between $10-$18, you don’t find yourself wanting to buy more than you and your kid will eat. My daughter was not going to be satisfied with the salad. Not when unlimited ketchup was being offered. However, we did have meals for 2 under $15 and were always able to find a seat. Those families of 6 had to circle the dining room for hours like a minivan at the mall on the day before Christmas.
Then, as a single mom, there’s only one person to carry the child, who wanted to be carried even though I brought the stroller. On the good side, I can arm wrestle any left-hander.
We did it and we look forward to experiencing the magic again.