So, I talk a big game. I constantly remind anyone who reads anything that I put out there that I’m a bit of a Disney pro. I know the ins and the outs. I’m confident that I know the best places to catch parades and fireworks, I am sure that I know of all of the best restaurants and snack locations, and I’m positive that there’s no secret Disney park experiences that I’m not aware of. However, even confident, professional (hopefully!) Disney travel agents can make mistakes sometimes! I present to you, The Great Snow White Debacle of 2015.
The Background: If you’ve read along over these last few months, you’re probably aware that my wife and I have three young children. At the time of this HUGE mistake that I made (April of 2015), our oldest daughter was 4 and our twins (girl & boy) were 2 1/2. My wife and I had 5 PM dining reservations at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We (especially the kids) were very excited to see some of their favorite Disney Junior characters during dinner, including Doc McStuffins, Handy Manny, Sofia the First, and Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. We had enjoyed meals at this character dining location on several other trips for breakfast and lunch and couldn’t wait for the characters to start showing up. My daughters were even in their brand new Snow White dresses that we had bought that very morning. (The photo above is Jake meeting my twins in happier times!)
First Sign of A Problem: The buffet was set up, guests were getting up to load up their plates, and there were no characters anywhere in sight. Our kids were sitting, quietly and patiently, waiting for their favorite characters to appear. Five minutes went by. Then ten. Still nothing. Our server came over to check on us and my wife took her aside and asked when the characters were going to come out to start greeting the tables. All of a sudden, the poor server looked like she had seen a ghost. I saw her shaking her head, explaining to my wife that no, the characters didn’t greet guests for dinner. Only breakfast and lunch. My wife looked at me, I looked at our children with their autograph books in hand, and sheer panic set in for the two of us. We had talked this character meal up all day to them. They were super excited and it was probably the one thing they had been looking forward to the most on our trip. Yep, we were in trouble.
Taking Action: After apologizing to my wife that it was my fault and I obviously should have known (it’s my job!), she and I started going into damage control mode. First, let me explain, our kids are normally very well-behaved. I know everyone says that and likes to think it, but we are the people elderly folks approach at the mall to tell us how good our kids are being. So we weren’t afraid that they were going to have tantrums, freak out or lose their minds. We just didn’t want them to be sad in Walt Disney World! I looked at the My Disney Experience app on my phone and saw that Snow White was meeting guests at the Germany Pavilion in Epcot until 6 PM. It was 5:10. My kids had never met Snow White. It was on. We finished whatever food we had put on our plates, paid our check, and were out the door by 5:15.
Running to World Showcase: We both figured it would be next to impossible to catch up with Snow White in time if we tried to get there any other way besides walking (well, running!) from Hollywood Studios to the Germany Pavilion. So we buckled the kids up in their strollers and got moving. It was hot that evening, my friends. By the time we got to the International Gateway entrance in Epcot at 5:35, we were sweating so badly that we looked like we had taken a swim in the World Showcase Lagoon. Didn’t matter. We pressed on.
Problem in Italy: When we got to the Italy Pavilion, we had an issue. Our oldest needed to use the potty. It was 5:45 and I knew if we made a restroom stop together there was no way we were making it. My wife, being the absolute saint that she is, said she would take all three kids and both strollers. “Just run and get in line and I’ll meet you!”, she said. Not thinking too hard about it, I did. I got to the Snow White line just before the character attendant cut the line off. Since there were about 20 or so groups in front of me, I explained the situation to the family in line behind me and they said they’d hold my spot. I started making a quick walk back toward the Italy Pavilion hoping to speed up the process of getting the kids in line (okay, confession time: I may have stopped at the beer stand in Germany & grabbed a beer for my walk back to Italy…in my defense, it was REALLY HOT!).
Crazy Lady & Her Strollers: I spotted her from almost a full pavilion away. My wife was walking toward me (I tried to hide my beer!) while pushing our twins in one stroller, carrying the single stroller over her shoulder, and holding our older daughter’s hand (she’s 5’1″, by the way, which made it even crazier-looking!). She was covered in sweat and looked more determined than any person I’ve ever seen in my life. Since I had last seen her, she had taken our oldest daughter to the bathroom, bought all three kids frozen lemonades (which they then proceeded to accidentally spill all over her shirt), and for the life of her couldn’t figure out how she thought she was getting two strollers and three kids across a busy theme park! I ran up to her, took the stroller and my daughter, and we were off to the races again!
Snow White Experience: By the time we got back to the line, my new friends who were saving our spot looked a bit anxious. Their anxious looks changed to looks of confusion and surprise when they saw what we all looked like. The girls’s hair was a mess, my poor son had on one shoe, and my resilient wife was covered in a combination of sweat and now unfrozen lemonade. I looked like I always do in Walt Disney World: sweaty, red, and tired (but that beer sure was cold and delicious!) You know what, though, it was all so incredibly worth it! Snow White was absolutely amazing to our kids (even though the heat had to be getting to her a bit, too!) and this particular meet and greet may have been our kids’ favorite one ever. And now we’ll always have a funny story to tell and these amazing pictures to look back on and remember how great of a time this debacle truly was.
For my family, a Disney trip isn’t about the attractions, the food, or the resorts. It’s about the memories we make and the stories we get to tell everyone when we get home. I love taking our kids to Walt Disney World and we’ll continue to do it year after year because it’s always different and never the same trip twice. We’ll keep going and we’ll keep making magical memories that will last a lifetime.
Thank you for reading this blog post today which is a little bit different from the normal posts I put out there. I’m sure some of you have fantastic and fun Disney stories as well and I’d love to hear them! Please feel free to comment with them here on this page, post them on my Facebook wall HERE, Tweet them to me HERE, or email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you again for reading, and please enjoy the rest of your stay here at Ear To There Travel!
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