After the obligatory photo pass shot on main street with the glorious castle background :
Ella was thrilled shouting out character names. Laci had an air about her I just couldn’t figure out. I feared the worst- she was too old for magic. She didn’t get excited except maybe when she saw Jessie from Toy Story. I was already getting upset. I was not ready yet for a trip with a kid who didn’t buy into the magic. I held out hope she was just worried about tarnishing some kind of image. You know she just turned 8 and all, she can’t seem like a little kid at that ripe old age…
So I focused on Ella who was bopping about to the lively music and dancing along with dancers waving at all the characters she could. Since we happened along the parade already in progress, Tony and I got seperated in order for all kids to have prime curb side viewing. He had Layla and was not far away, still in view. I could see her in her stroller bouncing, clapping and screaming enjoying the spectacle as much as a 369 day old little person could.
Several parade performers wished Laci a Happy Birthday and one in particular came up shook her hand and wished her Happy Birthday by name. She didn’t crack a smile acted awkward and above it all. I was trying not to be upset. I hoped it was just her feeling out of place and shy and not that she was going to act non plussed the whole trip.
After the parade passed by we moved quickly towards the castle. We were amazed that cast members were already out in force with these super long grabby claw things removing streamers that were shot during the parade from the trees.
Disney means business when it comes to park cleanliness. Another reason to love the place.
Our first ride, in hopes to loosening Laci up and by virture of going around the castle instead of through it landing us in Liberty Square, was Haunted Mansion.
Laci fell in love with this ride on our first trip. I fully expected her to be scared out of her wits. I rode it with her her very first time which was mine as well, and to be honest- I was scared myself and admitted so to her to help her feel better about her own emotions. She did well on it though I didn’t expect her to love it like she did. We rode it so many times that first trip and Ella threw three bright green pacifiers outside her doom buggy.
Haunted Mansion went through a major rehab last year, including a new queue area full of new scenery and interactive features. Die hard fans aren’t happy with the change, as they typically hate any change but it was pretty neat.
The drawback for us was that we were trying to convince a child who has horrible nightmares already and is scared of her own shadow that it was a bit spooky but ultimately a fun happy ride.
The new giant mausoleums and above ground interactive tombs did not help our case in the least.
Ella was already terrified and velcroed to my leg.
Haunted Mansion is a Disney classic and an amazing exeperience.
We wanted Ella to try it just once to not let her fear keep her from having fun, which is why we talked her into it. Some parents may disagree but knowing what lies ahead in it we felt she would be fine so we encouraged her to go on.
Besides, who wants to split up the family on your first ride on your first Disney Day?
The cast members did not help our case. They are paid to look quite morose and unwelcoming to convey and eerie ambience. They do their job well and Ella was throughly freaking out as we were ushered into the Stretching Rooms and told to drag ourselves to the “dead center of the room” .
Welcome , Foolish Mortals , to the Haunted Mansion! I am your host. your ghost host…
As the door shut with a disturbing creak I felt at this point the need to pre narrate the experience seconds before it happened. Having the actual narration memorized from our many rides last visit helped.
“Look at the pretty girl on the tight rope in the painting Ella. She’s holding an umbrella to keep balance”
“yeah shes nice mama”
“Ok in a second youre going to see an alligator under her”
“ and don’t look at the other pictures. “
Is this haunted room really stretching or is it just your imagination….
“Ok Ella, the lights are about to go out don’t scream”
“what mama why?”
…and consider this dismaying observation: this chamber has no windows and no doors, which offers you THIS chilling challenge… TO FIND A WAY OUT….
“Ella don’t look up , and its about to fake thunder and lightning”
“I hate that “
Of course, there’s always my way muahahha.
After the corpse lights up ( which I never saw on all of our first trip rides!) the door opens and Ella thinks the ride is over. Having a brief moment of relief myself thinking if she made it through the stretching room she could make it through the rest, I realized this was a major set back.
As we are herded into the line to board a doom buggy she starts freaking out and I’m looking for a creepy maid or butler to usher us to the chicken door. By the time we get close to a doom buggy I’ve managed to be able to distract her with the doom buggies themselves.
“Look, a round car. I wonder where it goes…”
We board and she is fine til our ghost host says he will lower the bar for us. I try to make it seem cool and wondrous -she remains completely freaked out that he did it.
Clinging as tightly as she can to my arm after finding out the ghost host lowered the bar too low for her to climb in my lap, she nuzzles into my arm pit and digs her fingers into my flesh.
The beginning is quite unnerving especially when you don’t know what to expect. Or when youre four and its all real to you.
She enjoyed the ride from the ballroom scene on until our buggy stopped momentarily and that dumb skeleton head in the graveyard popped up right by us in the graveyard. Of course!
I sang along to Grim Grinning Ghosts but she couldn’t be soothed. I couldn’t convince her that they were happy haunts despite their cheery tune. This was going to be a challenge!
As Little Leota beckons us back as we exit Ella declares that was the worst thing shes expereienced and will never go on it again.
I felt bad that was her first impression of Disney World rides! Worrying about keeping Laci happy I didn’t think about Ella and that she was even younger than Layla on her last trip so this would be her first real ride. We needed to remedy this situation and quick!
Sadly, Peter Pan as usual was a 45 minute wait. We were not at all willing to do that at this point. Instead we grabbedour first fast passes of the trip for Peter and qued up for Snow White’s Scary Ride.
Now I am no dummy.
I realize that the word scary is in the title of this ride but a 4 year old sees a princess ride and you tell me how to dissuade her !
Rejecting Pooh and Dumbo we were forced to ride it.
Although nowhere near the creep factor of HM it prominently features the witch. I love Walt Disney and I know he was a genius, but I still have never figured out why this ride which would obviously be a kiddie hit was designed to be scary. I can only surmise it is because the princess culture Disney has marketed in the last decade and a half had not yet begun and both adults and children alike were fans of the movie, but little girls were not so enmeshed in the fantasy world that perhaps having a Princess as the subject didn’t mean a must ride for kids.
After many appearances of the Snow Queen as the Witch (old hag is the official name), Ella declares she hates rides.
I feel awful and defeated and am wondering how a week long vacation at a theme park is going to pan out with a child who is terrified to ride!