By Guest Blogger Anna Hargett, author of This Perfect Mess

Today’s blog is not only informative, but absolutely hilarious! We hope you enjoy Anna’s tale of her family’s trip to Disney World. Be sure to check out our Disney category here for more tips and advice from local moms and travel agents! You can also follow This Perfect Mess on Facebook here! ~ Rachel

I never visited Disney World as a child, which was fine by me. Growing up, my idea of the happiest place on earth was my grandparents’ house.

For years I’ve heard friends sing praises of this wonderful world called Disney, but I’ve never really had the urge to visit myself. I’ve especially never had the urge to take my three small children. Actually, I don’t even like taking them to Target.

However, my brother-in-law came up with the idea of celebrating my mother-in-law’s 60th birthday by having all of us travel together to Disney World. He promised to plan the whole thing, so that, plus the fact that there would be some extra hands to help out if we needed it left me feeling hopeful that we might actually be able to pull this trip off. It might even be fun! Besides, if something went wrong we could blame it on Uncle Adam.

The kids were excited when we told them the news of our trip, but I honestly think they were even more excited that we were going to be with their cousins. They are completely obsessed with their big cousins. I think we could go anywhere and they would be excited as long as their cousins were going. Hey kids, today we’re going to the city dump…WITH MEREDITH AND CLAIRE!! HOORAY!!!

After months of anticipation, the big day finally arrived. We packed our suitcases, barely made our flight and headed down to sunny Florida for our adventure.

I can sum up our trip with two photos.

Here we are on our first night at Disney World:


And here we are on our last night at Disney World:


Of course there was a lot of other stuff in between, but we had so much fun that we had to come home and sleep for two days to recover!

From the start I was blown away by the enormity of it all. It is so massive that we could have stayed for a month and still not have seen everything we wanted to see. The Walt Disney World Resort is the size of the city of San Francisco and the population is probably the same too, except in San Francisco everyone is spread out around the city and at Disney everyone is in line to see Anna and Elsa.


The Clock Strikes Twelve, dessert at Cinderella’s Royal Table

I was simply in awe of all the painstaking attention to detail. From the food, to the decor to the music and more, not one thing was overlooked. They even created snow over the Christmas parade on Main Street and the floats piped out holiday scents as they drove by (peppermint, evergreen and gingerbread!)

All employees or “cast members” throughout the resort were dressed in full costume to match the theme of the “land” or attraction. At Epcot’s World Showcase, I was gleefully surprised to discover that the cast members in each country were actually from the actual country, with 11 countries represented in all. I even asked a girl working at a French bakery in France how she found the job. “Oui! I google it!” she answered very Frenchly.I can definitely see why people return again and again. It’s not so much about this ride or that character, it’s the whole experience combining to create the feeling that you really are in whole new world. At one point I found myself laughing out loud as we walked through Fantasyland because I felt like I was in an animated movie.

Our first trip was a whirlwind and I think there are parts I’m still processing. Even so, if I ever get the chance to visit again, there are some tips I would like to remember:

Tip 1) Do not bring your 20-month-old to Disney World

If I ever return to Disney, I will not be bringing a 20-month-old. The one I have absolutely broke me. Who knew my adorable little girl was capable of afflicting such complete and utter exhaustion on her caregivers? Oh wait, I did. My bad.

First of all, she chose this trip to decide that she hates the stroller with a violent passion. She only wanted to be held by me, except when she didn’t want to be held and would ask repeatedly to “walk! walk! walk!” Except walk was really her secret code word for “run away as fast as I can while you chase me through a crowd of people.” Forget Mickey and Minnie, her favorite thing about Disney was finding new ways to run away from Mommy. Usually, she would run into a store, which brings us to her second favorite thing about Disney: shopping.


Bonus Tip: At Disney there is more screaming in the gift shops than on the rides.

At one point we finally gave in and bought her a stuffed Minnie Mouse in hopes of placating her. No less than 20 minutes later she flung poor Minnie overboard on the Pirates of the Caribbean and we all watched her float out to sea. Elise was not the slightest bit distraught. As we exited through the Pirates of the Caribbean gift shop she promptly grabbed herself a handful of jeweled necklaces and bolted out the door as fast as her little legs could go. Sigh. I think she would have been just as happy at Target.

Tip 2) Do not believe your son when he says he hates princesses and does not want to meet them and especially does not want to give them hugs

If you ask my son, Jack, he will tell you that his favorite part of Disney was all the roller coasters.


Or the day he spent as a Jedi in training.


But I think that’s just a cover. He will never admit it, but I believe that he liked meeting the princesses the very best of all.

At first, he begrudgingly stood in line with his cousins to meet Anna and Elsa, announcing all the while that he did NOT like princesses and he was only going to get their autographs and he was ABSOLUTELY NOT going to give them hugs.


Then, as the line moved forward and we approached the entrance, we were ushered into the room with the actual Frozen princesses. Jack’s eyes widened and the goofiest grin spread across his face. He stared at Elsa completely starstruck. He even got to chat with Anna for a minute. Rather, Anna chatted and he just nodded and giggled. As we were walking out I asked him what she told him. “That’s private, Mommy. It’s between me and Anna,” he answered.


 After that he was more than willing to wait in line to meet Jasmine. By the time we met Belle, she practically had to pry him off her waist.

Finally, when he found out he would be visiting Cinderella at her castle he decided to tag along with his cousins at the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique. And he asked the fairy godmother to give him “Bruce Wayne hair.”

I think my 5-year-old is twitterpated.


Tip 3) Be aware that even though you are on vacation, your 3-year-old will still act like a 3-year-old.

When Henry was a baby he ate everything, everything. Dead bugs, flowers, several varieties of poop; if he was curious about it, he ate it. Thankfully he has outgrown that stage. Sort of. Now he just licks everything. Unfortunately he brought this new habit with him on vacation.Our 3-year-old licked his way through Disney World, which was great when he was licking Mickey-shaped ice cream, but not so great when he was licking, well, other things.

He was especially fond of licking all the different chains and bars that guided people through waiting lines. We had to take turns as official Line Licker Lookout to push Henry’s face away from all those tempting metal chains.I’m sure Henry will read this one day and die of embarrassment, but I assure you it was equally embarrassing to have the TSA agent at the crowded airport ask, “Excuse me, whose child is this licking our glass partition??”

Lucky for him he is awfully darn cute. Here are some photos of things he enjoyed when he was not licking stuff:


Out of our entire family, I think the Disney magic may have had the biggest effect on my husband.Before this trip, John had seen approximately three Disney movies in his lifetime. He also has NEVER been early for anything ever. Yet, each morning he woke up like Buzz Lightyear on a mission, determined to get us to the park before it even opened. It was like he thought there was some sort of competition to see who could have the most fun and he was going to lead us to victory! To Epcot…and beyond!!

One day we got to Magic Kingdom at 7am. I think the last time he was up that early was for the birth of our second child.

Once in the park, my husband wanted to see it all and do it all, and he did! He rode Space Mountain, made a beeline for the bratwurst in Germany and dragged our 5-year-old with him on the Tower of Terror. Watching him participate in the Frozen Sing-a-long made me want to marry him all over again right there in the middle of Hollywood Studios.After seeing Beauty and the Beast’s Gaston in action, John thought he was so funny he bought a Gaston t-shirt….or so he thought.We almost didn’t have the heart to tell him it was actually Hercules. Almost.


“What do you mean it’s not Gaston?! Hercules isn’t even a Disney character!”

As for me, I’d love to come back again someday. Someday, when my children can all walk themselves around the park and I don’t have to constantly worry about one of them shoplifting or licking a character during a meet and greet.

Actually, I wouldn’t mind spending a day at a park alone with this guy –


Oops! I meant this guy –


All in all, I had a wonderful time with my family, but it was definitely the most exhausting vacation of my life. The moment we got home I melted into a big puddle on my bed.

But you know what they say…some people are worth melting for. {wink!}