21 June to 4 July – Magic, Magic, Magic.
Our first morning in a Disney hotel. We enjoy a breakfast worthy of kings. Our waitress is incredibly cheerful. Apparently, twenty years ago she lived in Lincoln. Naturally, she has a go at her old English accent. She sounds like Daphne from Frasier but she is lovely so we play along and leave her a big tip. H is fascinated by the Mickey shaped waffles. She loves the idea but doesn’t think much of the taste.
After breakfast H spends her money for the day in the gift shop so we cart a six piece Princess figurine set to and around the Magic Kingdom, which we accessed by boat again.
We try not to look too smug using fast passes for the rides but it’s hard. No queuing, it’s amazing. We enjoy Pirates of the Caribbean (H doesn’t), Mickey’s Philharmagic, and It’s a Small World. Hubby and the boys enjoy Thunder Mountain Railroad whilst I take H to Starbucks “so she can enjoy the air conditioning” We stay at the park for the whole day, and enjoy the fireworks from the ground. Magic, magic, magic.
22 to 25 June – Music Filled Chaos.
The days blur into one whirl of giddy, music filled chaos, each night ending with a session of marshmallow toasting by the camp fire opposite the lake.
On 22 June, we all have lunch with the Princesses. H is greeted by Belle and she stares in amazement at her glistening gold ball gown. Belle offers H a hug and H flings her arms around her. “Your dress is beautiful” she beams. Belle smiles and she replies “Thank you, so is yours”. H looks at me in astonishment. [Don’t cry, don’t cry,]
Hubby and the boys join us at the table. During lunch we are joined by Cinderella, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Arial (Little Mermaid) and Rapunzel. Rapunzel has always been H’s favorite character “She has long hair like me Mummy” When Rapunzel arrives, despite having hugged Princess after Princess H Suddenly becomes shy. Whilst she smiles at Rapunzel, she doesn’t talk to her or hug her. She looks so disappointed when she leaves.
M: “Oh, sweetie, are you shy? I’ve not seen that in a long time. Didn’t you want to hug her?”
H: “Yes, I did” [she looks crestfallen]
M: “Come here” [I take H’s hair out of the bun coiled at the back of her head]
M: “Shake your hair and go and catch her. Tell her you have long hair too and give her a hug”
H: “OK, Mummy”
H shakes out her hair until it falls down her back and runs through the restaurant to catch Rapunzel (it’s not far, she’s in view and in reach and we can hear her). She stops beside Rapunzel, taps her leg (H looks so small) and beams.
H: “Rapunzel, look, I have long hair like you”
H tilts her head back to make her hair longer and shakes it. Rapunzel looks over at me and smiles. She bends down and H throws her arms around her.
BOB and LOB together: “Awwww”
H returns looking very happy. I look over at Hubby as he is wiping away a tear.
H requests a girly day by the pool the following day and I am delighted. I have lost weight lately. It wasn’t intentional but that fact, combined with the exercise I have been doing on an evening, means that for the first time since 2012, I sunbathe and play in the pool with H in a bikini and actually get a tan. I have spent the last six summers looking at the sunshine from my desk in my former office, whilst H has played with her friends at nursery. We are both equally excited with our day, all day.
26 to 27 June – Legoland.
We hire an SUV (the biggest, sparkliest tank of a vehicle I have ever seen) and drive to Legoland for two days of Lego fun and a night in the hotel. For H, this is the best part of the holiday.
She loves the park, every model, every gift shop, the room, the treasure hunt, the giant Lego filled pool. She isn’t impressed with the lighting storm that forces us away from the park and into the hotel, for an early dinner. However, when the Lego characters appear in the restaurant the smile appears again. We all watch the sun set together.
H loves the evening swim in the pool her Daddy and Brothers. I go on a mission to find the fire pit and bring back toasted marshmallows on long sticks, to be eaten by the pool side. H is becoming more adventurous with food. She is intrigued by s’mores but having constructed one with a hot fluffy mallow, she takes it apart again to eat the parts separately.
I love how happy she is.
29 June – Harry Potter fun
We spend the day at Universal Studios and I spend most of my time on Harry Potter related rides, in shops and restaurants. We travel between parks on the Hogwarts’ Express.
We arrive at the main attraction, whilst face timing Little Sis, just as the dragon, perched on top of Gringotts Wizarding Bank, projects a burst of hot flames into the sky. Within five minutes the heavens open and we are soaked. We follow our noses to a very impressive bakery and warm up with hot chocolate and freshly baked chocolate chip muffins and pastries.
In the evening we watch the fireworks from the lakeside bar in the hotel grounds and I have a glass of wine to toast our fantastic day.
30 June – Argh!
Today H and I spend a day by the pool. The day involves, sunbathing, swimming and eating, on a loop. Late afternoon I make the mistake of checking my emails. I then log onto LinkedIn. Big mistake. It hits me that we have been away for ten of our fourteen days. We fly home in four days, back to reality. For Hubby, that means working exceptionally hard all week and for the majority of his weekends. I’m not sure what it means for me. I have never been unemployed. I started my first Saturday job in local butchers, at the age of 14. I’ve been a waitress, I’ve worked in cocktail bars, and I’ve cleaned for relatives. I’ve always had an income. I’ve worked in a law firm since 2002. When Hubby and the boys arrive back we take food up to the rooms and I leave them all snoozing whilst I spend an hour at the gym. I have my phone and diary in my gym bag so I can stop at the bar on the way back to the room and plan ahead. My automatic response to anything that makes me feel uncomfortable, upset or worried is to go into ‘fix it’ mode. I sit and plan every day from arriving home to H’s last day at nursery. That’s a six week slog. I fire off emails and WhatsApp messages arranging catch up coffees with my friends who I never have time to see. It’s now 5.30pm and I remember the time difference, (UK time being five hours ahead), so stop and order another hot chocolate. I record every hospital, dentist, optician’s and beautician’s appointment in my dairy (for nail shaping and face waxing torture). I block out time for treatments, physiotherapy, personal training sessions and gym visits with Little Sis. What else can I plan? My fortieth birthday party? My Mum’s retirement? H’s wedding? Instead I order another hot chocolate to go and walk back to the room.
The team is still pretty snoozy when I arrive, so, after nebulisers on the balcony, I give in, turn my phone off and have an early night.
31 June to 3 July – Don’t panic.
We split our time during the final few days of our holiday between, the Animal Kingdom (the Safari is spectacular and Dining at Jikko is an amazing experience with delicious food), shopping at Disney Springs and repeating or favourite experiences at the Magic Kingdom.
4 July – Home.
Flying home on 4 July is the best idea. The airport is deserted and the plane is so empty that we are invited to spread out to the extent that there is room for every passenger to have a whole row to themselves. We are offered extra snacks and drinks and we are greeted and served with very smiley faces.
H falls asleep almost immediately but after two hours she wakes screaming, covered in a rash having had an allergic reaction to the scratchy, polyester blanket. Her cheeks are bright red and she has a temperature. It takes an hour of Hubby pacing the plane with her whilst I follow, coaxing her to take Calpol and then small sips of milk mixed with piriton before she calms down. With lots of cuddles, she eventually falls asleep again. Unfortunately H appears to have inherited my allergy prone genes. I suppose it could have been worse. The Virgin crew are wonderful, supplying the warm milk and allowing me to enter the kitchen area to crush the piriton tablet into a powder in between two spoons (it would have been too easy to have brought liquid piriton with me) After that I can’t sleep, or concentrate on the tiny screen, so I listen to music and watch the hours disappear, minute by minute. I cannot be happier to land.
The drive home is actually fun. Everyone being so happy to be on the ground again that we sing along to the music together, as I take on the role of DJ, accepting requests from the back.
When we arrive home, there is a note on the side from my Mum who has left bread, bacon, eggs and fresh milk. She has left out Yorkshire tea, honey and cups. My lovely Aunty and Uncle have cleaned the house from top to bottom in our absence. Fantastic!
Hubby puts the grill on and I make a brew. We sit in the garden in the sunshine. H and the boys stay inside unpacking. It’s exceptionally hot. My Dad has mowed the lawn and attached a colorful hanging basket to the garage wall above our seating area. There is a new, matching bright pink potted plant on the table. My life is filled with lovely, thoughtful people.
I think I’m going to be fine.