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The Makings of a Magic Kingdom Meltdown

There’s a lot to say about our recent trip to Disney World.

Imagine, if you will: early July. Four kids in tow, with in-laws along for the crazy ride. A major storm on the home front that knocked out power to 90% of our state, and since our house is on the market tensions were running astronomically high about potential damage.

So, yeah, we were about as stressed out as a bunch of fidgety bachelors in the thick of the most dramatic Rose Ceremony ever.

In all of the planning we did for this Disney World trip, I seemed to have overlooked one key detail.

We would be visiting the Magic Kingdom on July 4th, which is, like, a major U.S. holiday. (Who knew?) So there we were alongside 50,000 of our nearest and dearest, making our way through the Happiest Place on Earth.

Oh, and did I mention that it was approximately 139 degrees? It was hot, my friends.

Still, we managed to have fun. We arrived early, taking advantage of Disney’s Magic Hours for guests staying on property. We rode all of my favorite rides except for one (Pirates of the Caribbean was inexplicably closed) and we had a pretty fantastic time.

But around noon, my family’s collective mood changed. We were waiting for a parade to begin and there was precious little shade. The troops were getting restless and the Florida sun had somehow morphed into some type of full-blast convection oven.

And that’s when this happened. The Toddler Meltdown of Aught ’12. Take a walk with me, won’t you?


  • The Start of Our Day 1 of 6
    The Start of Our Day
    She was beyond thrilled just to ride the bus from our hotel to the Magic Kingdom. Wheeee!
  • Obligatory Family Shot…Minus Mom 2 of 6
    Obligatory Family Shot...Minus Mom
    I had the grand idea to take a picture before every ride we went on. So yeah, this was the first (and last) one of those. Everyone's psyched for the magic to begin!
  • Who’s That Girl, Mom? 3 of 6
    Who's That Girl, Mom?
    Ok, so maybe I haven't done the best job familiarizing my kiddos with all the characters, but I thought for sure she'd know who Alice in Wonderland was. Wrong. Not impressed.
  • There It Is. The Look. 4 of 6
    There It Is. The Look.
    See it? This is the moment when I should've whisked my daughter back to the hotel for some R&R.
  • It’s Getting Worse. 5 of 6
    It's Getting Worse.
    First let me say that this is the most unflattering picture of myself to have ever graced the internet. We'd been standing in line for the train to take us to the park exit when they announced that all outdoor rides were closing due to storms in the area. We were unbelievably hot and tired and had to book it to exit by foot. Not fun.
  • Finally Asleep. 6 of 6
    Finally Asleep.
    After navigating the crowds and screaming for a solid 45 minutes my daughter had finally had enough. Lesson learned.

I didn’t capture the actual eruption, what with the screaming and wailing and gnashing of teeth and all, but let me assure you that it occurred between photos 5 and 6. It was a doozy.

As for my toddler, I can hardly blame her. If I could have thrown myself onto that pavement I would have, as well. (It’s probably a good thing I didn’t because I would have sustained at least a second degree burn.)

If I had this trip to do over again, I would have paid closer attention to my toddler to spot the first signs of PTB (pre-tantrum behavior). We would have skipped the dang parade and given her the space and AC she needed to rest.

All in all, it was a good trip and seeing Disney through my toddler’s eyes made it a magical experience. But like those fidgety bachelors, I needed to understand that pushing things too far doesn’t always result in a rose.

Sometimes it just ends in a bunch of public crying.

Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

More by Mary Lauren:

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know about My Toddler’s Potty Issues

How to Think Like a Toddler

Ten Truths about Toddlers: What Parents Should Know

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