A couple of months ago, we noticed E’s behavior taking a slight downward dip. She seemed crankier and more difficult to deal with and J & I couldn’t figure out why. She’d always been so sweet and compliant and all of a sudden she was a monster child. After talking about it for a bit, we felt as though E might benefit from some special mommy & daddy alone time, without little brother around to steal attention. We decided a special weekend trip to Disneyland might be just what she needed so we booked the necessary arrangements, dropped D off with my parents for a few days and headed on over to the Happiest Place on Earth.
We originally had booked just one hotel room for us to all share and had our fingers crossed we would all get some good rest since we don’t usually bed/room share with our kids like that. (We ALWAYS have multiple rooms booked when traveling with our kids.) But when we checked into the hotel, they gave us a free upgrade to a suite which was super nice because E had her own sleeper sofa bed and bathroom all to herself and J & I could close the door after she went to sleep and hang out/chat/eat munchies in peace.
This being a sporadic weekend trip, and J not wanting to take any additional days off work for this, we only had ONE day (Saturday) to spend in Disneyland. I wanted to make it worth it and really special so we started off with a character breakfast inside the Plaza Inn off Main Street. This is the breakfast where Minnie Mouse and a bunch of other characters (more peripheral characters, like Winnie the Pooh) come out and greet you at your table. E was so, so excited to see all the characters but I think she didn’t know how to handle herself so she would playfully push or pretend to kick the characters. She thought it was hilarious but J & I were mortified and told her very sternly that if she did it again, we’d leave. I was super stressed out because she didn’t seem to understand us at first, but I just kept repeating, “NO kicking. No pushing. Gentle hands, give hugs and high fives.” And she eventually seemed to understand. The food here, by the way, was mediocre, but it was nice that we didn’t have to wait in any line to meet Minnie Mouse over in Toon Town.
We had the Park Hopper ticket so after breakfast, we actually left Disneyland and walked across the way to California Adventure so we could get all the Frozen stuff done in the morning. I wasn’t sure how long the lines to meet Anna & Elsa would be so I wanted to be sure we stopped over right after breakfast in case we had to wait some ridiculous amount of time. Surprisingly, the lines to meet them were not that long — you have to pull a return ticket in order to see them and we pulled our tickets at 9 AM and got to see them at 10 AM. Not too bad, right? Not to mention, that there was absolutely NO line to meet Olaf. We also managed to meet a few of her favorite Disney Junior characters and check out the Frozen Sing-Along Show while we were over there.
By the way, she was so star struck to meet Elsa. Anna, she seriously could have cared less about — Anna even tried to hold her hand and E said, “NO!” but Elsa? She just stared at her and touched her dress lovingly … LOL
Afterwards, we hung around and rode a few rides/ate lunch before heading back to the hotel for a nap.
E got a new Elsa doll that she was attached to the entire weekend. Not like she doesn’t have enough Elsa dolls but this weekend was all about her so I indulged her in every way possible.
Anyway, like I mentioned, we tried to get back to the hotel so that she could take a nap but homegirl fell asleep during the 10 minute walk back to the hotel room and even though we waited for 2 hours back at the hotel for her to fall asleep again, she refused to nap.
I’d read on the Disneyland website about a special princess makeover that you could get at the Bibbibi Bobbidi Boutique and I knew right away that I wanted to book one for her. If there’s ever a time to be spoiled rotten for no reason, it’s when you’re 4 years old and at Disneyland. The package we chose included a special princess dress, crown, wand, full hair & makeup makeover, photoshoot with Cinderella’s carriage, and a personal escort to cut the lines and meet the princesses in Fantasy Faire. It was expensive but worth every dollar to me. The look on her face when they sprinkled the glitter on her hair and put the crown on was priceless; I hope this is a memory she keeps for a long time.. and even if she doesn’t quite remember, at least we have tons of pictures!
The makeover was the highlight of our day. She wore the Ariel dress around the park for the entire day and at the end of the night when I had to give her a bath and wash off all the glitter from her head, she was so sad she cried and cried. Today is Monday but she’s still wearing that princess dress, even as she’s receiving ABA therapy right this minute hahahaha.
We spent the rest of Saturday eating dinner at Cafe Orleans in Disneyland and watching the parade & fireworks. The Paint the Night parade they have at Disneyland right now is seriously amazing; it was so beautiful, even I was excited to watch it as an adult! Disney knows how to put on a good show. The fireworks started right after the parade ended but sometime in between the two, E KNOCKED OUT in her stroller. I tried so hard to wake her up for the fireworks but she was out cold. J & I watched the fireworks ourselves before deciding to call it a night and heading back. We were all so exhausted, we’re still feeling the after-effects today. But I think it was worth every ounce of effort. E seems a lot happier after receiving so much individual attention from both her mommy and daddy, and the whole day was so magical that I can’t be mad at how tired I am today.
Being surrounded by fairytales and princesses, I honestly found myself thinking a lot about E and how there are so many parallels I see to her situation. Like most fairytales, E is a princess because her Heavenly Father is King of all Kings. She’s got a great inheritance coming, all those who claim Christ as their Savior, do. Before we can fully reach our inheritance, though, there is a curse that surrounds us, as all good princess stories have some kind of curse involved. For us, the curse is sin and the world we live in is a sin-cursed world where everything is fallen and nothing is how God originally intended it to be. E’s autism and her brokenness in that sense is a result of the curse. We’re all under the curse in some shape or another; the great hope, though, is that we know this curse ultimately has no power over us. It’s been defeated by the great Prince of Peace by His ultimate sacrifice on the cross. Though we may not see it fully manifested yet, it doesn’t make it any less true. I love how in all the best stories, good always wins and it’s no different for us in real life. Though we may be plagued with disease, hardships, heart aches, poverty, persecution, or whatever other trials we come across, we know that our biggest battle has already been won and good will win in the end. I loved watching my little princess twirl around and enjoy her special day, but I hope that one day she comes to truly understand her worth as a daughter of the King; I hope to see her in heaven perfected and released from the curse that plagues her; I hope she believes that good already won when He died on the cross for her and I hope she comes to claim Him as her Savior one day.