You’re probably going to think…”what in the world does one have to do with the other?”, but you’ll see.
I’m a stay at home mom of 4 kids. Currently, I’m raising them alone since dad is overseas with his work full time. It’s not easy, especially when 3 of them are all boys 10 and older, all on the spectrum of Autism and 1 little princess who is now 2 and Disney crazy to boot. We’re Florida residents so naturally everyone thinks “YOU’RE SO LUCKY TO BE NEAR DISNEY!” Well, if a 6 hour drive alone with 4 kids is your ideal, then sure I’m the luckiest women in the world…Well, actually, I am because I have the kids I do have so OK I’ll agree, but yes we do visit Orlando quite often, but not because of Disney.
My daughter is a beauty queen and Orlando as anyone can tell you is PAGEANT CENTRAL for Florida. It’s not always easy with 3 boys trying to keep them happy when they spend an entire weekend waiting while Mommy stands about talking and rushing around with dresses, hair and make-up for their sister just for her to go up on stage for about a minute then rush off to do it all over again another event in 2 hours. Most boys would go crazy, but not mine and I have Disney to thank for it.
When my princess first began beauty pageants at 6 months old, I wanted to thank the boys for being so supportive. So I started planning how to thank them right away while were in Orlando. We always stay at the location of the pageant and for this one it’s always the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort.
The Marriott is literally just off Disney property. In fact, depending on the room you get, you can wake up to a morning view of Downtown Disney, Epcot Icon Sphere/Ride as clear as day and Tower of Terror is a bit further off. On a clear morning, you can even see as far out as the Contemporary Resort in the distance.
At night, you relax with dinner on the balcony watching Epcot’s fireworks and even better views of all the Disney property from other rooms. We always ask for a certain room number just so the boys can see these views for the weekend, including the Star Wars Symphony fireworks for Star Wars Weekends.
The view is only a small part though, it’s wonderful that you can go eat at any of the restaurants. I always call and try and get into one of the hotels if we don’t have our passes that year or eat in the park even when we do. It’s actually a family tradition to eat or visit somewhere on the Disney property.
This last visit, we just rode the monorail around Epcot and Magic Kingdom just so my daughter could see Cinderella’s Castle. She’s been raving about for months since she’s learn to talk in sentences. Our tradition began during that first pageant, after the final day of competition had ended and crowning was the next day.
I wanted it to be a great surprise to the boys so I took them to the California Grill for dinner but didn’t tell them the surprise, we didn’t have a reservation but they have a first come first area, or at least they did before the reservation, though I was told they still do, but double check before you go.
At the stroke of 9:50 pm, the announcement was made and everyone did as any of us who have eaten there knows…we all headed out for “Wishes”. There we were high above the Magic Kingdom boys in awe to see a completely new view of the highly anticipated show everyone knows so well and waits all day to see without the big crowds. With Big smiles, one scared child, (only because it is so high) and a happy bouncing baby girl, who we all were hoping would win Queen the next day, we ventured onto the balcony. It made the whole day of rushing about fade away. The boys raved all the way home how cool it was we didn’t have to go into the park to see the amazing site. The next day, we had a new Queen crowned in the family.
To think, we could have just stayed at the Hotel and swam instead of gotten all dressed up and headed out, but now when I think back to that time and look at the crown and trophy it’s not just her 1st win and sparkling tiara with a tall 6 ft purple and golden award collecting dust in the corner….it’s remembering the high five fives and the kids bouncing on the hotel balcony at the sight from our room, a quiet moment with key lime pie on a Friday night watching fireworks with the kids all in bed early at the same time seeing the Disney Hot Air balloon hovering in the sky, 3 boys leaning over a rail high above the Magic Kingdom going WOAH this is high while the fireworks shook the balcony which they thought was awesome like an earthquake.
It’s the next day of shopping happily carrying a beautiful baby girl in her sash and crown while we picked out her first princess dolls with Disney staff congratulating us all through the stores, then later returning to celebrate her 1st birthday with a real trip at Disney with Cinderella’s Stepmother and sisters raving and pouting in awe of the crown as they saw us walking through the park with it and her as they were passing by to their greeting spot for pictures then stopping to gather us up arms linked together and took us along with them as they finished the walk so they could see her a bit longer and try to “keep” the crown and gave us the first pictures for the greet time. If you are a Beauty Queen, watch out for those three 😉 The princesses all love to see them too especially at the Character Dining experiences.
Winning the crown each weekend is the goal and I knew back then it would be amazing. Each time since competition has been wonderful just because it’s fun and she has done so well each but they mean so much more to us…why..because even when not staying there on property….. Disney makes it Magical.
Story Contribution: Christina Craddock
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