So I braved the crowds and took the kiddos to go see Santa Claus this weekend. I am a Bad Mommy. It was the first visit for everyone except Zack, and he hadn’t been since he was three I think. Every new kid decreases my interest in leaving the house. However, I figured that I really did need to do this if only to try to extend the magic a little longer for my eldest who is 99% sure Santa Claus does not exist. Strangely enough, he does still seem to believe in the Tooth Fairy. Then again the Tooth Fairy brings money and perhaps he’s afraid if he stops playing the game, the $$$$ will dry up.
(Aside story: Zacky lost a tooth last week, but it had a cavity in it. He jiggled it so much trying to work it out early, that it broke, so he only presented the tooth fairy with half of a tooth. The Tooth Fairy only left half of a dollar bill and didn’t take the tooth (that part was unintentional, but that’s what happens when the Tooth Fairy’s husband fills in because the Tooth fairy went to bed early). So when Zacky asked if half a dollar bill was worth anything, I told him, “Not without the other half. I bet half of a tooth isn’t worth anything to the tooth Fairy and she was trying to tell you to take better care of your teeth.” I think he bought it. He’s been brushing much better since then.)
Back to the Santa story. Downtown Disney really has the best Santa Claus. Real hair and beard, snowy white and the right build. And while he isn’t exactly “jolly” he certainly looks benevolent. I think he could get cast as God in the next 10 Commandments if he lost his “bowl full of jelly.” Lol. Seriously, he does have a really “all knowing” look about him. Well, we got to the line and it didn’t look too long and then they put up The Sign.
The one that says, “Santa has gone to feed the Reindeer and will be back at ____”
Great. Half an hour of standing in line with four kiddos and not even advancing. Just great.
And about that time, the temperature decided that after weeks of 80 degree weather in December, it would be a good time to drop the temperature about 15 degrees. Of course I hadn’t made the kiddos bring jackets.
Wonderful. Just wonderful.
Have I mentioned we haven’t been to see Santa in years? Now you know why.
Anyway, thanks to the family behind us and their kids because they kept my kids entertained with games like, stroller shake, toss the popcorn, and, my favorite, SCREECH! Those parents were so understanding, and I think they took pity on me, standing in line with a hyper 8yo, whiney 5 yo, and no fear, not gonna mind Mommy 4 yo with a 5 month old strapped to my chest. Why haven’t mothers evolved extra arms?
When the reindeer were fat and happy, Santa came back to the tune of “Here Comes Santa Claus” and then he completely floored me by actually walking through the line of kiddos waiting to sit on his lap, shaking hands, giving hugs, and tickling baby’s chins. It was such a thoughtful entrance. Zack almost seemed to get that spark of belief back meeting the Big Guy in person. Matthew was so overcome by awe that he hung back on the sidelines and Ian—well Ian though the music was too loud, so he stuck his fingers in his ears and wouldn’t even look at Santa!
When it was finally our turn, Matthew had regained his courage and his charm and stuffed Geckie (his security blanket) under his shirt and walked up to Santa with his big belly going “Ho, Ho, Ho! I Santa!” I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture! Bad Scrapper! Bad! But he made Santa laugh! They were quickly shuttled on and off Santa’s lap (ugh! I know its necessary, but I wish they could have spent some more one on one with the Big guy) and gave their lists to Santa very quietly (for my kids).
Zack wants a Wii, a DS and Pokemon: Diamond and Pearl game to go with either. (In his dreams!) Also, High School Musical 2; the extended edition. (That’s the important part, it MUST be the extended edition. I don’t think they even MAKE a non extended version, so he’s pretty safe there.)
Matthew wants a Cars bed, and Cars Toys, and Cars game. Basically, put Lightning McQueen on something and he wants it. They could sell Cars broccoli and he’d want it.
And Ian. My sweet, precious Ian. His needs are simple. He just wants some crayons and paper.
I think Santa can arrange that!
Eli, of course, is too young to want anything besides his next bottle, so he was singularly unimpressed. Plus he’s nursing a cold, so he wasn’t his usual smiley self.
So the kids got their requests into Santa, a little magic was restored in my suspicious 8 year old, and Mama got her pictures. Sort of.
Afterwards, instead of a picture, I was handed a card and sent on my way.
No instruction or anything, just a little business sized card with a website address and an ID number and NEXT! To the people behind me.
Disney has a program where every time you stop and have your picture taken, they assign it this special ID number and you can basically get your entire Disney vacation online. You can view and share the pictures and order prints or even just the cd with all the images to print yourself ($12.95 per print, $124.95 for the photo cd) Yep, Disney always finds new and creative ways to make their $$$ while making it more convenient for their guests to spend it.
But I wanted to walk out of there with an actual picture!
So I sigh, and figure online ordering won’t be so bad and go off with all my little duckies in a row to Ghirardelli’s for some of the world’s best hot chocolate. On the way there, we pass the Guest Service Building and notice a family that had been behind us in line striding purposefully in as another family that was ahead of us came walking out…looking at a picture.
So I go in and see that we can view and order our prints there. Let me tell you something. I have worked in Orlando for nearly 15 years, and one thing I’ve learned is that Disney really does want and expect their employees to always be on, not have a bad day, and always treat each person as if they were put on earth only to serve them for that moment. I like that. I appreciate that. No matter how many times I am disappointed by bad service when I go out and about, I can always rationalize it with “What do you expect? It’s Wal-Mart after all.” (Or Subways, or Burger King, or McDonalds.) There are places where bad service just doesn’t surprise you. Disney is not one of them.
The guy behind the counter apparently had not gotten his dose of Pixie Dust that day because he was monosyllabic and offered no instruction or help at all. He just stood there, waiting on me to do…something. I finally had to say, “Pretend this is the first time I’ve done this and have no clue what’s going on.” And even then, all I got was a bored, “Pictures here, prices here. Choose which one you want.”
After waiting an hour to Santa with four kiddos in the rapidly colder weather, I really could have used a little Disney magic and I just wasn’t getting it.
And apparently, the photo ordering section doesn’t have a register. So I had to go to the store next door to pay and then bring the receipt back to pick up my picture. The added inconvenience of dragging the kiddos to and fro ate up my last nerve and we cut our visit short. We got the hot chocolate, grabbed a quick shot with Buzz and hightailed it out of there.
Still, I did end up getting a shot of the kids. I wish the photographers had actually tried to get the kids to smile…they will on cue, but were overwhelmed with the moment of meeting Santa. (Who was awesome in making sure he got full eye contact with each kid) But I understand with the cattle call nature of Santa Pictures and the line behind us they were rushed. I can understand that, but I also think my perception of the pictures was a little distorted because of the experience I had just had with the associate.
I wish I could share the picture with you so you could judge for yourself, but after all of that hullabaloo, I'VE LOST THE CARD!! So I guess extra prints are now out of the question. Lucky I go the one.
Even after all of that, we’ll go back to DTD next year for more because that Santa RAWKS! I’ll just try to either go earlier or find a time where the line isn’t so long and the boys can spend a little bit more one on one time.
Now all I have to do is help Santa out with the shopping and Christmas is done. Yay!
In other news: Zachary continually tries to find ways around practicing his handwriting. One of the exercises he has to complete every week is to use each of his spelling words in a sentence. Well, he figures that if he can write a sentence that uses multiple spelling words, then he doesn’t have to write as many sentences. Pretty smart, huh? Of course, then you end up with sentences like this:
“Morning has two vowels and, of course, no planets.”
Gotta share the kiddos artwork with everyone. These are so going in the “save until they’re grown up and embarrass them with it on Prom Night” box. Just cute, nostalgic little memories no one but their Mama appreciates!