About four in the afternoon, Josie drifted off to sleep in her stroller as we walked from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland. We'd started that day (our 2nd) early, arriving at the Magic Kingdom a little before 9:00 for our breakfast with the princesses in Cinderella's castle. We'd been anticipating that there'd be some kind of a meltdown at some point, Josie feeling overwhelmed with it all, but that hadn't happened. We'd been at the park until 10:00 the previous evening and throughout it all, she'd been happy and at ease and delighted with everything that she saw. By now she had her little autograph book nearly filled, and she still didn't know anything about the lunch we'd be having with the Little Einsteins the next day.
I found a bench in the Tomorrowland plaza and took out my journal to write for a bit and keep an eye on Josie while Lynn & Marian went off to ride Space Mountain. It's a little ironic that of all of the lands in Magic Kingdom, it's Tomorrowland that looks most dated -- such a quaint and optimistic vision of what the world would be like now, seen through the rosy glasses of someone fascinated with the potential of technology back in the fifties. Lynn and I were particularly amused at the news robot -- up to the minute news, printed out while you wait. But it's that veneer of foolish optimism that I love about Disneyworld -- as long as we can imagine such things, perhaps all is not lost.
Josie's good spirits would continue through the rest of the trip. That afternoon, she slept about ninety minutes and then was ready to go again. We had tickets for Mickey's special Christmas party, so we didn't leave the park until midnight. The only thing that gave her trouble on the entire trip was the fireworks -- she does NOT like fireworks. It's the noise. She seems to have sensitive hearing to begin with (I noticed her covering her ears during the Christmas parade when some of the loudest floats came by, and she seemed to be the only small kid doing that). She's been through fireworks a few times and knows what they're about, so I don't think it actually frightens her as much as it hurts her. Her message to Mommy is, "Make it stop or get me outta here!!" But she did tell me, later on, "When I'm big, I'll listen to fireworks okay."
She showed none of the shyness that small children sometimes do around the costumed characters, and she knew all of their names. She'd stand in line patiently, her autograph book under her arm, opened to a blank page, her pen clutched in her hand, and when it was her turn she'd trot up, hand them to the character, and then give them a big hug and pose for the pictures. (When Lynn & Marian downloaded the shots from their cameras, there were a total of 317. Lynn says she's whittled them down to about 250).
Of the princesses, it is clear that Snow White is her favorite. At breakfast, when they made their rounds of the tables, she was happy to see them all, but not the least intimidated. But when Snow White came up, she was awed. She had a similar reaction when she saw Woody (from Toy Story) that night. She came walking back to me after getting her autograph and hug and the look on her face was bliss -- as if she was a thirteen year old who'd just been kissed by her favorite popstar.
The carousel, the teacups (which she called "coffee!" of course), Buzz Lightyear, the Transit Authority, and the Peter Pan flying boats seemed to be her favorite rides, although she was quite proud of herself at the end of Haunted Mansion. Her mom had been prepping her for dealing with the witches and ghosts for weeks (since Hallowe'en). "What do you do when you see a ghost?" Marian would say, swaying and making a whoo-whoo sound. "Roarrrr!" Josie would say, going into her tiger crouch. She rode with me through Haunted Mansion, doing a lot of roaring as we went through the graveyard, and hopped out of the gondola at the end jumping up and down and crowing, "I did it! I did it!"
She's two months shy of three years old which might be a little young for Disney. But she's very verbal, and by last spring, she knew all the character names and Marian thought she might be able to manage a short trip. It was tremendous fun for all of us. We're already talking about next time.