Last week I told you all about my Momma Meltdown. You can read the post here if you want to catch up. It wasn't my best moment but ,well, everyone's a work in progress. The whole ordeal was also what brought about one of my funniest (in retrospect) memeories at Walt Disney World. Today I'm going to give you the rest of the story. The ending to the meltdown day; the story my family still laughs about. You are about to find out what happened...
after the meltdown
The meltdown moment is over, I've had a relaxing time on the beach, captured some beautiful pictures of my kids but I can't sit around for long. I look around and notice the open expanse to the right of the boat docks. This area is just an open stretch of grass, bordered on one side by the lake and separated from the Ft. Wilderness campground by a line of trees. I told my family to hop in the golf cart and we would go explore. Before we got in the cart though, we noticed there was not a space big enough to fit the cart through. My husband decided that meant it was a "no carts allowed" area so he and the kids went back to the beach. I told them I would be right back and set off on my own.
Off I went on a sandy/grassy/unmarked walk. I just wanted to see what was down that way, around the bend. Maybe it was a walking path. Maybe it would lead to another recreation area. Should I consult the Ft. Wilderness map given to us upon check in? Absolutely not. It's just a short walk for Pete's sake. I was at Disney World and I was exploring!
Two things you should know about me before we go further:
(Also, the telling of the story is how it sounded in my head.)
So here I am walking to the end of this grassy no-mans-land, enjoying the sights, the peaceful tranquility, the absence of civilization. Wait what? How long is this thing? My people look like dots back there! Oh well, can't be much further.
Walking, walking, talking to myself, more walking. Maybe I should just turn back; there is nothing back here. I'm sweating and more out of shape than I am comfortable with, based on my breathing.(I'm blaming the humidity and Mickey Bars) More walking. Oh what a lovely pier, maybe I can drag the family back here for some photos.
Oh , oops, there's a couple having a romantic moment, let's not interrupt. ( Just so you know it was G rated not R) At least I know people are allowed back here.
Well maybe they are trespassing since no one else is around. I hope I'm not trespassing! I haven't seen any signs posted. That's my excuse if I get caught by a cast member: "Sorry, I didn't see a sign." Please show me a short cut back to people!
Just across from the pier I see an opening in the trees. Yeah, that direction looks good. Onward ho!
I end up at what looks to be a pretty wide path lined with trees and dense brush (woods) on both sides. Yes! Paths lead to places. I head back in the direction of the beach, taking this new scenic route. I'm pretty sure I hear camp sounds in the distance to my left and this definitely looks like a used pathway so I'm not feeling so bad about the whole trespassing where I don't belong thing. I put a little spring in my step knowing that in a few short minutes I will see my family and coax them into exploring with me.
I'm thinking about our day, things we had done and seen. In my head I am trying to visualize where I am in relation to the camp store. (I'm getting kind of thirsty) Just going along my merry way when I hear a noise. Not a people noise, a something noise! I slow down.
Ok, that was a bird.
I walk on.
A rustling sound to my right. Seriously? I just came from the other side of these woods not 5 minutes ago! I would have seen any animal...right?
Don't freak yourself out! You live in the country! You are used to these sounds! Chill out and keep walking.
Fine, let's walk.
More rustling! LOUDER rustling actually! Wait, did that skinny tree shake?
I am mentally talking myself out of running in the other direction, going down the list of possible noise makers and wondering where are the other people, all at the same time. (The mind is a complex thing) Also about this time, I have a flash back to a conversation earlier in the day when my daughter and I were taking a tour of Animal Kingdom. Our guide pointed out the fencing around the perimeter of the park. His words came back to me now...
Those fences are up as an additional precaution should any of our animals escape their holdings. It also helps keeps out the local Florida wildlife: cougars, bears, deer, and un-ticketed guests!
We thought that was a cute joke. I even pondered why I never realized Florida had bears. Back to my trek at Ft. Wilderness, I am now remembering bears and cougars! Birds can't shake a whole tree! Rabbit would be lower to the ground. These quaking leaves are waist tall on me! The limbs and saplings are swaying and moving as if a PERSON was parting them! Crap! Definitely a bear then! My mind did not want to grab on to the fleeting thought of "serial killer" that my imagination had thrown around a few times!
All this time I am keeping a close eye on the suspicious area while trying to creep backwards as calmly and slowly as possible. Do not call attention to yourself! Just get far enough away that you can start running if you have to! I have one hand on my back pack strap, ready to defend myself at a moments notice! Then...new scary noise!
The rustling is now accompanied by a guttural animal vocalization! BACK AWAY FASTER!!!
A split second after I heard the growl, a swirling vortex of terror came exploding out of the brush! I could not comprehend what I was seeing! Like a cartoon version of a fight where the adversaries are rolling like a ball of dust and body parts, two monsters landed not 20 feet in front of me! They landed. I jumped and maybe squealed a little! Bad move on my part, because when I squealed, they noticed!
The ball of fury broke apart to reveal 2 huge...armadillos. I had no idea they could get so big!
In the split second it took me to process the fact that I was not about to be
I freaked out! Hightailed it back a few more feet and stopped when they stopped. How do I proceed? I know they are not life threatening but they seem really aggressive. I figure I will just keep backing away till they lose interest.
FOR REAL! WHERE ARE PEOPLE?
Trying to back up again (heart pounding from fear, relief , and back to semi-fear) I set them in motion again. This time when they charged, I could not take the pressure/suspense any more! This day had way too many extreme emotions and I was done. As the two little terrors chased me, I lost it! I turned and ran full out, arms wind-milling, knees-to-chest, very undignified, squealing/screaming all the way back to where I entered this very wrong turn.
If you were ever a fan of the TV show, FRIENDS, and you remember the Phoebe run. That is what I looked like. At this time I was very thankful for no people around. I only stopped running when I glanced behind me and did not see anything chasing me.
I slowed to a more publically acceptable pace and straightened my appearance as the beach came into view. By the time I made it to my family I looked like John Candy in The Great Outdoors after his horse ran off! My husband asked where I had been for the last 45 min. to which I replied, "I'm ready to go. Let's go now!"
My kids still pick on me about my "terrifying" encounter with "Bear-madillos" and I let them. I can laugh about it now but at the time it was scary. You can laugh, it's ok. I learned my lesson.
Exploring is best done with map and company...at least for me.
Confession time...I had a meltdown at Disney World. I know. I KNOW! I am embarrassed even typing that sentence. We were at the "happiest place on earth", for crying out loud! Kids have meltdowns; mature, responsible adults do not. Right? Well call me an immature momma because I went full out "Grumpy" on my family.
Here's what happened...
Looking back over the years, I'm ashamed to notice a pattern. It pretty much boils down to expectations. I expect that if we are paying for a vacation we are going to get every penny's worth. I want to pack in as much fun and experience and memories in to those 4-7 days that I can say confidently, " YES! That was worth it."
Having two kids, and having traveled with them since they were very young, I know all about down time and taking breaks. I'm good with that. We all need breaks. What I get impatient with is just not wanting to do anything. I hate to just sit on vacation; it seems so unproductive. So on about day 4 of our trip, when my family (husband included) did not want to go back to the parks but instead just sit on the beach at Ft. Wilderness campground...well, I got a bit put out.
What it looked like...
My husband is a huge fan of all the National Lampoon's Vacation movies, so we watch them a lot. I'm sure you all have seen them a time or too as well. I like to think that I am Ellen, patient loving wife to an over eager husband Clark. No. I have recently become aware that I am Clark! I am the one that builds up expectations to the point of impossibility. I also have become aware that, like Clark, I can have over-the-top, ranting meltdowns when the perfect scenario turns out less than perfect.
So, in your mind right now, picture any of the "Vacation" movie "Clark Griswold" flip outs. If you need to Google a video of this, go ahead, I'll wait.
You got it? Well that's what it seemed like at the time...in my head...but I am not the type to make a spectacle of myself in public. I'm pretty sure no one noticed the daggers shooting from my eyes at my sweet husband. Surely no one heard the passive aggressive remarks to my kids. Not one of those happy campers scattered around the beach paid the least bit of attention to my fowl scowl, tapping foot and crossed arms. If they did, they certainly thought I was impersonating "Grumpy" dwarf.
You know who else was unconcerned? My dear family. There they were: the kids trying to build a sandcastle and my husband reclining on a beach chair, eyes closed and hands behind his head. "Fine", I told them. "Well I will just plop myself down in this chair and not do anything either!" "If you all want to sit HERE when you could be having fun over THERE (flinging an arm dramatically towards the Magic Kingdom), that's fine with me!'
To which they all happily replied, "OK".
What happened next...
I was defeated. My family essentially put me in time out with their attitudes. They were great! There they were all relaxed and having fun doing non-park stuff. Me, I just brooded and mentally ticked off the seconds till I could try my next pitch for heading back to the parks.
Then staring out at the water, I started thinking.(There is something so peaceful about the Ft. Wilderness beach area) I stared at the water and listened to the hum of the boats as they taxied guests and I just chilled. I sat and did nothing. I calmed and with a calm body comes a calm mind. I looked around at my loves: husband almost asleep, daughter playing with son in the sand and it was a truly beautiful moment. A calm, non-planned, outside-the-parks fun time.
We must have stayed on the beach for an hour or two. I got some of my favorite pictures of all times and all was well.
Here are some photos from that time...I would have missed these photo ops !
What I learned...
My little family would rather go to Disney World for vacation than anywhere else. Every year, my husband and I talk about taking the kids to see mountains or Yellowstone or the desert or something educational, but for now Disney World is it. We love that there is plenty to do, see, and experience all in one place and that the majority of the vacation is paid for before you ever make it to your room. If we can swing it, we are going to try to make it happen.
The cost is the thing that holds most people back from a Disney trip. Disney Vacation shoppers get their first estimate and immediately experience sticker shock. I get that! Really, I do, but there are ways to save. When we decide on possible vacation dates, I start looking for deals! Disney runs specials from time to time and I always check out MouseSavers and Undercover Tourist to see what they have to offer. ( both of these are highly reputable sites by the way ) Once I get things lined up to a price we are comfortable with, we start paying it down! Let me share how we are doing it this year.
We booked early enough through Disney that we only paid the $200 deposit up front and the rest is due 30 days before we arrive. In the mean time, here are 4 ways we are paying for our trip this year and how you can too!
My name is Joni...