"Is this really? Is it play??"
This is the question asked over and over by Saffron throughout our past two days in Disneyworld. When it's been less than three months since you saw your very first movie, rode on your very first airplane, saw your very first Christmas lights and discovered your very first talking toy, how do you even begin to get your mind around Disneyworld?
From the lights, speed, water-soaking special effects, and sheer fear of the rides, to the colors, music and animatronics of the shows, Saffron's imagination is on absolute sensory overload. She can't process it all, yet she is loving it and drinking it up. The thrill rides are the perfect example: yesterday at Animal Kingdom we began the day by riding the Mt. Everest coaster, where you speed through the dark only to find that a Yeti has broken your train's tracks, and you then slide backward down the hill at perilous speed--still in the dark. When we came out of the ride, Saffron and Ruby both burst into tears. And they continued bawling for about 10 minutes! The funny thing was, Ruby was crying because she was scared, but as an American girl knew all along that the monkey wasn't real. She was just afraid of the dark. Saffron, on the other hand, was sobbing because she was convinced a real "monkey" had broken the track, and we had fallen almost to our death. I kept telling her it was all part of Disney's plan, but she just wouldn't believe me. She was mad at me for taking her on the ride, and kept asking why we would think scary was fun--in her mind they were two completely different things. But how could we have prepared her? We tried to explain a rollercoaster, but quickly saw it wasn't computing and so decided to let her discover it for herself. I'll never forget the picture of Saffron and Ruby sobbing on their way out of the ride--hilarious, and very telling about each of their current grasps of the world around them.
Fast forward to today at Disney Hollywood Studios, and Saffron GOT it. It only took her a day to figure out that fear and fun CAN go together, and she ate it up. You couldn't drag that girl off the Tower of Terror. She was very disappointed not to have a chance to try the Aerosmith upside-down-in-the-dark coaster. She has loved every show, but is confused and constantly asks if the actors mixed with animatronics mixed with film and music are "really" or "play?"
So, one of our two new favorite Saffron quotes is "Is it really??"
Our other favorite new quote came from both Saffron and Willa last night. As we walked to the car, they kept saying to me, "Mom, Me have lot hangups." We laughed so hard. "Yes, you do have a lot of hangups," I said, "but I think right now you have a lot of hiccups, too.'"
As for Willa? Oh, she's eating it all up. Except she's not sure what she's eating up. "Where Disney? This Disney?" She keeps asking. "This is all Disney!" Steve keeps answering. "No," she shakes her head. "This not Disney!" Her favorite was definitely the Kali river rapids ride. Any four year old with any background can appreciate how funny it is to be sitting in a boat with a bunch of adults, fully clothed, and be doused with gallons of water. Now that's fun in any language.