Pixie Dusted

Well, after months of deliberation, I did it. I got bippity-boppitied. I realize that sounds faintly salacious, but if you have been journeying with me, you’ll know that it is kind of the opposite of salacious.  If you haven’t been reading along, you might want to check out  http://www.terrilabonte.com/2018/08/bippity-bop-or-not/ and http://www.terrilabonte.com/2018/09/bopworthy/.  

My pixie posse and I set off to the Grand Floridian Resort, ready for a glitterific adventure.  My friends were going to watch while I transformed into Tinker Bell right before their very eyes.  After my tinkifying, we planned to monorail our way over to the Magic Kingdom to visit the Princess of Pixie Hollow herself, then have a nice lunch.  When we pulled into the parking lot at the Grand Floridian, we knew we were in for a good day.  We encountered the Cinderella pumpkin wedding carriage, with its six white horses, carrying a beautiful Disney bride towards the wedding chapel. Sparkle alert, already!  How can that not be a great omen? 

When we entered the salon, I felt my blood pressure rise a bit.  I bleed sparkle and I think my circulatory system was leaping in joy from all the glitter in the atmosphere. My giddiness level increased.  I was excited from the top of my short, flat brunette hair to the white pom poms on my green fairy slippers.  For someone who struggled so long and hard about whether or not this bippity-boppetying was a good idea, I was all in. I’m not sure how I managed to sit still and not flitter fly all over the salon.   

Andrea was my own personal Purveyor of Pixie Dust.  She was sparkling so much, she didn’t need a magic wand to complete my makeover!  She made me feel special and magical and adorable every minute I was with her.  What is even more interesting is that she made me feel like she was having every bit as good a time as I was having.  I mean, I realize this is her job and she wasn’t making me a Tinker Bell twin for the sheer fun of it.  Still, she certainly acted like having me as a client absolutely made her day.  I think I am, by and large, a pretty pleasant person, but I can’t think that there is anything that special about me to inspire such delight.  Maybe we were all smoking the pixie dust!   

Andrea started with my hair.  I was concerned because my hair is pretty short and I couldn’t imagine a Tinker Bell makeover without the Tinker topknot.  Andrea brushed aside my worries.  All she needed was faith, trust, and pixie dust.  However, Andrea didn’t stop with the bun.  She had an idea that I could look like Tinker Bell, but with some special Terri pizzazz.  Using lots and lots of hairspray, she changed my hair to sculpting material.  I ended up with my topknot, but also with curls and tiny Tinker Bell bows all over my head. I can’t even explain all the interesting special effects Andrea crafted from my hair. I said I looked like a combination of Tinker Bell, Cindy Lou Who, and myself.  I know such an odd mutation is hard to picture (which is why I am including photos), but trust me when I say it was very effective and fetching.  It was exactly what I wanted, but didn’t know it.  The final step for my hair was a liberal dusting of glittering pixie dust.  For those of you who know the whole Tinker legend, you’ll understand that I was very pleased to see that the sparkle was BLUE pixie dust.  For those of you who don’t understand the implication, you can go watch the movie Tinker Bell and The Lost Treasure.  Let’s just say that, without blue pixie dust, the world would be a very different place!  Or at least my world would.   

After the hair came make-up.  Andrea turned me away from the mirror, so I could not see what was happening.  My pixie posse watched, fascinated, cell phone cameras in hand, as I squirmed in anticipation.  They cheered me on, but I wondered if they were just being nice.  I heard them cooing all kinds of amazed noises, but “amazed” can be good or bad.  People coming to the salon to ask questions, make appointments, or check in for their own treatments stared at me.  I kind of stopped conversation.  There was one lady at the counter who was so transfixed by what was happening on my face, the receptionist had to keep asking the same questions over and over again before she answered.   

There was one debate during the make-up process.  Should I have false eyelashes or not?  Before coming to the salon, I thought I would skip the eyelashes.  I thought they might be a bit over the top (yes, apparently I did think there was such a thing as “over the top” when having a Tinker Bell makeover) and, for some reason, they kind of read “villain” to me.  Andrea also seemed to be on the “no eyelash” side of the aisle, as she thought the lashes they had were pretty extreme.  However, my pixie posse believed that I might as well do the eyelashes.  One pixie partner said they would look good in the pictures.  Another reminded me that I probably wasn’t ever going to do this experience again so I should just go the full Monty, as it were. The girl staring at me at the reception desk was also on Team Eyelash.  She kept mouthing, “do the lashes” at me.  I finally succumbed to peer pressure and I am very glad I did.  Andrea found some mid-length lashes for me, which were plenty long enough, believe me.  In fact, when I put my glasses on much later in the day, the lashes were pushing them down my nose.   

I never knew I had such big eyes.  Andrea was able to fit at least four colors on my eyelids.  All of the colors sparkled, of course.  She picked from a huge palette of eye shadow colors, all of which were brighter than anything ever witnessed in nature.  Of course, the highlight of my lids was the sparkly Tinker green that might as well have my name on it from this day forward.   

When Andrea turned me around, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was amazed…. In the best possible way.   I have never, ever looked that good.  Yes, I looked like I belonged in Pixie Hollow.  Yes, I looked like I was Tink-inspired.  But I also looked like some version of me… a me completely liberated from expectations, care, and responsibility.  It was like I was channeling Tinker Bell, as well as looking like her.  Yet, I was still very clearly myself.   

When we went to visit the original Tinker Bell at the Magic Kingdom, she and I had a wonderful pixie meet-up.  I’ve been to see Tinker Bell many times in my life, but I believe we bonded in a new way on the day of my tinkification.  Part of me is still with her in Pixie Hollow.  My friends and I took pictures with Tink.  We enjoyed being childlike, living in the magic.   

I loved having this experience.  I loved having my friends with me.  I can’t imagine doing it without my pixie posse.  They encouraged me to immerse myself in the experience and celebrate. We celebrated together.   We celebrated our lives, our love of Disney, and friendship.  These are some wonderful things to celebrate.   

When I went home that night, my heart was still smiling.  When I removed the remnants of Tinker Bell, I was a little bit sad… but not too much.  Even without the make-up, I still had the pixie dust… on my scalp, on the floor of my bathroom, and, most importantly… in my spirit! 

Thanks to Andrea, my pixie duster, for Tinkifying me in a way I never expected.  Thanks to my wonderful pixie posse partners, Nancy and Kathy, for being my fairy godmothers.

Pre-tinkification

Tinkification in process!

Those eyelashes

!

Andrea, the Purveyor of Pixie Dust

The finished product- my Pixie Sister and me!

The pixie posse!

So what do you think of the new me? Do I look like I belong in Pixie Hollow?  Should I just grow up?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative,  you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.  

Have a glitterific day!

Terri/Dorry

 

Bippity-Bop Or Not?

At Disneyland and Disney World, there are magical shops called Bippity-Boppity Boutiques (BBB).  These are enchanted places where parents can spend several hundreds of dollars for a Fairy-Godmother-In-Training (FGMIT) to transform their little girls into Disney princesses.  The service includes wardrobe, hair, make-up, accessories, and photo shoots.

You can see the results all over the various Disney parks.  You can tell when a little girl has been bippity-boppetied.  She has the costume, of course.  However, many little girls roam the parks in princess regalia purchased from Walmart so you can’t know for sure that a costumed child has visited the BBB. Sometimes the newly-fashioned princess has a pink sash draped across her torso, proudly proclaiming her patronage of the boutique.  You don’t need the sash to identify the bippity-boppees, though.  It is the hair that usually tells the tale.  A fresh bippity-boppety hairdo usually involves an improbably intricate contraption of the child’s hair, wiglets, tiaras, barrettes, and hairspray.  Oh, and glitter…lots and lots of glitter.

The glitter doesn’t stop with the hair.  Usually the bippity-boppee has glittery pink or purple eye shadow and may have cheeks that glisten with pixie dust.

I always swore that, if I had a daughter or granddaughter, she would be bippiy-boppetied whether she liked it or not.  I mean, how could I not?  I even checked one time to see if I could book my own session with a FGMIT, but the age limit for such enchantment is twelve.  Since I was several multiples past twelve by that time, I was out of luck.

Not anymore. Several spas located in Disney resorts are now offering “character couture” sessions. These sessions are very much like Bippity-Boppity Boutiques for adults.

Oh, there are a few differences.  For one thing, the character couture sessions do not include costumes.  That isn’t a problem for me, since I have a Disney wardrobe that is the envy of four-year-old girls everywhere.  Also, the character couture sessions are a little less expensive than BBB, but don’t include photo shoots.  The FGMITs in BBB are not licensed cosmetologists.  Their magic involves rocking a costume, wielding a wand, and being good with children.  In the character couture experience, the stylists are real cosmetologists.  They are hair and make-up experts who are there to customize a unique hair and make-up design for each client. The character inspiration can be any of Disney’s creations- princess or pirate, Minnie or Daisy, Ariel or Ursula, pixie or Pooh- whatever sparkles the client’s fantasy fireworks. The idea is to create a look “inspired” by the client’s favorite character, but to complement the client’s own natural beauty.

When I read about this service, my immediate thought was, “I have to do this!” Then, I started wondering if I really wanted to spend about $100 for a Tinker Bell makeover.  After all, I am a grown-up and it does seem a bit extravagant for a few hours fun.  I know the service is actually intended for adults, but I’m thinking that, at nearly 59 years old, I am even pushing the boundaries of “adult.”  I also can’t imagine even my most Disney-obsessed friends joining me in the transformation and I’m not sure how much fun it would be by myself.  Still, I can’t get the idea out of my head.

There is NO WAY I would schedule a character couture until the weather cools down.  I don’t expect the makeover to last forever, but I would like to give my transformation a fighting chance of staying pixie-lated beyond the front door of the salon.  With the current weather, make-up will melt immediately upon contact with the great outdoors.  Pixie-dusted hair and humidity are also kind of mutually exclusive.  While the weather is so not “happily ever after,” I have some time to contemplate whether or not I should really do this.

I started polling my friends to get their opinions.  Most of my friends were puzzled that I would even ask since they figured an opportunity to channel the Pixie Princess has me written all over it.  As I kind of suspected, they were all gung ho for me to do it, but none of them wanted to get in on a makeover of their own. They apparently want me to be the entertainment on a girl’s trip to Disney World.  They all want to watch me get Tinkified and then go over to Magic Kingdom to visit the “real” Tinker Bell in Pixie Hollow.

I guess they want me to be the designated doofus to play dress up.  I can live with that.  What are friends for?

What do you think?  Bop or not?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.  

Have a glitterific day!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

REMEMBER: You can order your copy of Changing My Mind: Reinventing Myself In Retirement by visiting: https://secure.mybookorders.com/orderpage/2076

Note the Tinker Bell green!  All it takes is faith, trust, and pixie dust!

 

My Place in the World

Hello.  My name is Terri and I am a Disney addict.

I never stood a chance.   From the time I was born, my parents called me Tinker Bell.  When I was five, we moved from New York to Anaheim.  Our house was literally in the shadow of Disneyland.  We could see the fireworks from our backyard.   I grew up thinking that Disneyland was the most marvelous “someplace special” that we could go on a family outing.  One year, my parents gave my brother and I the choice of going to San Francisco for my mother’s birthday or taking our usual annual trip to Disneyland.  I could tell that the “right” answer was to choose San Francisco, so I agreed.  I cried myself to sleep for a week.  The last present my father ever bought me was a personal license plate that read “TINKRBL.”  I kept that license plate for three cars.

I made six trips to Disney World in Florida while I was still living in California.  I never had any children and, as would follow, I have no grandchildren.  I enjoy watching kids experience the World, but I have never brought any there on purpose.  I am still Disney-crazed.    I have a wardrobe of Tinker Bell shirts, hats, shoes, and handbags that is the envy of four-year-old girls everywhere.  I even have a custom-made sweatshirt with Tink and her sister Periwinkle on it, proclaiming that “I am the Third Sister.”  For those of you not up on your Tinker Bell lore, google “Tinker Bell and the Secret of the Wings” to get a crash course on the sister reference.  It is all Tink all the time in my world.

When I retired and decided to move out of California to a more cost-friendly area, I feared my very DNA might just unravel if I ventured too far from the Happiest Place on Earth.  I ended up settling in central Florida, where I can get my Disney fix on a regular basis. Max and I put small children to shame in our passion for exploring all Walt Disney World has to offer.  I think I can see skid marks on our annual passes, if I look hard enough.

Disney knows how to entertain children of all ages, even those who are… let’s say… children emeritus.  Judging by the folks I see gracing the walkways of the Disney properties, I have to say that I am not the only one who revels in the Disney experience, despite being well past the age of reason.  After all, who needs reason when you have fantasy?

I have learned some valuable lessons in my adventures with Disney.  There are some things to keep in mind if you, too, are a bit more experienced than your average child and would like to wander the World without benefit of youngsters.  The most important thing is to have your own brand of fun.  If you are thinking of taking your inner child to the most magical place on earth, you might consider the following observations.

It’s all about you!

Stop worrying that you are a grown adult who is at Disney World without children.  If you want to do something, forget whether or not it is appropriate for an adult or if it is intended just for children.  If for some reason there is an age, height, or weight limit on something, some Disney cast member will tell you.  Just about anything on the property, even if intended for children, is available to you if you want.

Embrace the silly.  I always reserve my Fast Pass to visit Tinker Bell when we go to the Magic Kingdom.  The first time we went to Disney World, I really wanted to go to a character breakfast.  I thought that the characters visiting the breakfast might concentrate on families and children.  I thought, as a couple of oldsters unaccompanied by children, Max and I might be a bit on the fringes of things.  I still wanted to go.  I made advance seating reservations for the Cape May Café buffet. I was amazed at how well Disney manages these experiences.  The characters visit EVERYONE.  They float from table to table, regardless of the age of the occupants, spending a good deal of time with every party. Pretty sweet interpersonal skills for animals that can’t talk!

A Little Advance Planning Never Hurts

There are those who insist that a trip to Disney must be approached like a major military tactical battle.   They believe you must get to parks early, experience attractions in a particular order, and avoid liquids so as to minimize bathroom breaks.  I agree that, if you are bound and determined to see the most you can, it is important to be ruled by a grand plan.  On my first trip to Disney, there were many lists and spreadsheets involved.  It is possible, though, to enjoy your adventure without quite so much strategy, if you find the idea of a more leisurely, serendipitous pace more appealing.  With just a little bit of forethought, you can reach a balance between experiencing a great deal of what you wish to see at Disney World and taking things as they come.

The website www.touringplans.com is invaluable for deciding when to visit to avoid the most crowds.  For a small annual fee, you get access to a number of tools for deciding when to visit, include a crowd calculator which predicts a crowd level for each park, each day.  They have some special magical formula, which is pretty accurate.  Once in a while, they miss a cue, but their ratings are fairly reliable.  Try to plan your visit for days that are rated 6 or below.  Having said that, just know that, no matter what the rating, there will likely be more people there than you expect.  It’s Disney.  You aren’t the only one who wants to be there.

Take advantage of the Fast Pass system to select the attractions you most want to see BEFORE you visit.  Fast Passes will give you guaranteed access to a few of your “must-do” attractions at a specific, pre-arranged time without standing in the regular line. If you want to experience some of the more popular attractions, the Fast Passes can save you lots of time and aggravation.  The Disney website will allow you to select your Fast Passes 30 days ahead of time if you are not staying on property or 60 days from the first day of your reservation if you are staying on property.  Because so many people do reserve their Fast Passes ahead of time, it may be pretty much useless to try to get a Fast Pass once you get there.  If you didn’t get a Fast Pass and want to do something, don’t despair.  You may still be able to get on the ride with a minimal wait, depending on the attraction and the timing of your visit.

Know Thyself

If you are not as spry as you once were (or if, like me, you were never that spry to begin with), understand that there is a lot of walking around the World.  Max still refers to our first trip to Disney World as the “forced march across central Florida.” You might want to go into training before your trip by walking a little more each day for about a month, just to give your body a jumpstart for the increased demands you will make on it.  Also, manage your own expectations.  Instead of thinking you are going to go gallivanting from one end of a park to the other and back again and zig zag all over it several times in order to experience everything, figure out ahead of time which three or four attractions are your absolute “must-dos.”   Set your mind to be happy if you get to at least enjoy those attractions.  Then, have a list of other attractions that interest you and experience those as you run across them.  It is likely that if you think to yourself, “I’ll come back to this after I do so and so (at the other end of the park),” you will wilt before “after” comes and won’t make it back.  Keep hydrated, even if that means you have to take more frequent restroom breaks.  When you feel like a rest, go ahead and sit down and enjoy the scenery.

If you have mobility challenges, think about renting a wheelchair or scooter.  You can rent them at the parks and at Disney Springs.  Often, you can get a wheelchair in the parking lot to use to get up to the gate where you can rent a scooter.  You can also check out medical supply rental companies in the Orlando area.  They may be less expensive than Disney and may be willing to bring the wheelchair or scooter to your hotel.  Even if you do not normally need a wheelchair or scooter, you might want to get one for the visit since you will likely be covering way more real estate than you normally do.  You are paying a lot of money to visit Disney and you want to enjoy it.  If a scooter or wheelchair will enhance that enjoyment and give you the freedom to experience things you might not otherwise be able to do, it may be a great investment.

Don’t “Should” All Over Yourself

Remember to enjoy the moment.  This is good advice, no matter what you are doing.  At Disney, though, it can be really easy to get caught up in concentrating on all the big events that you “should” be doing.  Yes, you are paying a ton of money to go.  Yes, you want to get maximum enjoyment out of the trip.  But how do you define “maximum enjoyment?”  Is it seeing every parade and fireworks show?  Is it going on all the newest roller coasters?  Or is it slowing down enough to see the less-popular treasures and experience the serendipity?  Some of my favorite moments in the World involve times when I just happened to catch an experience that I didn’t know about or plan- awakening Tinker Bell in a shop in the Magic Kingdom, seeing the Mickey’s Philharmagic 4-D show in its soft opening, hearing a cast member call me princess, watching small children (who weren’t my responsibility) dance to pre-show music at the Epcot pavilions, sitting on the beach near the hotel at night watching the lights of the Boardwalk across the lake. Maybe “maximum enjoyment” is going back to the resort and taking a nap in the middle of the day or walking around the hotel’s beautiful gardens.   Sure, have a plan and make sure you experience the attractions that are important to you.  But stop and smell the churros, too!

Enjoy your own brand of fun at Walt Disney World.  You earned it and you deserve it.  Remember, you don’t have to be a rugrat to love the Mouse!

So what are your thoughts?  Are you a Disney fan, too?  What tips do you have for enjoying Disney as an “experienced” child?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.

Have a magical day, as they say in the House of Mouse!

Terri 🙂