There is absolutely no doubt – I love me some Disney World. Some of my most magical moments and favorite memories were made in Disney parks.
My cousin Margaret is in Walt Disney World right now, and the entire first day of her vacation has been a stressful, tear-filled disaster. Through no fault of Disney’s, her airline lost her luggage, claimed she never checked a bag, said Disney’s Magical Express team picked it up by accident, and ultimately found it this afternoon in Ft. Lauderdale. In the suitcase were all of Margaret’s clothes, the princess dresses she bought for her two nieces, and other personal items – in other words, everything Margaret needed for her vacation was in that bag.
She spent hours on the phone with the airline, stressed over the girls’ having their dresses for their long awaited dinner in the castle, and worried about not having the allergy medicine she packed “just in case”. But, like other plus sized girls, Margaret’s biggest concern was getting clothes that fit.
So, here’s what Disney did oh my gosh, so right. They very generously offered Margaret a credit on her account to help her either replace her clothing or enjoy a meal or two without worrying about the extra expense of taking taxis to replace items at stores away from the resort area. Again, this was in no way Disney’s responsibility, and this little bit of pixie dust is the midst of such stress was really the one bright spot over the two days of agony.
But here’s where I think Disney fails some of us sometimes.
It’s one thing if you lost your luggage and you were a regular sized person. You can find virtually everything you need at Walt Disney World – underwear, shorts, bathing suits, dresses – both fancy and casual. But when you’re a big girl, you are, for lack of a more appropriate term, screwed.
Up to a certain extent, you can probably find t-shirts or sweatshirts at Disney World if you are plus sized. You may even find shorts or sweatpants. But you’ll have to spend your trip pretending it’s panty-free Friday if you’re a plus sized gal in the House of Mouse. There will be no underwear to be found. Forget finding a bathing suit bigger than a 14 or 16. Even if you settled for living in your bathing suit for the whole vacation (and just adding pearls to go to Victoria and Albert’s), you won’t find one in your size if you’re a bigger person in the pixie dusted domain.
Now, of course, you can take a taxi to the mall, the local outlets, even WalMart for essentials, but that adds an additional expense, takes you away from the parks and the vacation fun you are looking for, and when you’ve got kids in tow (Margaret is traveling with four of them), now you’re talking about a cab ride for the whole crew and keeping the kids corralled while you try to find the things you need in an unfamiliar mall. Definitely not the way to start a vacation.
I’m not saying it’s on Disney to carry every article of clothing in every size. It would be unrealistic to expect to lose your luggage and have options such as boxers or briefs (I have found men’s boxers, by the way); Michael Kors or Zac Posen; or every color of the rainbow. But maybe just a few more items in a sistah’s size would go a long way to making a stressful start to a vacation a little bit easier to swallow.