It all started so well. After a fantastic dinner at the Flying Fish restaurant, seven tired Mummy Bloggers tottered off to bed for our first night at the five star Disney Beach Club in Florida and, on my pillow, I found not only a flannel cunningly twisted into the shape of Mickey's iconic silhouette but also a lovely pink set of ears just for me - a present from Mickey himself! I decided it had to be a sign. He'd seen my blog, and decided to whisk me away from the madness that is my life. Part of me was charmed by his impetuousness. The other half simply thought, well, it's about time!
I admit I was a little surprised the next day, when Mickey had the perfect chance to make his move. The other brave bloggesses screamed their heads off at the Tower of Terror and I stayed on terra firma instead. It would have been the ideal moment for Mickey to wander past casually, and hand me into Cinderella's carriage (I was, of course, fully prepared to shove her out onto the pavement, which was by now seething with happy holiday makers turning interesting shades of shrimp in the 80 degree heat). I waited for a sight of those trademark red spotty shorts, but nothing doing.
'He's just pacing himself,' I thought, as we whizzed through days of slightly surreal, child-free fun, taking in the amazing wave beach at Typhoon Island, eating for Britain at the Earl of Sandwich cafe, risking life and limb on the escaped dinosaur ride and even meeting up with our US blogging counterparts, the uber-powerful Mommy bloggers.
There were moments when we seemed so close, Mickey and I. During the stunning fireworks display over the Magical Kingdom, I truly felt the phrase Dreams Can Come True was directed specially at the two of us. Then, when our amazing PR guide Sarah, who picks her way through the Disney maze like a dainty Theseus negotiating Knossos, took us to the Grand Floridian spa for massages, I knew my mouse prince was finally ready to make his declaration.
The Grand is about as unlike your image of Disney as could be - a truly deluxe hotel, complete with white sand beach which is not so much raked as French manicured, complete with vast swimming pools and a restaurant serving crab cakes to die for. I had just enjoyed a fabulous 50-minute Swedish massage with Mary, and was feeling boneless and gorgeous, though admittedly my hair was a little gloopy from the vitamin E oil, when I spotted Cinderella's carriage, at last, parked outside a darling wedding chapel, complete with white ponies and just about enough white-wigged footmen to make life bearable (4). This is all part of Disney's bespoke wedding service, and quite obviously organised just for me. For a photo, see Jane's lovely blog at http://www.exmoorjane.blogspot.com/
I was ready to wave a regretful goodbye to the wonderful blogging group which has been such a joyful virtual hen party over the last five days, and take off for my new life with Mickey, when the horrible truth dawned. He just wasn't coming after all. I waited as long as I could, but the lure of another enormous and delicious lunch wore me down and I left without him.
I was baffled - where had it all gone wrong? We were designing our own T-shirts the next day in Downtown Disney when I found out. I selected Cinderella, with the words Happy Ever After, and my blog name, Dulwich Divorcee. A concerned Disney cast member (they are never called employees) took me aside. 'Mickey and divorce don't go together,' he told me sorrowfully.
Aha. So that's it. Now I know that it was never really meant to be with me and the mouse. Though I am resigned to life outside the Magical Kingdom, I shall leave Disneyworld with a tear in my eye. Mickey Mouse, if you're reading this, thanks so much for all the good times over the past few days. I shall remember them always.