My youngest son just loves his dog. When we recently took a trip to Disney World, Micah was a little upset that he couldn’t take Louie into the park with him. To keep everyone happy at the happiest place on earth, we flattened our Frenchie and took him with us. The real Louie spent the days at Best Friend Pet Care at the park.
Flat Louie’s Disney debut was greeted with a mixed reaction by cast members at the park. I have to give major props to our middle son, Luke, who was an amazing sport about the adventure because while Micah was the one who wanted Flat Louie to join us at Disney, he’s also nonverbal. His big brother was tasked with introducing Flat Louie to cast members and requesting autographs.
Yes, of course Flat Louie got autographs. What dog wouldn’t want Mickey’s signature emblazoned on his backside? Mickey was incredibly kind and gracious to both my boys and my flattened dog, by the way. He’s clearly the master of the parks and a role model to those around him.
Any parkgoer knows that the magic begins when you see the Disney castle. Flat Louie was duly excited, as you can tell by his expression. We had to hold him up above the crowds to be sure he wasn’t stepped on, however.
The first character we saw was Pluto, and Micah insisted that Flat Louie have his photo taken with a fellow dog. We didn’t want to stand in line, so we kind of sneaked around back and got a quick photo. Both our son and our flattened dog were thrilled.
Other characters we met were Donald, Goofy, Elsa, Anna, Woody, and Buzz. Each of them gave as much of their their undivided attention to Flat Louie as they did to our boys. I was impressed with this, as the park was crazy crowded with spring break vacationers. I loved that they each took time to make Micah feel special by loving his flattened dog, too.
Flat Louie accompanied us on all rides, of course. We couldn’t take the chance that someone would dognap him while we were gone. We did ask one cast member if he would dogsit while we were riding, but the park has a no-dog sitting policy that we weren’t aware of. This makes sense, though, as cast members might get so busy dog sitting Flat Fidos that they may not be able to get their actual jobs done. That would not be good.
I had to hold Flat Louie on all rides because my boys didn’t want to be burdened with the responsibility of losing our dog. Sometimes flat dogs can be difficult to hold onto when they’re nervous on rides at theme parks, and safety belts don’t restrain Flats very well. Flat Louie wasn’t too phased by the rides, but we found it amusing that his light coloring made him glow on the rides with black lights.
Our son introduced Flat Louie to just about everyone he met. Cast members had varying reactions to this. Some were willing to have their photos taken with our dog, some talked to our son about his flattened friend, and some didn’t seem to care that a dog was visiting the park. Micah was especially excited when cast members loved on Louie.
When we took a break for lunch, our son wanted to share his meal with Flat Louie. The park doesn’t sell dog food, but macaroni and cheese is a good substitute. The cast member at the lunch counter was kind enough to give us an extra bowl for Flat Louie to have his own. At snack time, Louie choose popcorn.
Shopping is always fun at Disney, and Flat Louie got in on the action. He tried on a pair Minnie sunglasses, tested out a purse to travel in, and eventually settled on a plush Pluto. It’s a dog thing.
Louie’s loyalty is commendable, even when he’s flattened. He stayed by our son’s side while being publicly humiliated in town stocks.
The highlight of Flat Louie’s vacation, however, was seeing a real dog at the park. We were honored to have met Henry and his service dog, Jake. I talked to Henry and his father, Dean, about having Jake in the park, and was happy to learn that Disney is very accommodating to guests with service dogs. Service dogs are welcome, of course, and are allowed to accompany their charges almost everywhere. “There are some rides that Jake can’t go on,” explained Dean, “but my wife and I take turns staying with him.” Jake is a Lab–Golden Retriever mix, and he carries credentials in his service dog vest to have them when needed. Disney parks don’t need a heads’ up when you bring a service dog, but in case you have any questions, it’s best to call in advance.
Whether you travel with a Flat Fido or a certified service dog, it’s good to know that Disney is always welcoming when it comes to dogs. Should you find yourself at a Disney park in the future, maybe you could consider traveling with your dog, too, in whatever form you want.