The Walt Disney Corporation would have us believe that their parks all over the world are somehow magical. We see commercials telling us how affordable a Disney vacation can be. And we see little children in those commercials with a look of wonder and amazement on their faces that, if it doesn't exceed it, it comes dangerously close to the excitement generated by the anticipation of a Christmas morning. But is there really magic there?
The hubs and I had the privilege and great honor (more on that later) to accompany our son, his wife, and their amazing children to Disney World while in Tampa this week. They surprised us with the gift of tickets and, believe me, after seeing the prices upon entering the park, it was a generous gift indeed. And that didn't even include the food consumed while there, the t-shirts we were wearing, or any souvenirs purchased while on the premises. There are many new things at the park, but some of the attractions at Walt Disney World in Orlando have not changed in 35 years. How do I know this? Because that is where I spent my honeymoon 35 years ago! I thought it a bit odd when my future husband suggested Disney World for our honeymoon destination but, hey, I'm up for just about anything if it involves fun, food, and magic.
After our wedding so many years ago, we traveled the some 400+ miles to Orlando and were greeted with spring-like temperatures where we had left snow flurries in Atlanta the day before. That in itself was like magic. Besides wonderful weather however, there is nothing that makes you feel younger and more alive than "doing what da kids do." Whether it's playing chase, hanging a ride on the slip-n-slide, or just going to the park and swinging, child's play is just what the doctor orders sometimes for adults as well. Of course, at my present age a dive on the slip-n-slide might be followed by a trip to the ER, so I have to be selective in my child's play. But Disney? I can do Disney. And our Disney honeymoon? It was indeed a success as we enjoyed that gorgeous weather in January so long ago, starting our lives together "doing what da kids do" (really, looking back on it now, we were just kids ourselves).
These days if you tell me you're gonna take me to a large place infiltrated with thousands of people who like blooming idiots stand in hour-long (or worse) lines to take a ride that lasts maybe one or two minutes (we actually timed them), I would say "Thanks, but no thanks." At this time in my life, that just doesn't constitute an equal swap in my mind. Uh, an hour wait for a two-minute kiddie ride? I don't think so. But my son and his family absolutely love Disney World. Angela grew up in Florida and Disney has been a huge part of her life for as long as she can remember. She even had a job as a reservationist in the nineties where she booked elaborate Disney vacations for people. People will pay big bucks to see attractions, and especially if that attraction has the name Disney attached to it. Did you know you can actually stay overnight in Cinderella's Castle? But you have to be selected. They sometimes randomly pick people right out of the crowd to stay there. Wow, that would be a dream come true, even for me. I'm still looking for someone to go see the new Cinderella movie with me. You never outgrow Cinderella.
But the truth of the matter is this. There is no magic in any place. The magic lies in the hearts of the children. That is where the magic lives and bubbles out, spilling onto everyone around. Why else would parents spend the money, time, and effort to give their children Disney World or Christmas morning or a Frozen birthday party? We are living in a day where children are not as innocent to the world around them as they were when I was young, and to me that is a very sad thing. Kids should be free of grown-up cares, free of worry, free to just be a kid. And if the Disney Corporation is helping to do that, kudos to them! I saw little girls dressed up in their favorite Disney Princess costumes, kids with balloons and light-up toys, kids eating ice cream and popcicles. It was a beautiful thing.
But here's the thing: The kids chose us. They chose us to go to one of their favorite destinations and share that day with them. They chose us to experience the wonder and excitement of our grandchildren's faces as they skipped around the park happy and carefree. They chose us to share the unadulterated laughter that we enjoyed when the kids took their Nana & Poppy on a ride in the race cars with them at the wheel. It's been a while since I laughed that hard. It was a deep, belly laugh that made me feel as though I had been at the gym for an hour. They chose US to share this experience. And, let me tell you, I am hard pressed to find anything that blesses me more than that. It does appear that there truly might be magic waiting to happen in that fair place, but it's the children that make the magic happen.
As for the honor in being the ones chosen to experience this amazing day with our precious children making memories we will never forget? Priceless indeed.
Posted by CC
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