“We’re going to Disney!!!!” [Cue the fan fare, crazy, screaming kids jumping up and down and almost peeing their pants…]
Common scene, yes?
You would think. And this is exactly what I was expecting when we presented our kids with those exact words on Christmas morning.
And we did get that, from our 6 year old daughter (in fact, she “called first” on going down the AquaDuck with Tinker Bell), but we got a shoulder shrug from our 8.5 year old son.
A shoulder shrug. [Insert freaking out, bat crazy mommy here.]
Back story: We have never been to Walt Disney World or Disneyland. Our kids are used to traveling to a fishing village and camping on the beach in nowhere Mexico. They know all about the beauty of nothing-ness where nature fills their every joy.
Fast forward. For weeks before the Walt Disney World experience and the Disney Dream cruise, we show him videos of Disney World and the brand new Disney Dream Cruise ship that we are incredibly fortunate to be invited on as part of a media tour.
“But it’s for babies,” says my 8.5 year old son that I am about ready to leave at home. [Insert shocked, stammering (and ok, I’ll admit it, ashamed of the attitude) mommy here.]
Besides feeling like I have the most ungrateful, attitudinal kid on the face of the planet, I realize that he just doesn’t get the magic, the age-less mystery, the thrilling adventure, the heart warming amazement of Everything Disney. My heart aches with incredible guilt because I think I’ve left the magic out of his life for too long and now it’s too late.
We’ve always wanted to go when our youngest hit 7 years old so she would have a bigger chance of remembering Everything. That was our plan. We had a plan. We messed up, we wrecked it. Oh, the guilt. Yes, sure there are bigger things in the world that we beat ourselves up as parents about, but Disney is a dream for many, many families, including ours. This Christmas morning, that dream was broken.
Or so I thought.
So we let him come after all. Aren’t we nice parents?
From the moment we got off the bus at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, through the Disney Parks, aboard the Disney Dream, off loaded at Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, yes, I’ll write about that too), back aboard the ship and off to the remainder of the Parks — all the way until the moment we boarded the plane ride home, this kid smiled, screamed, and laughed. A lot.
He had the time of his life. What’s more is the memories are magical, just like the experience. The animated story-telling, the show and tell, the mementos … once we are back, the depth of the magic sets in, we feel it, we remember it, we know it.
We took in Everything Disney, and yes, I’ll write all about it. Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot and the brand new Disney Dream. [Insert heart swelling with gratitude mommy here.]
At every stop, I heard a lot of “LOOK, Oh YEAH, WOW, that was AWESOME, Mom, Mom, Mom – you GOTTA see THIS, please, PLEASE can we do that AGAIN, that was WICKED — and the famous, oh the FOOD, don’t even get me STARTED on the food…”.
Yes, there are ALL CAPS. Because yes, he was in fact SCREAMING.
It went something like this. A lot:
So yeah. He loved it.
No magic lost. Disney is timeless. For Everyone at Every Age.
Psst — the 6 year old loved it too, have you seen her dancing her heart out in the rain with the pirates?