My husband and I have been able to get away on vacations nearly every year since the time our eldest daughter, Amanda, was born. But our trip to Disney World this past February was different. It was our first vacation alone with our two daughters. And we were going to “the happiest place on earth.”
To be honest, I was skeptical that this adventure would be as magical as Disney claimed. We were going during a peak week, and I wondered how I would handle the monstrous number of people. Would waiting to ride Dumbo at Disney be any easier than waiting to ride the Viper at Darien Lake?
Don’t get the wrong message. Even with my concerns, I absolutely couldn’t wait to get back to Disney. We had visited eight years ago when Amanda was 3. But she was too young to remember the awe in her eyes when she met Cinderella. Once our second daughter was born, our plan was to return when Ava turned 5.
So off to the magical land of princesses and pirates we went. On the plane, I painted a mental picture of how things would go. I was pleasantly surprised when the real deal didn’t come close to my pessimistic vision. Sure, leaving the parks at night with droves of people was dreadful. But once back in our Princess Tiana room, my aches and pains subsided.
As we approached our last day, we were all a little sad, but inside, I was yelling in triumph. Everything had gone better than I had ever imagined.
The last thing on our “to do” list was meeting the princesses from the movie “Frozen.” We arrived an hour before the princesses were scheduled to be there, only to be told that there was already a four-hour wait. And that’s when I lost it. I was sure the girls would rather experience other adventures in the park, but instead, they said they wanted to wait. My patience level plummeted.
My husband suggested I take a walk to calm down. I really wanted to go alone and have a mental conversation with myself about what a lousy day this was going to be, but when Ava asked to join me, I couldn’t say no.
So hand in hand, we walked. I took some deep breaths while Ava talked about the things all around her. That’s when something wonderful happened. I started to listen to Ava’s sweet voice. She pointed out things we passed – the bushes shaped like characters and the beautiful flowers – and I immediately calmed down. Following my daughter’s example, I, too, began to enjoy our surroundings.
As we walked back to join the others, I had already decided I would not let this long wait ruin my day. This vacation was for the kids, and we’d probably not be back here anytime soon.
It didn’t matter that the sun hid all day, and we were without an umbrella when it rained. What mattered was that we were together. It really was like a fairy tale, talking and laughing while standing in that absurdly long line.
When we finally made it to Princesses Elsa and Ana, my husband and I made sure to get into the picture, with smiles on our faces. Yes, smiles. Even after four hours of standing in line!
Each of us has our own favorite part of Disney. Mine was stopping to “smell the roses” and having my daughter there to show me that if I take the time to see it, there is magic all around me. Not just at Disney, but everywhere.