Family trips: Rewarding and life-giving
As kids grow up, move out of the house, get full time jobs, etc… family trips get few and far between. I don’t know about you, but for me, family trips are so meaningful to me. My family enjoys spending weekly dinners together, but with all of us with busy lives it is harder and harder sometimes…
My parents took my brother and me on many trips together during our school breaks growing up. My brother and I most recall our Disney trips as we took many of them and they were the most special. The last family trip with all 4 of us was 2012 for my brother’s graduation. We went to Washington DC. At the time, he was still a kid in many respects… after all, we are a good almost seven year difference in age. The last family trip to Disney World we took was in December 2009 for my college graduation and he was in 10th grade and I of course just graduated from college, in many respects I, too, was a ‘kid’.
Just this past week, we took our first family trip since 2012 and first trip back to Disney since 2009! Despite being beyond hot, humid, and just drenching in sweat OR rain all the time, we had a blast. Going as adults, I am not sure what to expect, but going with it with fresh eyes. Of course, my parents and I are Disney pros as we have traveled many times without my brother since then, but going as a family was magical. Seeing my brother experience many new things with new eyes being an adult was magical within itself seeing what was new to him and his reactions to things. We took tours behind the scenes, we went to La Nomba Cirque Du Solei, went on most of the rides and attractions, and had amazing meals! I think though besides spending time together the most rewarding part of our time there was realizing seven important aspects…. and these aspects are what keep bringing me back to Disney.
Many people keep saying to me… why do you keep going there? Haven’t you seen it all? It is just an amusement park…. etc… etc… but it isn’t. Disney is much more than that. If you haven’t gone before or recently, please go and do yourself a favor. Even if you think it is just for kids, etc… because truly there is something for everyone.
Here is what I learned/realized during my time:
- There is something truly for everyone at Disney World. I am an extrovert. I love being around people. Crowds get me excited. I don’t mind waits. I love hub bub. I love the entertainment, character greetings, and the rides that tell a story. My brother loves the thrill rides. He could ride the roller coaster rides 8 times in a row and he did! He is an introvert and needs his alone time. My dad loves the rich history that Disney brings and enjoys the attractions that tells the history of Disney or history of America. My mom enjoys seeing the amazing horticulture plant life, the thrill rides, and amazing food. I could name more and more about each person in my family, but what it comes down to it, is that Disney truly provide something for everyone. My parents could sit at a bar and enjoy a drink together while I am off meeting Mickey Mouse and my brother is riding Space Mountain.
- Disney is all about the stage! From the moment you walk through the doors. They are putting on a show for you! As a performer, I see that, value that, and enjoy the experience. As an adult, I have learned that the cast members love their jobs as they truly get to perform every day and seeing the smiles on people’s faces brings them happiness.
- HOPE-Marty Skalar, the late great imaginer, said that Disney is about HOPE and the hope for the future that they continue to build the hope for a better day tomorrow. This is what I believe in from all along, not because of Disney, but because of my own life. HOPE. Hearing them say that is amazing.
- Cast Members are amazing! We have met so many cast members with rich stories of how they came to Disney and keep working there. Epcot celebrated its 35th year and celebrated 100 cast members who started there 35 years ago and are still working there today. That amazes me! From Aimee at Big River restaurant on the board walk to our tour guides: Julie, Chris, Mary Elizabeth, Andrea, our waiter Douglas at Tiffins, each one has made our time special.
- Disney brings families together. For my family, we are so different in many ways and yet similar in other ways. Even when it is hot and we can barely think straight, it brings us together. I will always remember our time together in the parks. This is what Walt wanted and modeled this for his daughters a place that families will keep coming back to no matter how old the people are.
- Epcot’s 35th anniversary was so special! To be there on Oct 1st celebrating it… getting a commemorative map, button, and t-shirt saying I was there. 🙂 It was magical! I am grateful to be there dancing to the Mexico’s Marachi band. My parents were there within a month of its actual opening and to be think that Epcot was one of the first places they brought me is very surreal.
- Disney truly treats everyone with respect, but specifically those with disabilities. It is one place where I don’t have to hide. I don’t have to feel ashamed being in a wheelchair, needing various needs. They are willing to help accommodate in every way. When I see cast members stop a ride for people in a wheelchair because they can’t transfer and get them into the ride, it melts my heart. When I see the cast members in Festival of the Lion king picking out kids in wheelchairs to be pushed in their wheelchair for the parade, it makes me cry. Every time I see the fireworks on the castle, I cry. Disney is a place that I don’t have to feel different…. when you wish upon a star your dreams come true.
Disney taught me so many things and has changed my life. I know, I know it may sound cliche but truly has and I am forever grateful for the ways it has brought my family together. We will always cherish our family trips to Disney and I look forward to many more!
Do you have times of ‘remember when?’ Where is your ‘spot?’ Has Disney or another place changed you?