A few weeks ago, during the April school break, my family went to Disney World. Many families we know have already been, some multiple times. For us the timing never seemed to be right, and we wanted to wait until both of our girls were old enough to handle the whole experience. This year the schedules lined up, and we went. I have never been before and didn’t really know what to expect. I now understand why they call it the happiest place on earth.
I booked the plane tickets last summer. Flying out of the northeast during spring break made this essential. We decided not to stay in the park. I know, I know….people say this is a mistake but we had our reasons. First, my youngest daughter has an internal alarm clock which wakes her up at 6 A.M. no matter how late she stays up the night before. I knew there was no way we would be up until 10:30 to see fireworks. Second, the cost of the trip drops significantly by staying outside the park. I got a great deal through Costco for lodging, tickets to the park, and a car. We had a 2 bath, 2 bedroom timeshare, with a kitchen, laundry, pools, and other activities. We were close to the parks, but came home every day to peace and quiet.
I didn’t plan for the entire year as so many say you have to do. We decided what we definitely wanted to do, and what we could skip, but I didn’t have an itinerary for every minute. We also decided we could live without character meals and princess spas. My days of be anxious and worried are over. We didn’t find it hard to get around, or have the time to do what we wanted. I think you actually have more fun if you aren’t so worked up about where you need to be. I am also glad that my kids were not so young as to become overly tired, and overwhelmed with the crowd, the volume at the shows, the walking, and the heat.
We went to the parks 4 days. We went once to Hollywood Studios, twice to the Magic Kingdom, and once to Animal Kingdom. We decided Epcot will be visited on a future trip. Going to Disney provides a great opportunity for observing human behavior. They have crowd control down to a science. Parking lots are not filled with people trying to find the nearest spot. You drive in and they have you park in an orderly manner. No choice, no stopping, pull in, get out, and walk to the tram. Lines for rides and shows have wait times posted. If you decide to wait, you walk along the maze. The fact that it keeps moving makes you feel like you are getting somewhere which eliminates the frustration many feel in traffic jams. The staff is friendly and helpful. Everyone is smiling which is infectious. Imagine having pleasant conversations with strangers all day. Imagine how society could benefit from that.
The rides are what most people talk about, but the exhibits, shows, characters in the street, parades, marching bands add so much to the experience. Some is educational, some is pure fun. The second day in the Magic Kingdom brought back so much of my childhood when Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy were the only characters we knew. Music, laughs, and stories come to life. It all lifts the spirit and leaves you looking for more.
It happened to be the week of the Boston Marathon bombings. Many people from the northeast had the incident in the back of their minds. It reminded us that it is important to have experiences that are fun-filled and happy. It is important to create memories that will last a life time, and that time spent with family will never be forgotten. My kids had a wonderful time, and my husband and I enjoyed seeing Disney through their eyes. For one glorious week, the world around us was totally happy.