By Brandy Black
Being a grownup is hard, right? Maybe you’ve seen that meme that went viral…a golden retriever is walking with his own leash in his mouth, the words “what being an adult feels like.” I so get that. There are days when the pressures of work and stresses of time build and build and all I can think is please don’t make me adult today. Sometimes I just want to feel like a kid again…and what better way to do that but through the eyes and minds of your own children?
This week, I found my inner child at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. My wife and I took our three young children: Sophia, age seven, and her three-year-old twin siblings Penn and Bella. All of them are at precious ages when their ideas of what’s possible have not yet been marred by reality. Each is still innocent and curious…and perfect for the enchantment of Disney.
Magic is real to young kids. It’s not a gimmick, not a trick. And for four whole days mine were able to participate in the magic, each day tracked and measured and replayed.
On the Spaceship Earth attraction at Epcot, three-year-old Bella turned to her twin brother, pointed to the sky, and said, “Penn, we are returning to Earth…but how are we going to get up there?” He replied, “Magic, Bella. It’s magic.” Later, Bella sat very, very still while the fairy Godmother at Bibbiti Bobbidi Boutique sprinkled her with pixie dust. She was becoming a realprincess, but didn’t so much as crack a smile, and I wondered if she should have visited the Pirates League with her brother instead. Maybe becoming a princess wasn’t her thing. I leaned down to whisper in her ear are you ok? And she replied, steady and deliberate, “I’m becoming a PRINCESS.” I suppose I would be serious too with the belief that pixie dust had the power to transform me.
I often say a vacation with kids is not really a vacation, because it’s a lot of work for parents. But Disney does it right. You can tell moms and dads are in mind by the entertainment and visuals offered every step of the way, keeping kids happy.
Our life was made easier too by a few tips and tricks we picked up along the way, two of my favorites, FastPass+ and the My Disney Experience app. Both made a world of time-saving difference, allowing us to enjoy quality fun as a family. Disney really helps parents plan ahead, so you know in advance what rides and attractions will be best for your kids. (We loved Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, it’s a small world, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and the Mad Tea Party!) I also turned to Disney Parks Moms Panel, they are pros and provide advice and answers to virtually any question you could have about Walt Disney World.
As a mother, building and capturing memories is important to me, as it is for most parents. I remember when I was a little girl and met Cinderella for the first time. She was real to me then. And although I’m all grown up, I still recall the feeling of believing. Age and time and life never erased that. And at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I got to re-live it, through my babies’ happy little faces and wide eyes.
This vacation supposedly built for kids was, in fact, made just as much for my wife and me. We high-fived at the exit line after our twins’ first roller coaster ride. We shared a knowing smile when our 7-year-old conquered Space Mountain. We giggled as Penn ran joyfully through Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, shrieking about Mater in our “Cars” themed hotel room. We were mesmerized by fireworks, snowed on at the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration , and laughed along with Goofy. And although I’m exhausted from four days of excitement and play, the little girl in me is forever grateful for the memories and the magic.