Posted tagged ‘Disney World’

Recovering From Vacation

March 31, 2019

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                 March 31, 2019

                        

Vacations are tragically funny! We long for the excitement and happiness that the advertisements seem to convey and come back home exhausted in our search for them.

Let me say this up front! The best parts about vacations are either the deepening of relationships or the experience of being embraced by peace. 

When I reflect on journeys that are the most memorable I think of being with either family or friends. The destination was secondary in importance. Memories of conversations and humorous happenings rise to the top. For example, three years ago my wife, Carol, and I took a road trip from Colorado to southern Ohio. We went to a couple of Presidential Libraries (Eisenhower and Truman) on the trip east, which were interesting, but what we’ll remember is surprising our nephew, Eric, on Sunday morning when we showed up in worship at the church he pastors In Bethalto, Illinois, and then surprising my brother at the Woodford Reserve Bourbon Distillery outside of Frankfort, Kentucky where he is a tour guide, and then being in Proctorville, Ohio for my dad’s 88th birthday celebration. Those are the moments that stand out. 

And peace! Like the sound of ocean waves as a person stands on the shore is the embracing of peace that some vacations offer. It’s the feel of a gentle breeze touching your soul, an absence of noise and clutter that allows the person to hear the whisperings of God and the beauty of silence. In our culture quiet moments are under appreciated and yet vitally important!

We returned from our most recent vacation late last night. We went to The Magic Kingdom where peace and rest are like alien creatures. Once again, the best part involved the deepening of relationships- going with our oldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandkids. The magical moments were connected to them: seeing the grandkids playing in the pool with a couple of children from Brazil and listening to how they connected across Portuguese and English language barriers, watching the personalities of the grandkids emerge in their distinctive differences, and taking long walks around the Orange County Convention Center with Carol.

The frustration of air travel, the crowds of people, the price gouging of $25 just to park at Disney, and the spike in Disney food prices were all dampers on the experience. I mean…really, do I need to pay $6.00 for an ice cream bar shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head image, or $9.00 for a plain hot dog?

So why is the Magic Kingdom so popular, so overcrowded? Perhaps it’s because many of us think there is something offered there that our lives are lacking. Or perhaps it’s the other way around…our lives are lacking and we are hoping that a visit to a place that features a castle with stardust above it will fill that void.

The other interesting thing I noticed at Disney revolved around the number of people who had their faces buried in their cell phones as they waited in line or as they walked through the park. It’s as if we want to go on a magical journey, but can’t quite let go of the world we live in.

And so we arrived home last night- actually 12:30 in the morning- to recover from the crowds and the chaos and return to the “ho-humness” of our routines. We return from vacation to our vocations remembering…not the rides and attractions, but rather the conversations and chuckles.

The chuckles, however, will end when I received my next credit card statement! It will tell me we can’t afford another vacation for a long, long while, and there’s something, like I said in the first sentence, tragically funny about that!

Taking A Three Year Old to the Magic Kingdom

October 23, 2014

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                       October 23, 2014

                     

Our family recently spent five days at Disney World. Seven of us trudged to the airport at 4:30 in the morning to catch a flight towards Goofy and his friends. For five days we side-stepped strollers and motorized wheelchairs to make our way through the Magic Kingdom and its side-kicks…Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. It was a family trip to remember!

The last time we had been to Disney World was twenty years ago when our oldest daughter, Kecia, was turning 13. It was evident that she was as excited to return again this time as she had been in 1994. Her excitement this time, however, was not due to her own anticipation of riding on the “It’s A Small World” attraction once again, but rather to watch the reactions of her kids to the Disney mystique.

They were enthralled by the experience. Riding on Dumbo…having lunch at the Sci-Fi restaurant…meeting Donald Duck at the over-priced character breakfast…taking the mono-rail…wearing Mickey Mouse ears…and seeing the wild animals on their safari ride.

Massive amounts of energy! Wide-eyed wonder!

For me, the best part of the trip was simply being with the family and watching them experience things. Sometimes I enjoyed watching Kecia as she watched her kids!

The magical moments for me weren’t the Disney attractions, but rather things that don’t cost money…like our granddaughter Reagan making up songs in the van on the drive back to the hotel at night…or our grandson Jesse’s open mouth as he went through the Buzz Lightyear ride…or riding “Rockin’ Roller Coaster” with my son…twice! Or eating funnel cakes with Kecia…or seeing the delight on Carol’s face as she saw the enjoyment her family was having.

Although the Magic Kingdom does a magic trick on your bank account…it makes it disappear just like that…our family will always remember the time we had together on this trip.

Interestingly enough, my Aunt Irene paid for our 1994 Disney trip. She was battling cancer. Having no children of her own she gave a sum of money to each of our twelve nieces and nephews while she was still living. Her request was that we use it on something that we would enjoy…while she was still alive to see it! Six months after we went to Disney World she passed away, but she was thrilled that we had taken the family vacation to Florida.

When we look back on our lives most of us will realize that there were those rare opportunities of family memories that we took advantage of…that we didn’t let them slip away. They don’t necessarily have to be trips to magic kingdoms or foreign countries, but they do need to be experiences where, as family, we are together…laughing, singing, telling stories and creating new stories.

Spending time with a three year old is magic in motion!