Monday, March 9, 2015


We had an opportunity to visit the Magic Kingdom last weekend, kind of on the spur of the moment as a surprise for the kids. I used to take the big kids a lot, pretty much every year, at least once. Sometimes we would pay, sometimes we would pull a favor with a Disney employee, but we would make the trip from Miami to Orlando at least once a year. Of course, we had our own traditions that we developed, like sharing a huge turkey leg with my big daughter, jellybeans with my son, four o clock ice cream, among others. One tradition that we observe devotedly, although I can't remember why, is that we always watch the Carousel of Progress right before we leave the park. I can only guess that started because it's long, air-conditioned, and seated.

The last time I went was before the baby was born. MyTy and I went together just a couple of months before we got married, and that experience was a whole lot different from going with kids. We weren't in any rush, especially since we didn't pay to get in, and we only did the things we really wanted to do, hopping from park to park. The weather was nice and cool, and even the lines were tolerable, because we spent most of our time in them standing extra close, holding hands, and kissing. No tongue, you understand, strictly Disney kissing, but I'm sure some parents didn't expect their children to experience the magic in exactly that way.

When we had the baby, we told the kids that the next time we went would be when she was old enough to enjoy it, probably not for three years. They were fine with that, partly because we had just gone, the three of us, a year prior, and because they were starting to think of themselves as too old to get excited about Disney. So by the time we decided to use some of our tax refund to get tickets, they were really ready to go back.

Disney World is always great, but there's something really special about going with a little child, and especially one whose going for the first time. It's easy to get jaded about the real beauty and magic of the place as you get older, and even more so when you're the one buying the tickets. And it is magic, not the superstitious kind that should be a little scary, but the sleight-of-hand kind, the creative use of trickery that taps into your imagination, the real reason why they tell you not to use flash photography. I'll never forget the time I took a bunch of pictures of the Peter Pan ride when I was twelve and picked them up (remember that) only to see the inner workings of the trick revealed. I actually lost interest in the ride to this day.

But going with the baby brings all of that back. Everything is incredible to her, everything! I mean, she got to see the castle, and it's a real castle! She got to hang out with Pooh and Tigger! She hugged Minnie Mouse, and Minnie hugged her back, not like her stuffed toy. She went on so many rides that go so high in the air, she could see the whole park! And every time she got excited, we got excited with her.

Sure, the kids wanted to go on their own rides, Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain among them. So they rode them with MyTy, and I took the baby on a baby ride. But the thing is, the big kids wanted to ride the baby rides, too. They haven't asked for the Aladdin ride for years, but this time they wanted to go on it, just because the baby was riding it. I haven't been on it since they rode it last, and I went around twice, just because the baby wanted to go again.

Honestly, this trip was one of those times that makes me glad we accidentally got pregnant. Otherwise, we might have missed out on a beautiful baby girl, and on times like this. She really does bring us together, not just my wife and I, but all of us. The kids rode roller coasters with MyTy, I reconnected with the kids on baby rides. We missed out on 4 PM ice cream, because MyTy and I are giving up sweets for Lent, so that was hard, but I did notice that even though we were all tired at the end of the day, the big kids still insisted on doing the Carousel of Progress before leaving, and they insisted on having me go in with them. And it was exactly like I remember, which might mean they need to update that thing. I mean, voice activated appliances and virtual reality are no longer impressive as FUTURISTIC dreams, since smart houses and Oculus Rift. If the baby hadn't already been sleeping so nicely in her stroller, we would have all been in there together. But then there's always next time, right?

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