Recently, we took our biennial family trip to Disney World. This trip is something I look forward to as much, if not more, than the grandchildren do. Thanks to Google, a few weeks after returning from our wonderful trip, photos of past trips started showing up. I will admit they tugged at my heartstrings.
The montage started with a picture of our youngest granddaughter, Avery. She was not quite two, but even then, she knew what she wanted. We entered a gift shop and after looking things over, she beelined it to a display of Minnie Mouse stuffed animals. She picked one up and held onto it so tightly that there was not going to be any, “let’s look around at everything before you decide.” The funny thing is that Minnie Mouse is her mother’s least favorite Disney character. With Minnie firmly grasped, she then made her way to a small case with Moana figures. From there, she walked straight to a cashier. Minnie never left Avery’s sight for the rest of the trip.
Minnie was her go-to take along for a couple of years until other dolls and toys took her place. However, Minnie has regained her top spot which now includes Mickey. They were with her every day of this trip. I imagine they will be ones she will always keep as she grows up, and, although they won’t be constant companions like they are now, they’ll still have a home.
On this trip, I also got to spend more one-on-one time with our oldest grandchild, Ella. The picture of her in the photo array was from her first visit. She was dressed as a princess and had been to breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table. She rode on the carousel before shunning her outfit opting for shorts for the rest of the busy day. Now 15, she and I were determined to ride Splash Mountain one last time before it closed for an upcoming theme change. As much as I love this ride, I don’t like getting wet. Standing in line for an hour gave us a chance to talk about many of the things going on in her life. It is a time and memory I will cherish.
I loved watching as each child faced their fears about riding certain rides. In most cases, they were glad they had taken the plunge, but in a few cases, it might take a couple more trips before they will try them again. Some had ridden rides when they were younger that they no longer wanted to ride. Others found that a ride they didn’t like before had become their favorite. Although our 10-year-old granddaughter, Gray, rode Expedition Everest (a huge roller coaster) when she was four and loved it, she has not ridden it since. I believe, at a young age, some children don’t think there is any reason to be scared. As they age, they become aware of the heights, the speed and the sound of people screaming. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter that they rode it before, their senses are telling them “no way!”
Our first day, all 15 of us managed to stay together almost the entire day. It was the best! Seeing their excitement, hearing what the grandchildren liked or didn’t like while having a meal together or just walking to our next adventure, is what makes this trip special. I loved their different take on things varying primarily due to their age. With ages ranging from four to 15, it was not surprising. Most of us got caught on a ride that broke down for a few minutes. It was so funny listening to their ideas on what to do if it didn’t start going again – fortunately, it did. I wasn’t looking forward to using any of their suggestions, although it would have been highly unlikely that any of them would have been Disney’s solution.
These trips are so very special to me. I adore spending this happy time with my family. It is such a joy watching my grandchildren experience new rides and old favorites, taking in the splendor of the fireworks and genuinely loving spending time with their cousins. I can’t help but smile when I see the younger ones holding hands with each other, hear their laughter and see the excitement on their faces as we move through the parks. There will be other trips and times when we are all together, but I am already looking forward to our next visit to Disney World. For me, it is not only a magical place, but a wonderful memory maker, as well.