Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Happiest Place On Earth

We recently took our Little Man to Disney World for the first time. We didn't tell him where we were going and we watched him during the hour drive from my husband's mother's home all the way into Orlando and onto the Disney Highway. It wasn't until we were in the parking lot and he saw the signs with the Disney characters marking the parking lots and the convoy of shuttle busses with Disney written on their sides until he lit up like a light bulb and shouted "We're at Disney World!" It was like Christmas.
Photo by LeeAnn  Rhoden

The day belonged to him; choosing rides he'd like, looking for characters he knows, singing along with the songs he can sing. Even down to selecting where to eat lunch and dinner so that there would be something he'd eat. He wasn't hungry. He wanted to ride and to see and to go. His favorites? It's a Small World (of course), the Flying Carpets, and the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House. We stayed late for the Electric Parade but bugged out before the fireworks to avoid the million-person dash to the parking lot and because Little Man fell asleep in my arms and he was getting heavy.

It was hot. It was crowded (it's a small world). Things that only really matter to adults. He doesn't remember that. He doesn't remember waiting in 30+ minute lines. He sings the songs and asks me "Remember the flying carpet, Mama? I made it go up, up, up!" Hopefully, he will remember this trip for a while, at least until our next trip.

Photo by Mr. Rhoden
Sure, I could go on about the crowds, temperature, lines, the expense ($30 for 3 hot dogs!) and a couple of rather unpleasant encounters with other park patrons and their behavior. I might even mention that the park employees are not what they used to be. But this was not my trip. This day belonged to Little Man and to him it was all magic. Characters brought to life, images made real, dreams come true.

It's all perspective. Adults may see the unpleasant parts of things or the dangerous parts of life but children see the new, the magic. Perhaps adults need to just let go and look at life through children's eyes more often. To see the possibilities rather than the impossibilities. Then anywhere can be the Happiest Place On Earth.

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