When I was a teenager, my parents took me to Disney for the very first time. Granted, I was not super excited about spending a week during my summer with my parents and little brothers. Despite missing out on spending those summer days soaking up the sun with my friends, I still was excited about our trip to Disney World. I enjoyed it as an older child, through the eyes of my elementary and toddler aged brothers. We went back two more times between my teenage years and my adult years. Each a great time, but I was a wild child that yearned for fun in the sun with my friends, not amusement parks.
Fast forward, a couple of years and my husband and I are blissfully married with our first baby on the way. I remember being at a Disney World park and my husband and I mentioning that we would come back again one day, when our kids were old enough to remember it and enjoy it. My thinking was when they were about 6 or 7, maybe 8.
Our daughter was born at the very beginning of 2010. She was our princess from the start. First grandchild for my parents and first granddaughter for my husband’s, so not just our princess. Everyone’s. She was obsessed with make believe and dress-up. Still, we said we were going to wait “until she could remember it” to take her to Disney World.
In June 2012, we received a very generous opportunity to take a family vacation to Walt Disney World. At first, I thought there is no way we can take this not-quite-potty-trained toddler to a place that big with so much to do. We did it anyways. The flight going out there was excellent. She took a nap and we arrived just in time to throw our luggage in our room at Disney’s Coronado Springs and head out to Magic Kingdom. Upon arrival, we emerged from the tunnel under the Walt Disney World Railroad and turned the corner to be smack in the middle of Main Street, USA staring at Cinderella’s Castle for the first time. My daughter’s face was in complete awe. I can still picture her face because it is the face she made the ENTIRE trip. She was mesmerized by everything she saw. We only spent the afternoon and evening hours at Magic Kingdom that day, but I really thought her face would freeze like that. It was in constant “ooh” and “aww” mode.
On our final day at Magic Kingdom, we had dining reservations for lunch at the one and only Cinderella’s Royal Table. I had no idea what to expect. I do not even remember making the reservation. I was blown away. The food was phenomenal, we loved the atmosphere, and the Wishing Ceremony. Oh, the Wishing Ceremony. When my princess closed her eyes to make a wish, I could not contain myself any longer. It was like the magic of the entire trip had just come over me. I started to cry... and could not stop. This was what dreams (or momma dreams, at least) are made of. Seeing that joy, excitement, and MAGIC on her face the entire time and then it all culminate into this one moment, flooded me with emotions that took hold of me and wouldn’t let go. That was the moment that I truly fell in love with Disney. My heart for Disney would never be the same.
Now, here we are. A few years later and my daughter is getting ready to go on her sixth Walt Disney World trip, unbeknownst to her, this December. We now get to share these trips with her little brother and next year, we will add another little Disney lover to our crew. She will almost be ten years old and each time we are planning our vacations, I cannot help but feel that fear that she will grow up and not see the magic the same way she always has. However, with each trip to Disney, I see her love for Disney continue to grow. Each trip brings a new kind of magic that makes me fall in love all over again.
Jennifer Chappell is a vacation specialist with Coasters and Castles Travel. She and her family are an avid travelers who love Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and any and all cruises. Jennifer loves sharing her love of travel with others as well through the planning of vacations! Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her at https://www.facebook.com/Coasters-Castles-Travel-Jennifer-Chappell-2067899533308538/