As another school year is drawing to a close it’s made me think about how fast my children are growing up and how much they change with each year. They are growing into their personalities and their tastes are continuously changing (much to the detriment of my bank account!) This got me thinking about Disney (doesn’t it always?!)
Gone are the days of my daughter’s bedroom being covered in Disney Princess merchandise. The High School Musical fad has been and gone, as has Hannah Montana and we are currently mad on Good Luck Charlie. In my son’s world, Woody and Buzz are now languishing at the bottom of the toy box and Lightning McQueen and Mater are no longer trendy either – it’s all about Phineas and Ferb and Club Penguin at the moment, but they are all treasured toys that they will probably keep forever or until they grow up like Andy in Toy Story 3!
Now I know this is all part of growing up and I’m just in denial but I’m not ready for it and this is where Disney steps in!
For those two weeks of the year that we spend immersed in the world of Disney it is perfectly acceptable to be a kid again. There are no peers around to sneer at them for liking a particular character that is no longer trendy, nobody notices if they want to ride on Dumbo or give Mickey an extra big hug and for this reason I will always be incredibly grateful for our time at Disney.
Children are too quick to grow up these days, it’s a world full of Ipods, laptops, emails and mobile phones and I am as guilty as the next person for giving my kids all these privileges, but the biggest gift I can give them is that opportunity to act their age (aren’t we always telling them to ‘grow up’?) and if Disney is the place where they can do it then that is fine by me!
I am a huge kid when it comes to Disney, I will stop everything to watch Tangled if it is on when I walk past the lounge door – in fact pretty much most Disney films will hook me within minutes! I love being able to curl up on the sofa with the kids and sing a long to all the songs with them. When we go to the parks I am the one that wants to join the queue to meet the characters, it’s me who wants to fill the autograph book up and it’s me who encourages all sorts of crazy antics like skipping down Main St – well if you can’t do that in Disney World where can you do it?!
On their first trip to the House of Mouse last year the kids were visibly apprehensive on the first day in a park, yes they had been to theme parks in the UK but Disney World was this huge unknown place to them that they had seen advertised on tv, they had heard me and my brothers reminisce about our trip there as kids and was always thought of as somewhere we wouldn’t be able to afford to take them. We started them off gently with a first day visit to Animal Kingdom. By the end of breakfast at Tusker House they had started to relax (Mickey waffles always help me to relax!) and approximately half way round our first ride – the Kilimanjaro Safaris – a grin appeared on each of their faces and there it stayed for the remainder of the holiday.
It didn’t matter to them that it wasn’t cool to like the Princesses or Winnie The Pooh and his friends, if there was an opportunity to meet them and get another signature in their autograph books then they were in that queue within seconds. They joined in with silly dances, they clapped and cheered for the parades, they went on the water slides until they were too tired to carry the rubber rings anymore, they ate ice creams that dripped down their arms due to the Florida heat and they became kids again with not a care in the world.
I will always be a big kid when I am at Disney. I will never stop being excited when I see the monorail go through the middle of the Contemporary Hotel or when I get to meet the characters. I will always think of Main St when I smell popcorn, or the water parks when I smell coconut sun lotion. I will always get a huge lump in my throat when I see the castle for the first time or when I watch the fireworks and I will always want to ride Big Thunder Mountain more than once!
So while the crazes come and go and the kids get older I’m not going to worry because I know on our next trip to Disney they will become kids again and for that I would like to say “Thank you Walt Disney.”
Are you a big kid when you are at Disney? Do you have a favourite thing to do out there that takes you back to being a kid again?
See ya real soon!