There is just under one week left until the magical Disney Social Media Moms Celebration and as packing panic and uber-excitement creep up, I can’t help but to reflect on my infatuation with Disney. My mom is my Guest for this year’s celebration and the ability to share it with her delivers an extra special feeling. She first introduced me to the princesses and princes in the beloved Disney classics, she would sing my favorite Disney songs, just like those princesses, as we did housework together and I will never forget my first trip to Walt Disney World Resort. Not only will this time be special for us as mother and daughter, but my littlest ones are coming too and three generations means three times the Disney magic!
My mom and I have always shared a special Disney bond. There is something about the wonder, the magic, the pixie dust and believing in your dreams. The first time my mom visited a Disney Park was Disneyland in December of 1965. It was with her parents, shortly before her birthday and she fell in love with the place. The first time I visited Walt Disney World Resort was with my parents when I was six. It was a surprise trip filled with so much amazement and happiness, I knew then, it would always be one of my favorite places. I left wanting everyone to feel that same magic and remember telling my friends about it and telling their parents about it and teachers and really anyone who would listen. It wasn’t only the feeling it left me with, but the joy on my parents’ faces. I recall one time riding “it’s a small world” with my Dad who completely out of character started loudly singing the monotonous lyrics causing my older brother to cower in embarrassment. I remember staying up late to watch the best fireworks I had ever seen and then exiting Main Street, U.S.A., holding hands with my parents and wishing that this moment would never end. We had a great time…together…as a family.
Year’s later, I have now had the chance to visit with my family and feel what my parents felt. As an adult, I instantly feel like a kid again. I can hug characters and eat Mickey ice cream bars and ride Dumbo and it’s okay. As a mom though, the feeling is even better– I can share those moments and create those memories with my little ones. Memories I hope they’ll cherish as much as I do. We’ve been blessed to visit as a family several times and each visit holds new experiences. What starts with “First Haircuts” at the Harmony Barber Shop and counting down the inches to be tall enough for the big rides, turns into counting how many times you can ride Splash Mountain in a row and how many Mickey pretzels your growing tween can eat in a day. Every trip has been unforgettable.
On our last few trips, we’ve also had the privilege of visiting with grandparents and have felt how incredible multi-generational Disney magic can be. Grandchildren and grandparents almost always have a special bond. It’s a grandparent’s job to spoil the kids with treats and sweets and then return them to their parents, right? How is visiting the “Most Magical Place on Earth” different with two generations of those you love? For me, in the role of both the child and the parent, it’s amazing. Watching my children interact and experience the magic with their grandparents is extremely rewarding. I can vividly remember watching my step-dad and my oldest race towards Tower of Terror and I will always have the Disney Photopass pictures to document each of their silly rides, daring each other every time to make goofy faces. It’s as if for a moment time stands still. There’s no worry about the kids growing up too fast or about my parents getting older. They’re in the moment and the memories made are truly timeless. So what’s it like to visit as a grandparent? My mom is a grandma to 8 and she says the best part is still just being a part of the magic with them. She loves being able to share the same enchanting place she fell in love with as a kid and then shared with her kids, with a whole new generation. To experience the same wide-eyed wonder of their first visits and excited anticipation of magical returns creates that warm, pixie-dusted feeling she first felt walking through the gates of Disneyland in 1965. Her favorite memory? Watching shy, hiding faces turn into huge grins & hugs when they meet their favorite characters.
My love for all things Disney stemmed from my mom’s admiration for it and it’s amazing to watch her now share that love with my little ones. This visit is sure to be unforgettable, but watching it through the eyes of my mom and my preschoolers guarantees it will definitely be a “Grand Adventure.”
For information on planning your own Grand Adventure check out: The Grand Adventure on the Walt Disney World website. (I told you I can’t resist wanting to help others feel the Disney magic.)