It also helps to know people in magical places. You never know when that kid you grew up with in your church youth group might eventually become a cast member.
And that's all I'm going to say about that.
While financially it may or may not have been the best move for our family, I do not regret for one single minute taking that trip. My girls are young and they still believe in the magic and hype. They believe that the princesses are really the princesses and that it was really Mickey waving at them from the parade. Even my oldest child knows that they are just costumes, but she still somehow forgot when they were standing right in front of her.
I rode ride after ride and looked at the details of the park. The over the top colors, the kindness of the staff, the fact that most people were in a relatively good mood. The housekeepers who made our beds took the time to arrange my children's stuffed friends. The cast members who took the time to say special things to my girls. They took the time to take care of each and every person's needs to who crossed their path--that was their job and they did it well.
And because they took the time to do things well, the magic was real.
And when it was all said and done, and when we had packed up the car, and when it was time to check out, my oldest child cried because we were leaving.
And a part of me wanted to cry, too. Because it was saying goodbye to more than just the park--it was goodbye to this trip, to this time, to this age. When my kids still believe in it all. And the next time we arrive at the most magical place on earth, they might point out the seams on the costumes and the strings holding the dolls in place. They might recognize that the characters are just imaginary and that the whole thing is just for fun.
And that makes me sad. I'm going to miss this crazy hectic time with my kids.
So, instead of waiting until we return to the most magical place on earth (because believe me, if I have anything to say about it, we will return sooner than later), I want to encourage all of us parents (especially for those of us with young kids) to look for the magic in every single day. Our job, just like the Disney employees, is to best care for our clients: our children. While we often concern ourselves with the most obvious things like their health, education, spirituality, and well-being, we often overlook their need to be children. Their brains can't handle the adult issues we often want to impose on them. We tend to stifle their childlike ways and try to make them miniature adults before they are physically, cognitively, or emotionally able to handle it.
They are only young once. And we simply can't waste this time--their imaginations, their wonder, their zest for life. We should be taking the time to help them discover the fun things around us instead relying on the carefully placed decorations or the specially timed music at our favorite theme parks. We need to embrace this season, as chaotic as it seems, and recognize that it's momentary and very soon it will be gone.
Let your kids be kids. Let them imagine. Let them create. Let them believe in childhood fantasy. Let them dream. Let them discover. Let them be optimistic.
And take the time to rediscover your childlike qualities as well.
Your kids will thank you for it.