At six years old, Miss O was starting to grow out of her obsession with all things ruffly and sparkly, including her devotion to Disney Princesses. She could also still be terribly shy. With our first family trip to Disney coming up, I started to worry that she wouldn’t want to do any of the character meet and greets I scheduled during times when the rest of our group was thundering and splashing down mountains. I prepared myself not to get upset and not force her to do anything she really didn’t want to do. This trip was for her and my nephew, Mr. A, and while I was determined to honor that, I still hoped the Disney magic would find her for just a little longer.
The call of Thin Mints can be heard in front of every super market, pharmacy and local coffee spot. When I signed Miss O up to be a Girl Scout Daisy I knew cookie sales was part of the deal, but I had no idea how big of a deal it would be.
Thanksgiving in my family is a big, boisterous, event, filled with reunions, wisecracks and food. So. Much. Food. It’s a time when I can feel how loved I am and, more so now than ever, how lucky I am. As I grow older, or, as I’d like to think, more mature, I am increasingly more cognizant of the need to reflect on what I am truly thankful for. We’ve never been the type of family that goes around the table saying what we’re thankful for, but I feel the pull of announcing it. A verbal, or in this case, written declaration of the appreciation for what we have and who we love it a very reassuring practice. And so, it is in that spirit I offer my thanks now.
When you’re planning a Disney trip, it may get to the point where you simultaneously want to spend money on all the things that will make your family smile regardless of price and feel like you’re suddenly faced with spending money you may never have. Coming from New England, we were definitely in that place by the time we discovered that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party starts in August and had not one, but two dates scheduled for the last week of August when we’d be there for our first trip with our family. I knew Miss O would love every second of it, but would it be worth the extra cost on top of our park hopper tickets?
I was worried the fifth day of our trip would be a struggle. After four full days, with one each at Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios, I was concerned we’d be too tired for another day at Magic Kingdom, especially since we had tickets for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party that night, too. We only visited one half of the Magic Kingdom on our first day, and I couldn’t leave without Miss O experiencing the other half. I knew she was having fun, but our tired was starting to show and I wasn’t sure she’d make it.
Rumors are flying lately about all the refurbishments at Epcot. After our recent trip, I’m sort of relieved to hear it. Just like our days at Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom, I had a solid park plan for our day at Epcot. What I didn’t know was how much Epcot has changed since I was last there and how much that plan would be affected.
For two kids that love animals, Disney’s Animal Kingdom did not disappoint. I was confident in my choice to start Miss O and Mr. A’s first trip to Disney World here, but I wasn’t fully prepared for how much enthusiasm, energy and stamina these two had! We knew they’d have fun, but watching them discover everything made it extra magical for us and we learned more about these two explorers than I would have thought!
For our recent surprise trip to Walt Disney World, we chose our hotel with the kids in mind. Miss O saw some images on the promotional videos we watched at home while testing the idea of Disney, so we knew it was a good option. By the time we got on the Magical Express, she still had no real idea what we’d be doing or anything about where we were staying. At that point she and my nephew, Mr. A, were still absorbing the reality of being in Florida and going to Disney World. Their faces as we arrived on the Art of Animation property were priceless and I knew this trip was going to blow their minds.
“Are you gonna do those matching shirts?” Hands down this is the most common question I was asked anytime I got into a conversation about planning our family trip to Walt Disney World. Part of me wanted to embrace the stereotype and be that family. The other part, knew my family wouldn’t be into it, but I still debated doing it ironically. Clearly there was something to this that I needed to explore.
When the big planning for our trip to Walt Disney World was finally finished with hotel, airfare, dining, park plans and FastPass reservations secured, I could finally focus on the fun stuff. I couldn’t wait for Miss O to meet some of her favorite Disney characters before the magic of princesses and pirates faded for her. I wasn’t sure exactly how character interactions worked these days, but I knew those lines were no joke.