I hope you enjoy the title… Try getting that song out of your head!
Yes, two weeks ago, we drove down to partially-sunny Orlando, and went to Disney World. This was actually a Christmas present that we gave the kids.
To make things fun, I devised a scavenger hunt Christmas morning to tell them the news. It was a masterful 25-clue hunt that lead them all over the house finding pieces of a puzzle which, in the spirit of “National Treasure”, had a secret message on the back of it. Skipping every other letter revealed that we would be going to the happiest place on earth in two weeks with Grandma and Grandad.
Unfortunately, what I thought would be a fun, unique, and wonderful team building exercise became two hours of stress for the kids. I knew we hit our low when after sitting for 15 minutes in front of our card catalog, our oldest daughter says in the whiny-est of voices, “I don’t know what drawer the puzzle piece is in…”
Her clue: “If our card catalog was the game battleship, (letters across the top and numbers down the side) D-6 would sink my battleship.”
Maybe it’s more obvious for a 35-year-old than a 9-year-old.
Nonetheless, the truth that was unveiled was as poorly received as the game…
“That’s over a school week! We can’t go.”
“What’s Disney World?”
“I thought we were going to Texas next week… Are we cancelling those plans?”
Oh, you naive little Colombians! Truthfully, it was kind of cool that they didn’t fully understand the greatness of the gift. Disney World is one of those places you can’t really encapsulate in words. You can only truly appreciate it when you are there.
Surprise number 2 on the trip also had a poor build-up to unveiling…
There is no obvious route from Madison, Alabama to Atlanta, Georgia. That, combined with a time change made a 12-hour journey in the car into a 16-hour journey. After riding in the car all day, the last thing the kids wanted to hear after unpacking was to load up in the car and go to Cici’s Pizza at 8:30 pm. Cici’s is usually their happy-place, but we were all a little saddle-sore. However, when they got there, the found out that 7 of their friends from Texas (two other families) were also there and would be enjoying Disney with them.
For the next five days, we Disney’ed the crap out of ourselves. It was fun, as a parent, to see the kids discover how amazing a place it was. One of our first honest-to-goodness roller-coasters was “Everest” in the Animal Kingdom on day 1, and after coming off of that ride, the boys didn’t want to see or do anything except get back in line and do it again. That lasted until we forced them to walk away and ride another ride… which had the same effect. Every ride, every show, and every character we met was the new high. It was great to see them enjoy a pretty wonderful place with their family and friends.
God also gave us great weather (cool, but not cold), and the parks weren’t too busy being an off-peak time of the year. It worked out great.
God didn’t really hit me with anything Earth-shattering on this trip, but he reminded me of some stuff I already knew.
Toward the end of day 2, we got on “It’s a Small World” in the Magic Kingdom, mainly because it was a “cool-down” ride and there was no line. I didn’t notice it in times past, but each room in the ride is from a different region on the globe. I was pretty light-hearted (as I’m sure Walt Disney intended me to be riding in this giant plastic boat listening to the upbeat song playing ad nauseum) until we got to the part devoted to South America with all the little boys and girls singing in Spanish. I no longer look at those kids as being on the other side of the planet far away from me… those are my kids.
In a perfect world, I believe every kid needs to go to Disney World at least once in their life. It’s a magical place, and it was great watching my kids take everything in waves of amazement. That’s why we gave Mickey our life’s savings to go (I exaggerate… a little).
I also believe, in a perfect world, every little boy and girl would have a mom and dad.
Truthfully, if I could have the second, I would pass on the first. Thankfully, God has blessed my five with both.
Thank you, God, for the big things and the little things. Thank you, for being a Father to the fatherless and for places like Disney World to enjoy. Thank you for dying on the cross and for Mountian Dew. Thank you for grace and for comfortable sweat-pants. Thank you for mercy and hot showers to sing in. Oh! How blessed we are, and how much He loves us!
At the dinnermesa,