Growing up, I dreamed of Disney vacations. I went to Disneyland for the first time when I was 7. My grandparents took me and my brother on a road tip to Southern California to visit family. My Grandmother’s sister and brother, and a few nieces and nephews, lived in the Los Angeles area so it was an opportunity for us to finally meet our extended family.
I didn’t know I would be going to Disneyland, and I dared not ask. I remember getting up, knowing we were going on an outing. I was so hopeful, but I kept my excitement to myself. I had dreamed of going to Disneyland and watching the Wonderful World of Disney with Tinker Bell flying over the castle and that big splash of pixie dust were etched in my memory. I imagined it would be that magical.
As we walked through the gates and saw Main Street, USA I just looked at my Grandpa with a big smile and said “Thank You!” I didn’t need to say anything, he just knew. And he smiled back with that special smile he had when he wanted me to know he understood.
Since that first visit, I’ve been to Disneyland over 500 times. Crazy, I know! Living in southern cal will do that for you. And when you’re 12 or 13 and you’ve mastered the bus route from your house to Disney, it’s easy to go several times a week.
Fast forward to being a parent. Cycle Guy and I knew we’d take BabyGirl to Disneyland one day. But we both wanted her to have that “WOW” experience I had walking down Main Street, U.S.A. in 1976. Her first trip would set the stage for what we hoped would be a lifelong love of Disney parks.
Our first trip was when BabyGirl was 4 and a half. It was an very unplanned trip, but something we needed to do to bring the magic and pixie dust back. We had been thinking about a trip to Disney, but sometimes things in life happen that make you throw caution to the wind and plan a week-long vacation to Disney World in less than a month. And that’s just what we did!
That was 2007. And since that first week we’ve since spent 40 days at Disney World with BabyGirl. We’ve gone back each year for 10 days.
Why? Why not go somewhere else? There are plenty of other places to travel. Like Italy? We know this. And throughout the year we do go other places. But for now, our vacation destination of choice is Disney World. Because one day BabyGirl may outgrow the desire to hang out with us at Disney, riding rides, ooohing and ahhhing over things we’ve ooh’d and ahhhh’d over hundreds of times. One day she’ll be grown up and want to take grown up trips that don’t involve getting up at the crack of dawn to hear the Welcome song at Magic Kingdom’s rope drop.
Honestly, I hope that day never comes. But interests change, demands on our time shortens our planned trips and instead of riding all the major roller coasters in one day she’ll want to take it easy and hang out at the beach, visit national monuments, or see more of the world.
I don’t think the magic and pixie dust will ever leave her. But for now, it’s all about being a kid. As much for me as it is for her. One day my baby will grow up and she’ll graduate to bigger and faster roller coasters (she already gets a subscription to American Coaster Enthusiasts thanks to Grandpa Tommy!). But I’ll always remember that her love of Disney was etched in her memory when we stepped onto Main Street, U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom in September, 2007. Because moms remember that kind of stuff!
Do you have a favorite place to vacation? Growing up, did your family have a “go to” vacation spot?