If you read this blog then you all know that we love Disney, and to some point, we take Walt Disney World for granted. To put something in perspective (not to boast) I have made 5 trips to Disney World, with another 2-3 trips planned between now and January 2015.The majority of these trips were weekend trips, leaving on a Thursday night from home and returning on Sunday. One trip we didn't step foot in a park until after the Everest Race, and a couple were just for one day. I know that there are Disney people that go more than that in a year, and I am not intending to brag, just setting up the rest of this article.
On the way down for the Tower of Terror weekend, Kristin, BamaGirlRUNS, was telling me about a conversation that her and her sister, Brittney, had on the way out of the Magic Kingdom, that had them both with teary eyes. The question that came up in the Town Square Hub, was this: "What if you knew it was your last time in Disney World?"
I got to pondering this a lot on my recent trip. Disney in general means so much to me, from the Disney Afternoon cartoons I watched growing up, to the animated and live action movies that I still enjoy today. But I can enjoy all of that from the comfort of my own home. It's a little bit different when we talk about the parks though. Yes, they have the fairly old TV specials on the Destination Channel, but seeing the parks on TV, verses seeing the parks in person is a whole different story.
As I pointed out at the beginning of the article, I have been a few times to WDW this year, but I am not the average park goer. I have friends that are talking about taking their families for the first time this year, yet they do not know if they will ever go back. Some of the youth I took this year, do not know if they will be able to go back with their parents. So while I was happy that I was privileged to take them to their first Disney trip, now I look at it a little different because I don't know when they will be back.
Being in the parks brings much more to the Disney fans. What Walt created in Disneyland and went on to be in Walt Disney World, is much more than a vacation, it's an experience. The way the cast members care about you, and go out of their way to make you feel important. You don't find that outside of the parks to much (the closest we get in Troy, AL is Chick-Fil-A). Disney World has a way of pulling the people who don't want to be there, into their childhood, and make them not want to leave. You forget about the money that you spent on the trip, and how much you spent on that bottle of Coke, but you are more worried about missing the glow on your loved ones faces when they see Cinderella or Mickey for the very first time.
Even if you are a family that plans just the one trip that you will ever go on, you've got to remember that you are not the only ones that are planning like that. Think of the family that has a sick family member, that father that is taking to long to move up in line, or that daughter that is whining about something, they could be dealing with a much bigger problem, health wise, and their family is trying to make the most of this one trip to make memories that will last long past the time that that family member does.
One of my first trips to Disney World was when I was real little, I got lost around Liberty Square. But I remember what it felt like to have my Dad embrace me after I was found, that was the only time I went to Disney with my dad. He wasn't sick by any means back then, but he did develop liver cancer my 8th grade year of school, and past away shortly after. I tell this story, just to make the point that no matter how much money you are spending to be on vacation at Disney World, once you are in those gates, no one is better than anyone else.
On this past trip, I took my time getting around the parks, I soaked in my surroundings, and I tried to be out of the way for the happier families. I am a DVC owner, and an Annual Pass Holder, I can literally get up from this booth in Troy's Chick-Fil-A and drive down to Disney World right now and stay if I wanted to. That's the best feeling in the world to know that I can just go, but I take it for granted, because I can do that. And most of us that are either AP holders or DVC are in a similar boat, but we forget about the other families. The families that save up for years, to take that one trip for just a few days, so their kids can see the Mouse and his family. A trip that the kids will talk about for years, and beg to their parents to take them back, not knowing that it won't be possible.
Now put it in yours shoes, you are walking out of Magic Kingdom knowing that you are suffering from a terminally ill disease or you financially will not be able to come back, what do you feel? What do you want to remember? How do you want to be treated? Do you want to know that it is most likely your last time walking down Main Street?