I hadn’t put pen to paper in nearly two weeks before sitting down to write this. Although it had only been just under two weeks, I felt as if I had forgotten how to write.
We took a road trip to Disney World with my side of the family and with all the busyness of the travel there and the busyness of Disney and the busyness of the trek home there wasn’t much time to sit and read, much less sit and think. One of those vacations where you need a vacation from the vacation! Thankfully, my job is closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s so this week, other than a dental visit for fillings on Monday, is just that vacation.
It was an enjoyable trip, nonetheless. Disney is expensive and packed to the brim with people jockeying for their place in line at the rides. Nevertheless, it still conveys Walt Disney’s vision of a magical kingdom where families can come and enjoy the thrill of fun rides, taste great food from different cultures, kids can see their favorite new characters from Disney movies, and parents can relive their childhood memories of watching Dumbo take to the skies or soaring above London on their way to Neverland.
I think that’s the best of what Disney offers. Nostalgia. Remembering the good parts of childhood – the sweet memories going to watch The Lion King or The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast as a child, and then watching your children (in my case, niece and nephews) as they experience seeing those characters walk around at Disney and getting in line to take a photo with them.
We were in line for Tower of Terror when one such character made a surprise visit. My four-year-old nephew, Jude, (who is something of a daredevil to ride Tower of Terror) turned around and saw a familiar character walking around the outside of the tower. He smiled, waved at the character, then turned around with his palms up at his shoulders and shrugged and said, “What is Doofy doing at Tower of Terror?” several times to us and others in line. Sadly Goofy had left before Jude was able to further inquire as to why he would show up to a haunted hotel.
Memories like that make tiresome trips like those worth it. The smiling faces of the niece and nephews, the pictures taken with Disney Princes and Princesses, the gleeful laughs as they ride the rides and point out the different attractions, and yes, even the meltdowns as they try to fight off the tiredness from walking miles and miles around the various parks of Disney. Though Disney is pricey, the memories are priceless.
My favorite memory, however, was not of the niece or nephews this time. It was my bride. Our first ride on our first day at Disney Hollywood Studios was a new Star Wars ride called Rise of the Resistance. Though we entered the park when it opened, we still waited nearly an hour and a half to ride this eight-minute attraction. I thought it wasn’t going to be worth the wait. It was. We were ushered into a large room and a hologram of one of the new characters, Rey, welcomed us as new recruits. We were then given a mission and told to follow our commander to a shuttle that would take us off world. Once we left the atmosphere, however, the First Order (a reincarnation of the Evil Empire from the original series) captured us and attempted to get the location of the secret base we had come from.
Everything was detailed. A squadron of Storm Troopers greeted us as the shuttle door opened and we were escorted by officers to our interrogation room. We would have been done for if the resistance hadn’t shown up. They busted down a door and “hacked” transport droids that curried us through the ship (a very large, two-story warehouse) and back onto our transport ship where we made our escape.
We had rented scooters for Jess and dad so they wouldn’t tire out as we went from attraction to attraction. All throughout each ride the workers asked if she and dad were comfortable getting in and out of the scooters in order to ride the rides. Even when we were “captured” by the First Order in Rise of the Resistance, the evil officers asked if Jess was okay to get up and walk from the scooter because the next section of the ride would be in a roller coaster type contraption. More than accommodating.
After the ride Jess took out her handkerchief and started wiping tears from her eyes. My sister, Jean, and I asked her if she was okay. She said they were happy tears. “I know how limiting my MD can be,” she said, smiling through tears. “This let me feel like I could be an adventurer.”
What an adventure it was.
Joseph Hamrick is a semi-professional writer and sometimes thinker. He lives in Commerce and serves as a deacon at Commerce Community Church C3).
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org