This past March, we had the pleasure of taking my nieces to Disney World while they were on spring break. Even though both girls are in college, they are pure Disney geeks just like us. At the end of our Magic Kingdom day, one of the girls announced that they wanted to get sundaes at the ice cream shop on Main Street. At the time, the fireworks were about to start and we were trying to figure out how to fit in the remaining activities they wanted to do at the park before we left for the night. Faced with too many items on our to-do list and a line snaking out of the ice cream shop door that seemed miles long, my gut reaction was the comment that “you can get ice cream anywhere, we don’t have time for that!”
I was instantly transported 40 years in the past and 3,000 miles away to the cherished trips to Disneyland of my childhood. Most of our Disney days included a trip to the Carnation Ice Cream Parlor, where I always ordered a black cow. Now, I rarely actually order a root beer float anywhere else, but somehow they tasted so much better in a turn of the century ice cream parlor on Main Street. That tradition forever links root beer floats, Main Street, and quality time with my family in my mind. Everyone needs memories like that.
Needless to say, once I returned to the present, we dropped everything and got ice cream.
As we finished our sundaes and watched the fireworks finale, I reflected on Disney traditions and how they change and evolve just as our families do. I am blessed with a Disney-loving husband. When we lived a thousand miles away and visited Disney World a few times a year, we always tried to spend our final night at Epcot so that the last attraction we visited was Spaceship Earth. It left us happy and peaceful, and started the countdown until our next trip. Now that we are lucky enough to be local annual passholders, we are learning new traditions. One of my favorites is our annual “Gingerbread Crawl” where we plan an evening in November or December around visiting all the resort gingerbread sculptures. A more recent tradition for the Magic Kingdom is getting baked potatoes in Liberty Square while we people watch. I’ve found the best traditions are those that do not cost a lot of money; all that matters is that you look forward to them, and the magic lives on in your memory. I cannot wait to see what new traditions we develop in the coming years.
And incidentally, those old traditions rarely die. I still enjoy a late night turn on Spaceship Earth now and then. And I look forward to taking my husband to the Carnation Cafe in August when we go to Disneyland so he can finally be a part of our old family tradition. Things may change over the years, but the magical memories remain. I just hope that the cast members will make me a black cow.
What are your traditions?
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