As you know, we are new Florida residents, we’ve only been here two years. Before that, 18 hours away from here in Michigan, we were Disney crazed fans who were always planning and plotting our next trip to Walt Disney World. Life happens, and sometimes there was a LONG pause in between trips, and all we had were photos and videos to remind us of what we were missing. There were times that we had Disney vacations booked, and had to cancel for one reason or another, and it was always a huge disappointment. One year I had to have knee reconstruction surgery, and the trip was cancelled somewhat at the last minute. Oh I remember how bad that felt. On the plus side, when we booked our Disney trips, we always thought of fun ways to tell the kids, “We’re going to Disney World!” I loved seeing their faces, and how excited they were. The trips were great, and a lot of special memories were made. We always loaded the car FULL of souvenirs, because we never knew when we’d be back to our Happy Place, because as I said, life happens and there were no guarantees. Well, that’s all been reversed now.
Nowadays, we do to Disney World much more often obviously, because we live so close to the Parks. Instead of planning to go to Disney, we plan and save money to go back home to Michigan to see our family and friends. Our “vacation” this summer was Michigan, which sounds funny because that’s not someplace we think of as a vacation spot, but the people I love most are there. Parents, my Grandma, Brother, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Friends…… I need to see them every so often, it’s important and I miss them so much. But still, it’s all reversed. So how is Disney “home” for real now? Truthfully, it’s all still very surreal. While driving to get my older son from school last week, I thought about how I still can’t believe we live here, that I was brave enough to make the move, that my kids basically go to school at Disney. It’s like it’s not real, hard to explain, but I’m thankful.
After our trip to Michigan, we headed to the Magic Kingdom to meet up with friends for the day. We haven’t been there in a couple of weeks, so I was excited to go. When we got onto Main Street, and saw the Castle, my husband got my attention. He said “can you believe we actually live here and get to see this all the time?” I replied, “actually, no, I still can’t believe it.” That’s a good thing if you ask me. The magic of Disney is something that really shouldn’t be taken for granted. I know how blessed we are that we live so close to WDW. Sure, we can’t afford to go nuts and buy a ton of souvenirs or eat at fancy restaurants now, after all, it’s expensive and we’re not on vacation anymore. But what we CAN do is on a Saturday, go for a walk through the Magic Kingdom or other park, go on some rides and watch some fireworks. It’s not about buying things or eating everything in sight, it’s family time, and more affordable. I remind my boys all the time too, how blessed we are that we have annual passes and can visit Disney much more often that before. Our group was talking about that yesterday too, our friends the Smoot’s remind their kids how lucky there are too. Again, Disney shouldn’t be taken for granted.
So, even though we live close to Disney, we appreciate it. I remind myself all the time how things used to be and how sad we were when we couldn’t visit our Happy Place. I remember how I used to get teary eyed on my last trip to the Magic Kingdom before heading back to Michigan. Now, I cry when I leave Michigan to come back to Florida! Funny how things change. As we were leaving the park yesterday afternoon, I looked around at the Halloween decorations and the buzz on Main Street, and felt thankful. We stopped by the Roy and Minnie bench, and I remembered how cool it was the first time I saw that. Disney is magic, it’s a gift that Walt gave to the world, and I for one will always be thankful and never take that for granted. ~M
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