It’s true, you never forget your first time..going to Disney World, that is. Our family recently returned from a week-long trip to Disney. Some of you may remember me bibbidi-bobbidi-boo-hooing about the planning, financing and coordination of this trip, which was to be what Disney refers to as a “Grand Gathering.”
We were not Disney virgins. Our family went for the first time two years ago and it was truly magical. We came back with Mickey-shaped stars in our eyes and began longing, misty-eyed sentences with “If we were in Disney World...” or “Remember how in Disney...”
Our now eight-year-old has been scheming ever since to find a way to live in Disney World. I must admit that I have been guilty of scanning the Disney job openings to see if they need writers, educational consultants or computer programmers in Florida.
This trip didn’t have the same kind of magic as the first time. Sure, we had a great time. It was wonderful to see my sister and her family, to watch the kids cavort with their cousins (and grandparents) and to see our newest mouseketeer fearlessly approach all the characters and baby-friendly rides.
Still, for my family unit,it wasn’t the same incredible family-bonding experience we expected it to be. Maybe it’s because we didn’t have the same anonymity as before; we were with other people who knew us and, to some degree, had expectations of who we were and how we interact with each other.
I’m sure this made a difference for our teenager. We arrived a day before everybody else and the fun we had that day with her was unmatched. She was relaxed and joking with us. Of course, nobody she knew was around to see her enjoy her parents.
Maybe it’s because coordinating who would meet up with whom when (and where and how) didn’t allow for a totally stress-free, move-at-your-own-pace kind of week. Maybe it was because no matter how mellow the little mouseketeer is, Disney with a baby limits your flexibility and what you can do.
Maybe it’s just as simple as the old adage and you don’t ever forget your first time. Just as it’s a bad idea to compare other first and subsequent experiences, it’s probably a bad idea to compare vacations.
Perhaps I should be comparing the outcomes instead. Our first time brought us back for more. Our second time left us wanting for more. If nothing else, our family has grown closer in our mutual desire to return to Disney World. Maybe we just need another visit to make sure the magic is still there.
(photo credit: Amanda Morin)