In 1992, my parents took us four children (and my sister’s friend) to Disney World. It wasn’t our first trip as a family, but the grandeur of the long drive and the massiveness of Disney World had us in awe. The adventure introduced us to a whole new “world.” Our memories of that trip include a lot of laughter and fun. Fast forward to 1997 when we would return, this time flying rather than driving, and staying on site. Again, the experience was mind blowing, even to a sometimes cynical teenager.
If you ask any of us, the kids, about these trips, we will talk about how great the resort was, and how we can’t believe we went on Space Mountain. There’s a brief memory from the first trip of me passing out in line thanks to the summer Florida heat, but that didn’t mar any of our fun.
If you ask my parents about Disney World, you get a wide smile from each and a twinkle in their eyes that would rival a child’s. Ninety per cent of the time my dad will offer to pull out the videos, long transferred from VHS to a CD.
When my husband and I felt it was time to take our own kids, aged five and eight, to Disney World it seemed natural to include my parents. Their love of Disney and desire to return was well known, plus there was something sweet about the thought of my kids experiencing this with nanny and grandpa.
It turns out we aren’t the only ones who think multi-generational trips to Disney World are a good idea. When we were there in January, we saw lots of families that spanned the generations and that were enjoying the shared adventure. At one point I heard a dad say, “Grandpa seems to have walked off’ as he held a little one by the hand and searched the crowd. Meanwhile, our grandpa was scoping out the next ride we would do.
Our own small world at Disney encompassed just the six of us and lots of devoted attention; we were able to spend quality time together that we will forever cherish.
The chills and thrills we experienced on Splash Mountain became topics of conversation for weeks to come. And although it was a huge deal for my youngest to meet Anna and Elsa, stars of Disney’s megahit Frozen, we all relished the experience. Watching our usually chatty girl transform into a star-struck, quiet, wide-smiling observer was captivating. These moments became our shared memories, inside jokes we still laugh about at the drop of a word. Family dinners with my parents are common and these days stories around the dinner table begin with “Remember that time at Disney when…”
It’s not just the adults remembering. The time my kids spent with their grandparents was priceless. It’s easy to talk about Disney magic, since at this kingdom no stone is left unturned in ensuring guests have a special vacation. Our trip was truly out of this world. But it was and is the family moments that are unforgettable. Memories were imprinted in subtle instances, as nanny held a small hand or grandpa showed the children something they thought was fantastical.
When we arrived at the Frozen stage show, there was one member of our party in particular who was excited. It turns out the show was fun for everyone, but there’s another reason I won’t ever forget it. As my daughter belted out every Frozen song (as most children aged five can do), I glanced at my mom. Her eyes weren’t focused on the singers on stage, but rather on the little girl who was in her happy place. My mom’s eyes glistened with wetness; then, naturally, mine did too.
The old VHS-to-CD videos of my childhood trips are still available to watch, but now we have new ones to browse and relive. And they are magic for three generations.