Parents around the world will tell you that there is nothing like experiencing something through the eyes of their child. Everything is larger than life and more exciting to children, especially when they are experiencing it for the first time and you can’t help but share their joy. While I may not have children of my own as of yet, I do have a precious little nephew named Brayden who I get to hang out with and see the world through his eyes. Most recently, this occurred at the “Most Magical Place on Earth” and is something I will never forget.
A few weeks ago the whole family set out for a week-long trip to Walt Disney World and I am not sure who was the most excited, the three-year-old or the adults. My parents took my sister and me to Disney World several times throughout our lives, but this was the first trip for both Brayden and my brother-in-law, Derek. It was also the first time any of us have been with a child that young since my first trip to the Magic Kingdom when I was four, and while I knew it would make things different, I don’t think I fully grasped just how much more fun it would be until we got there. Everything was overly exciting for Brayden, even something as simple as the two hotel rooms we had, and his excitement was contagious.
One of the things I love most about being at Disney World is that no matter what age you are, it is perfectly acceptable to act like an excited five-year-old. No one thinks it is crazy if you squeal with delight at the sight of your favorite character or if you excitedly run across Fantasyland to get a good spot in line for Peter Pan’s Flight when no one in your party is under the age of 30. It is a place that can bring together both the young and the young at heart.
Our trip started on a high note when we went to the Magic Kingdom the first day. We watched the “Welcome Show” where several cast members come out to sing a few songs before officially opening the park, but Brayden was still half asleep and only partially paying attention until the train started to come down the track with none other than Mickey Mouse onboard. It is always exciting to see the head mouse, but when Brayden saw him, his little face lit up and he couldn’t believe he was actually seeing Mickey up close. It was a look of pure joy. He was wide awake from that moment on and couldn’t wait to get inside and see what he calls “his castle.”
Everyone had hoped that he would enjoy the rides, but we were not too sure how he would handle all of them. Our worries were soon erased though once we stepped on It’s a Small World and he was amazed at everything he saw. His favorites were Winnie the Pooh and the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin so we, of course, rode those multiple times, but he also loved the bigger kid rides too like Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. My sister said he would even introduce himself to the ghosts in the Haunted Mansion and would say “Hello, I’m Brayden. This is my Mommy and this is my Daddy,” each time they passed by one on the ride. I’m not sure I would have ever thought to introduce myself to the ghosts when I was that little, but we all found it funny that Brayden did.
One of the best parts of the trip though happened half-way through the week, when we watched the afternoon parade at the Magic Kingdom. We lucked up and got a front row seat and Brayden was enjoying seeing all of the characters and floats come by. He would smile and wave at everyone from his stroller and dance with the music, but it was when two of his favorite princesses, Anna and Elsa, appeared that he was the most excited I have ever seen him. When he spotted them on the back of a float, he started bouncing up and down in his stroller and waving as fast as his little hand would move. Both of them waved back and I do not think I have ever seen a bigger smile on someone’s face; he was in heaven and it warmed my heart to see him so happy.
While I have loved every trip I have ever taken to Disney World, I think this one will be my favorite for quite some time. Sure it may have been ridiculously hot some days; my feet may have hurt more than I ever thought they would and at times we all may have been a little cranky, but seeing how happy it made Brayden made it all worthwhile. As the years go on, he may not remember much about this trip, but for the rest of us, I know it is one we will never forget.
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1