Thursday, September 2, 2010

Guest Post: The Best Thing I’ve Ever Seen at a Disney Park

The question was asked, “What's the best thing you’ve ever seen at the Disney Parks?” What a great question. There are so many fascinating things in the Walt Disney World Parks that someone could go on for hours telling all about wonderful things to see in each park. But thinking about this question a little deeper, I thought past the parks themselves and then it was an easy choice at that point. The best thing I ever saw in a Disney Park would be this picture here:

This is my son; he is now 14 years old and a fine young man. When this picture was taken, he was 9 years old and he wasn’t my son yet.

When I first met John, he was 8 years old and he and his mom had been on their own for about 6 years. I met John’s mom while we were working together and friendship grew into a very happy relationship. At that time, John was a very shy, quiet boy who had a great smile and was very excited to have a man in his mom’s life. John and I hit it off very quickly and became friends almost immediately. John’s mom (my wife) and I are both teachers and during our first summer off together, we travelled to visit friends and family to meet people we hadn’t yet met. Our second summer together, when John was nine, we went to Disney World. I’m not saying that Disney made us a family, but I think it helped solidify our relationships.

We were very lucky in the fact that I had a Disney Vacation Club Membership, and my future wife had a free week at a condo that was trying to sell her a time share, so we took a two week Disney Vacation. It was our first time in Disney together and we all were a little nervous about what to expect. I had been to Disney World quite a few times in my life before Heather and John, but this was something new for me and for them also. Once we got there though all worries were quelled and we all had a great time.

I remember our first night of that trip as if it were yesterday. I remember we had gotten into our condo, found a supermarket, had something to eat, and then headed to The Magic Kingdom. When we first arrived, it was dusk and the lights throughout the Happiest Place on Earth were just coming on. We strolled up Main Street USA and went past the Castle into Fantasyland. We went through a couple attractions and had a good time, but John was a car nut at that time. He would read everything about cars he could get his hands on. So, the obvious attraction for us to ride was the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway. We stood in line and I videotaped John as we waited. He was jabbering on and on, as I would learn he does when he is excited. When we got close to the boarding area, the Cast Member measured John and said he was tall enough to drive the car. You would have thought he had been made Mayor of Chocolate Town, the way his eyes lit up. We then asked if he wanted one of us to ride with him or did he want to go by himself. The poor kid’s head almost blew off at the thought of “driving” his own car without his mother or me with him. He chose to “drive” by himself and we got in the car in front of him. Along the way we called out to him in the dark and he yelled back, laughing the entire time.

When we exited the ride, he was bubbling over with excitement. He wanted to do it again. The line was long and it was late, so we told him later in the trip we would do it again and we did, but that first time “driving” by himself, and seeing the smile on the little man’s face, and knowing that I helped put it there is the best thing I ever saw in a Disney Park.

Heather and I were married the next year and as a “Family” we have been to Walt Disney World almost every year since then. We enjoy being together and even at 14, John still wants to hang out with us when we are there. This past summer we went with another family, John’s best friend’s family, and the boys only went off on their own once. I credit this not only to the fact that they are both great kids that enjoy their families but also to the Magic of Disney. The Magic of Disney helped make us a family and we look forward to many more memories like this.

John and I, 5 years ago and today:

Contributed by Bruce G., husband to Heather, proud father of John, and creator of The Unknown Magic Within Walt Disney World

1 comment:

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