The Magic of Disney
Over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve talked a lot about what a Disney vacation could mean to your family. I’ve told you a little bit about what it means to me and my family, but I thought I’d take this last post to tell you a little bit about the Disney magic that we have experienced over the years.
Two years ago on one of our trips to the Walt Disney World Resort, we made a quick stop on our way out of the Magic Kingdom for the evening to see if we could get a table in our favorite restaurant in that park - the Crystal Palace. We had already eaten there once that trip, but my daughter’s favorite character, Tigger, can always be found bouncing around that restaurant and she had already spotted him inside, hugging and talking to all of the kids. So, as she stood, holding my hand and waving desperately at Tigger through the window, the kind cast member at the reservation window took pity on us and squeezed us in for the last reservation of the night.
As we munched on all sorts of delicious food, Eeyore showed up at our table and greeted Audrey with a kiss on the head. She clapped her hands in delight and kissed his nose before he moved on. Winnie the Pooh passed by next and she melted into his arms for a big hug, followed quickly by Piglet. All of the characters had passed by our table - except for her beloved Tigger. We had dessert. We waited. And waited. The restaurant had started to clear out for the evening, and a cast member came over to us to ask if we needed anything else, so I expressed to her that we had not yet seen Tigger that evening. I gestured to my very sleepy 2 year old daughter who was clutching her stuffed Tigger in her hands and looking around desperately for her best friend, and explained that he was her favorite.
Unfortunately, the cast member had some bad news - Tigger thought he had seen everyone for the night and so he had already gone home. Audrey started to cry immediately, and I tried comforting her and telling her we would come back. With an apology and a promise to return quickly, the cast member disappeared backstage.
10 minutes later we had paid our bill and had moved to the front of the restaurant. Audrey was falling asleep on my shoulder, tired from the day and from crying. We were about to leave when the manager appeared and asked us if we could wait just another minute. We agreed, and sat down on the benches at the front of the restaurant. The restaurant was closed and we were the only people left, but a few moments later Eeyore appeared. Eeyore walked over to Audrey, and gave her a big hug. Then a cast member explained to her that Eeyore had called Tigger to let him know that she was there waiting for him and that he had somehow missed her, so Tigger sent his friend Eeyore with something special just for her.At that moment Eeyore pulled out a bag with a brand new, giant stuffed Tigger in it and handed it to Audrey. She jumped into his arms and hugged the Tigger with all of her might. I, of course, started to cry. The cast members at the Crystal Palace that evening had gone above and beyond to make sure that the magic of our Disney vacation was not lost. They squeezed us in for a reservation when we didn’t have one, and then they went out of their way to turn an unfortunate experience into something that felt downright magical.
I ended up hugging those cast members like they were family members before we stepped out of the restaurant that night. As we left the park that evening, my sweet 2 year old snuggling happily in her stroller with both of her Tiggers, I stopped to look up at Cinderella’s Castle which was bathed in light. In that moment I remember thinking to myself that it was moments like those that we would talk about for years to come - that we would recount endless times to our friends and family when they gently poked fun at us for visiting Walt Disney World so frequently.
Audrey is 4 years old now and she was just telling someone last week about the time that Tigger sent her a special present with Eeyore because he couldn’t say hi himself. I’m not sure if she actually remembers that moment, or if it comes simply from two years of mommy telling the story but one thing is for sure - Audrey puffs up with pride every time she talks about it. I’m sure the cast members who were working that night don’t even remember us anymore, but the magic of that moment lives on.
I have so many other anecdotes that I want to share with you about the magic of Disney Parks - like the time a cast member came out of nowhere to help me, a single mom traveling with just her 3 year old daughter, carry our food to a table and get our drinks for us before disappearing again, or the time that a cast member gave Audrey a special “Princess” pass to skip the line and ride Dumbo one last time before we left to travel home - but I’m out of room! However, I encourage you to go and discover your own magical experience, and to start making those memories with your family. The vacation may only last for a few days - but the memories are sure to last a lifetime.