“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” – Walt Disney
Let Walt’s words sink in with you for a moment
Earlier this week I posted on Instagram that my family would’ve been in Walt Disney World, if it weren’t for the fact they we’re facing a global crisis. We had plans to meet up with my sister and brother in law’s family, and the kids were looking forward to being with their cousins for a few days in the most magical place on Earth. We’ve done Disney a few other times with them and always had a great time, truly, there is nothing else in this world that compares to seeing your kids make memories that will last forever with their cousins. Several years and a few trips later, we adults still talk about the memories from that first trip together.
Any parent with little ones will tell you that although these trips are full of magic and happiness, they’re also laced with the occasional meltdown or two (or twenty). During these epic Disney meltdowns, my go-to line is “Do you know how lucky you are?” First of all, I don’t know why I expect an answer. My kids are 5 and 6, so at this point, I’m basically asking them a rhetorical question. I then follow it up with “Do you know how many kids would love to be in Disney World right now?” Again, with the rhetorical questions.
I’ve probably asked my children at least 100 times if they know how lucky they are, all the while (and without even realizing), I didn’t know how lucky I was. How fortunate I was as a parent, to be dealing with a child having a meltdown in the most magical place on Earth. Rather than continue to ask my kids these ridiculous rhetorical questions, I should have been asking myself. It’s a funny thing, because now more than ever I’d give anything to be handling a stage 5 meltdown in the middle of Main Street U.S.A. I’d jump at the opportunity to carry my screaming child through a gift shop while I get side-eye from other Disney guests and judged for not buying my kid that Disney Parks Wishable (Relax Boomer, he’s got like 50 at home, he just doesn’t remember that right now).
This leads me down the rabbit hole of other things I take for granted at Disney, and I have to laugh at myself. Not only did I take everything for granted, but the Elder Millennial in me would also categorize these issues as “first world problems.” So, I compiled a shortlist of things I would love to be dealing with right now in Walt Disney World. First World problems that as Walt is my witness, I promise to never take for granted again.
- Thinking I scored last-minute Mine Train Fastpasses, only for the My Disney Experience App to crash on me, right before I officially grab them. If an app crashing on me was my biggest problem of the day, I should consider myself lucky.
- Waiting in line for 25 minutes at Starbucks on Main Street, returning with my Starbucks haul to my family who’s waiting for me on the Hub Grass, only to complain about how long it took to get our Venti whatever we’re drinking. Uhm, I’m sitting on magical hub grass with a view of Cinderella’s Castle. I should really just drink my skinny vanilla latte and call it a day.
- Complaining that there’s no shade in Toy Story Land. Mark my words, when this is said and done, I’ll be happy to set up shop in the hottest and sunniest spot in Toy Story Land. While I explain to anyone complaining about the lack of shade, the meaning and purpose behind the reason there’s no shade in Toy Story Land.
- Being annoyed that my kids seem to destroy any hope I have of getting the perfect family photo in front of Cinderella Castle. When really I should’ve just been enjoying the moments.
- Complaining about my runDisney corral placement. After Star Wars Rival Run weekend was canceled and my second half marathon with runDisney went out the window, it made me realize I’d gladly take the last corral any day over no corral and no race at all.
During this crazy time where the parks have been closed and all of a sudden, the option of going to Walt Disney World is suddenly off the table, it’s forced me to put everything into perspective. Yes, there are other pressing issues like will my children return to school this year or will the Florida Governor actually enforce anything other than restaurants only being open for takeout? But I’d be lying if I said Disney hasn’t crossed my mind multiple times a day. A place that was once extremely accessible to millions of people is no longer there. And I think the uncertainty of not knowing when it will open again has really hit us in ways we didn’t expect it to.
The current crisis we’re all facing has us not just missing Disney, but missing our “old” way of life. “Old” meaning just a few weeks ago, of course. Always the eternal optimist, I’m constantly trying to find the good in every situation and if we think back to Walt’s words, maybe this was the “kick in the teeth” we all needed? I think we can all agree on one thing, all the troubles and obstacles we’re facing will certainly make us stronger in the long run. Me being forced to realize what I take for granted at Walt Disney World is just the tip of the iceberg.
The truth is, when a Disney vacation is said and done, the magical memories outweigh any meltdowns. In fact, any negative is almost entirely erased from our brains and quickly replaced with nostalgia and Mickey balloons. It literally took a pandemic for me to realize I took Disney for granted and the next time I find myself in the midst of meltdown with my sweet child, I’ll think twice about asking them if they know how lucky they are. Because somewhere along the way, I forgot how lucky I was.
I ask that all of you continue to find ways to add that Disney magic we so know and love, into your daily lives. Yes, our children need it- but so do the adults. I also encourage all of you to reschedule your Disney vacations, don’t cancel them. When the parks open again, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than Walt Disney World. I’m willing to bet, a whole lot of you feel that way too. By rescheduling your vacation, it gives you something to look forward to- a light at the end of this crazy tunnel that we’re all in together. And parents, let’s stop taking Walt Disney World for granted. How can we expect our children to know how lucky they are, if we didn’t even know?
Let’s all consider this the kick in the teeth Walt seemed to think we so desperately needed.