Apr 27, 2009

what I learned from Disney World: Personal edition - pt 1

Not too long ago, my family and I were walking through Disney World. We're talking leaving cold Midwest weather for beautiful Florida weather, hitting pause on busy schedules for time with just each other, and trading fumes of energy to gain a chance to recharge in all the areas of life that often get passed over.

It was an opportunity we had been saving up for, having spent a couple of years doing small road trips where we could squeeze them in (and before that dealing with limited income that kept us from doing much vacationing). So even while I was able to pull in some extra money through writing projects that formed our ability to go, our challenge was to do Disney on a budget - and I am happy to report that it is possible.

What is listed below are some of the personal lessons I took away each day we were in the park. I am also posting some "leadership lessons" on Disney via my other blog, so take a hop over there when you're done here for daily editions that complement.

But for now, here is the first round of 7 things I learned from Disney World: Personal edition.

Day 1: Magic Kingdom - Pt 1
  • Primary takeway: We don't expose our boys to a lot of commercials, so they really didn't have a reference point for Disney World. I think they figured it was like Chuck E Cheese... but without the pizza. When we walked into the gates and took it all in, I watched their world get bigger. It was at their young age (7 and 5) what it was for me when I was at Disney as a young boy... and I couldn't stop enjoying it "again, for the first time" through their eyes.

  • Secondary takeaway: This was not only my boys' first trip to Disney-anything, but also their first theme park ever. So they didn't really have a sense of rides and varying levels of scare factor. When we were in a Lilo and Stitch attraction in Tomorrowland and all they locked us in like a roller coaster... and all the lights went off... and strobe lights went off... and loud alarms blared... and Stitch burped... and we "smelled it," that was a bit freaky for them. They also learned that while some rides looked cool from afar, they were a different story when you took the elevator up, boarded a rotating rocket, and gazed at the park in a slightly dizzying circle that was a total of three-stories in the air.

    I again watched them grow up here, developing a sense of their "risk factor" - what was an "acceptable" risk and what wasn't according to how they perceived the ride. This is a skill that will follow them the rest of their lives, including all the "dares" other kids will give them that they'll have to weigh in on intelligently. So I hope we helped them grow that future muscle, although I know at least once I challenged my oldest son a step too far.

  • "Inside the mind of Tony" takeaway: Do not ever wear jean shorts to any of Disney's theme parks. Chafing, my friends, chafing.
Part 2 coming tomorrow.

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