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.