Apr 28, 2009

what I learned from Disney World: Personal edition - pt 2

This is part 2 in a series called 7 things I learned from Disney World: Personal edition.

I also am sharing other insights for leaders on my other blog, Type (B)eing Leadership. You can find that series updated each day this week HERE.

Day 2: Magic Kingdom - Pt 2

  • Primary takeaway: I cried. Doggone it - I admit it - the Disney experience got to me and I cried. It was in the midst of the mid-day parade, and as the characters passed by and the music played, I found myself somewhere in between being a very blessed dad watching his kids soak in the "magic" to somehow being their age and remembering my trip to Disney World as a boy. It's the time of your life... so the song goes.

    What is it about an artificial world full of people in costumes who are performing the same routine they've performed a gazillion times? How can we know this is what it is, and yet we deny it to enjoy it? Maybe it's the wisdom my eight-year-old son shared tonight as we watched our vacation videos when he said, "Someday I want to go back to Disney World, but not when I'm a teenager... before that, like when I'm ten or nine or eight."

    He knows. Already... he knows how easy it is to lose your imagination as you grow older.

    And maybe that's why I cried - because the imagination of my boys in that moments was so thick that it oozed right into me.

  • Secondary takeaway: This is a picture that symbolizes the struggle and subsequent victory my oldest son experienced to go on Splash Mountain. It was really a choice of courage for him - one that he paced around for an hour to try to discover. My wife and I watched this all happen, recognizing that we were watching a defining moment and memory form in his childhood - if he decided he couldn't do it, he'd remember that as he grew up; if he decided he could conquer the ride, he'd walk forward in that confidence. We were so careful not to push him, but let his own desire to do it wiggle its way out. And when it did... he really grew up one more step right in front of my eyes.

    Then there's this picture - me kissing my lovely bride of almost 15 years in front of a magical castle. We wore our "I love my husband/wife" shirts that day, and were quite thankful to share that love out loud with anyone who cared (or didn't, for that matter). This moment captures a slice of that... and we knew it would, which is why we took it (even if it meant the boys had to sit down and wait while we smooched).

    Ever notice how pictures can snag a moment of time that has much deeper meaning to the people taking it than anyone who will see it later? You look at these photos and see a vacation, but I look at the same pictures and see a bundle of significant moments. I suppose the same is true when people hear you're away for a week - they think, 'Oh yeah, they're somewhere else, doing some sort of vacation thing" while you think, "I'm with the greatest people on the face of the earth right now, and it freakin' rocks."

  • "Only Tony" takeaway: An adult really can eat well in between the Disney kid's meal you order for yourself and the many free vegetables available on the condiment bar. Think about it - you get a main item, two sides, a drink, and some healthy filler to round out the food pyramid. That's a savings of $5 a meal in between the adult priced meal and the kid's version... which adds up to some extra cha-ching for the trip.

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