May 11, 2009

what I learned from Disney World: Personal edition - pt 4

This is part 4 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 4: Magic Kingdom - Pt 3
  • Primary takeway: Earlier in the trip, I got to watch my boys face some intimidating rides and grow up right before my very eyes. On this day, though, I witnessed the Disney magic work its charm in helping my oldest son appreciate being a kid.

    When the boys saw Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, they got in line with autograph books in hand just like they had with other characters. Once we got up to where they were, the boys went up and greeted them... again - like other characters they'd met.

    But I noticed something this round in my oldest son. Something I'm thankful I was able to capture on film, which is sort of ironic given what happened.

    Instead of doing a casual hug, he immersed himself into Winnie the Pooh. We're talking a firm embrace of oozing joy. It was as if he was embracing a part of his childhood as he hugged this character he's known since being a little guy, not wanting to let go but "fully enjoy all that he's fully enjoyed."

    Have you ever had a moment like this? Maybe you find something in an old box from your childhood - a baseball glove, a favorite shirt, or an old stuffed animal - and you have to slow down and "fully enjoy all that you've fully enjoyed." Such moments are treasures, because they remind us of a time when everything was good, innocent, and optimistic. I think this is something we forget as adults, let alone the chance we have to play in a world where "good and evil" are "good and evil."

    I saw this as well when Joshua (my oldest) had a Peter Pan hat on and wanted to avoid Captain Hook. He thought that the Captain would trick him somehow into fighting him, so he went to great lengths to spy on him without giving away where he was. Meanwhile, Daniel (my youngest) put the hat on and went over to confront Hook and Smee. Afterward he said, "See, Joshua? It's okay. I had the Peter Pan hat on and they were scared of me."

    Like I said, I love being able to watch my boys grow older.

    But I also have found that I enjoy watching my boys grow young.

  • Secondary takeaway: When the moment was there - when we stood in front of the castle that one last time just beofre we left - it was a thick moment. Saying goodbye to the castle... was... well... sad.

    We knew we wouldn't be back the next day or the day after that. We also knew that given the price tag of Disney we wouldn't be back in the near future. We wondered when we would see it again... how old we'd be.

    So we soaked it in and savored it like a sponge.

  • "Only Tony" takeaway: Beware of what Disney fatigue will do to your normal mental boundaries. For instance, if you are sitting down and waiting for your wife in a store, you don't want to sing out loud the High School Musical songs you usually keep in your head (and pretend you don't really know). I was in the middle of an under-my-breath version of "Bet On It" when I looked up and another man gave me a well-deserved look.

- Part 5 coming up.

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