How Woody Saved my Walt Disney World Vacation

Imagine that you and your family of six are starting your first day of your first Walt Disney World vacation. You are so excited to see all that there is to see, but even more than that, you are excited to see your KIDS get excited. This was me last September when we made our way to Florida to visit Mickey and all of his friends. I decided to wait to take the obligatory family pictures until after our first ride as we were running late for our Toy Story Midway Mania! FastPass+ reservation. So we took a 4D spin and then found ourselves right across from a Buzz and Woody meet and greet. Having bought the Memory Maker photo package, I wanted to get the most out of it that I could and immediately announced that we were going there before we went anywhere else!

Buzz meet and greet

We waited in line for about 10 minutes, took some fun pictures in the queue, and then we were ready to meet with Buzz and Woody themselves. I was so excited to see the kids interact with these two! We go to Disneyland often, but we don’t visit the character meet and greets as often as we should. My 2 1/2 year old daughter was the first to toddle in and say hi, followed by my 5 year old daughter. They were so excited and chatting up a storm with the life sized toys!  My littlest one was even comparing her shoes to Woody’s boots saying “your boots are BIG!” Of course, my middle daughter was true to form and snuggled up to her Toy Story favorites.

Woody and Buzz Meet and Greet

After a minute or so, I noticed my 8 year old daughter was still standing next to me. I turned to her and asked if she was ready to go in and visit with Woody and Buzz. Her reply, accompanied by an annoyed look on her face: “I don’t want to see them.” I said that it was fine and if she changed her mind to go ahead and come join us as I was taking our baby boy up next. But my words did not match the tears welling up in my eyes (which I promptly covered with sunglasses)  and the sinking feeling in my stomach. You see, I promised my husband before we left for this trip of a lifetime that I wouldn’t try to “cram in the fun.” This is a phrase we use when I do things like go into beast mode and make a crazed mad dash through the park, dragging the kids in my wake, to hurry and get in a line for a ride that nobody really needed to ride but me. With this being our first day, I was determined to keep my promise by not making her meet with Buzz and Woody if she didn’t want to. However, taking a family picture with the characters, without my oldest daughter, was just too much to take.

I was now officially sniffling with tears falling out from under my shaded lenses. Was this how the entire vacation was going to go? She was still 8, not 14, I thought I still had time before she really settled into the “too cool” teen years. I have been watching her grow up, and so quickly as of late, but I still just see her as my sweet baby girl. The one that almost climbed out of her stroller waving and calling out for Minnie (MeeMee) Mouse on the Disneyland parade float. I so badly wanted to see some of that same excitement in her eyes on this trip. I just wasn’t ready to let that go. My husband quickly came over to console me as I gathered up the troops to head out to the next ride.

Buzz and Woody Meet at WDW


I had the little ones ready to head out the door, when my husband tapped me on the shoulder and gestured back towards Buzz and Woody. I turned around, having just dried my tears, only to start crying again. But this time, it was the happiest tears of all. Woody had walked over to grab Morgan’s hand and playfully led her over towards Buzz. They proceeded to play around with her and tickled her until she broke down in laughter. My beautiful, happy, not “too cool” daughter had returned! That Disney magic is simply (thankfully) too hard to resist.


meet Woody and Buzz

This is my baby girl, the one who made me a mommy. I hope that she’ll always want to take pictures with the characters on our Disney trips. If there is a time in her teens where she gets “too cool,” I will patiently wait for that time to pass by looking at this picture on my wall and remembering this moment.


Woody Meet and Greet

This was truly the most magical moment of our vacation and I will never forget it.


  • Teri West
    Posted at 16:02h, 22 February Reply

    I already look back from our trip last year and get misty eyed. Knowing we likely won’t be going back until she’s your oldests age, I can only wonder if we’ll find ourselves in a similar place. So happy she came around <3

    • MousekaTools
      Posted at 18:46h, 10 March Reply

      If you do find yourselves in a similar place, GO FIND WOODY!!! 😉 I sincerely hold to the fact that Disney can bring out the child in everyone…even grumpy pre-teens and teens!

  • Michele Burnside
    Posted at 14:47h, 23 February Reply

    Ok, this just had me in tears. Disneyland has and will always be a huge part of mine and my families lives. I understand all too well the mad rushing around trying to cram everything in, because you want them to experience everything! And Yep maybe they don’t really want it like you think they do. I am SOoo glad that your oldest was able to let go and enjoy the moment! These memories go by all too quickly. I hope you still all have many more magical Disney years ahead.

    • MousekaTools
      Posted at 18:45h, 10 March Reply

      Thank you, I hope so too! It was just a moment where I saw her growing up (too fast if you ask me) and I was so happy to still see my little girl in there! Can’t thank Woody, and Walt Disney World, enough!

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