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