After unloading the car, we headed to Downtown Disney. While the entire admission free area is split into three sections (The Marketplace, Pleasure Island, & The West Side), our favorite spot to roam is The Marketplace. It's full of shops and restaurants with Disney flair. A giant Lego store, with huge Lego creations outside, is one of my boys' favorite stops. This night, we bypassed many of our favorite shops in favor of our dinner destination. Delicious meals from Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney's Marketplace will always be on my favorite foods list. The penne alfredo, that was calling my name before we left Michigan, did not disappoint my taste buds.
The Magic Kingdom was our destination for the first full day of Disney. When we arrived, we were thrilled to find ourselves going from one ride to the next without a big wait. Crowds were not overwhelming as they have been in the past when we've visited. Christmas atmosphere seeped into every area of the park, even Cinderella's castle lit up with gorgeous lights when the sun when down. It was simply beautiful.
As we skipped from one attraction to the next, I began to notice a growing trend. In fact, I caught my husband and myself participating in this a number of times as well. While waiting in a line or sitting at a meal, cell phones were front and center. Thankfully, I picked up on this fairly early into our first day and when I had time to talk to my husband quietly, I mentioned my concerns. Many parents were spending those free moments exploring their gadgets instead of interacting with their children. As we didn't want to fall into the technology trap, we agreed to limit our time on phones during our vacation.
Throughout the remainder of our trip, we gained so much. Our family had true quality time with very little interruption. We used wait times to learn about things around us, practice lines, do "homework," and discuss our experiences. Our goal was to absorb everything possible. Had I attached myself to my cell phone's apps, I would have missed out on many special moments with my husband and boys. Instead, I saw through the eyes of my children and felt my heart warm on countless occasions.
My husband and I both felt our eyes were opened to various new and different thoughts and feelings during repeat experiences on this trip. New perspectives were gained because we have grown and are at different stages in life than we were before. We are excited for what our children gained with their new and repeat experiences well.
Walt Disney went away on trips to come home renewed, refreshed, & "a new man." When we headed home on December 2, 2010, I completely understood that feeling. I had not been so relaxed in a very long time. Over the next few weeks, I hope to share more of what I learned while on my Walt Disney World vacation.
A very special memory to be cherished for years to come was created on this Disney vacation. We met up with my father-in-law and his girlfriend, P, at Hollywood Studios on Monday, November 29, 2010. Unbeknown to P, a surprise had been in the works for some time. Our family enjoyed the Beauty & the Beast stage show from VIP seats. After the show, we were given the privilege of meeting Belle & the Prince "backstage." During this extraordinary meet & greet, my father-in-law proposed to P. We were honored to be a part of the surprise & celebration! I couldn't ask for a better step-mom-in-law!
Congrats on your engagement M & P!!!