A crew of family from the tri-state area recently returned from a week-long trip to Disney World.  We flew down South to enjoy Florida in the fall and soak up all the magical moments Mickey and friends have to offer.

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If only it were that simple.

As many of you may already be aware (and perhaps painfully so), planning a Disney trip is not for the faint of heart.  This was compounded in that there were 16 of us in total with ranging interests in and tolerance of the Disney experience.  We stuck to the imposed deadlines for dinner reservations and rigorously planned in hopes of making all our dreams come true.

This wasn’t my immediate family’s first trip so we had some experience on the planning end; however, I still managed to forget to label our luggage correctly and had to field calls from Orlando International Airport and talk with an overworked concierge before our bags were delivered to our room.  Our vacation was sprinkled with pixie dust and other travel related hiccups – a room key (magic band) that wouldn’t unlock the door, early exits from dinner due to toddler metldowns.  There was a lot of waiting, walking, and even (gasp!) whining.  Still, this trip was worth any and all of the minor frustrations it garnered because through it all, I had my people by my side.

My parents have a calming effect on me even in the most mundane circumstances and it was appreciated even more during a trip of over the top stimulation.  They are there time and time again to help in anyway they can.  Corralling the children out of the arcade to get them to eat dinner or whatever ad hoc parenting needs to occur.  My brothers are always willing and able to entertain an ornery child so that I can catch my breath for a moment so as not to lose my cool.  With an exchange of a glance, my sisters in law are able to recognize that my toddler’s behavior is on the edge of reckless and will scoop her up moments before injury.  As a group we effortlessly came to a consensus when plans that went awry needed to end without harboring any hard feelings.  Just keep it moving.  We stepped up and out of the way of each other throughout our Disney experience.  My family is so naturally good to each other, respectful, supportive.  I love them deeply for who they are and how they love me.  We are lucky to have each other and grateful to be able to recognize it.  THAT is magical.

While we hugged princesses, danced down Main Street, and braved the highest peaks of roller coasters, the problems we faced outside the Kingdom’s gates were easily forgotten.  Our hearts were full, but really, the magic we found at Disney World was in each other and the relationships we share.  I am beyond thankful to have the means and opportunity to spend this dedicated time with some of my favorite people in the world.  I could easily describe the experience as a “Once in a Lifetime” trip.  For now, I won’t.  My hope is that we are able to come together like this again and again and again.

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