We just got back from Disney World and it was amazing.  There is nothing like seeing your child  bursting with excitement, awe, and pure joy.

Disney World is a magical place where your child’s imagination becomes real life.  One of my favorite moments of our trip was when Kiki and her 6 year-old cousin Jane met Princess Ariel in her Grotto.  You walk into this cool mystical cave and Ariel is sitting in all her mermaid beauty waiting to talk to you.  Kiki and Jane sat next to Ariel and they all just started talking.  Ariel was asking them about their hair and their outfits and all the things they liked to do.  They were just chatting away like old friends.  It was so adorable.  Here’s a sample of what made the interaction so incredible:

Kiki:  Ariel, your tail is really long.

Ariel:  Yes, it is.  Is it longer than you imagined it would be?

Kiki:  It’s way longer than the real Ariel.

Ariel:  Well, I’m the real Ariel.

Kiki:  No, no, no.  I KNOW that.  I mean it’s longer than the Ariel that’s in the Ariel movie I have.

Ariel:  Oh, I see.

After literally five minutes of Kiki and Jane shooting the breeze with Ariel, we tried to tell the girls that it was time to let someone else have a turn.  Ariel quickly brandished our urgings for the girls to wrap it up by saying, “Oh no.  No need to hurry.  We have all the time under the sea.”  Amazing.

Another Disney highlight was Enchanted Tales with Belle.  We were ushered into a room that was decorated like the study from Beauty and the Beast.  Members of the audience were picked to act out a story with Belle and Kiki was chosen to play the Beast.  At the end of the story my daughter, dressed in her Snow White dress, got to dance to Belle.  It was the most touching thing ever.  I had tears in my eyes watching my little girl sway back and forth with Princess Belle.  It was magical.

The funny thing about vacation highlights though is that your highlights are not always the same as someone else’s highlights.  You would think that Kiki’s favorite thing from the trip might also be meeting the princesses or maybe riding all the different rides.  But those were so not Kiki’s favorite things.  My daughter was all about the merchandise.  As you might guess, Disney World is all over the merchandise.  There are stands outside of every ride filled to the brim with Disney toys.  Kiki would beg for us to stop at each and every stand.  She would even pass on going to another attraction in favor of just playing with the stuffed toys.  It was hilarious to us, but she loved it.

For me, Disney World really was the happiest  place on earth.  For my daughter, she may have been just as happy at the Disney Store in the local mall.

No, I’m just kidding.  Kiki did love the merchandise, but now that we’re home she’s not telling people about the toys.  She’s telling them about the rides and about having lunch at Cinderella’s castle.  At bedtime on the night we got back from Disney, Kiki picked up the souvenir 8×10  photo of her and Cinderella at Cinderella’s castle and repeatedly whispered, “I wish I could go back to Disney World.  I wish I could go back to Disney World.”
I’d like to go back too.  But I’ll need at least a couple of years to recover from the exhaustion.

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