I don’t care what Walt Disney World says. At least my kid thinks I’m a hero.
We returned from a weeklong vacation to sunnier places, and we finally delivered on an overdue promise to take our now-8-year-old to Disney.
When we adopted her two years ago out of the foster care system, we told her we’d take her to Disney soon. Unfortunately, that adoption may have been the only good thing that happened in 2020. Coronavirus closed the parks for four months. Then they were changed, like so much of life was, with coronavirus protocols.
So we pushed it back until we knew she could have a full Disney experience, complete with all the rides and interacting with her favorite characters.
For the record, I greatly dislike the entire Disney experience. I don’t like the characters, the rides or the overpriced food, drinks and souvenirs.
I know there are adults who love going to Disney. I’m not judging them; I just don’t agree.
I really dislike all the upcharges, including paying for permission to budge in line. I figure everyone should be treated equally once you’ve paid that much to get into a park.
Apparently the rich vs. poor debate goes all the way to the parking lot. As we pulled into the Orlando-area park, we were offered the chance to double our parking fee to go into a “preferred lot.” We declined and were directed to a spot in a lot named for Zurg, the bad guy in Buzz Lightyear’s adventures.
It wasn’t until we left the park late that night that we saw a sign, directing you to the left (and farther away) if you’re in a spot represented by a villain and to the right if you’re represented by a hero. But the sign is simpler than that, with the word “Villains” and an arrow pointing to the left.
That’s where they get it so wrong. Parents willing to take a child on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure custom designed for a young mind are never the villains. We’re the heroes.
I perfected a pseudo-smile that I wore all day long. It’s somewhere on the grin spectrum and suggests I’m having a good time, even if deep down inside I’m tired of seeing money vacuumed out of my wallet. If you asked her, though, she’d tell you I had a great time all day.
I do this because I want all four of my daughters, especially the 8-year-old who hadn’t been there before, to have as magical of a day as possible.
We went on rides together. We walked through stores together. We waited in line to meet Disney princesses together.
And frankly, it was worth it every time she’d look back at us. She had that look of joy and wonder that we lose when we become miserly parents who overthink what things cost and exactly how long it takes to work to earn that much.
We had lots of adventures like this during our time away. It was so reassuring to hear our 8-year-old say there wasn’t a single bad day the whole time she was gone. It’s a rare treat for a parent to hear genuine appreciation from the offspring.
It’s great to hear them say you’re a hero, no matter what the Disney parking lot says.
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