The Gang Goes to Disney World!

Make some memories today. They'll hold your family together for years to come.

Posted in , Mar 10, 2015

Michelle Cox (second from right) with her family at Disney World.

When our family traveled to Disney World awhile back, it was special on a number of different levels. Let me paint the scene for you…

Our group consisted of five vehicles, five grandparents, six parents and five children (ages 4, 3, 2 and 18-month-old twins).

Michelle, right, with daughters-in-law, grandbabies and strollers!Yes, we were our own parade each day as we hauled toddlers, diaper bags, strollers and other assorted items to and from the shuttle–especially since we had to hold the children, remove the diaper bags and close the strollers to get on the bus.

And for all of you who are wondering if we were crazy to attempt that with so many young children (yes, I wondered that as well before we left), the little ones were awesome for the whole week, including the 10-hour drive to get there.

We loved everything about the trip–spending time together, laughing, eating and relishing the delights of Disney–but one of the things I enjoyed most was what happened in the weeks and months before our vacation.

I think battle plans have been assembled with far less planning than what my sweet daughters-in-law did before our trip.

Laurel, got us signed up for the My Disney Experience app so we’d all know what we were doing. Numerous phone calls and texts were made about reservations for meals while we’d be there, and whenever we were all together, the planning went into hyper mode.

Lydia and Kella lined up Fast Passes for the rides, and they compiled a schedule for which parks we’d go to on what days and when we’d have a day off to rest. They made sure all of us ordered our Disney armbands.

A couple of grandkids regard Pluto at Disney World.They made autograph books for each of the kids so they could get signatures whenever we ran into the characters like Goofy or Chip and Dale.

Laurel and our son, Tim, designed and made Disney T-shirts for everyone. Lydia made shirts for all of us with Mickey head appliques on them, and then had our names stitched on each shirt. Mine said, “Grandmama.”

It didn’t stop there. They made matching Disney-themed outfits for the children for all the other days when they weren’t wearing the specially designed T-shirts.

I was seriously impressed when I saw that the careful planning had even gone into the packing. The children had large Ziploc bags for each day–with their name and the day of the week marked on it–with their outfit, socks, shoes, hair bows and jewelry. Talk about attention to detail!         

It’s such a joy to watch your children be happy, and on several occasions in the weeks leading up to the trip, I just sat back and soaked in the sweetness of their excitement as they planned.

After all the careful plotting and the weeks that seemed like forever until we’d leave for the drive to Orlando, we finally arrived at Disney World and the fun officially began.

We rode the rides at the Magic Kingdom, enjoyed Dole Pineapple Whips and went to the shows. We watched the fireworks and the light show at Cinderella’s Castle.

I’ll never forget the faces of our grandbabies when they saw Mickey and Minnie and the other characters for the first time. Some of the children went right up to them and others were shy and awed as they met them in person.

Our oldest granddaughter, Anna, turned four while we were there, and we celebrated with a birthday dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table, the girls wearing their princess dresses for the big event. Oh, what special moments!

A giraffe sticks out his tongue at Disney World's Safari World.All of us loved the Animal Kingdom–especially the safari ride–the big kids as enthralled as the children as we rode past giraffes, tigers and other exotic animals.

We continued on through Hollywood Studios and then on to Epcot where we flew above an orange orchard on Soarin’, and continued on a journey around the world, enjoying the special rides, flavors and events in Mexico, France, China and other countries.    

It was such a special week and an unexpectedly emotional one for me as I realized how many layers of family memories I have at Disney World.

On our first morning as we stood at the Magic Kingdom front gate waiting for the park to open, vivid memories flooded back of me standing in that exact spot with my daddy when I was a little girl. I thought about the journeys my husband and I had taken there with groups of teens from our church–trips filled with hilarious moments.

And then when our sons came along, there were many vacations at Disney World starting when the boys were in strollers, then walking through the parks holding hands with my little guys and then onto the days when they were teens. 

These precious snapshots in time are pressed forever into my heart–cherished moments filled with joy and laughter.

And now there with my adult sons and their wives, watching their joy as their little ones enjoyed the moments, I was making new memories to tuck into the album in my heart.

One of Michelle's grandsons takes in the sights of Disney World.I fought back tears several times that week, overwhelmed by God’s goodness. I thanked Him for the gift of my sweet family, for the precious grandbabies who own my heart, for the financial provision for the trips and for a lifetime of treasured memories.

Young moms and dads, would you mind a suggestion from an old grandma? Family is one of God’s best gifts. Take time to enjoy the moments with your children. Have fun and make some memories. You have just 18 summers before they leave home–and those summers will zoom past.

Maybe along the way you’ll discover what we did: The memories you make today are the glue that that will bond your family together when your children are grown. 

Pray this with me: Dear Father, we thank You for the gift of family. In the midst of our hectic days, help us to take time to enjoy the moments together. Make our homes and families strong and bond our hearts together. Amen.      

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