Disney World: Embracing Every Moment

Unless you’re new here, most of you have heard me talk about Embracing the Moment. It may be one of the most popular tags on my blog. I adopted that mantra soon after starting this blog nearly 2 years ago, and embracing the moment has not always been easy, especially over the last year.

When the opportunity to visit Disney World came up, life was still a big question mark. My niece was still with us, but we didn’t know what the future held for her. We did know that our soon-to-be 4yo & 7yo were growing up faster than ever.

Life really is like a roll of toilet paper, ya know? The more you use it, the faster the roll disappears.

Birthdays seem to arrive faster & faster every year. Embracing these moments by taking them to the happiest place on earth was not only a given, but in a way, mandatory to the hubs & I. We both loved all things Disney, we visited Disney without children together a few times, and he grew up in a family who visited Disney World just about every other year. It was THE family vacation for the Williams clan. Always staying at the Polynesian. In 2000, my father-in-law took the entire family (all 20 of us at the time!) to Disney World. The hubs lost his father due to diabetes complications less than 5 years later. Jimbo knew the meaning of embracing the moment. And once we lost my niece Delaney in January, embracing the moment was taken to an entirely new level.

So as we planned, scrimped & saved to go to Disney World & the Polynesian, we celebrated many emotions — excitement, anxiety, even tears — both happy & sad, before, during, and after.

I did my best to only take out my shiny new iPhone 4S (LOVE!!) to snap pictures. As much as I would’ve loved to be social on FB & Twitter, this was a special time for my family. I didn’t want to miss something just because I had to update my status, check in, etc. If I was going to embrace every moment, my nose couldn’t be stuck in my phone.

We allowed our kids to drag us on rides we could’ve lived without riding multiple times. Sedona loved “It’s a Small World” so much, I took her on it 6 times…. always followed by the carousel. Sedona also loved the People-Mover — or as Sedona called it, “The Family Mover” and we rode that line-free ride several times as well. The hubs & I would take full advantage of this, let’s face it, kinda lame ride, and would embarrass our daughters by screaming at the top of our lungs as the ride took off: “WOOHOO! THE PEOPLE MOVER RULES!!!as if we were on the most exciting ride in all of Disney World. Natalie, being 7, is in full-on eye-roll mode, and our embarrassing tactics were always a success. Hey, we needed to have a little fun too! Even though Natalie may not have been as big of a fan of some of these mild rides her sister loved, Natalie would always skipped off these ride with big smiles.

And so would we.

Seeing our children’s faces light up, especially Sedona’s, who was experiencing all of Disney World for the first time, soaking it all in, makes my eyes well up with tears just thinking about her beaming, focused face.

Of course, Sedona also had moments of fear & tears… we walked through Pirates of the Caribbean, and she screamed through the short 5 minute line, and the hubs had to skip that. Natalie & I had a really great time on Pirates though. We sat in the front of the boat and laughed as the “bombs” went off around us, and Natalie loved helping me find Capt Jack Sparrow. He makes 3 appearances! Probably the closest I’ll ever get to Johnny Depp. Sedona was also legitimately leery about riding Kali River Rapids… she got plummeted by a waterfall & wave combo and was soaked to the bone. Poor kid. If I had to do it all over again, I probably would’ve skipped that ride. We all enjoyed Splash Mountain so much more.

When we all decided to go on Star Tours in Hollywood Studios, I was nervous that Sedona would freak out again. And she did start to whine in the line, but seeing R2D2 and C3PO as we walked through the line helped ease her mind. As we buckled into Star Tours and put on our 3D glasses, all 4 of us were excited, and I still don’t know what I enjoyed more, the ride, or sitting next to Sedona, watching her intently soaking in the entire ride. When it ended, she asked “Momma, did we land?” Sedona got so into the ride, she actually believed we were on the Millennium Falcon! And when I told her we did land, she took off her 3D glasses and screamed “I LOVED IT!!” Sedona also had a similar reaction to Soarin‘ which was another family favorite. Again, not sure what I enjoyed more, the ride, or my kids’ faces. When I took her to our local park a couple days ago, she went on the swing and in between “Wheeee!”she’d say “I’m on SOARIN’!!” 

Natalie also enjoyed those rides, claiming Star Tours was her favorite, but Space Mountain was a close 2nd. Even though Natalie made both Greg & I sit behind her and hold her shoulders the entire time. Now that was a challenge, but I still soaked it in, embracing that priceless Disney World moment, as I held on for dear life. Man, that ride is fast!

We also soaked in special moments with quite a few characters. I still have a couple pictures to download off of our Disney Photo Pass, but we managed to capture so many moments on our own, although it’s hard to believe we didn’t snap a single picture of Minnie (it’s on our photo pass along with Woody & Jessie!) We could’ve spent endless hours in lines to meet characters… for example, we never got to see Rapunzel. The line for the Tangled star was 90 minutes. Sorry, not waiting in a line that long just to snap a quick picture. The kids didn’t seem to care. We stumbled upon so many short lines for other characters, on top of the experiences at all of our character meals, missing one Princess (and Tinkerbell…) wasn’t a deal-breaker.

Our trip to Disney World was jam-packed with so much fun & adventures, it’s a week that will always hold a special place in my heart. I hope you enjoyed our pictures, some of my tips and today’s recap.

If you enjoyed today’s post, but missed out on a few earlier posts this week, be sure to check out No Diapers in Disney World, Disney World Prep: Stage One, Disney World Prep Stage Two: Let’s EAT! and Disney World: Let’s DRINK!

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