SOMETHING HE’LL NEVER REMEMBER And We’ll Never Forget
could see his energy and level of intrigue change while he was looking around. We’d barely been in the park for an hour when we sat down for a snack, and Joseph was dancing, looking around at everything, and smiling and waving at the people walking by while he munched on his apple slices. It was incredible to watch how excited he was, and I could have left right then and there and been completely satisfied with the trip. That first day we planned to go through the Safari ride, see the Lion King show, and have a meet and greet with Mickey.When we finally got on the Safari ride, Joseph was completely into what was going on. He was making elephant noises and calling out all the animal names he knew— it was a mind-blowing experience.After the Safari, we headed to the Lion King show, which Melissa and I were a little apprehensive about. Both of us had seen the show previously and wondered if it’d be too scary for him at that age, but he was on my lap clapping and dancing with the show the entire time.The way he smiled and the look on his face while he was watching was worth everything and more. When we met Mickey later that evening, Joseph was a little unsure but warmed up pretty quickly. He didn’t cry at all, and it helped me feel a little better about the character breakfast we had booked for the last day we were there. But, while he was going to town on his blueberries that morning, one of the chipmunks, Dale, surprised Joseph accidentally, and he went completely berserk.We got him calmed down enough that he enjoyed visits from Mickey and Chip who came by sometime later, but he was really nervous when Dale made a reappearance. One of the last rides we went on was It’s a Small World, which played to Joseph’s love of music and dancing. On that ride, he had a look on his face like he’d died and gone to heaven. He was completely into it, clapping and dancing the entire time we were on the boat. Once we were off the ride, he was waving at all the cast members, clapping, and smiling. It was
Like many of you native South Floridians, my wife and I grew up going to Disney World. It was where we went for family vacations, weekend getaways, and even some school trips. We always enjoyed going because we were young or with our friends, but when you’re older, the enjoyment shifts. A few years ago, we took two of our nieces to the park, and it was a completely different experience. I think everyone who lives in this area thinks about when they’ll be able to take their own kids to Disney World to share the experience with them, which is what happened to us. Melissa and I had a fantastic time watching how excited they were seeing their favorite Disney characters, getting on the rides, and being blown away by the magic of the park. Melissa and I had always wanted a chance to take our kids to the park once we had them, and this experience with our nieces had us looking forward to that day even more. When we had Joseph, we were thrilled to have such a wonderful addition to our family and looked forward to when he’d be old enough to take on his first visit to Disney World. And on New Year’s, we finally had that chance! The trip was everything and nothing like what we expected. We had been waiting a long time, and sometimes when that happens, the real thing doesn’t always live up to your expectations. But this visit shattered them in all the best ways. At first, we weren’t sure if Joseph was old enough at 13 and a half months or if he was going to be okay with all the people and characters walking around. However, it turned out to be the best Disney World trip I’ve ever taken. Our trip started in the Animal Kingdom, where we picked up our passes. Joseph is really something and has always wowed me with how he seems to sense what’s going on around him, which is exactly what happened as soon as we stepped into the park. You
kind of like an adrenaline rush you get while on a roller coaster. He was so happy about the ride he’d just gone on that he couldn’t keep it to himself. Right after we got off It’s a Small World, the park started to set off their fireworks — perfect timing! We made sure to put the earmuffs we had over Joseph’s ears so the noise wouldn’t bother him and went to watch. During the whole show, he had a look of amazement in his eyes. As we were walking away from the show, I was looking down at him while pushing his stroller. Joseph was looking straight up at the fireworks with his face lit up from excitement, and I felt all my emotions swell up in an instant. It was an extremely powerful moment. Visiting Disney World with Joseph is one of those trips I will never forget, even if I tried. It was such a unique experience that I doubt I could ever go back and enjoy it as much as I did on that first trip with my son.
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