There is a magic in the eyes of a child when she sees Cinderella’s castle for the first time. In that magic lie amazement, longing, joy, and the dreams of a once upon a time that has come true.
I saw that magic in Sophie’s eyes, in Olivia’s eyes, and it filled my heart with such delight as cannot be conveyed.
We’re home now, and have set aside boxes with park maps, Key to the World cards, Mickey soaps and shampoos, our celebration badges, and even a few Disney shopping bags, carefully folded and stretched to press the wrinkles out. We’re sorting through 1000+ photos, preparing to make memory books, but the sorting is slowed by the memories each photo brings.
The vast majority of the pictures show happy, smiling faces, and we delight as we remember where we were, what we were doing. There’s the one in Mexico, at Epcot, with the girls in those ridiculously oversized sombreros; this one was taken at Downtown Disney. There’s the one where Stitch licked Sophie’s autograph book, and another where Olivia danced with Buzz Lightyear. About half the photos show the girls in crystal blue water, for they spent a part of every day swimming.
Some of the photos remind us of what we didn’t do, of what went wrong, but we can laugh about those times now. So we missed Soarin’ – we’ll see it next time. So we never made it to Adventureland - it’ll be that much more adventurous when we do make it. We had no time for the Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios, and certainly never ventured off Disney property for Universal or Seaworld. Next time.
There are photos of Port Orleans, of our rooms, the lobby, the expansive grounds, and we laugh when we recall how I forever lagged far behind, and how one of the girls would always be with me, slowly matching my cane-assisted pace. We marvel that after the second day, the girls knew their way around the resort as well as I.
There’s the photo of Amanda, head covered, shivering, zipped up in her warmest clothes despite the 87° temperature on the day we flew back. We can laugh now at the irony of her contracting the flu, when she had worried so about keeping her daughters healthy for this trip.
We have Amanda’s lovely photos of snow white clouds, viewed from above, and we remember with a chuckle how fearful she and Olivia had been of flying.
We can laugh at the fact that I was constantly reminding the girls to keep their Key to the World cards safe, yet I was the one to lose my 10-day park hopper.
We see a photo of Fred, walking far ahead, and we shake our heads and remember how he earned the title of Mr. Grumpy Gills; now we feel a twinge of guilt, for a few days after we returned, Fred suffered a very mild stroke, which may or may not have been coming on during our trip, contributing to his foul mood. Not to worry, he’s in good hands. And he has even made an apology, offering a trip for the sole purpose of dining at Be Our Guest.
I would have liked to have met up with a few friends. An old friend was visiting at the same time, as were a couple of new friends. But a very short trip leaves little room for visiting – another promise for another time.
There is no photo of Sophie when she whispered into my ear that Mickey Mouse had given her a wake-up call, but there are those that show her smiling face with her most prized souvenir – an Animator’s Collection Rapunzel doll. And others of Olivia happily sporting her sparkling Minnie Mouse ears. There are photos of the girls squinting in the bright sun, wearing capris and shorts and sleeveless tees, reminding us of the absolutely perfect weather we enjoyed.
So many photos, so many memories.
These photos will be cherished for many years to come; they will be shown to friends and relatives and coworkers. A few will be framed and placed on table tops, bringing a smile each time they’re dusted, a smile that will spark a memory…
…of the magic.