Every Time I’ve Gone to Disney World, I’ve Cried

It’s true. When I was a child, my parents took me to Disney World several times. Generally, the crying on those times was from sheer exhaustion or from wanting a toy I couldn’t have. Several years ago, my parents took my entire family (my mother and father; my oldest brother and his wife; our middle brother, his wife, and their two children; and me) to Disney World for Christmas.

As the only unattached member of the group (this was pre-Little Jedi), I enjoyed a certain amount of freedom and experienced the parks in entirely new ways; I was also working on a degree in British children’s literature at the time, and the Disney interpretations of European tales, the commercialization and adaptations, had a whole new meaning. Things were different through my adult, literature-major eyes.

One night, the entire family was to go to a Christmas vigil; Gary Sinese (one of my father’s favorite actors) would be narrating the Christmas story, and there would be a mass choir performing Christmas carols. For my religious, happy-ending-loving father, quality-time-wanting father, this was the pinnacle of our trip. But my nephew lost the sticker that would allow him entrance to the performance, and the Disney workers would not let him into the amphitheater to sit down. My father pealed the sticker from his shirt, put it on the nephew, and watched the show from the back of the theater. I watched the performance with tears in my eyes, not because of the what was happening, but because of the sacrifice my father had made.

Most recently, in fact just two weeks ago, I cried at Disney World because I saw the light in the Little Jedi’s eyes as he sat atop my boyfriend’s shoulders, mouth agape at Cinderella’s castle lit up at night, fireworks behind it, people in costumes all around, with my mother, father, and myself standing next to them. In that moment I felt the familiar Disney-World-cry coming, and I let a tear or two fall, but this time it was sheer joy.

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