“I won! I won!” my mother exclaimed into the phone.
“Won what?” I asked.
“I won the contest,” she said.
“What contest?” I replied.
“Oh I know I told you about it. I entered and then they called me and asked me a lot of questions and I had a feeling I had won and I did!”
“What contest?” I repeated.
“Well you obviously don’t listen to a thing I say. I entered the contest to go to Disneyworld sponsored by Popsicle. I know I told you. I sent in tons of entry forms. And then they called about two weeks ago with lots of questions and asked for quotes about why I eat Popsicles. So I got to thinking that I must be the winner. And sure enough they called again today to say I won. Tickets for four, travel and hotel included. We are going in August. Want to come along?”
“Congratulations! That’s great. Sure we’ll come with you. This will be fun!”
So began our adventure of taking a trip to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot years ago, before we had our children. I had just completed my Masters, so it was a fun way to celebrate. And it was an adventure – any outing with my parents always was. They were enthusiastic about everything and always had their own way of doing things.
When we arrived at the Orlando airport, we were met by a limo to take us to the hotel. My mother sized up the tall dark driver and his English accent, and, never missing an opportunity to start a conversation and possibly make a new friend she asked, “What island are you from?”
“Egypt,” he answered with a smile.
We reached the hotel before check-in time so they stored our luggage for us downstairs. When we did get to our rooms, my mother discovered that her shoe bag was missing. She proceeded to call and quiz the hotel desk clerk about retrieving her missing bag from the hotel storage room. A thorough search turned up nothing there, and my mother became a little upset. How could she spend five days here with only one pair of shoes?
After a slightly heated discussion back and forth it was determined that we had left that bag at the airport. My dad said it was easy to see why because my mother, a last minute packer, had brought eight different bags, and so it was hard to keep up with them all. (Yes, eight bags. Travel was less restricted back then.) The hotel retrieved the bag for her and we turned our attention to planning our days at the parks.
When we walked through the gates at the Magic Kingdom, we gawked just like any other first time visitors. We walked up Main Street and marveled at the perfection and cheerfulness of the surroundings. Animated movie characters had come to life and greeted us and the thousands of other tourists. We celebrated our good fortune by attempting to soak in every single detail along the way.
My husband and I were about twenty-five years old at the time, not necessarily interested in the same attractions as my parents, so we soon decided that we would all enjoy this a lot more if we split up. I felt a little guilty about doing this, since we were only there because of them, but we agreed on a meeting time and place and then we went our separate ways. Our afternoon was spent enjoying the rides and taking in the whole atmosphere of the park. When we met back with my parents, we were anxious to hear how their time had been spent.
“Wonderful, just wonderful!” beamed my mother. “We have had a great day!”
“Except for the parade,” added my dad.
“Well that was funny. But I wasn’t going to tell them about it,” mom replied.
“What parade?” I asked. “What happened?”
“We were just standing on the corner of a sidewalk, trying to decide where to go next, when we heard a marching band. You know there is something going on around here all the time. So we stood right where we were and we had the perfect spot to see all the characters and musicians march right in front of us. It was wonderful!”
“So what went wrong?” my husband asked.
“Well, we waited for all the hubbub to pass by and we forgot all about the sidewalk curb. So when we took our first step I fell right down on the street. And your daddy was holding my hand so he fell down too, and landed right on top of me.”
“Oh, goodness, did it hurt?” I asked.
“Just our pride,” my dad answered.
“Of course, people rushed over to help us up. Wasn’t that nice?” Mom added.
“Help YOU up,” said Dad. “They just kinda rolled me over to get me out of the way to help you,” he explained. “Nevermind about me. I got up all by myself.”
“Maybe they thought you had knocked me down,” said Mom with a smile.
My husband and I looked at each other and smiled as well. We knew we had been right that the best way to enjoy the rest of the trip was to venture off in sets of two, setting times and places to meet and share stories.
That’s just what we did, and a wonderful time was had by all.