The night before our last day, graduates descended upon the Magic Kingdom. The local high schools have some kind of grad night at Disney and the park stays open extra late for them. All of us were beyond tired and wanted to sleep in. However, I knew that those same graduates that were clumping up the park (why do teenagers stand in clumps?) wouldn't have the willpower to get up to be at the park until at least 10 am. I was determined to get the most out of our last day as possible and that meant getting up early.
This picture cracks me up.
Remember this same shot from the first day?
Ha ha ha ha ha!! It's not that we didn't want to go, we just wanted to wait a few hours. Once we got there, though, we were all glad we forced ourselves out of bed. Even though it was a Saturday, the crowds didn't show up very early. We took a minute to remind ourselves that we were IN DISNEYLAND and that this was our last day here for many years. That obviously means Fantasy Land.
We repeated all of the rides there and quickly got our energy back.
I never could choose a favorite ride. After every ride, I found myself saying, "Okay. That's the one. That is my new favorite ride."
In the middle of riding Pinocchio (for maybe the third or fourth time that week) it broke down. They turned on all the lights and off the fun music. The smallest's comment was, "Oh, darn! They turned off the magic!"
At one point, the big kids and dad wanted to ride some of the "scary" rides. I took the girls to Pixie Hollow. I didn't want to and threw a bit of an internal fit because it meant waiting in line. But, we were waiting anyhow so why not wait with a purpose? While in line, I reminded myself not to be a party-pooper and that this was for the children.
First we met Iridessa, the light fairy. She was sweet and beautiful. She took time to visit for a minute with each girl.
And then one of the best moments of our entire trip:
my eight year old said, quite matter-of-factly,
"See? I told you fairies were real!"
Yes, my darling. What a lovely thing that you get to believe in the sweetest imaginings of the human mind. That you live in a time, are from a family and live in a country that permits you to be a child; to develop a love for fantasy. Someday soon you will have to face the difficult realities of this world. This joy you find and nurture here in childhood will see you through many years--sometimes years marked by sadness and difficulty. This is a happy perk of childhood. (Fantasy, by the way, is one of my favorite ways to teach and learn lessons without the real-life pain and sacrifice.)
And it's fun to believe!
This was also the day we bought souvenirs. My current resident magician bought herself a wizard hat. Perfect.
The MotherShip with her Pods outside the gates of Sleeping Beauty's Castle.
A dream come true.
But, most of the family was satisfied with the time we had spent there. They were all ready for a break--all except three of us.
Okay, just two of us. The third didn't really understand what she was saying when she decided to stay with us. :)
But, she did get to meet Cinderella. That made it worth it.
We went back to the hotel for dinner, laundry and, I thought, laying down for a bit. The two oldest really wanted to go back to Disneyland for Fantasmic and Fireworks. I did not want to get off my bed, but their arguments were persuading. We went.
After five days in the park and children ranging from 3 to 13, we covered every square inch of the property. There was no ride we hadn't ridden, no show we hadn't seen. No matter. It was our last chance to just be there.
Fantasmic was better the second time. Without a stroller to push around or small kids to track, we were able to move fast and wind our way back to Main Street for the Fireworks. We sneaked into a corner just as the music began. It was fun and liberating to be there with just my big kids. It was our last moments in Disneyland. And then they played Baby Mine from Dumbo and I was done for. Tears streaked down my checks as I held my children close to me. Sometimes the older children won't let me hold them the way they used to, but they did that night. I think we all felt it.
We slowly strolled down Main Street, just taking it all in. Then we reached the gates. We didn't want to leave, but we knew it was time.
Goodbye, Disneyland. We won't be back for a long time, but we will think about you often. You were the reward to end all rewards.
Thank you, Walt, for sharing your dream.