I just returned from a week-long trip to Disney World with my family. Before I go soak my sore feet and unpack the cheesy souvenirs and several loads of laundry, some quick thoughts on a true American tradition.
Disney with the kids was pure magic. My little one thought the sun sparkling on the water came from pixie dust, and she heard music when she brushed her teeth at night. My almost-nine-year-old who rolled her eyes at the thought of princesses made sure to get autographs from all of them. She didn’t let us leave the park till we stood in yet another line to get one last one from Pluto.
The magic of smart phones made it more convenient for this generation of parents as well. We used an app to check out wait times for popular rides, made meal reservations online, and pinged each other when we split up for different activities.
It was a lot different when I went as a kid. There was no Epcot then. No American Idol. No Pixar. No Fast Pass tickets. No cell phones. No cable TV. New technology and new media have changed the landscape entirely. But there was one tiny symbol that brought it all back for me, and it doesn’t involve mouse ears. When the kids begged for cotton candy, there was a bit of discussion from the other adults about its lack of nutritional value and whether it was worth the splurge. But it reminded me of my first trip to Disney. Decades later, who knows what tchotchkeys I’d come home with, but the memory of strolling past the magical castle with a stick of the pink fluffy stuff symbolizes a tradition I’m pretty sure my kids will continue.