Earlier this month I shared some of the lessons I learned about my children thanks to the vacations we’ve spent in Disney Parks. It shouldn’t be too surprising that time in a location as magical as Walt Disney World Resort would result in getting to know my children better and seeing them in a magical new light. What I didn’t expect, however, was that turning my days over to Disney might also teach me a bit about myself.
Last weekend I packed up my family and we headed to Port Canaveral to board the re-imagined Disney Magic for three nights. I was ready for some fun in the sun, and quite frankly, a couple tech-free days. As someone who doesn’t “cruise,” time on a ship also provided me with a little personal insight. Here are the 7 things I learned about myself on a Disney Cruise:
1. I’m that person who screams when they see a fish while snorkeling: Go ahead. Laugh. I understand. I grew up spending summers at a lake where it was not at all uncommon for tiny blue gills to nibble at my legs while I swam. It turns out, however, that when my face is in the water and I’ve just covered a good 50 feet without so much as a hermit crab passing by, a huge tropical fish appearing several inches below me results in a squeal I did not know I had in me. My guess is that I’m not the only Disney guest to emit this sound based on the fact that the fish carried on with business as usual.
2. I trust my children: I am an overprotective mother with a fear of children drowning. You put me on a ship with my kids, and it’s potentially a recipe for disaster. Maybe it was the warm Caribbean air coming on the heels of single digit temperatures at home. Maybe it was the realization that my oldest child is approaching her final days in the young child demographic. Or maybe it’s just that my kids are, well, great kids. But I found myself saying yes to questions like, “Can I go on the water slide while you and dad rest here by the pool?” It was magical!
3. I trust other people with my children: I try to convince myself that my kids enjoy time with me, and I honestly believe that they generally do. But do you know who they enjoy time with more? Disney Cast Members. The plan from the moment the trip was booked was for my children to spend one evening in the on-board kids’ clubs, the Oceaneer Lab and the Oceaneer Club. Instead we gave them two afternoons and an evening, knowing that they were in amazing hands. Want to know how that felt? Magical again!
4. I believe that an ice cream cone counts as lunch: We have a term in my house to describe unhealthy foods – “sometimes food.” This category includes treats like candy and cookies, cake and ice cream, and rarely makes an appearance in our home. So imagine my shock when I walked my daughter to the all-you-can-eat soft serve ice cream on deck 9 of the Disney Magic, handed her a cone, and said choose your lunch. In case you’re wondering, she chose chocolate-banana twist.
5. I prefer to watch movies while swimming: I have some pretty specific entertainment preferences. For example, I enjoy reading a book while soaking in a bubble bath. I typically consume my nightly reality television fix while lying in bed leaning back on a stack of pillows. Thanks to the giant screen on the Disney Magic funnel – yes, right next to one of the pools – I’ve now discovered that movies are best watched while swimming. Who knew?
6. I don’t really believe sunrises are evil: For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated waking up early. The truth is that the only reason I have to justify a pre-dawn wake up is to catch a flight to Disney Parks. A funny thing happened while I was on the Disney Magic. I intentionally woke up in time to stumble past my sleeping children and out onto the veranda to watch the sun rising over the blue of the ocean.
7. I don’t need to be in Disney Parks to enjoy Disney: I used to have a one-track Disney mind. I grew up visiting Walt Disney World Resort with my family, and the World was the first Disney place I took my own children. Last year I allowed myself to give in a bit and embrace Disneyland Resort as a viable Disney vacation location. While sailing on the Disney Magic, I realized that Disney is Disney is Disney. My family had the same amazing experience on a ship sailing on the ocean as we do in Disney Parks. I finally understood that being the same while different can be just as magical as returning to the same resort time and time again. Walt Disney World will always be my first love, but it’s time to love outside the park, I mean, box, as well.
You may also want to check out 7 Reasons a Disney Cruise is a Romantic Getaway!
I was able to write this post due to my family’s time on the Disney Magic as guests of Disney Cruise Line. All opinions and personal insights are my own. And for those of you wondering, I chose chocolate-banana twist as well.