Road trippin’–Disney style

Karen Taylor Squires

The happiest place on earth! Have you ever been? I went in October for my seventh trip. Disney has something for everyone and too much for any one person. It is breathtaking, thrilling, and exhausting all in one package. Seeing Mickey Mouse through the eyes of a 5-year-old and 20-month-old is an experience like no other.

We had six adults and two children, and thanks to the hard work of our leader in charge Kaitlyn Squires, we navigated the week with smiles and only a few tears. Yes, I did shed some tears; my blisters had blisters.

We had our first airplane flights for the grandkids, and they were champs. Landing in Orlando, we were greeted by our driver for the week. He was full of dad jokes. We arrived at the Riviera Resort and began the immersion in all things Disney. One quickly gets comfortable with being catered to at every turn. I definitely appreciate that the coffee was always hot, and the pastries were always fresh. Even if they cost more than Starbucks. YIKES

Each day, Kaitlyn had our days planned, lightning lanes booked, and food reservations at the ready. We hit Epcot first and ate/drank our way through the International Food Festival. Going to Epcot in October is my favorite time of the year. The festival is impressive, and the weather is sublime.

We rolled into Magic Kingdom on Tuesday. We were on a mission to meet as many princesses as possible. Not only did we meet several princesses, but we also rode some teacups, a magic carpet, Dumbo, and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The real party started at about 6 when the Not So Spooky Halloween Party began. So much candy, so many lights, the spooky parade, fireworks galore, and the Sanderson Sisters extravaganza brightened the dark sky. Did we see all of the fireworks? That would be a no because our youngest did not care for the booms. Did we see all of the spectacular parade—that would be a no too. Our girl had to wait until the parade started to decide a bathroom trip was needed.

We slept in on Wednesday; it was necessary—my feet–oh, my aching feet. We ate, swam, and relaxed the day away. Be assured by now, I am preparing for my most anticipated park of all, Hollywood Studios. The kids can have the princesses and Mickey; I came for Star Wars, Darth Vader, Tower of Terror, and my all-time favorite, The Rocking Roller Coaster. Our day in Hollywood did not start with my choice. It began at the Slinky Dog Ride. It was a bit thrilling for me. The five-year-old thought it was terrific. We spent time riding with Buzz, Woody, and the gang. Then, it was time for the grown-ups. Don’t get me wrong, the kids did the Disney Jr. Dance Party and saw Beauty and the Beast while the adults took turns riding and sightseeing. Vader was impressive, and I swooned just a bit. The Rocking Roller Coaster is still my favorite, and 5-year-old Mabrey thought the Tower of Terror was hilarious.

The last park we visited was Animal Kingdom. Amazical! (I made up that word). I loved the Safari and paid way too much money at Tusker House to have brunch with Mickey. Avatar rides were visually stunning, and the Everest roller coaster did not disappoint. The vibe of this park is much more suited to me. It is more laid back and green. Oh, how I love all of the plants in this park. By this time, we had all been in 11,000 pictures, and the children had had enough. There were rebellions when a camera came their way—we just had to laugh it off and move on. Let’s just say that Kaitlyn uploaded 317 pictures of 7 days. That was a quarter of the ones taken.

The flight home was uneventful, thank goodness. The trip home from the airport could have been more uneventful. (Someone got a ticket, and it was not me). Being home has been an adjustment. My feet have recovered; my pocketbook may never. The memories we shared will never be forgotten. I am thankful to have been a part of this trip with my family. I am thankful that Kaitlyn planned all of it. Much to my chagrin, however, I cannot find the guy to keep filling my coffee mug. I fear he does not exist in Coushatta. What a shame. There goes the magic.