I typically post every Tuesday but this week I am making an exception since today, July 7th is my Dad’s birthday and I thought I would share my very special Disney story with you on this day.
Disney vacations were not something I grew up with. My dad hated to travel (a result of his own traumatic childhood experience) and so I didn’t discover the magic of Disney until I met my husband. Soon we were bringing my parents along on our Disney vacations and my dad completely fell in love with everything Disney World represented. Sadly in 2004 he was diagnosed with cancer and we lost an amazing man in November the same year. My family was scheduled to go to Disney World in early December. During his last weeks, he knew the situation and told me it was important that we didn’t cancel our trip. He wanted us to be happy and said we should think of him while we were there. I asked him to name a specific favorite place that when we passed by, we could think of him. He said “The Pirates of the Caribbean when you see the dog with the keyring in front of the jail cell.” Needless to say, that trip to Disney World only two weeks after my dad’s passing was a very emotional one for me. Everything reminded me of him and I completely felt his spirit with us every step of the way. Soon we were off to Magic Kingdom and I found myself in front of Pirates of the Caribbean. It was quite a bittersweet walk as we made our way through the queue to board our boat and of course the tears were flowing as the ride proceeded as I thought of my dad and how much we both loved this ride. Then we approached the jail cell and as if my dad’s spirit was totally in sync with Disney magic, when I was the absolute closest to the dog, our boat just stopped. There were no boats clogged ahead of us. We simply stopped for a solid 20 to 30 seconds with the dog holding the keys directly in front of me. Thank goodness I had my husband and kids around me to witness this otherwise I would have come away questioning if this was all in my head. The next two visits to Disney World brought the same thing, my boat would stop (although not for as long) while I was in front of the dog. Then the ride was reimagined to include Captain Jack Sparrow and other features from the movie and after that, my boat didn’t stop there anymore. BUT, it did reopen on July 7th, my dad’s birthday!
Disney World is a special place. The magic begins with the experience of loved ones laughing and playing together the moment your Disney vacation begins. Amazing and magical things will happen with every visit, you just have to let the magic come to you. This is what makes it the happiest place on earth.