Tuesday, September 4, 2012
How to help your kids learn to give back!
Every time my family makes the trip to Walt Disney World our first must do is visit the magic Kingdom. Upon entering of course we always are in awe of Cinderella Castle. The castle is normally the first sight that catches people's eyes. However for me, the first thing that catches my eyes are the balloons! There is just something about seeing all of those balloons and their handlers up and down Main St. that takes my breath away. It brings me back to being a kid!
What is it about a balloon that makes a kid go crazy? Have you ever noticed the look on a child's face when they get a balloon? For my son it's like Christmas morning, he jumps up and down, screaming "Balloon! Balloon!" It seems to adults to be such a simple and sometimes silly thing these balloons; but to a child it is pure magic!
I have always wanted to purchase one of these balloons, but I think my family thought it would look silly if a 20 something girl was skipping down Main St. towards her castle (O.K. it's not REALLY my castle but a princess can dream), holding a giant Mickey balloon! My husband would have just rolled his eyes and quietly thought to himself..."Did I marry a child?!" So instead of skipping down Main St. with a balloon, I never bought one and just skipped with my Mickey ears on.
On this last trip in June however, my luck changed! As soon as we entered the park my son started yelling "Balloon! Balloon!" BINGO...now how can you tell an almost 2 year old no? I told my husband this time we are buying that balloon. He and his mother said but "it's a waste...you can't take it on the plane with you." I however had another idea. After that happy little face convinced Grandma to shell out $10 for the balloon my son (and I) were happier than can be. John carried that balloon around with us our entire trip. it was great to tie on to the handle of our stroller, we could find it easily after a ride or show among the masses of strollers. It served as a great distraction during diaper changes. John loved that balloon so much we took it to animal Kingdom where it went to balloon daycare for the day while we enjoyed the park (balloons are not allowed in Animal Kingdom for the safety of the animals.) As our trip sadly came to an end, I knew that this balloon was sure to keep on giving.
Right as we were walking through Pop Century's hotel lobby I was on the lookout. I was looking for a family with a child who had just arrived to start their trip. I spotted a boy about 8 years old. He and his mom were sitting along the wall with all of their luggage. The boy was so excited and was extremely well behaved! My son and I approached the family and I asked if they had just arrived. The mother said yes and the son starting talking about how he couldn't wait to meet Mickey. I asked him if he had ever been to Disney before and he said no. This was the perfect match! I told the mom and the boy the story about the balloon and how it was my son's most prized souvenir (besides his new Minne Mouse). I explained that we couldn't take our Mickey balloon on the plane trip back and that we didn't want it to go to waste. I asked the boy if he would like this balloon and my gosh did his eyes just light up and sparkle! I told him that he could have this balloon on 2 conditions. The first is that he had to take extra special care of it...of course he agreed. The second condition was that if the balloon was still inflated when it was his time to depart, he had to find another child to give the balloon to! The boy said "I promise!"
At this point I asked my son to "share" his balloon with the boy and he handed it over, waved goodbye, and off we were to our motorcoach. As we were leaving I heard the boy telling his mom that dreams do come true and one last time he yelled down the lobby "Thank you!" My son is too young to know right now that he just gave back and helped to make a kid's day, but we will keep teaching him that small things make a big difference.
Disney is a place where magic happens. These magical moments are not just made possible by the amazing cast, crew, and imagineers that work so very hard to allow all of us to have the time of our lives. These magical moments are also made possible by all of us! It is when we meet a family and our kids are dancing together during the "Move it, Shake it, Celebrate it" parade, it is when we stop to let a wheel chair pass us by, or squeeze in like sardines so another family can join us to watch the "Main Street Electrical Parade." It is in the giving and receiving of smiles. It is in passing off a balloon that would have gone to waste to another child. Watching his or her eyes sparkle with a little gift makes you feel like Tinkerbell. Sprinkling a little pixie dust to start off a family's vacation is just what Walt must have imagined. You have the power to create magic and memories.
From that moment on I vowed that each and every trip we take we will buy a balloon or two...even when I am 98 and my great grandkids are pushing me down the middle of Main St. I will stop for that balloon, carry it with pride, and I will create a little bit of magic as I leave and hand off this balloon to a new child. Please help me and my family to keep creating magic at Disney!
How does your family give back? How do you help to create magic while at Disney?
Please comment and let me know! Share your ideas with my friends...the readers!