Never Grow Up

Ever been to Disney World? If not, then I seriously recommend and encourage you to do so. I have been four times in my lifetime, and all four trips have been fun-filled and simply magical. (I know that’s cheesy, but it’s so true.) Lots of people may consider Disney stuff “just for kids,” but I believe Disney is for everyone. Besides, who doesn’t enjoy letting their inner child shine for a bit? The last trip to Disney World I made with my family, I was 20 years old and my younger sister was 17, but we acted like we were 6-year-old children.

Before we even arrived at Disney, my sister and I were so excited we could barely keep ourselves from bouncing off the walls. We decided to bring as many Disney stuffed animals as we could, or more accurately, as many as our parents would allow in the car. The road trip was about 18 hours with a couple of rests in between, but we started to listen to more and more Disney music the closer we got to Orlando. I’m not talking about only the princess songs like “A Whole New World” and “I See the Light.” I’m talking about soundtracks to all Disney movies from “April Showers” in Bambi to the overture of Monsters Inc. (My whole family is really into all things Disney.) You’d think we would have gotten tired of it all, but we definitely did not. Each song only amped us up more for the experience to come.

There were so many things to do at the parks. Each park is so unique and incredible. So many shows to see, coasters to ride, games to play, foods to eat, and characters to meet. My family and I stayed for a week and didn’t have the chance to do everything that we wanted to do. But the activities we did do were amazing.

Magic Kingdom was one of the first parks I went to. Of all of the different rides here, my favorites were the Mountains: Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, and Splash Mountain. Don’t let the names fool you; these rides are very different. Space Mountain is an indoor roller coaster that is supposed to look like you’re whizzing through outer space. I saw stars inside the Mountain and after riding it. Thunder Mountain is a tamer coaster that’s outside and made to look like an old Western mining site, so there are lots of explosions. My sister and I would take turns squashing each other in the one big coaster seat by leaning dramatically on the larger curves and turns. Splash Mountain is the wettest ride in Magic Kingdom, as implied by the name. Most of it is pretty relaxing except for the 50 foot drop at a near 90 degree angle. My family decided to ride this one at the hottest point of the day, so luckily we were quite cool for the rest of the time we spent in the park.

But not everything is about the rides. My sister and I loved meeting different characters from our favorite shows. My sister had the opportunity to meet and chat with Peter Pan. Both of them were very uppity in their conversation, and I think my sister may as well have been flying after that interaction she was so happy. I think meeting Chewbacca and getting a hug from him was my favorite part of the entire trip. (I am a HUGE Star Wars fan, so I was excited to see any of the characters.) I had no idea what he was saying, but I am sure it was nothing but polite and complimentary. We even had a few run-ins with some storm troopers who were “punishing” rebel sympathizers, meaning they would find people who were wearing anything to do with the rebel alliance (symbols, pictures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi robes, etc.), then put them in a random corner, and walk away. It was quite a hilarious sight to see.

I could rave on and on about what I saw at Disney World. I could tell of how I oohed and awed over the fireworks every night, how my sister and I tried on every single silly hat we could find in the gift shops, how we also almost made ourselves sick in the spinning tea cup ride, or how I teared up when we had to leave to go home. I have so many fond memories from these child-like experiences with my family. And I think that is because at Disney World, I’m allowed to be a little kid again.

Written by Taylor C.

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We are Not in Kansas Anymore

After hearing my phone quietly buzz next to my ear, I jumped out of bed and sprinted into the living room. I would finally be able to check off one of the most important items on my bucket list: a venture to Canada. Because my family knew how much I wanted to go see my cousin, they surprised me with a trip to Canada for my high school graduation.

I hurriedly hopped into my car and waited for my parents to follow. When my family and I arrived at the airport, I had butterflies in my stomach. I was ecstatic and zoomed through the lines at security. After 6 hours in the airplane, I sluggishly walked through the airport waiting for our luggage to arrive. Although I was exhausted, I heard an announcement over the intercom that immediately piqued my interest. A pleasant, calming voice welcomed all travelers to the Canadian airport. At that moment, I realized that I had finally arrived. I had finally achieved a goal that I had patiently waited for so long. My energy was revived, and I quickly walked throughout the airport with a grin across my entire face.

When I walked outside, the clean, crisp, Canadian air hit my face. I slowly took a breath and swiveled my head around to take in the scenery. I was not used to the view that encompassed me. The golden and pink sunset drew attention to the jagged mountains in the distance. The aroma of baby’s breath flowers filled the air. This was it. I had made it. I was not in Kansas anymore.

My family and I hopped into the rental car and took off to the hotel. On the way, I glanced to my left and saw a beautiful lake that quenched my fatigue. My mouth dropped in amazement at the beauty that surrounded me. After a good night’s rest, my family journeyed to my cousin’s house where I got to see her two children, who had grown tremendously since I had seen them last. I went out to eat with my family and took my little cousins to a park nearby. After a few hours of running around, I went back to the hotel where I anticipated the final day.

The last day was probably the most exciting for me because I participated in the celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. In the morning, my mother and I rented a paddle-boat and journeyed out onto the lake. While I was paddling, I became completely aware of a creative God who spoke all of this beauty into existence with a breath. With the help of the wind, my mother and I landed on the shore again and walked to the room to prepare for the town parade in which my cousin was participating. Afterwards, my family journeyed to her house where her husband fired up the grill and prepared a mouth-watering feast. The family sat on their balcony talking until the sun slowly faded. Then, over the still waters of the lake, I saw a glimmer of light shoot into the air, followed by a burst of beautiful colors. What a lovely night! I was filled with awe as well as sadness. The trip I had anticipated throughout my life was finished; however, the memories are ever present. When life gets stressful, I simply think back to the crisp air, jagged mountains, and calm lake. In those moments, the chaos ceases, and I feel at peace.

Written by Trisha