Last summer, 2013, was my first trip back to Walt Disney World in over a decade. I made the trek with my parents, lovely wife, and our dear daughter. It was my little one’s first experience at Disney. It was day one–we were excited to make it to a park, to say the least. First up was Animal Kingdom. We marched through the gates and decided to meet near the animal exhibits at the front of the park. Immediately my daughter, 2 1/2 at the time, fell out of her stroller, skinning up her knees. We were afraid that would set the tone for the rest of the day–but were we ever wrong. We went about our day, enjoying the sights, sounds, and attractions; enjoying the happy smile and infectious laughter of a toddler at Disney. Then something magical happened–I was able to witness Disney Magic in action. We had lost track of time and were wandering back towards the front of the park and the exit when we ran into a mass of people. We turned left to avoid the roadblock, but quickly realized we were at the front of the viewing line for the parade. My daughter–hot, a little cranky, and riding on my shoulders at this point–continued to tug at me so we could leave. I convinced her to watch the parade. As we stood, I felt her move my head and yell, “Daddy! Daddy! Look!” I did as I was asked and turned my head. “It’s Mickey! It’s Mickey Mouse! Look, Daddy!” Then, we turn to face the iconic mouse. My daughter, completely overcome with excitement screams, “Mickey! Hi Mickey!” Mickey turns, looks directly at her, and waves. The next words out of my daughters mouth nearly brought me to tears: “Daddy! I saw him! I saw Mickey! He waved at me!” The parade passed and folks went about their business. We walked back to the front of the park and hopped a bus to our resort and on to Epcot for dinner. Nothing, though, could stop that little girl from talking about the moment she met Mickey–it’s something I won’t soon forget either. At that moment, I was both a child and a parent all in one. Thanks for reading.
– Michael York, 30, Springfield, MO