Friday, November 20, 2009

A Memorable Day at Disney

I don't know what was different about today...but I still get emotional thinking about it. We took a family day to Disney. Our passes expire on Dec. 15, so I am beginning the mourning process already.

We started the morning at Hollywood Studios and got to ride Toy Story Mania (Donny and my favorite) twice! I even beat Donny (for the first time ever) scoring my all-time high of 194,200. After Hollywood Studios, we headed to Magic Kingdom. I wanted to see a few afternoon shows, so we decided to skip naps and stay most of the day.

We got lots of character pics that I had been wanting...Minnie, Tigger and Eeyore, and Peter Pan and Wendy. We even got to see Tiana, the new Disney princess. She is gorgeous. I love her gown. We also took some Christmas photos for the Christmas card this year, so it was a full day.

The moment that was so moving came during a parade that we have seen numerous times. In the Magic Kingdom, they do a parade called "Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It Street Party." The parade goes down Main Street and stops in front of the castle. It is a favorite for my kids...especially Millie. The special thing about this parade is that the characters get in the streets and let the kids dance with them. And Millie LOVES to dance with them. She has no fear and tries to follow every move just right. Today she had on tennis shoes and a little dress, and I felt like I was watching a miniature version of her (at 2 1/2) for when she is 15 and trying out for cheerleading (yikes!).

We always stand where Woody and Jessie (from Toy Story) stop so that Millie can dance with Jessie. Like I said, we have done this a lot...three times in the last month...and today I truly wondered if Jessie recognized Millie. Jessie seemed to give Millie such special treatment. I know it's Disney, and everything feels special...but I know Disney fairly well...and this was different. Every time the characters went to dance with the kids, Jessie grabbed Millie's hand. Jessie even knelt down for me to snap a pic with her and Millie...and they never do that in the parade. Millie got to walk along the street holding Jessie's hand. Then, as Jessie was getting back on her float when the show was over, she kept "eye contact" (as much as you can with a big plastic face) with Millie the whole time...waving straight at her and blowing her kisses. The parade even makes a loop around the castle courtyard, and when she came back around, Jessie still honed in on Millie. As the characters were leaving, I mouthed the words "Thank You" to Jessie, and she nodded. I knew we had just shared something special in the gift of time and attention that she gave to Millie...and to me.

I don't know what it was exactly, but I got so choked up seeing my little girl getting such star attention from one of the of her favorite characters. I almost felt bad for the other kids who wanted to dance with Jessie, because Jessie kept going back to Millie. It was just one of those special times when you get singled out and are made to feel more special than you would ever dream.

Even though it was Millie getting all the attention, I felt so special through her. There is something about being chosen. There is something about being picked out and given special attention. I know Millie will probably forget this experience...but I'm sure I won't. Maybe it's just been a while since I've felt so special like that...but I know that's how God sees me. In the crowds of people, my God knows my name and wants me to know him. Disney does hold a special place in my heart...probably too special sometimes...but today, God used that place and Millie's experience to show me something of himself. As my heart leapt over my daughter being given a second glance by some college-aged girl dressed up as a fictional cowgirl in plastic and polyester, I pray my heart will leap knowing my God has chosen me...and calls me his.

It was a special day in a lot of characters, our favorite rides...we even ran into a friend from church there. As a Disney fanatic, I would definitely say it was magical...but it ran a little deeper than that today. Can't believe I'm writing this...but the tender care from a character to my Millie in the midst of the spectacle of all things Disney reminded me today of the tender care and love of my Heavenly Father...who thinks I am so special and uniquely his. We have been talking with Hunter lately about heaven. He asks about it quite a bit. I look forward to taking the hand of my heavenly father one day in heaven and dancing in the streets in a way that I can't even imagine...a small glimpse of that today was found on the streets of the Magic Kingdom...and I am forever thankful.

Millie, you are my special little girl. My spunky little dancing machine. Today it thrilled your mommy's heart to see you dance with Jessie and to have her give you so much attention and treat you in such a special if you girls are best friends. My prayer is that you will always feel loved and special by your mommy, daddy, and brother...and that one day you will be thrilled to know you are special to God. You are. Even more special than the experience of a wonderful day at Disney is the experience of an eternity with God...who loves you more than we can possibly know or experience. For now, I pray my love will be a small taste of the love of God in your life...and that you will come to know his love as you grow into a lovely little lady and young woman. I love you, sweetheart.

Minnie and the girls at Hollywood Studios

Getting ready for Toy Story Mania

Family pic after Toy Story Mania...where everything is larger than life!

Family shot with Donald...but Daddy is still our favorite Donald!!!

Peter Pan and Wendy...a favorite of our kids.
We have never seen them before in the park.

Jessie waving good-bye to Millie after the parade.