Finding magic outside the “Magic Kingdom”

Every few months or so, I mull over the idea of planning a family trip to Disney World. I go online, research the best hotels, compare vacation packages and express my interest in Disney to a chorus of responses from friends who are Disney vacation planners, or know people who are Disney vacation planners.

The process overwhelms me, as I am confronted with the reality of how difficult — and expensive — a Disney World trip can be for families, not to mention how hard visiting the Happiest Place On Earth is for anyone traveling outside a very narrow selection of dates.

So, I table my plans and think, maybe another time, all the while wondering if I am depriving my children of some magical experience they will only appreciate when they are young.

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It doesn’t help that my six-year-old has never been that into Disney or most other “fantasy.” I swear the kid was basically born an adult.

My younger son, however, loves princesses and make believe and all things magical.

He is four, which means soon, he too will have no interest in childhood fantasies.

I often worry I’m depriving him of the opportunity to have his dreams come true.

But, then I think about how magic can come from anywhere.

I am reminded simple joys can mean the world to a child.

On a family trip to Mystic, Conn., we decided to drive about 25 minutes away to watch the Connecticut Tigers, a minor-league affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.

We happened to go to the game on “Disney Night,” an event sponsored by a local travel agency.

Throughout the ballpark, guests had the opportunity to meet and take pictures with the likes of Princess Ana, Tiana and more. 

My four-year-old was smitten with every princess he saw at the ballpark, even the ones who were just kids dressed up as their favorite characters.

He was especially in awe of Princess Tiana, who stayed in character all while he pretended to be a frog and then her prince.

She might not have been a professional, Disney actress, but, for my son, she was Princess Tiana and she made his night magical.

Maybe one day we will make it to Disney World.

And, if we do, I am sure it will be wonderful.

But, for now, I am content knowing magic can be found all around us.

Magic can be found in a simple game of dress-up.

Magic can be found on a backyard adventure.

Magic can be found in the pages of a favorite book.

Magic can be found in laughter.

Magic can be found in bedtime snuggles.

Magic can be found in the everyday experiences of childhood, and in the way we parents get to bear witness to all its splendor.

What are some of your most magical moments with your children? Share them below.


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