Everything I Wanted to Know about Life, I Learned at Disney World
By James R. Warda
Sitting on a bench at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World, more than halfway to REM sleep.
It was just after midnight and Matthew, my 12-year-old, was riding the Goofy’s Barnstormer rollercoaster again. I had brought him to the park after a late dinner to take advantage of that night’s extended hours – and to spend some time alone with him. Unfortunately, I was wearing down, way down, victim to the long, hot Florida day.
As the coaster turned the final bend and headed back to the station, I saw Matthew waving and smiling. Then, he was running past me back to the ride’s entrance, asking as he ran if he could go “Again, just one more time!” and not waiting for an answer.
Yes, I’ve learned that “Again!” is a child’s favorite word, especially when it comes to candy, ice cream and carnivals – and, most especially, when it comes to Disney. They hop off the swirling, whirling rides and run straight from the Exit back to the Entrance. While the adults stagger out, looking for handholds, benches and excuses to leave.
Later, as the Magic Kingdom got closer to closing and so did my eyes, Matthew’s “one more time” turned into eight – until it was time to go. While walking back to the monorail, I asked Matthew what it would be like if the park never closed. His eyes lit up as he said, “I could ride all night!”
I want to remember how to be like that again.
Maybe Matthew will teach me.
And Walt, too.
Copyright 2010, James R. Warda. All rights reserved. James R. Warda, author of Where Are We Going So Fast?, is a Speaker, Writer and Workshop Presenter on finding meaning in our moments. He has written and spoken for Chicken Soup for the Soul and the Chicago Tribune.
We welcome James to the Disney4Dads family and look forward to many more stories like this to come. Be sure to comment above and give him your own welcome.