Most of you know me as the Disney Gal Grammy but long before there were grandchildren, and we all know how much I adore my four grandchildren, there were five of the best children that God could ever bless any mommy with. This week it is “the baby’s” birthday. Zack is going to be 17 years old on Saturday so this week, if you will allow a mommy’s small indulgence, is my way of saying how much I love him, and how proud of the incredible young man he has grown into. Now for my other four children who are reading this and right now are saying, “Why does he get to be in mom’s article? He gets everything! That’s so not fair !!” May I just take this moment to remind you that mommy wasn’t a Disney Gal on your last birthday, and your turn is coming!
It is said the more things change, the more they stay the same. This has never hit home so much as when I was looking through some of our old photos of Zack’s journey through life; it was and always has been all about Disney. Zack’s first trip to Disney was actually to WDW when for some reason I thought it was a great idea to travel with 37 students across country even though I had just found out I was pregnant with Zack. This was the trip where I discovered that no matter how you think you’ve planned and planned and then planned some more for anything and everything that could POSSIBLY happen when you travel with students-you’re wrong- ask my older son Jason about visiting the girl’s rooms on the floor below by way of the balcony. Thank you Jason for that little life lesson.
Now if I was a good mommy, all my pictures would be in albums with cute little captions all scrapbooked and meticulously bound and preserved for future generations but alas, I am not that mommy. I’m one of those regular old moms like many of you whose children’s lives are all out in the garage somewhere in cardboard boxes. So although Zack’s Disney adventures started when he was an infant and he hasn’t missed a year since he was born (just ask his sister Heather about taking him on Pirates or waiting in line to meet Winnie the Pooh) for the purposes of today we will pick this up in 2004 and the miracle of photo albums on the computer!
Through the years I’ve noticed certain patterns in what we visited, where we posed or what we did and I am certain that if you all look back through your Disney memories, you will find the same thing holds true. There were pictures of Zack on the famous “CALIFORNIA” letters that once existed until quite recently outside of Disney California Adventure Park. Once inside DCA, there was the annual picture on the backside of Grizzly Peak. Looking back on these and seeing how the little boy has now become a young man-pass the Kleenex please.
Zack’s second trip to WDW, the one that he could actually remember came in 2004 where we arranged for Zack to live out one of his dreams-to meet Cinderella! Is there a parent anywhere that has not shed a tear or two as they sit back and watch their child ask for that one special autograph? The smile that overtakes their face as they pose with the character they’ve only imagined up until then-could it ever get any better than that?
I am here to say emphatically “YES!” Just a few years ago, while we were at Disneyland at Nationals with Zack’s dance team, we arranged for the dance team to meet for a Character Breakfast at “Goofy’s Kitchen”. This was a tradition when the team first competed there in 2008 and has continued through the years. Imagine Zack’s delight when across the room he spotted his beloved Cinderella visiting the guests. We waited and held our breath for Cindy and Zack to once again to be reunited but by the time the royalty had made their way to our section, alas Cinderella was nowhere to be found! Zack tried not to show his disappointment but you could see it in his eyes. Therefore, I did what any of you would have done-I went to find out where his beloved Princess had gone. It seems Cinderella was up against her curfew and had left to return before her carriage turned back into a pumpkin. But through the magic of I’m sure multiple Disney Fairy Godmothers, Cinderella was located just as she was departing and upon hearing that a handsome young prince was awaiting her, she quickly returned to greet her prince and create was is to this day our favorite Disney memory.
In our house, it is all about being the master of the surprise. Whether it is waking up from a nap to find a stuffed Mickey Mouse with plane tickets attached to his ears leaving in just a few hours, to telling your kids that they are going shopping and pulling up in front of Disneyland (and not once did they think to question why it took 8 hours to get to the mall). So Zack, with this in mind-now that I have allowed the world to be a part of some of your most magical moments-mommy has a surprise for you! You know how you thought that for the second time in a year that I was leaving you behind as I went across country to WDW? Well if you check in your backpack, you will find in a small envelope in the bottom with a Mickey on the front and your Disney tickets inside! We are on our way next Wednesday where MNSSHP, The Tower of Terror 5K Family Fun Run and the Villain party await to help you create a completely new set of memories! Happy 17th Birthday Punkin! Mommy loves you to the sun, the moon, the stars, the galaxy, and back again and a little bit more!
Gayle is a Disney Gal that loves churros for breakfast, still gets giddy with delight at the first sight of the “Disneyland next exit sign”, loves the overwhelming emotions and memories that come with each and every return to the Happiest Place on Earth and dreams of one day being the Captain of the Jungle Boat. To learn more about Gayle, click here
Gayle is an educator, storyteller and lifelong learner with a passion for spontaneous travel. Here you’ll find practical tips and creative hacks with the hope of helping you to create your own extraordinary life experiences - without breaking the bank.