mcdisney family vaca

About this time last year, we [the McMahone side of our extended family] decided we were going to do it. We were finally going to plan our once-every-two-decades Disney vacation. We started in January and planned and researched and made reservations and shopped and packed and made reference guides and printed maps and obsessed over the gazillion WDW blogs out there with more tips than you could read in a very long lifetime. Which is probably why my sister and I ran with excited flailing towards one another right in front of Bay Lake Tower.

I hadn't been since I was seven years old [and probably won't go again for another 20 years so that my legs can be fully recovered], and I didn't really know what to expect. I'd say I embraced it: Cinderella's castle gave me chills, and I felt no shame talking to animatronic characters. And expected a response. I also may have teared up a little during Enchanted Tales with Belle. I mean...it's Belle.  

Even though three of us ended up at the Disney ready clinic throughout the week [praise Jesus for steroid shots and z-packs], we'll remember the amazing fireworks and parades, Audrey completely warming up to characters [it was a Christmas miracle], our bonding moment with the Seven Dwarfs, and a week's worth of memorable family dinners in a 50's kitchen, a Norwegian castle, an African marketplace, a beautiful greenhouse, a Victorian hotel, and the main table in the ballroom at the Beast's castle [right next to the Christmas tree]. 

With all that research, we've got a wealth of now useless tips to share [in .pdf form], but the one I'd say is the most important is to have ridiculously adorable matching t-shirts. We are not a matching t-shirt family. We don't participate. But at Disney, the happiest place on earth, you are practically worshipped for a good family tee. We originally planned to wear them on a shorter day with less photo ops and ended up washing and wearing them two more times. The McDisneys were a hit. 

The one thing that I didn't realize I would love so much is how Disney World is a creative-minded person's dream. There is nothing not designed with purpose: trashcans, drinking straws, light posts, everything. Walt was a dreamer. And those that continue his legacy are too. They encourage details and quality and creativity. Sometimes my head wanted to explode. 

It was a wonderful, hilarious, exhausting, memorable trip. Maybe we'll do it again in another fifteen years. Boudin said we're never leaving for that long again. 

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