This is a fairytale of sorts that is based on a true story. Two children from completely different backgrounds and walks of life recently visited Disney World for the very first time. The first child, Emily comes from a very well to do family and was lucky enough to stay at the Grand Floridian with her family for their first Disney vacation. Emily's family was also on the dining plan. The second child, Annie comes from a very hard working larger family who had saved for over 5 years to come to Disney World for the very first time. Annie and her family stayed at the All Star Music Value Resort in a family suite. They could not afford the dining plan. They drove over 12 hours to get to Disney World. Emily's family flew first class. As you can see, these children come from very different backgrounds as many of us do.
Emily's Mom is a stay at home and spent months planning their Disney vacation down to each meal where they would eat, etc. Annie's Mom didn't have Internet or time to plan that much because she was busy working 50+ hours per week. Both families were able to visit all four of the Disney theme parks.
Emily's Mom booked her an appointment at the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique for a princess makeover and she was lucky enough to have dinner reservations at Cinderella's Royal Table. They also dined at many other very nice restaurants each night. Annie's Mom could not afford for the children to visit the BBB but she brought each child a princess costume before their vacation at Walmart and surprised each child. She also painted their nails in their hotel room and did their hair special. Annie's family was unable to eat dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table however they were able to meet the princesses at the princess meetngreet in Magic Kingdom.
After the Disney vacation came to an end and each child was back home their parents asked them what their favorite memory was from the vacation. Emily told her parents her favorite memory was riding the Magic Carpets of Aladdin with her Dad whom she does not spend much time with at home because he is always busy working. She also said that her favorite souvenir was surprisingly not the $100+ princess costume and accessories her parents purchased for her at Castle Couture nor the many stuffed animals but it was a simple pair of earrings that she had picked out that cost less than $10.
Annie's parents asked her what her favorite memory was from their Disney vacation and she replied "everything". She said there was just too much to name, but what she loved most of all was playing in the pool at the resort with her Mom and Dad and sisters. Annie collected pressed pennies from the different theme parks and that was what she was most proud of.
Isn't it a real eye opener to step back and realize that these children, some of whom may only visit Disney World once in a lifetime really don't even focus on or need all of the 'extras' that cost so much money, they simply look back on their time spent with their families as their greatest Disney vacation memories. So next time you are planning and planning and researching and budgeting just remember, it's not about the stuff you buy your children or the most expensive resorts you stay at or the places you eat but it is about spending quality time them and making memories together as a family. Take time to relax and enjoy the little things in life.