Epcot and Magic Kingdom with Friends

July 25, 2017

Looking back on spending a day at the Disney parks a couple of weeks ago with two dear people in my life fills me with incredible gratitude. It was a magical day filled with tons of laughter, constant talking about life, hilarious moments, and the precious gift of spending time with those whom I am honored to have in my life.
The day started bright and early and after our incredibly fun and delicious evening at Il Mulino Restaurant (you can read about it HERE) I admit that I was a bit sleepy. Hahaha. Our plan of leaving "really early" was a bit delayed by me and I so appreciated the grace from these people. After we got going, we were thrilled though to see that there wasn't much traffic and it was easy to navigate to the parks without to many crowds. 

We decided to park at Magic Kingdom (since we were going to finish our day there watching the new firework show) and took the monorail over to Epcot to start our day. As we road the monorail into the park and circled a bit of Epcot we could see the early morning activities were starting. 
Every time that I step back onto the Disney properties I am hit with the beautiful nostalgia and charm that is unique to Disney. There is a classy and timeless sense of consistency that draws a child and adult alike into a different world that gently reminds us to dream big in our lives. 

We started our day in the future world in Epcot (future world opened a couple of hours before the world showcase on this day) and had fun riding in spaceship earth, visiting the ride behind the land, and then riding Soarin. Have y'all been on Soarin recently? I hadn't done the ride in years and they have changed some of the pictures and it was incredible to "soar" over different parts of the world. 
After spending a few more minutes in future world and riding Nemo, we made a slight detour in our plans so that I could connect with Anna, a former student from my teaching days in Georgia. Anna was working in Magic Kingdom and so we headed over to there on the monorail. I am not sure how I didn't grab a picture with her, but it was such an incredible blessing to get to spend a few moments with her and give that beautiful lady a huge hug. We also had the opportunity to meet a couple of princesses, which as I am sure y'all know, I thought was adorable. *smiles* After this we snapped a few pictures before the three of us decided to head to Animal Kingdom for the afternoon.
As we walked down main street on the way to the bus transportation I admit that I had tears. I felt that as I heard all of the happy music, was laughing with these dear ones that are in my life, and seeing Anna I felt a weird juxtaposition. I was incredibly grateful at the recent good news of how much I am healing and yet seeing Anna reminded me of how much had been lost and robbed during this season with Lyme. 

When I left teaching Anna's class were in their sophomore year of high school and were incredibly dear to my little heart and this trip provided the opportunity to see a couple of my former students from that class. As I looked at them now on this trip high school had passed and they were about to complete college. Life in all of its mysteries and time had continued for all of us. I was so thrilled that both Anna and Robert took time out of their lives to spend a few moments with a former teacher and honestly the whole thing just overwhelmed me. It is hard to put into words, and I can't tell you how much I appreciated Ali and Paul's incredible understanding and compassion as tears fell for a little bit as we waited for the bus to Animal Kingdom.
And perhaps... just perhaps... that is the beautiful thing about visiting Disney. It removes you from your life for a time- no matter how brief (in this case one day) and gives you a bit of magic and laughter to take back. It gives a reminder that dreams can come true. It reminds you that there is a great big world beyond the difficult circumstances that you are imagining. It reminds you to keep dreaming big. All beautiful things that my little heart needed... and experiencing it with gracious and kind people who never rushed me, took extra time to rest again and again throughout the day, and continuously surrounded me with love was the most beautiful gift of all. And perhaps... that is the greatest take away from the day... that love and grace are the biggest miracles... reminding us to constantly dream.
I truly couldn't have asked for a more perfect start to the day at Epcot and seeing the Magic Kingdom briefly with these dear ones. I can't wait to share more with y'all about the rest of the day in the next few days!! 

** A HUGE thank you to Walt Disney World for the complimentary tickets to enjoy the parks for the day. You truly gave me a beautiful gift with friends that I will treasure forever!! All opinions are my own.**

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