Sami and I decided to surprise the kids with a quick trip to Disney right before they returned to school from Christmas break. Well, I guess it’s a little bit longer of a story than that – Disney’s Hollywood Studios is about to start a massive amount of construction to build Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land, and with those expansions, one of the casualties was the Osbourne Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Every year for the last 20 years, Disney has put up a display of Christmas lights originally done by a man named Jennings Osbourne who lived in Arkansas. Osbourne’s display got to be too much for his home, or specifically, his neighbors, so they ended up at Disney. They were originally put up on Residential Street, which was part of the Backlot Tour, but then were moved to the Streets of America. I had never seen them and mentioned to Sami how much I wish I had before they were gone forever. So he suggested a quick 3-day trip to do just that. You don’t have to tell me twice! I had everything booked in less than 2 hours – flights, hotel, Magic Bands ordered, Magical Express scheduled, fast passes booked.
We told Noah about the trip and asked him if we should tell Maya. He said no, so we didn’t tell her about it. I’m not the best at keeping secrets about things that are so exciting to me, but since we literally planned this one 16 days before our trip, it made it a little bit easier. We told her that Mommy had a conference in Washington and wanted everyone to come along on the trip. She didn’t know exactly what that meant, but she was happy to go. We even got the agents at Southwest to play along with us – including when we boarded the flight! Because of Noah’s wheelchair, we are able to pre-board, so they sent us down the jetway first before they started making announcements about the flight to Orlando! Once we were on the plane, though, we knew we wouldn’t be able to keep it a secret from her much longer. She was seated with Sami, Noah with me. Noah and I put on our Magic Bands, then I put Sami’s Magic Band on his arm. He told Maya he had something he wanted to show her, and a surprise for her. She processed the Magic Band on Sami’s wrist and the one he was holding for her very quickly, and kept saying so excitedly, “We’re going to Walt Disney World!” She couldn’t have been more delighted about the trip, and even more so because Daddy was coming too! I loved having that extra bit of magic for her.
Maya and Mickey at the Orlando Airport.
Of course I never took any pictures of the lights themselves. We arrived in the Streets of America section just as the lights were coming on. It was so amazing to watch the kids’ faces as the lights started to illuminate, synchronized with the Christmas music playing through the streets, and with snow falling all around. We walked around in a bit of awe admiring the lights and the clever hidden Mickeys and scenes that were arranged throughout, staying in the area for close to an hour and a half. I am so glad we were able to do this. I know there are videos and photos of the lights all over the internet, but being able to see them in person was so amazing. I might have cried a little. Several times.
Maya wanted to have her face painted as Minnie Mouse. Really, it was adorable. Less so on her sleeve later that night.