The Happiest Place On Earth ~ Disney

Nine. Seven. Three.
Seems like the perfect ages to take our kids to the
“Happiest Place on Earth”. 
moon gazing on an evening hike
We love these kids to the moon and back. 
Like most parents,
We want the best for our kids. 
We want them to enjoy life to the fullest. 
We want all their dreams to come true… 
But we probably won’t ever take them to Disneyland.
Or Legoland.
Although we have taken them to Portland.
Several times. 
I know. Disneyland is where “dreams really do come true.” 
But is that really true? 
Has anyone’s life ever been changed by a trip to Disneyland? 
Is it really the ‘happiest place on earth’?
Maybe… 
Perhaps… 
for some…
As much as we want our kids to have the most. fun. ever. on our family vacation, 
we’re not cut out for Disney.
and we’re (all) okay with that.
For our family of five to walk thru the gates of the Magic Kingdom, it would cost us $442 *plus* the cost of travel, food and hotel.
Well, lucky us!
We were staying with a friend, who lives 20 minutes from Disneyland. 
We could see the Disney fireworks from her house every night. 
We didn’t go.
We couldn’t bring ourselves to do it. 
The kids didn’t even ask to go.
The money, the time, the energy to walk around the park all. day. long.
Hmmm… no.
We even had the opportunity to go to Legoland-with 2 of the tickets already paid for.
All we had to do was buy three more tickets, pack a lunch and hop on a bus.
We opted for the beach instead.
As the comedian Jim Gaffigan says, “How can I spend an enormous amount of money, be uncomfortable, and listen to my children complain and whine? *I know* ~Disney!”
Adam and I experienced Disneyland as kids, and went to Disney world as married adults.
We know all the Magic Kingdom has to offer.
Maybe our kids will resent us for not taking them…
Maybe they will need counseling once they grow old enough to realize they were denied going to Disney as children… 
Maybe they will decide to go to Disney as adults…
Nah. Probably not. 
Perhaps we are denying our kids of a priceless life experience…
well, I don’t think so.
Everywhere we turn, someone is trying to sell us an “experience”.
What about the experiences creation gives us?
What about the people we encounter?
We have family in Oregon and California. 
So when we visited this summer, we went to the beach, the lake, the mountains, hiking, to national parks, and quirky places like Portland. 
Portland is a magical city filled with wonder, crazy characters, yuppies, hippies and homeless people, unique restaurants, loads of local shops, farms and markets, and countless state parks.
We visited Adam’s Uncle Gilbert and Aunt Dolores on their farm ~ and their house is a state of California historical landmark. 
They are in their 80’s and have had quite a life adventure.
The kids chased their peacocks and picked fruit off their trees.
We shared stories and had a wonderful meal together.
The kids still talk about their dog, Keepers, and how much fun they had playing with him.
These are some of the happiest places on earth,
where we have created some of the most wonderful memories.
Where is your ‘happiest place on earth’?
Maybe for you it is a trip to the Magic Kingdom…
Perhaps the happiest place on earth can be right in your own backyard… 
Time with our kids is precious.
No matter where you go and what you do with your kids…
live the fullest. love the deepest. laugh the hardest. 
In Him, Leslie 
***
What has been your “Happiest Place on Earth” experience? 
I’d love to hear your stories! Yes, even the Disneyland ones 🙂
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