Our family loves Walt Disney World.
My wife, Jacque and I have been going there since we were kids.
It’s just a special place and naturally, we love to share that experience with our own children.
Because it’s only a short drive away we have often packed up the mini-van and headed up for some family fun.
We hadn’t been for about a year, so we decided to take advantage of the kid’s being off school for Christmas break and enjoy a night on their campgrounds.
This time, we told them they could invite some friends to come along.
Little did we know, it would become something we would never forget.
Let the Craziness Begin.
The trip started with attempting to cram 8 of us in a mini-van with everyone’s blankets, pillows, food, bags and all the camping gear. Even with the car carrier on top, we were packed like sardines inside.
We looked like a combination of The Brady Bunch and The Beverly Hillbillies.
We made the 2 ½ hour drive to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground and decided to set up camp.
The only problem was, it started raining. And not just a quick sun shower. It didn’t look like there was any end in site.
We set up the tents and the air mattresses in the rain, which wasn’t the end of the world.
The real issue came when the rain started coming INSIDE the tent.
Needless to say, we ended up with soaked air mattresses and puddles inside the tent that were quickly turning into small ponds. The other issue was the temperature was dropping into the 40’s. Not the best combination for wet sleeping arrangements with 6 kids in tow.
We decided we would go to the front desk and see if there was a cabin available to transfer to.
To our surprise, the Disney cast member came back and told us there were not any cabins available, but they were going to upgrade us to the Wilderness Lodge for the cost of the campsite.
We were shocked because the campsite was $55. The Wilderness Lodge is a deluxe resort that can go for $500 per night.
We were now getting 2 rooms in one the nicest resorts on Disney property for $55 each.
We quickly packed up our campsite in the rain and did the happy dance all the way over to the resort.
We checked into the resort, got our keys, threw our stuff into one of the rooms and headed to dinner.
The kids went to Downtown Disney and met us after dinner to get the room keys.
This is where the story gets crazy.
When they went back to the hotel, some of the kids entered the second room we hadn’t gone in, because we were pressed for time to make our dinner reservation.
It was a scene straight from Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. With a twist.
Someone was in the room we were assigned. Actually, someone’s stuff was in the room we were assigned.
And that someone’s stuff included drugs that they had brought into the room. Lots of money worth of drugs.
Long story short, we returned to our room to talk to the hotel manager, housekeeping and an officer trying to figure out what was going on.
The hotel had somehow booked two parties in the same room and they were horrified.
The manager apologized for the mix-up and said they were moving us to the club level with all you can eat food, all day long…for no extra charge.
We got a big kick out of the experience and kept saying, “Can you believe what just happened??”
Needless to say, it’s a trip we will never forget, nor will the kids.
While I realize this was an out of the ordinary experience, there were 3 lessons I learned from this crazy trip to Disney World. These are lessons anyone can apply to their life.
1) Make Memories. I think most of us want to make more money. Money is important. Especially if you have future expenditures you need to save for, like kid’s college tuition, a daughter’s wedding or retirement.
However, I think we should put just as much effort into making memories as we do with making money.
Money can come and go, but memories last a lifetime. I want to look for better and more ways to make memories with my family and friends.
2) Laugh Often. Studies show that there is a significant difference between the amount of time adults spend laughing compared to children. It seems the older we get, the less we laugh. I want to change that.
There is an ancient proverb in the Bible that says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine..”
God created laughter as a way to enjoy life. Let’s enjoy it by laughing more often.
3) Live in the Moment. In our busy lifestyles where we are constantly keeping schedules and checking social media platforms, it’s easy to miss what is happening in front of us.
How often have we been in a restaurant and seen everyone looking at their phones instead of talking to each other?
Life goes by fast. Let’s make it a goal to enjoy every moment living it to the full. Each minute is unique and is a gift from above. Let’s not miss out on any of it.
So that’s our crazy vacation story and the lessons I’ve learned.
Which of these 3 things would you like to practice more?