The Joys of Disney Vacation
One of my happy places is Disney World. I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise when it’s called the “happiest place on Earth!” I have to credit my husband Richard as I learned to love it by traveling there with him.
I went to Disney World as a child of about 10 and remember having a great time. But hadn’t been there since until my husband suggested we go there together. Sure—I agreed to go, but I was skeptical that a cranky lady then in her late 30s with severe rheumatoid arthritis would find much to do.
Boy, was I ever wrong.
A welcome place for everyone, including those with RA
We whirled between four very different theme parks and I loved them all. The shows were fabulous, the music toe-tapping, the food mouthwatering, and the rides fun and (mostly) accessible to my physical limitations. The only problem was my fatigue! Otherwise, I could have played my way through Disney World without a care.
Years later, we’re annual visitors and Disney World is deeply ingrained in our life. It’s become a place where we go together to have fun and get away from our daily cares.
I know Disney isn’t for everyone and I totally respect that. But for me it is both comfortable because of its accessibility, options that seem to address many interests and preferences, and because it’s meant as a place of escape. When I’m at Disney, my RA comes with us, but it also isn’t the center of our day. I can put worries aside and just have fun.
We’ve gotten in the habit of going to Disney every September, so even begin planning (just a little bit, like looking at dates) for the next trip before we go. This means it’s an entire year of fun because we meticulously discuss new attractions, trying different restaurants, researching tours, and looking at hotels. Just the thought of going becomes a fun activity because we’re daydreaming and researching.
The anticipation of a fun vacation
In the last few days leading up to our trip, I start getting energized thinking about how we’ll enjoy all of our plans but also the many spontaneous moments that just happen. Like the time Richard dropped his Mickey Mouse ice cream bar (which I will forever call the saddest day in the world) and the other time we met Tigger and Pooh—and got pictures of us bouncing with Tigger! On the one hand, we have a lot of fun planned, but there will also be magic moments that just happen.
One thing I continue to appreciate about Disney is the parks’ accessibility. There are lots of parking options for my wheelchair when we go to the many different shows. Some of the rides I can board with my wheelchair, while others have options for making transferring into the vehicles possible. It really feels considerate that they thought of people with mobility (and other kinds of) disabilities to be as inclusive as possible. While some of the older rides are too difficult for me to manage, I don’t feel left out because it’s impossible to have enough time to do every attraction anyway.
If we’re honest with ourselves, everyone has a little kid inside them. I’m lucky that I get to channel my kid and give her some joy when I visit Disney World and there’s no better partner in these theme park adventures than my intrepid husband, Richard. While we continue to travel to many places, Disney will always be high on the list as one of our happy getaway places. I’ll always look forward to the next time we go!
Where’s your happy place and why is it so good for you?
On a scale of 1(low) to 5(high), how difficult is it for you to talk about having RA?