Creating New Memories and Building Empathy Along the Way..
Earlier this year we enjoyed our first full Abuelos trip to Disney with our tweens. One side of grandparents (the most elderly, in their mid 80s) asked that we bring them with us again in the fall to experience the Magic Kingdom. We did just that and added a day at Hollywood Studios and attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for the first time. In order to enjoy a full day at the parks, it required us to rent wheelchairs. The experience gave my ‘tweensitas’ quite an amount of empathy for those who must use wheelchairs and those who take care of them. For two days we went to new areas of the park- areas with wheelchair access, elevators, wider paths, etc. The girls shared the effort of wheeling around their grandparents without much complaint and often volunteered to do so. I must say, “Daddy” and I were very proud. I saw first hand a number of non-profit organizations working very hard to share the “Disney Magic” with children and their families who cannot do so otherwise. And I saw an honest effort by the Disney ‘cast members’ to accommodate families and those with physical challenges. I’m no expert in this field so I’m sure there is room for improvement and even stronger accessibility, but I was pleased that my tweens had the opportunity to continue building empathy and support for others.
About our experience… As a Floridian I simply dislike coming to the Orlando parks at the summer peak time. I’m spoiled to be only a few hours away and can’t handle the summer heat. Fall and winter are such a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the parks with much better weather. The days were spectacular – a breezy mid 70s temperature that dropped at night into the mid 60s. I was pleasantly surprised with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween. It’s really cute! The girls and the grandparents loved it. To be honest, it was a full park but it was very well organized and the crowds flowed through lines fairly quickly. The candy collection was fun and we actually got boxes of raisins at one stop- that was a nice change! It’s always fun to experience the rides at night (our favorite is Thunder Mountain Railroad) and the Haunted Mansion looked especially cool.
One of the highlights was watching the “Headless Horseman” ride through the park on his horse! The special Halloween parade and fireworks were very creative. I have been to the Disney Parks during the Holiday season and seeing the park ‘dressed up’ is a unique experience. It had been a long time since I was there in the fall and all of the colors and decorations were beautiful.
Our favorite ‘new experience’ was the Star Wars: Jedi Training Academy at Hollywood Studios. I’ll tell you more about that soon!
Check out www.disneyparks.com for more dates and special programs:
DISCLAIMER: The Disney team provided our family with complimentary Park passes but all views and ideas are certainly my own.
As a mother of twin tweens in 2011 and an active Girl Scout Troop leader, Cristy realized there was a need to develop bilingual digital content and foster a community facing the challenges of raising kids after first grade. That year she founded and remains co-Publisher of Los Tweens & Teens, to support multicultural parents and mentors with content related to raising Gen Z- tweens & teens ages 7-18. Through the Los Tweens & Teens LIVE events such as Teens & Me – the growing team aims to provide our community with essential resources from chats with therapists to battle anxiety and bullying, to understanding social media and technology.
A New Jersey native of Cuban decent, Cristy is a board member of Amigos For Kids – a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing child abuse in the South Florida community. She is a teenage cancer survivor and speaks nationally at conferences and volunteers with cancer-awareness organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of South Florida.