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I’m back!  After seven days of roller-coaster-riding, tea-cup-twirling, stroller-pushing, heat-stroking, kid-toting, line-waiting, Mickey-Mousing magical fun-ness; the Chaney clan has returned to our chilly mid-atlantic home.  To say that we were busy on our Disney vacation would be like saying the economy is a bit slow right now; it’s a gross understatement.  I was hoping to take a vacation to recover from the vacation, unfortunately my company has a policy about “not showing up”.

So as I transition from Disney World back to the real world, I find it’s difficult to take off the Mickey ears and put back on my grown-up hat.  Having visited the happiest place on earth for the first time just 8 years ago, I never knew what it was like to see the magic through the eyes of a child.  This past week, I got to experience that feeling watching Iz and the Jakester try to comprehend the cornucopia (that’s right, I said cornucopia) of sights and sounds that surrounded them.

While their memories of this vacation will likely fade over time, I’m storing mine in the front of my mental file cabinet for easy retrieval.  I’d like to share them all with you but I doubt you are in the mood for a 20,000 word novella and let’s be honest; we’re 200 words in and you’re already wondering when I’ll shut up.  So for now, I’d like to tell you about one moment in particular that stood out for me.  One that makes the memory highlight reel.  One that involves Izzy and a certain lovable mouse.

It was day two of a seven day tour-de-theme-parks and we had ventured into the Magic Kingdom for the evening to see the “electric parade”.  If you’re unfamiliar with this event, picture the house on your block that goes overboard on the Christmas decorations each year and lights up your street like an airport runway.  Now throw in your favorite Disney characters and voila; the electric parade!

We arrived early so as to stake our claim to 11 rear ends worth of prime parade-watching real estate.  With time to waste before the big show, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give Izzy her first real thrill of the week.  We took our place at the end of a winding, roped-off line full of children too excited to stand still, which led to a holding room separated from the crowd by a wall and velvet rope.  20 to 25 people at a time were led into the room before the velvet rope once again divided the masses.  The closer these kids got to the rope, the more excited they became.  It was like watching a bunch of teenage girls head backstage at a Justin Bieber concert.

After a surprisingly short wait time, we found ourselves heading towards the holding room when the velvet rope once again reared its ugly head and cut us off at the pass.  A moment of disappointment turned into a once in a lifetime opportunity however as we were first in line when our group was allowed in.  Much like hearing your name called at the doctor’s office, only to have to wait again on that table with the tissue paper; we entered the holding room and were held there.  Izzy was moments away from going all Sybil on us and I couldn’t help but pray for that door to open.  And that’s when it happened.

Knock Knock!” A loud but almost joyful sounding knock came from the other side of the door.  The attendant in charge of the velvet rope reached down and turned the shiny brass knob and as the door swung open, there he was; Mickey Mouse.  Izzy stared up at him with a look of wonderment as he reached out his 4-fingered glove and took her hand.  I wildly snapped pictures in hopes of landing a decent shot as he led her and the group down a short hallway and into the “photo room” where none other than Minnie Mouse awaited.

As if she wasn’t already star struck, she now stood inches away from her two favorite beings (that’s right, Mom and Dad come in 3rd and 4th).  Minnie reached down and hugged Izzy as my camera began to overheat from excessive use.  It was 90 seconds of amazement that I will always remember, even if she doesn’t.

Over the next several days, we ran into Mick (that’s what I call him now since we’re so close) two more times.  Each encounter was just like the first for Iz, complete with that deer-in-the-headlights look.  While I’m sure the meeting of Izzy of Mickey was more exciting for Jen and I than either the munchkin or the mouse, it’s nice to know she hasn’t forgotten just yet.  She talks about him every day (which really isn’t any different than before the trip), except now instead of “I like Mickey”, she says “I love Mickey”.  That’s the good stuff people.

Note: We took so many pictures during the week, it will take some time to comb through them.  Once we have, I’ll probably do a gallery post on here with the best of the best from Disney.