Last year, I went to Disney World in Florida with about thirty or so other Traveling Moms from the TravelingMom.com blogger network, of which I have been a part for 3 years now.
I had mixed feelings about going to Disney World. I’m the youngest of three (although, now in my wee 40s) and have, since I was a kid, incorporated the cynicism from my older siblings. Disney is a packaged deal. And most people love it. Me, I like to create my own fun and not have people tell me how much fun their pre-packaged deal is going to be. When I got the invitation to go to Disney World last February, I saw that there was a scavenger hunt listed in the activities. Cue: eye roll. Seriously, I thought, a bunch of grown women running around Epcot Center on a scavenger hunt? Very unappealing. Even more unappealing was the idea of being with a bunch of people who thought that would be a lot of fun.
The Truth: The long weekend at Disney World totally exceeded my expectations: from the seriously good food at our hotel (Animal Kingdom Lodge) to the… well, the whole Disneyness of it. I was drinking their Kool-aid! In fact, I was actually drinking a delicious South African Syrah that was served at the inaugurations of both President Obama and Nelson Mandela, but I digress.
I enjoyed the fireworks over the Magic Kingdom to the tune of “When You Wish Upon a Star.” I freaked out and became an eight year old when I saw Mary Poppins walking around the park – but did you know that they literally paint faces on these ‘cast members’ so that this women was the (scary) spitting image of Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins. Still, fascinating and totally satisfying.
And then we got to the scavenger hunt. By this time, I had been at Disney three days and I was chugging their Kool-Aid: I became a scavenger hunt maniac.
Truth be told, everyone on my team was a bit of a maniac (you know who you are). We toyed with the idea of bagging the scavenger hunt and grabbing a cocktail (we were without our kids!), but then we thought we should at least give it a little bit of a go. And then we got hooked.
We figured out whose strength lay where: someone was a Disney aficionado, another had a good sense of direction, she speaks another language, this one has an external battery pack for when our smart phones ran low, that one’s a bossy lady – well, there were many bossy ladies.
That’s why we understood each other. With our tasks delegated, we were smokin’ this scavenger hunt. Long story short: we won. By a point.
Although we were thirsty, tired and knew the prizes were not a trip to Hawaii, we persevered. We bonded.
A bunch of travel writers (moms!) from around the country, running around Epcot Center yelling, pointing, taking photos and shoving a stuffed animal next to hidden Mickeys. We had fun. We made our own fun at Disney. It doesn’t all have to be pre-packaged.