One year ago today, July 12th, we were headed to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. We had saved for over three years for the trip - saving all of our change for that whole time (and continue to do so). In fact, that three years worth of change paid for more than half of the entire trip! Also, any extra money the kids got for their birthdays, fair entries, and such, went towards the trip and they each had their own envelope with their extra spending money.
The night before we left was our niece's wedding. Joe took the kids home as soon as possible after the wedding so they could sleep and so he could, too. At 1:00 a.m., we loaded up the van and headed for Dallas to catch the plane. We arrived in Orlando around 10:00 a.m. on that Saturday morning.
So that we wouldn't have to eat out as much and save some money that way, we rented a house. Some people wouldn't think it was fun to cook during vacation, but I enjoyed it. We ate breakfast and dinner at the house which was nice because we were totally exhausted by the end of each day!
In between morning and evening worship on that first Sunday, it was nice to swim, take naps, and play games. The kids were especially excited about the game room with pool, air hockey, and foosball. It was also kind of neat having five televisions (we have one!!) plus four bedrooms and four bathrooms (we have 2 1/2 baths and 3 bedrooms!). It's always great visiting congregations while on vacations. Meeting new Christian brothers and sisters is a heart-warming feeling.
On the second Sunday after worship, we drove to Daytona Beach. The ocean is beautiful! Joe and the kids had only seen the Gulf of Mexico and it's just not as pretty, although still enjoyable to visit. I posted once about what we saw one the way to Daytona Beach. It was awesome and you can read about it here
I actually talked Joe into staying in Orlando for 10 days, instead of the original seven we had first planned. We did have to get someone to take care of our yard, pumpkin garden, and goats while we were gone. By the end of the trip, even Joe didn't want to come home! He had never gone on vacation for very long and he really enjoyed being able to get away almost totally. I say "almost" because he still had a little bit of work to do while we were there via phone calls and laptop and he got a few business phone calls he had to take care of, but it wasn't too bad. We all enjoyed getting away and really having the time to relax. That's hard to do sometimes, isn't it?
We enjoyed Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. Each of us enjoyed different parts of each park. The character meals were so much fun and definitely worth doing. Disney makes a special effort to make each guest feel welcome and pays such close attention to tiny details.
Have you ever read about the tunnels under Magic Kingdom? I hadn't until we got back home. It's really amazing! It truly is a happy place!
Even though when we went to WDW last summer, we expected it to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip, we are planning to go back again in December 2010. I actually felt guilty about saving up and going for a while, but I really believe family trips are worth it.
Why? First of all, like I mentioned above, it gives the opportunity to meet new Christians and worship with them. That is special.
Secondly, wherever the trip is taken, you are able to see more of the beautiful world God has created!
Thirdly, it is really easy to get caught up in everyday life and forget that there is a whole big world out there. It's easy to get wrapped up in jobs and activities and get so bogged down, that we forget what is really important. Vacation time is a time to relax, but also to refocus and think about what is really important.
Jesus often retreated from the crowds and his busy life to pray. He would go off alone and spend time with God. That is what is great about vacations! Of course they are fun and a great way to be together as a family; however, vacations can (should) also provide us an opportunity to reconnect with God and to refocus our minds, so that we can come back "home" ready to serve Him more fervently.
Also, if you are going or have gone to Disney World, you may agree that it's "The Happiest Place On Earth". At least our family thinks it ranks pretty high! But, nothing can ever compare to what Heaven will be like! That's where I want to go on a permanent vacation some day....for eternity, actually. Don't you?