When I was in second grade, my parents took me to Disney World. I was so excited! I had never been on a plane before and I had somehow gotten it into my cute little 8-year-old head that meeting Daisy Duck would be the pinnacle of my whole life.
I do want to state, right here and now, that this was probably the best vacation OF MY LIFE. There is no better vacation than Disney World as a child. But several unfortunate events did take place…
On the plane, I didn’t understand what was happening when my ears popped.
For the record, chewing gum still doesn’t help my ears on planes… And it’s only gotten worse as I’ve grown older, as I recently found out. The ear popping thing has started to send me into panic attacks and I’ve decided that I’d rather drive for a couple of days straight than fly.
Then there was the unfortunate experience of learning just how much I HATE roller coasters.
Then, of course, there were the ever-present demands for Disney-Swag.
... ... ... ... ... ... ...
And through it all, I just could not find Daisy Duck! My parents and I looked everywhere for her. I’m pretty sure we saw Mickey and Minnie about a dozen times. We even ran into Captain Hook and Mr. Smee. We saw Donald, but he wouldn’t answer me when I demanded to know where his girlfriend was.
And then… the worst.
Epcot in Disney World had this really awesome electric lights parade and laser light show. I was so excited! I was wearing my favorite new Daisy Duck hat and my parents thought that the next day was going to be THE day we would find Daisy. I had gotten a hug from Chewbacca at MGM that day, and now I was going to get to see a kick butt parade!
What I wasn’t used to were such MASSIVE crowds. Even during the day in the middle of the Magic Kingdom, I had never seen so many people amassed in one place in my entire life. And then… well, some guy was wearing the same colored shirt as my dad and I had started following him.
My parents will insist to this day that I wandered off. It wasn’t really anybody’s fault. There had been a huge influx in the crowd in the street around us and we got separated. I thought I was following my dad and then all the sudden I wasn’t.
I was actually a smart kid. My first instinct after realizing I was lost was to start heading to the nearest structure. Ignoring the panic that was steadily rising in my gut, I started walking towards a restaurant that was just across the walkway. All of the sudden, I felt a hand on my shoulder and I spun around.
As it turns out, when my parents came looking for me, they couldn’t remember what I was wearing… except for that wacky Daisy Duck hat. That hat was what made me visible to my Dad amongst hundreds of loud, moving families. I shudder when I think of what could have happened to me if I had been wearing Mickey Mouse ears instead!
I was so ecstatic when I was reunited with my parents. I think I must’ve just about hugged them both to death. Both of my parents acted really impressed that my first instinct was to go get help with a park employee. I enjoyed the parade safely tucked between my mom and dad. And I’m pretty sure I didn’t take that silly hat off for the rest of the vacation. All was good in the world!
Oh, and by the way, I totally met Daisy the next day!