disney world for dad

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Let’s start out with this fabulous photo of me wearing flamingo socks and bright blue shoes. I have become obsessed with Woven Pear socks, and much to Travis’ dismay, I will wear them with any outfit, no matter the color. I have socks with cats, roosters, cassette tapes, hearts (of course), and bikes. I brought all the fun socks to Florida and decidedly wore these flamingos the day I thought we were going to Disney’s Animal Kingdom because, you know, animals. Usually these socks are hidden under pants and boots, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to wear shorts in February, so there was no covering these babies that day. The shoes, well, I needed my good tennis shoes of course! Travis was not excited about my outfit that day but said he’d walk with me anyway. Due to it being a rainy day, we ended up going to Epcot though so the whole animal theme didn’t really work. Oh well! I just looked like this all day:

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It wasn’t until last night when my cousin commented on Facebook, “That is quite the sock/shoe combo,” that I realized I’d really pulled a Norm Newbold with this outfit. This made Travis and me laugh out loud, and reminded me that I’m channeling my dad without even knowing it. He was known for his wild, bright-colored clothes, and one of my favorite stories that was told in the first few days after we lost him was one that involved him, my uncle and a bright yellow pair of Crocs. I believe he bought them in a sporting goods store while on a fishing trip. They were shoes that most people in their right minds would never purchase, but “They were a good deal and Bob would have bought them too but they didn’t have them in his size!” He loved those silly Crocs.

In the same way that he was so proud of that purchase, I am proud of my fun socks. I could honestly be Woven Pear’s spokesperson. I have given socks for Christmas and Valentine’s gifts, posted photos on Instagram, and got my sister-in-law Melissa and friend Stacey just as obsessed with them. But I’m not here to tell you how soft they are, how comfy they make my toes, or how I model them for Travis every time I put them on. I digress …

What I’ve been noticing lately is that memories of my dad have been making me more happy than sad. The first time I noticed this was when I saw a picture on Timehop of the Billy Joel/Elton John concert we went to in 2010. Seeing that photo brought a genuine smile to my face as I laid in bed that morning remembering how happy we all were that night, and how thoughtful my dad had been in buying an extra ticket so I could bring a friend. And then yesterday, as I looked at the flamingo socks photo and laughed, thinking of my dad and his crazy outfits once again made me happy.

In Disney World, I thought of my dad all the time. He was a huge Disney fan as I wrote about last year just two weeks after he passed away. I can’t go to Disney parks without him being with me in spirit. He never made it to Disney World, so during this trip I often thought about what he would have loved. In a way, I was seeing all of these things for him. There is an attraction in Epcot called Test Track that lets you build a car. You choose the model, shape, tires, design and more. Then you ride in a car that seemingly tests different conditions such as weather, slick roads, power, and efficiency, then you find out how your car would handle these situations. At the end, the ride speeds up to more than 60 MPH and you can ride with your hands in the air and scream around the track. Travis and I went on Test Track twice because it was my favorite, and the second time was at night. As our car sped up and curved around one of the last bends, a firework from one of the other parks went off and it felt like we were in this perfect, magical Disney moment. It was like my dad was saying hello with that firework, and telling me he was right there loving that ride, too.

I had a few of those moments where I was so amazed I got to see something that always seemed far away and unimaginable. I didn’t know when I’d ever see Spaceship Earth in person, and as the monorail took us around Epcot and it appeared to my left through the window, I literally gasped. The same thing happened the first time I saw the Tree of Life in the Animal Kingdom. These were two things I’d seen on TV and ads since I was a kid and to see them in person was, as cheesy as it sounds, magic. I wonder what my dad’s reaction would have been to these places and the sheer size of Disney World in general.

In Epcot, my dad would have loved seeing the gardens with my mom and exploring each country pavilion. I can imagine him talking about all the countries he’d really been to … Italy, Canada, England, Mexico, France. Maybe he would have asked me questions about China. He would have loved Dinosaur, Expedition Everest and the safari in Animal Kingdom. He would have succumbed to the popcorn smell just as we did in the Magic Kingdom. I thought of him as we passed a corn dog place on Main Street and I looked for hearts and found them here and there. I hope he got to see it all with us.

The last thing we did in Disney was the Fantasmic show in Hollywood Studios. We’d attempted to see it last year in Disneyland but there was a technical issue and the show stopped part way through. I had to laugh when this happened again at the beginning of the show in Disney World. Travis said maybe he just wasn’t meant to ever see it. Out loud and jokingly, I said, “Come on, Dad, fix it!” And right after that, an announcement was made that the show would go on! And it did, and it was fabulous.

Right now, I’m holding onto the happy feelings when thinking of my dad. I that’s what he would want.

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I love the light in this photo. It’s like my dad is shining down on us.

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Spotted in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This was normal sock day.

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Do you see the sideways heart on this tree? I didn’t notice it until after we got home and I put the photos on my computer. So cool! This was spotted on the safari ride in the Animal Kingdom.

 

I found this heart near Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom.

Just for fun, here are a few examples of my dad’s awesome style for you:

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And here’s one where we all apparently took after my dad … and at Disney, too!

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