Walt Disney once said, “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.” Reflecting on this quote after returning home from one of the most unpredictable Elder Vacations to Walt Disney World we have ever done, I realize the power and true depth of it.

Laughter is timeless. This week I had the pleasure of seeing so much laughter as well as the pure joy of many elders as they hugged their favorite Disney character, shopped until they dropped for their loved ones, or made new friends. I witnessed the beauty of love in its purest form as Mr. and Mrs. Crisp from Prestonsburg, Kentucky exchanged a kiss in front of Cinderella’s castle. I stood on Main Street USA with hundreds of other spectators in awe of their love and felt so many emotions as they shared a look that only years of understanding and persistence can understand. The Crisps recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and rightfully deserved the spotlight as many stood captivated by the beauty of the moment.

Imagination has no age. One of the most special things about being at Walt Disney World is that we can live in a world that is not our own. It’s the ability to let our imaginations run free and the excitement of chasing after it all at once. While some might argue that Disney is only for the young, I’ve realized over our many trips there with elders that there are no age limits on our imagination. To tap into a part of ourselves that we have carefully packed away with our childhood is liberating, it’s exciting, and it’s contagious! After waiting for almost two hours with a few ladies to see Minnie Mouse, I witnessed their absolute joy when the time finally approached. I saw them straightening their hair and applying their lipstick before they went in to meet what some might call a childhood dream. There were no signs of being tired, no signs of sickness, frailness or anxiety. There were only expressions of joy, love, and happiness.

Dreams are forever. I’ve seen so many dreams come true this past week that I couldn’t possibly list them all here. Maybe it was the group from McCreary who ran into Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood while trying to exit the Magic Kingdom on Wednesday night. Anna–who lives at the home andloves Garth Brooks so much and was so excited to just hear him performing that afternoon at the Magic Kingdom–never thought she would actually meet him! But as fate would have it, they ended up on the same path and her dreams really did come true. Or maybe it was the group who came to meet all the characters they could, so they spent their days meeting many of the princesses! Or maybe it was the group who wanted to see the fireworks display at the castle, something they remember from their youth or seeing it on television in their past.

With our 15th Elder Vacation behind us, we’ve learned so much from the elders we love and serve. We’ve learned that life is best lived in the moment, not taking a single second for granted and the companionship of those who have turned into “family.” Life is all about living and our elders have shown me how to do that best!

“If you can dream it, you can do it”

-Walt Disney

Angie McAllister
Director of Quality of Life and Culture Change – Hometown

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