A bus ride to Disney World

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 3, 2012

I once heard a preacher say we should travel through life as though we’re on a bus headed to Disney World. His point was that we should be always excited, anticipating our destination.

Sound nice, right?

Well, I’ll bet you a hot fudge sundae that man never took a bus ride to Disney World. Or if he did, it wasn’t with my family.

Nine years ago, at 5 a.m. one fall morning, we met in Reserve to board a bus bound for the happiest place on earth. All 26 of us. My parents, siblings, their families and my sister-in-law’s mom.

If my family lacks anything, it’s not words. Conversations began immediately.

“You know you’re a redneck when your whole family takes a bus to spend Thanksgiving in Disney World,” quipped my brother-in-law, Tony.

“I only agreed because I didn’t think it would happen,” added Mike, another brother-in-law. “I was shocked when I was asked for a check.”

As we passed LaPlace’s Walmart, my son Geoff said, “I feel like I’ve been on this bus forever!” Happy trails to us!

A little while later, I decided to walk up the aisle. My brother Matt was talking on the phone while trying to remove a splinter he somehow got on the bus. My niece Brandi was also on the phone, tempting my daughter Monique to use hers. These were the days before we had a nationwide long distance plan, so I told her the phone could not be used. “Please,” she begged, “just one call.”

“If I agree, who will you call?” I asked.

“Delta Airlines,” she said. I just kept walking.

My niece Brittany thanked me for organizing the trip, while her sister Amanda added, “I feel like it’s a dream.”

Two other sisters were arguing over headphones, one person was snoring, and many questions were already being posed to the driver. “Are we making good time?” “When will we stop to eat?” “What time will we get to Florida ?” It would have been understandable, and even expected, had these questions been posed by the children. But, no. My dad was at the front of the bus grilling the driver.

When we finally stopped for breakfast, we all headed into McDonald’s while my dad began speed walking around the parking lot. We purchased bags of food, pointed my Dad back to the bus, and almost drove away without my niece Mattie.

At one point, Monique began to complain again. “We won’t have a traditional Thanksgiving.”

“How many traditional Thanksgivings have you had?” I asked.


“How many have you enjoyed?”

“None… ahhh, now I feel better!” she said, smiling.

At least I didn’t have to answer my dad’s continual questions. “How long has it been since our last stop?” “When will we stop again?” Poor bus driver.

Now that I’ve had some time to think about it, maybe life really is like a bus ride to Disney World.

Both journeys can be crowded, cramped and somewhat noisy. It’s not always easy to find your place and get in a good position. Difficulties often arise when so many personalities are trying to co-exist. And with some people a little nervous or bored or too excited to rest, it’s important to strike a balance between appreciation for the present and anticipation of the future.

Like our Disney adventure, maybe life is all about helping someone to get back on the bus when they’ve been sidetracked and looking for someone else who is missing. And in between all of the adventures, it helps to have lots and lots of laughter.

Before we know it, the journey will end. We’ll arrive, not at the happiest place on earth, but Heaven, a place that will be out of this world.


Ronny may be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.