They say Disney world is the most magical place on Earth, and honestly, ‘they’ might be right. I recently had the opportunity to take part in the unveiling of the Florida park’s 50th anniversary celebration. While I thought I was there for work— which technically I was— I didn’t realize those 3 days tapping into my inner child were needed to bring some joy to my otherwise chaotic life.

As a child, I never went to Disney World or Disneyland. I wouldn’t say it was necessarily because we couldn’t afford it, but my mother (God rest her soul) suffered from anxiety, and it often didn’t allow her to do things like fly on planes or even step into an airport. We lived in Charlotte, NC, which is definitely driveable to Orlando, but it was something we just never did.

I was 26 when I went to Disney World for the first time. We went as a family just after my grandmother, the family matriarch, passed away suddenly. It was a time to bond, but also a celebration for a younger cousin’s birthday. It was a fun trip, but I couldn’t really let go and let my inner child play and discover for a multitude of reasons. My mother’s anxiety was heightened most of the trip due to the large crowds and overall over stimulation, and I had to make sure she was okay. So, I wasn’t able to take it all in like most people.

Fast-forward nearly 10 years later, and I was invited to a special pre-celebration for the milestone birthday of the brand.

DeAnna Taylor

Before I get into this latest experience, I should give a short overview of what currently makes my life chaotic.

I currently work as the Sr. Editor here at Travel Noire, and I’m also a North Carolina licensed attorney. While I don’t practice in court at the moment, I do a lot of remote contract work. So I typically juggle both at the same time.

In February of this year, my mother passed away from cancer. One of my last promises to her was to renovate her home, the home I grew up in, and to live in it once the work was done. So, for the last 3 months, I’ve also been overseeing the renovation project on the home and preparing to move into it.

To those on the outside, this seems like a lot, but I’ve learned to handle and manage it well. But, I never realized that 72-hours of simply letting the little girl inside me free, could bring such indescribable joy.

As adults, generally speaking, we often get so caught up in the rat race and grind of adulthood, that we sometimes don’t stop to experience joy unapologetically and carefree like most children do.

Courtesy of DeAnna Taylor

In those 3 days, I made it a point to be the biggest 36-year-old kid I possibly could.

From the moment I arrived, I wore my sparkly champagne colored Minnie Mouse ears. On Day 1, I went over to Magic Kingdom and rode ‘It’s a Small World’ and the teacups, two of the park’s most iconic rides.

Although I was solo and surrounded by mostly families with young children, I never once felt out of place or embarrassed. In fact, I almost felt like my 7 or 8-year-old self all over again, letting the excitement of the sights and sounds consume me.

At the end of Day 2, we were able to view EPCOT’s new fireworks show, ‘Harmonious.’ While most of the adults stood toward the back of our viewing area, I immediately moved closer, so I could take it all in. I had never seen a fireworks show that detailed, and I ooh’ed and ahh’ed for the nearly 20-minutes— even getting teary eyed on some parts.

Courtesy of DeAnna Taylor

But, the real magic came on night 3 of the all-new Magic Kingdom fireworks display, Enchantment. It was something about seeing scenes from my favorite childhood Disney movies and characters displayed on the castle, coupled with colorful fireworks and songs from those same classics, that evoked a joy and awe that I don’t think I’ve felt in a while.

I literally watched in a sort of trance, while singing along and moving my head to the songs I knew. I didn’t care if the other adults around me found it weird or childish, it was a moment I needed. I walked away from the show in tears— happy tears, of course— because I was overcome with joy.

And while three days won’t necessarily take away the chaos that adult life can bring, they did provide several moments that I will never forget and can hopefully look back on when things get crazy. The biggest lesson I learned was that no matter how “big” we get, we always need to stop and let our inner child play, even if for a few moments.

Thank you, Disney World, you really are magical.