The Grand Canyon! It’s probably the most famous of all the US National Parks, and many of our family vacation group’s members said they were most looking forward to seeing it for the first time. The Adventures By Disney Southwest Splendors tour schedule had us arriving at the Grand Canyon midway through the trip through Arizona and Utah. Yes, it is easy to travel from Sedona to the Grand Canyon, when you’re on a Disney tour bus with energetic guides, games for the kids, and that great scenery of the American Southwest passing by the window.
Seeing the magic of seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time is truly awe-inspiring; something of which our Adventures By Disney guides were well aware. They asked us to look at the ground (children too, no peeking) as we walked to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. This enabled those first-time visitors among us to arrive, look up, and be almost stunned by the vastness and spectacular beauty of the Canyon. We passed a small group of young adults who apparently had a similar idea: They were walking up the path with paper bags over their heads, so as to take in the South Rim all at once too. I was a bit curious to see that group’s reaction, but – of course – much more interested in watching my own family see the Grand Canyon for the first time.
Now, I’m not an especially corny woman. Nonetheless, it brought tears to my eyes to witness my children – my TV-addicted, blase, here-mom-goes-again children – rendered speechless upon first viewing the Grand Canyon. This National Park is iconic of the Southwest, and at some point everyone has at least seen photographs of it. But it’s simply different, and better, to take it in personally.
The Grand Canyon is over a mile deep, and 15 miles wide at its widest point. Watching the Colorado River wind its way through the bottom of the canyon, it’s easy to understand how this river carved its path and irrevocably changed – and slowly continues to change – the earth around it. The Grand Canyon is around 4 to 6 million years old: Standing there, with my young kids, feels like witnessing something timeless, and miraculous, on our planet. The preservation and accessibility of the US National Parks is one of our country’s greatest gifts. Adventures By Disney must know that helping parents share the experience of the Grand Canyon with our children is a gift, as well.