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The first time I went to Disney World, I was 2 years old. My parents took me for the day when we were visiting friends in Cocoa Beach, Florida. We returned when I was 3 years old. They said my feet never touched the ground. I was so excited that I actually got sick. After that, every other year we went to Disney World. This was an event because we drove from West Virginia, yes, a 16 hour drive, both ways. I remember the night before helping to clean the car, sleeping on the floor during the drive, and singing in the tunnels on our way down. My memories are fond and deep of the time spent driving and at Disney. The vivid memory of eating at The Brown Derby, being old enough to sit with my sister instead of my parents, and staying up late to watch fireworks above Cinderella’s Castle. The souvenir ears with my name on the back, the silhouette done on Main Street that hung above my parent’s bed, the Goofy hat my sister bought all trigger instant memories and smiles. During high school, I went with my mom and sister to Disneyland for a visit. We flew for this trip.
When I was in college, I saw a flyer about the Disney College Program and decided to attend the orientation. I sat in an auditorium with several hundred college students all waiting to make their dream come true. I left for Disney right after graduation. Well, that is a story for a different blog.
The next time I visited Disney was about two years later with my boyfriend’s family, now my husband. I remember informing him that we needed to take a different car if anyone in his family wanted to leave early. We were there for the duration. It was wonderful to have this experience with him. This began his love for Disney. There were great moments captured-rides on the carousel, pictures with Minnie and Goofy, Space Mountain rides, and Mickey frames.
I did not visit Disney again for approximately six years. This was not because I did not try. I vividly remember trying to convince my husband to take our 2 year old during the summer I was pregnant with my little girl. This may not seem like a big deal but I was ill, daily, during this pregnancy. The following year, I decided we could not wait another year to go, we had to go now. I needed to be back at the World. My DS was 4 and my DD was 1, when we arrived. For the past 3 years, we have taken them. New memories have been created, new traditions implemented, and lots of fun has been had. We have stuffed Pooh Bears, sparkly Minnie ears, Disney hat ear ornaments, and Goofy and Minnie mugs to commemorate our trip. We have been with both sets of grandparents, friends, cousins, and aunt and uncles.
When I reflect upon this brief summary of my Disney trips, I try and think about when I decided that I loved Disney. In my mind, it is not clear when this happened. Was it the first time I saw Cinderella’s Castle? Is it the butterflies when I pass through the sign that says ‘Walt Disney World: Where Dreams Come True?’ Is it the excitement that I feel when I plan Disney trips? Or helping someone else plan a trip? Is it seeing my children’s face the first time they experience Disney moments? It is the place where dreams come true, the place where everyone is a kid, the place where laughter surrounds you, the place where you have the courage to continue, and the place where you can think the impossible. Well, for me, it is all the above AND I believe in the magic that Walt Disney created. I hope you find your magic too.