Walt Disney World

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Another important part of my life, and therefore, this blog, will be the Walt Disney World section. My family has been going to WDW since before I was born, and my husband and I are carrying on the tradition!

Here is a short-ish history of my family and WDW:

My parents made the journey first with their respective families. My father was 11 when he and his family went to Magic Kingdom in June 1972, during the park’s first year. My mother and her family traveled to the still fledgling park in February 1978.

My parents spent a couple of days on their honeymoon in Walt Disney World in June 1981, just missing out on the experience of Epcot, but they did get to see some of the plans in City Hall on Main Street.

Before I was born, my parents and older sister, as well as a close family friend, made their way to the two parks in August 1987.

In 1991, at the ripe old age of “not remembering anything at all from the trip”, I had my first walk down Main Street. My first nap during fireworks. And maybe even my first hug from Mickey. I don’t remember and the photos are few and far between. I know that our family of four was joined by an older couple that we affectionately called Uncle Ron and Aunt Pearl. And I think there might be a home movie out there with my sister getting in trouble for running off…

In 1997, my family returned again, this time with my 5-year old baby brother in tow. I was beyond ready this time! I had the Beauty and the Beast (my favorite Disney Renaissance movie) matching outfits. I had the flip up sunglasses for my glasses and my fanny pack, so obviously I was trendy before fleek was even a thing. I had a disposable camera, my autograph book, and, more often than not, a juice mustache; I was ready to take on the parks (now three with MGM Studios joining the family). I would say the worst part of the trip was the abominable pink confection disguising the beautiful castle. The best part of the trip, or at least the most memorable? That would have to be the “Remember the Magic” parade…it gets stuck in my head so often and if you know the song, you are welcome for getting it stuck in yours now too!

When we returned in 2000, I was (in my mind) essentially a teenager and therefore cool enough (in my mind) to hang out with my sister and her two school friends that joined us. Luckily for me, they were both incredibly sweet and allowed me to tag along. I rode as many rides with them as I could, allowing for my diminutive height and parents’ discretion, which somehow meant that I could ride both Tower of Terror and ExtraTerrorestrial Alien Encounter. You would think the common theme of “Terror” would have deterred my 11-year old presence, but neither my parents nor the cast members thought so. Needless to say, I am one of the few Disney World die hard fans that prefers Stitch’s Escape to the Alien experience. However, after many many years later, I have grown to love the Tower of Terror and look forward to riding multiple times each trip. There were many exciting parts of this trip, but taking the cake (since it no longer covered the castle) would be the newly opened Animal Kingdom. My zookeeper-wannabe brother was in heaven and would “guide” us around with his safari hat atop his head and guide map in his hands.

Tower of Terror

The next couple of trips begin to blend together, but that could also be my brain blurring the teenage years so I don’t have to focus on the pain of puberty. I know we went maybe half a dozen times before I graduated high school in 2007, including our first foray into Annual Passholdership. That particular year, we went a whopping 3 times in a 12 month period, including my first July experience. For past trips, we always went in early winter, as the crowds were low and at that point in time, getting us kids out of school was easy. We were all great students and we did our schoolwork on the trip down and often even did some sort of report (my favorite was a report on Norway that I chose to do). So when we arrived at the Most Magical Humid and Crowded Place on Earth, we were in for a bit of a surprise. I have vowed never to return during the summer months, if at all possible

Not only did we become Annual Passholders for the first time during the aughts, but we also started staying on property, specifically at Fort Wilderness, as my parents have an RV. These two ideas changed the way we would “do” Disney for the foreseeable future. Fort Wilderness was just a stepping stone to other resorts, and inevitably for my parents, the Disney Vacation Club. Now that they are DVC Members, nearly every vacation is spent down in Florida.

When my husband and I met in 2011, I didn’t warn him right away. I knew he was a Star Wars kind of nerd, and we both still are, but I didn’t know if he was prepared for the other kind of nerd that I was: the Disney Nerd. We got engaged and married in 2012 and he began to see the light. When we were celebrating Christmas with my parents in 2013 after he returned from his deployment, we were surprised with the most magical of gifts: the trip to Disney World. My parents would provide everything except transportation there the following fall. We were posted in Oklahoma and grew excited for the trip. We even planned a nice dinner at Rose & Crown (a favorite of mine) to celebrate our 2nd anniversary. Along the path of planning, we added a Dining Plan for the first time, and my brother and his wife decided to join us. The trip was amazing. It was my first experience at the Epcot Food and Wife Fest and the Dining Plan allowed us to try many new restaurants we had not been able to experience before. We had always been more just quick service, and maybe one table service, kinds of people, but now we could branch out.

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I knew that the two new additions to the Disney Universe, Star Wars and Marvel, would help, but I was unsure of how Sean would react to his first experience at Disney World. Well, suffice it to say, he was planning our next trip after our first day. We carried on the tradition of celebrating our anniversary by way of a trip to Disney last fall, and we return again in October to complete the trilogy. But never fear, this is far from our last trip to Disney! And yes, he loves Star Tours and the rollercoaster-type rides (I still haven’t been able to figure out why they can’t call them rollercoasters). But I was truly surprised and overjoyed at how much he loved the Haunted Mansion and the Jungle Cruise. He loves all of the various aspects of what makes Disney World so special to me and my family.

As I said before, we are planning our next trip in less than 2 months and I will follow up this post with one all about that endeavor, as well as plenty of posts on tips and fun facts. I will say right here and now that if you want a first-timer’s, basic how-to site about Disney World, this is not it! There are so many great websites out there for that exact purpose. Some of my favorites are:

And of course there are countless boards on pinterest, as well.

This page on my blog is going to be more for the people who return again and again, the Disney-phile, or really anyone that wants to read Walt Disney World posts that maybe they haven’t seen before.

And I’ll just leave you with this one last thing…

Your heart will just take wing,
you can live out all your dreams.
No matter how, no matter when,
you can reach that world again.
It’s like a dream come true,
that lives inside of you.
It’s time to Remember the Magic!

-Until-

Bethany

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