Something that I heard when I was attending the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was a question of “When did it begin for you?” That question has been on my mind since I heard it. I have been vacationing here in Walt Disney World for a little over a week and have been enjoying every minute here with my family. We have done many of our favorite things, and have also tried some new things that we haven’t done yet.
So when did it begin for me? When I was young, my best friend who lived next door went to Florida on vacation. Her grandmother lived in Florida so when they went to visit her they went to Disney World. I never understood what Disney World was, but it always sounded so interesting and magical and special. She would go to this amazing place and come home with cute souvenirs. I most envied her Mickey Mouse dangle earrings. She did give them to me when we got older and I have to see if I still have them somewhere.
Then when I was 14 my parents said they were going to take us to Disney World! They have friends in Lakeland, Florida so we were going to rent a car and drive to Florida and visit them, go to Daytona Beach, Universal and Disney World. It is a fuzzy memory for me; but I’ll never forget the looong drive, the South Of The Border signs that seemed to appear for days, the sunburns, shopping for new clothes and brand new sneakers just prior to going away, and piling into the back seat of a car for the longest car ride of my life.
But it was worth it. From what I can recall, I remember driving to the parking lot of Magic Kingdom and seeing the gates welcoming us to the Magic Kingdom park. That now is still one of my favorite things to take a picture of during my marathon and half marathon races because it stems back to that time when I saw it for the first time as a kid. I also remember seeing the castle, walking down Main Street, the Barber Shop Quartet, the horse and carriage, the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the Skyway Ride (gondolas in the back of the park), the lines in the roped off ques that zigged and zagged forever, the cinnamon rolls on Main Street and the smell coming from the bakery, and the building for Space Mountain stands out strong in my memory. I also remember fondly the Electric Light Parade at night and standing on Main Street seeing these amazing floats going by all lit up and the music playing loudly throughout the park. It was something I had never seen anywhere else before.
As I write this post and think hard of the memories, they are coming bac to me in bits and pieces. Is that when it began for me? Or is it when I started to come to the parks with my husband before we were married. He and I began coming to the parks together in August of 1998. We had a blast coming here together for the first time. Then we made it a yearly tradition, and sometimes we came twice during a year for a long weekend getaway. Each time we came we learned more and more about Disney and people would often ask us why we kept going to Disney. They didn’t understand that each time you go there is always something different you can do or something new to see, or a restaurant to eat at that you haven’t gone to before, shopping to be had and much, much more! The same holds true when you come here with your children. First, when they are younger, you do the children’s rides with them, they as they grow bigger you can do more of the thrill rides with them, you can take them to more restaurants and the water parks. You can stay out later with them!
Then of course, my husband and I met with a wedding planner in 2001 and he secretly booked our wedding date after we left our meeting with them. So then the magic continued as we had our wedding at the wedding chapel 13 years ago today, and our reception in Epcot at the French pavilion outside for the Illuminations show. So when did it begin for me? It may have been that time when I was 14 and saw the Magic Kingdom for my first time and got a taste of it. Only to have more and more exposure each time we came. I couldn’t get enough of it and I still can’t! We have to leave this amazing vacation tomorrow and we will always be looking forward to the next return trip back.
When did it begin for you?