Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Magic that is Disney

Disney World. The Magic Kingdom. Mickey's house, Cinderella's castle, Pirates of the Caribbean before the movie, Tomorrowland, Epcot, It's a Small World After All.

Is there really anything more magical?

Yes, I know it's a theme park, one that costs a small fortune to attend. Lunch alone will empty your 401K account.

But there's just something special about the place.

Since I'm a Southerner, my proximity to the land of magic has always been pretty close. I usually stay within a 8 hour radius of Disney. Perhaps I'm on a leash, unlike Pluto. :) So I can honestly say that I have been to Disney World a lot. I used to Christmas with my Florida family in Tampa and the holiday was never the same unless we made at least a one day trip to Disney.

Growing up Disney was a lot smaller and one full day could do you. Epcot didn't even open until I was in high school. Ooh, aging myself there. Bless Mom and Dad, they had little to no interest in Disney - they were older parents, but they faithfully walked around that place, renting Polaroid cameras at outrageous prices with $20 film packets because they forgot a camera. $5 hotdogs, back in the day (I really hate that term, but I must remain "with the times".), the AmEx pulled out for dinner with Goofy - the whole bit.

Plus they were motorhome maniacs so we always parked on Wilderness Island and took the little boat over to the Kingdom. One year we took the late boat back right through the water fireworks show they used to have - awesome and scary at the same time.

I moved away for a few years, got married, had babies, the whole bit. We moved back here to the South about 10 years ago and one day we were thinking of a vacation. Hubby asked where I wanted to go - without thought it just popped into my head - Disney!

He gave me a look like why would a grown woman want to go to Disney? He had never been you see - he was from Up North. But he, like the rest of America, watched it every Sunday evening right after Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. Bless Marlin Perkins.

So he was game, we did have three little kids and two were still free - once Hubby got a load of the prices, he jumped on the free bit and into the car we went.

To the day I die, the most priceless moment in that first Disney family vacation will be the memory of my very adult husband's mouth hanging open as we took the ferry to the Kingdom. Where he looked with joy, just as a 5 year old would, and said, "It's just like on the tv." Then a big huge grin broke out over his face.


Now of course the park is so big you buy 4 days worth of tickets - again, say goodbye to retirement income - and you go one day to each park that's tied in - The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. It's a whole vacation, not just a day stop. You literally collapse in your hotel room, ignoring the tiki bar at the pool - yes, you're that tired. You do realize the children will kill you if you miss even one huge nightly firework show - each park has one, and in the Magic Kingdom Tinkerbell flies down during the last firework so you know there's no missing that. Therefore, you are there from the opening to the closing, every single day.

It's exhausting, pricey, crowded with people from every country, but still impeccably clean, impossibly friendly, and of course, the ever present...........


This is not a review for an attraction - this is just a very strong set of memories that I will cherish when I'm stuck in the rocking chair, sipping sweet tea that may or may not be secretly laced with rum, swapping stories with Celia.