Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Forty-Seven Square Miles of Magic

"When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.” - WD

Had I been alive October 1st, 1971, my life would no doubt have changed that day. What you ask could have been so important? What life changing event happened on that October day back in 1971? Well, the Magic Kingdom opened at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, FL of course. Yes I know, Disneyland opened before that, but being from the east coast, I am a Disneyworld girl all the way. It’s crazy really how a rodent can consume your life.

For me, it all started in 1984. First trip to Disney with the family.

Since I was only 4, all I really remember was being TERRIFIED by a man pretending to be a robot. Please, men are scary enough. We stayed at the Polynesian which is a fantastic hotel right on the lagoon a hop, skip, and a monorail ride from the Magic Kingdom. In the decade to come, I made two more visits with the family which were thoroughly magical and soon after, a trip with my best friend and her family right after we graduated High School. The trip was equivalent to a much needed getting out of jail present. Yeah, that’s how much I liked High School.

Although I had developed a love for all things Disney, I really don’t think I truly felt the magic until I hit my 20’s. The older I get, the more I love the mouse. It’s insatiable. I need more Mickey! As soon as I pass through those Disney Gates I revert back to being 6 years old. I’m serious. And as you can see, not much has changed over the years.
It has been almost a year to the day since I have been through those Disney gates and it’s like a tiny piece of me is gone. There is a sad empty place in my heart. To ease the pain, I watched a vacation planning DVD today that came in the mail. The cheese factor was way high but I think I shed a tear watching it. Who wouldn’t want to spend their evening learning about Disney’s four theme parks; two water parks; 32 resort hotels (22 owned and operated by Walt Disney World); 99 holes of golf on six courses; two full-service spas; Disney's Wedding Pavilion; Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex; and Downtown Disney, an entertainment-shopping-dining complex encompassing the Marketplace, Pleasure Island and West Side. Wow! That may actually be too much excitement for one night!

Perhaps to the shock of many, I’ve even made several trips to the parks alone. The best was when Millionaire trekked down there (for what would be the last time). I was only working one day so I used everyone else’s passes and my friend’s hotel room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and wandered to all of the parks for FREE! It was all well and good until I got to the front of Peter Pan and they asked how many. I have to admit, I felt quite loser like having to say “Just one”. Who rides Peter Pan alone? I guess I do! That was the trip we got to ride Expedition Everest before it opened - - 3 times in a row actually. Despite almost puking from the continuous riding, it was one of my best Disney memories! That’s Kayla and me before the puking sensation set in.

Last year I had a power trip planned – 4 parks in 2 days. Being alone definitely made it easier to achieve my goals. I knew what I wanted to hit and made it happen. Sadly, the haunted mansion was closed, but thanks to the DVD I watched today, I learned it was closed due to renovations. My cousin, goddaughter and I went to the park one day too and for the first time in YEARS, went to a character breakfast. Can you say excited? First of all it was a breakfast buffet – HEAVEN!!!! And secondly, the characters would come over to each table and take pictures with the guests! Mickey Mouse came to my table!!!! Twice I might add. I really do think we make a great couple. And check out the food. Yum! Mickey waffles, cheesy eggs, cinnamon buns, and the real Mickey. Really, how can life get any better?

I blame my parents for this. It’s really their fault as they love the mouse whole heartedly as I do. In my present situation it looks like much more time will pass before I get to see Mickey again. But, in the meantime, I still have my DVD and plenty of Disney mementos to keep me happy. Perhaps after I finish this entry I will pop in my Disney Theme park music CD, put on my anniversary Mickey Ears, and close my eyes pretending I’m really there. Nothing beats that Splash Mountain music!

To all the fellow Disney lovers out there, have a magical night!

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – WD

Jill E.

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