Archive for November, 2010

Holiday Magic

I’ve been inspired.  I just read Mike’s post over at Jungle is 101, and it brought tears to my eyes.  It also reminded me of my own holiday magical moments at Walt Disney World, so I thought I would share my reminiscing with you today. 

I’ve spent the holidays at Walt Disney World a few times.  The first was when my sister worked down there and the entire family went down for the week of Christmas to be together.  We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge where we were all caught singing in the elevator, convinced our parents to let us open our presents two days early, and spent Christmas day in the pool since the parks were full by 10:00 am. 

The second time I celebrated Christmas was when I worked down there in 2004.  I was cast in the Christmas Parade where for three weeks straight I worked two or three parades every day, waving my heart out to the guests.  A group of friends and I may or may not have snuck into the park on Christmas Day for a little Splash Mountain action between shifts.  Those three weeks were some of the best times of my life. 

The third time at WDW for the Holidays was in 2008.  My very generous sister invited me on a whirlwind trip to the parks in November.  We spent one full day in Epcot, then had tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party before we headed home the next day.  That Christmas party was one of the best times I’ve had at Walt Disney World.  We got to Magic Kingdom early after a wonderful character breakfast at Cape Mae Café, and we spent the evening taking in the sights and details of the party.  We met quite a few characters since the lines were so short.  We picked up coffee on Main Street and enjoyed the “snow” falling.  We grabbed free cookies, hot chocolate, and prime viewing space for the parade, where we got waves from so many of the performers passing us, we had the mom next to us asking who we were.  We warmed up from the slight chill in the air and burned off a few calories at Chip and Dale’s dance party at Cosmic Ray’s and took our time hitting the rides we wanted to experience since we’d both worked at the parks and had lost that manic urge to do everything possible that a quick trip can bring on. 

The best part of the night was when they lit up Cinderella’s Castle, turning a familiar landmark into a glittering jewel.  I’d seen pictures of the castle with all its lights draped like icicles on the torrents and fake brick, but being there in person to see each light’s glow with my own eyes and experience the crowd’s audible awe at the transformation was a magic that only Disney can bring.  I looked through the tears in my eyes to see the glow of the moment reflected in the tears in my sister’s eyes, and felt a joy that’s all too soon forgotten in the stresses of everyday life.  We both laughed a little at each other’s tears, and then the moment was quickly destroyed by the rude PhotoPass photographer that pushed us out of the way of his shot. 

Still, celebrating the holidays at Walt Disney World is an incredible experience, and I hope I get to experience it someday with my own family.  I hope you can too.

It’s still a bit early, but I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas.  God bless us, everyone.


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As it’s Veterans Day, I thought I could update you all on one particular part of my recent Disney trip.  Watching the Flag Retreat ceremony.  You may remember my earlier post listing it as something I wanted to see while we were there.  Well Monday nights saw us at the Magic Kingdom (again) and since we were on Main Street around 4:30, Matt’s family was gracious enough to wait with me to watch the ceremony.

I hope they weren’t disappointed.  I sure enjoyed it.  We watched the procession to the flag pole, heard the Disney Band play our national anthem, and my little patriotic heart beat heavily in my chest as many entering or exiting the park paused to watch this time-honored tradition; some even removed their hats or placed their hands over their hearts.  It was a proud and heart breaking experience watching the young soldier selected to carry the flag march past with our beloved stars and stripes held tightly in his grasp, followed by his proud parents and just as young wife pushing their small child in a stroller. 

Then just like that, it was back to the trip, deciding what ride to go on next.  Free to do as we pleased without a care in the world.  Another first added to my Mother-in-Laws list. 

Thank you to Matt’s family for letting me watch the ceremony.  Thank you to Disney for having that ceremony every day.  But most of all, thank you to all those who have served in our US Armed Forces in the past, to those who are currently serving, and to the families who love and support them through it all.  Happy Veterans Day and God Bless America.

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The Start of a Trip Report

So I’ve decided that since I keep putting off writing one large trip report from, you know, September, that I will post little tidbits about the trip as I remember them. 

First, I hardly took any pictures on this trip.  This is quite a strange habit I’m developing and it’s both refreshing and sad.  I liked the freedom of not having to lug around a camera all the time and make people stop for the obligatory pose in front of certain giant landmarks, but I miss looking at them now that I’m home and my memories are swiftly being replaced by save the dates and project plans.  The few pictures that were being taken on a regular basis were on my brother-in-laws phone, and he hasn’t shared any of them with anyone else yet.  I may need to steal his phone and rectify that situation.  I will share with you one of my favorite shots and one of the few I took.  We went to Epcot on the morning of our second day there and, though we had to wait a long time for the monorail from our hotel to TTC, then wait for the Epcot monorail, it was worth it to ride on the TRON-o-rail.  We still got there fairly shortly after opening, and Matt and I ran ahead to grab Fastpasses for Soarin’, which we were walking back to use when I snagged this picture after riding Mission: Space our first and only time. 


Within the first three days we’d already hit everyone’s must-do’s in all four parks, which left us six more days to do it all over again!  There were a lot of firsts on this trip for me and for the others.  It was exciting to go with Matt’s family and learn a different pace for touring Walt Disney World.  It was also hard leaving not knowing when I will be back again.  At this point, not for a long time. 

 I’ll try and post more on the trip in the next few posts, but I wanted to get something started for those who really want to know.  That’s all I have time for now, so TTFN!

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