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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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