Friday, December 10, 2010

The World War Veteran and the Candlelight Processional

Mark, 42, Williamstown, MI

Disney Dreams Come TrueAs a Midwestern farm family, my wife and I have taken our kids to Disney World between Thanksgiving and Christmas a few times when the 100-hour-plus work weeks are over. My wife had always wanted to see the Candlelight Processional, but we always passed it up for more "exciting" events for our kids. Finally one year we went ahead and ordered the dinner package with reserved seats for the processional.

A friend and her daughter ended up going to Walt Disney World with us last minute. After dinner our kids went with our friend instead of to the processional, leaving us with two extra reserved seats. The standby line for that evening's performance was very long, with many seniors standing in line. I walked along the line looking for a deserving couple of senior citizens to give our two extra seats to. I was looking for a veteran proudly wearing his cap or jacket showing his service to the country, who had likely spent a Christmas in a foxhole in snow-covered Europe, Korea, or in a hot jungle in southeast Asia or the Pacific.

I found my couple ... "World War II vintage." They were elated to be able to go sit down and get a seat. They thanked me profusely to the point of embarrassment -- but he understood when I said; "No sir - thank you." During the performance, while the choir was singing "Do you see what I see ... a star a star shining in the night," we were able to see the space shuttle far in the distance rising in the sky during a night launch.

The unfolding of events that night will truly be one of my fondest memories of Disney. I share this experience in the hope that others will do something similar. Why not buy a couple of extra Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party tickets and hand them to a veteran as day Guests are headed out? It will put the Christmas spirit in you like little else can!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Honeymoon at Disney

Gavin, 50, San Jose, California

Winter Snowman 
My wife and I were married in December 1994 and chose to spend our honeymoon at Disneyland as we both adored the Park as kids. We had a wonderful time at the Disneyland Hotel and particularly enjoyed the way the Park was decorated for the Christmas season. Our favorites were the huge tree and the Christmas parade. Nine months after our Disneyland honeymoon, we welcomed our lovely daughter into the world. She's now a teenager and budding artist. Her favorite person ever? Walt Disney!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Disneyland by Candlelight

Betty Ann, 47, Whittier, CA

First Christmas in AnaheimWhen is Disneyland even more magical than it is every day with its princesses, castles, Fairies, fireworks, and mystical mountain range? When you see it by candlelight!

One day, my church choir director announced that we were auditioning for Disneyland's Christmas Candlelight Processional. Even though I had never heard of this "Candlelight" thing before, it combined three of my favorite things: singing, Christmas, and Disneyland.

We passed the audition, memorized all the music, and before I knew it, the day had arrived. After spending hours practicing, I found myself processing through the Magic Kingdom after dark in formation with hundreds of fellow choristers. Singing jubilantly and holding my candle aloft, it dawned on me: "I am a Disneyland spectacle! People are looking at ME with rapt attention while I walk down Main Street! And I'm not even a princess! Wow!"

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Family Dreams

Liz, 38, Petersburg, IL

Disney Dreams Come TrueWhen my husband and I celebrated our honeymoon at Disney World, I don't think we had any idea how much happiness Disney would bring us through the years. We have watched the kids grow up in our many trips to Disney. From the first Dumbo ride until our youngest was tall enough for Rockin Roller Coaster, each moment has been special!

This summer, we had a dream trip. On our first day at Epcot, my son wished for a Dream Fastpass. An hour later, each of us was presented with a Dream Fastpass -- it was our lucky day! On our last day, we wanted to open the Magic Kingdom and make a full day of it. We got our wish by being chosen the first family and throwing out the confetti to open the Magic Kingdom with Mickey and the gang. I will never forget my children's faces as the train we were riding with all of the Characters rounded the bend to the thousands of people waiting to enter the Magic Kingdom.

Disney has made many of our dreams come true in the last 15 years ... I can't wait to see what else can happen in our future visits! The kids are counting the days until we come back!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Dennis, 58, Hemetc, CA

I grew up down the street from Disneyland and visited two weeks after it opened. To this day, I have many memories and still get a warm feeling when walking under the tunnel toward Main Street. I crossed swords with Zorro and fought off Sergeant Garcia so Zorro could escape. I've seen many wonderful changes, brought my children up with Disney movies, and still go to the Park -- I'm going on my birthday for free! The magic NEVER stops and will forever be instilled in my heart. Walt's dreams did so much for me as well as generations to come! 

Monday, November 8, 2010

How Has Walt Changed Your World?

Kelsey, 14, League City, TX

How Has Walt Changed Your World?

Disney has given us the most fantastic music, movies, and concerts I've ever known. Luckily, I've met awesome Disney stars like Corbin Bleu, Keke Palmer, and Drew Seeley. I also sang with Drew Seeley on my 14th birthday, which was the most incredible experience in the world. I will forever be a Disney girl & thanks for the magic!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Special Epcot Moment in the Rain

Monica, 29, Topeka, KS

Mickey and Minnie 
My husband and I celebrated our honeymoon in Walt Disney World. It was his first big vacation ever as well as his first Disney trip. We both fell in love with IllumiNations at Epcot, our favorite park by far.

On our last night, we decided to catch IllumiNations one more time. It threatened to rain all day and that night it poured. Luckily I packed windbreakers and ponchos. We huddled under a tree and waited for the show to start in the pouring rain. Sitting there in the rain and enjoying our last evening together was very romantic ... and the most spectacular vacation moment ever!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Remembering Fess Parker

Wayne, 60, Georgetown, TX
Fess Parker as Davy CrockettI met Fess Parker at Disneyland when I was five years old, in 1955. It was sad to hear that he had passed on. My mom and dad took me to Disneyland and I had to go in my full Davy Crockett outfit. Yes, I had the coonskin cap and "buckskins"! I think it was the official outfit. I don't know if he was just there, if my parents arranged it, or someone told him about the cute kid in the Davy Crockett outfit but he came up to me, shook my hand, and introduced himself. I don't remember much except that I met him and he was a really nice and friendly guy. I don't remember much of anything else from the visit – at five years old, meeting your hero wipes memories of anything else out. It was a great day, and I will always remember it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Winning Birthday

Marilyn, 75, Germantown, TN
FireworksJust before Christmas of 2007, I was notified that I had won the Disney Vacation Club Once Upon a Time Sweepstakes. What a surprise – especially since I had been going to Disney since 1956, when I had the pleasure of meeting Walt Disney himself.

This was an all-expenses-paid trip for six with a stay in Cinderella's Castle, and we planned the trip so that the Castle stay fell on the night of my 75th birthday. I had all of my family with me – and the Disney Vacation Club and Mickey made it the best birthday I have ever had, with birthday cake, flowers, a glass slipper and crown, and even a card from Mickey.

I made reservations to celebrate my 76th birthday at Walt Disney World. I have been doing this for 20 years, and hope I have a few more to celebrate!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween at Disney World

Marilyn, 77, Germantown, TN

Last year my family (six adults and four children) took a trip to Disney World for Halloween. At night, we all attended the Park's special Halloween party. Everyone wanted to go on Pirates of the Carribbean, but half-way through the ride, all the lights went out and the boats stopped!

A few minutes later, we heard singing and saw light. It was the Cast Members who worked the ride – they wore high boots and were carrying candles while singing pirate songs, talking to the kids, and pushing the boats back to the exits.

The lights were still out when we arrived at the exits, so our Cast Member led us to the main Park – as he continued singing and telling stories. When the lights came on, he gave us all FASTpass tickets for the rest of the night. We had a wonderful time and my great-grand kid asked if we could do it again. Only Disney could make Halloween such a special time that all the kids still talk about!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween 2008

Christine, 48, Fort Mill, SC

Halloween 2008
We've loved visiting Disney World every year for the past eight years and usually go during the spring, around Easter. My daughter's 12th birthday was October 27, so this year we went to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween with my four-year-old granddaughter. We had a wonderful time -- my daughter was Minnie Mouse and my granddaughter was Jasmine. They loved dressing up, meeting the Characters, and receiving their treats at each of the trick-or-treating stations. What a wonderful idea ... thanks for the Disney memories!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Walt Disney ... An American Icon

Pat, 57, Basking Ridge, NJ

Walt DisneyAs a sociology major in college, I was required to write a term paper about the person I felt had a major influence on American society – I chose Walt Disney. There are presidents, senators, athletes, movie stars, religious figures, and foreign heads of state that obviously have had major roles in the development of our society, but Walt's vision has impacted us beyond most.

The environment he developed transports us from our everyday lives into a place filled with fun. We can't help but lose ourselves in his fantasy world and just feel good. His foresight and creativity were unparalleled and I would bet there isn't a family in our country that hasn't been influenced by Disney ... how lucky for us!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Family Lives on at Disneyland

CJ, 58, San Clemente, CA

 I can remember going to Disneyland for the first time around age six. Wearing my coonskin cap, I was selected to lead the band down Main Street, U.S.A. What an everlasting wow!

Princess for a DayMy family, with Grandma and Grandpa, saved and planned every year and returned on the third Wednesday of August every year from 1956. The excitement bubbled and exploded as the time grew nearer. It was easier to sleep the night before Christmas, than the night before Disneyland. It was a day the whole family spent together, something that never happened unless we were going to Disneyland. Quality time, enjoying each other's company, sharing each other's joy. Breakfast at Aunt Jemima's, dreaming and hiking on Tom Sawyer's Island. And, oh, those Autopia cars, getting to drive a car ... another wow. Each ride had its own memory, each Land its own experience with the family.

Then in the 1980s it was my time to be the mom, and take my kids to the Happiest Place on Earth. The excitement of taking them was as big and bold as it was when I was a kid. And the dream never got old, the experience never died.

Today my grandparents have passed on – my mom too. Nobody lives in the same home, not even in the same neighborhood. Disneyland remains the only place I can visit to relive the wonderful memories of my childhood. To smell the smells, and touch the places where we all had such good and endearing times together. When I miss them, I don't visit a cemetery, I visit Disneyland. It still brings a smile to my face, and I still get that twinge of excitement as I enter the Happiest Place on Earth. Thanks Disneyland!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Fauna Boat

Jenny, 18, Redwood City, CA

FireworksOn my last trip to Disneyland with my family, I remember a magical experience. We went on the Storybook Land Canal Boats and had a "magical" time. The Cast Members directed me to sit on the step of the boat where everyone's shoes touch, so I just flat out said "I need to sit on the other side of the boat – I have O.C.D. and can't sit there." The cast member completely understood! She even said her brother has O.C.D. too. So we waited for the next boat – and it was the Fauna boat! Fauna is one of my all-time favorite Disney Characters.

The ride had to stop for the fireworks show, so we got to see them while in the boat. The whole time these little girls on the boat were making sort of a running commentary – it was really funny. When one of them heard the huge crack and booming noise of the fireworks she said, "I thought the Civil War was over!"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Birthday Saved

Heather, 34, Viola, IL

WaltSince my husband was attending a conference in Orlando, we made plans to spend some time together at Walt Disney World. It just so happened that the conference was scheduled during my son's 8th birthday. Of course, we let him choose how he spent his birthday while at Disney. Out of all the attractions, he wanted to play golf at one of Disney's courses so we made reservations at Oak Trails. Unfortunately, our trip took place during Tropical Storm Fae – it pretty much rained the entire time we were there. Needless to say, the golf courses couldn't be used.

Although golfing was out, we didn't let the rain spoil all our fun. We went to Disney's Hollywood Studios and were on our way to see the "Star Wars" show, when a Cast Member wished our son a happy birthday (he had a birthday button on). He asked if we were going to Star Tours and we said we were going to watch the show first. He led us to a great spot to watch the show and, wouldn't you know it, my son was chosen to attend the Jedi Training Academy. He may not have been able to play golf, but another of his wishes came true – he got to battle with Darth Vader, something we couldn't plan if we tried. It was truly a wonderful birthday for my son!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Very Special 21st Birthday!

Michelle, 23, Santa Rosa, CA

Fireworks FantasyIn April of 2008, I celebrated my 21st birthday. I had been to Disneyland many times, and since I'm a huge Disney fan, my parents wanted to make my 21st birthday special and we planned a trip to Walt Disney World!

Just being there was amazing enough. We stayed in a beautiful Contemporary Resort Hotel room, complete with a balcony and a perfect view of the Magic Kingdom, where we watched the fireworks display many times. We visited all of the Parks, took in all the shows, and ate at so many amazing restaurants. On my birthday we ate at Cinderella's Royal Table – the restaurant in the castle itself!

I felt like a princess and was having the best time of my life. Thinking that the trip itself was the most special birthday gift EVER, I wasn't expecting anything else. Little did I know, my parents had a huge surprise in store for me.

After we finished eating dinner, someone from the restaurant came over to our table and started talking with my family and asking if we were having a good time. While we were talking with the man, our waitress came out singing Happy Birthday with a special dessert that my parents had secretly ordered. It was a chocolate mold of Cinderella's glass slipper filled with chocolate mousse, which sat on a slice of angel-food cake with strawberries and blueberries all over! Even the plate had "Happy Birthday Michelle" written around the edge in chocolate.

After the shock wore off, I noticed a ring box on the table. When I opened it, I was overwhelmed to see a stunning diamond ring. I started to cry because I was so happy. I couldn't believe they pulled off such a huge surprise. Thank you so much Cinderella's Royal Table, everyone at Disney, and Mom, Dad, and Joseph for making my birthday so special. It's one I will never forget!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Annual Trip to Disneyland!

Irene, 47, Los Angeles, CA

Thankful at Walt Disney WorldMy parents worked very hard all year to make sure we (I was the oldest girl with three younger brothers) always made our annual trip to Disneyland every summer. Mom would wake us up early and dress us in outfits she bought especially for the occasion. We made sure lemonade on Main Street was always our first stop.

My fondest memory as a little girl was watching Mary Poppins with her umbrella move across the sky – I was amazed and completely convinced she was real. And who could forget the fireworks that lit up the sky or watching the parade and naming all the characters? At the end of the day, our last stop was browsing through the gift shops ... those wonderful memories will live on forever!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Toontown Strengthens Family Pies

Christopher P., Sr. Staff Writer, Disney Online Studios, North Hollywood, CA

Driving through the desert, I'm a cartoon pig throwing pies at robots with my nephew, who is a cartoon dog ... hundreds of miles away. It may sound ridiculous, but that's the point – after all, this is Toontown!

My wife is at the wheel of the car, and we're heading home to Los Angeles. I'm in the passenger seat on our mobile laptop, playing Toontown Online with my nephew Hunter, age 10, who we parted company with hours ago back in Phoenix. Hunter and I had been playing Toontown together for the past two days, throwing pies at evil robot Cogs, racing karts, dueling on the mini-golf course, and playing Trolley games. When it came time for my wife and I to leave, Hunter and I didn't want to stop – and since Toontown is an online virtual world, we didn't have to. As my wife and I cruised down the highway, Hunter and I continued our fun, just like when we were together. And though we fought side-by-side against the Cogs, when it came to kart racing, he beat me handily. This is probably why, even though I work on the game, he has more Laff points than me.

Hunter and I still get together online to play, but there's been one big change – now we're joined by my wife and our niece Skyler, Hunter's sister, a family reunion of cartoon animals. It's a great way to keep in touch, because as we all know, the family that throws pies at evil robots together stays together!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Heart of Disneyland

Linda, 58, Dixon, CA

Sleeping Beauty's CastleI was 11 years old the first time I went to Disneyland. It was 1961 and Disneyland was somewhat different in appearance back then. Gone are the donkey rides down the canyon, the old Autotopia cars, the boats, and the original submarine ride with "real" mermaids.

Though there have been aesthetic changes to Disneyland, the "heart" of Disneyland remains forever the same. Since my granddaughter turned 2 years old, my husband and I have been taking her to Disneyland. This year was our third trip with her – she is now 4 1/2. It is amazing that she too feels the "heart" of Disneyland – just as Walt hoped that each child would. Our granddaughter feels the magic and wonder of Walt's vision, every time we visit the park. It is an incredible thing that, although it's been 47 years from the very first time I stepped into Disneyland, our precious granddaughter also feels those same MAGICAL feelings when she visits Disneyland. I'm certain she will pass the tradition on to her children and their children as well. Thank you for keeping the heart of Disneyland beating in every child and adult who passes through the gates.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fireworks Fantasy

Eva, 48, San Jose, CA

Fireworks FantasyEach year, we travel the 400 or so miles to Disneyland to witness the holiday magic. This past visit in 2008 was a particularly special time. This year in attendance were my husband and me, our 26-year-old daughter, our son age 19, and Nathaniel - our 5-year-old grandson. Also along were my brother, and my sister's family — her four daughters aged 12 - 21, her husband Jay, and his nurse.

Jay has ALS. His muscles are atrophying, and his abilities are so very limited now. He is on a ventilator and confined to a wheelchair. He will most likely never make it back to Disneyland again.

We scoped out a great spot for fireworks viewing right in front of the castle with our entire family. Jay asked for my grandson Nathaniel to be placed on his lap. We carefully placed Nathaniel on the arm of Jay's wheelchair, draping his legs across Jay's lap. Nathaniel was amazingly compliant, and totally entranced by the fireworks display from his special seat.

Jay watched the fireworks, and he began to weep. Then he caught sight of Nathaniel's delighted reactions to the spectacular beauty, and a smile would break through. Nathaniel turned around and saw Jay's tears, and he patted Jay on the chest and then touched his face. For my sister and I, this was THE memory of 2008. This was the defining moment that marked the magic of Disneyland for us. The connection between this man and this child on this spot in this moment will forever be cherished by all who witnessed it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Always Wanting More Disney!

Dena, 35, Bourg, Louisiana
Disney Princesses 
My 11-year-old son, six-year-old daughter, mother-in-law (65 years young!), and I have visited Disney World five times in the past two years. Seeing my daughter don her princess dress (made by her grandmother) and hear the princesses tell her how lovely she looks is the best part of visiting Disney. Of course, Ariel from "The Little Mermaid" is her favorite. We love Disney and visited in February 2009 with 18 friends and family members. We always find something new to do and have many great Disney memories – with more to come in the future. Thanks to Walt for creating such a great place!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How Walt Changed My Life

Rick, 58, Phoenix, AZ

Walt DisneyI started going to Disneyland when I was 7 -- 51 years ago. I've been there, on average, once a year ever since. I have always been thrilled and in awe of the Park's attention to detail and remember looking at the lichens painstakingly created, attached, and painted onto the Swiss Family Robinson tree house and how everything was laid out, lit, costumed, and set up so people could get to and from everything as efficiently as possible. Every time I went, I'd look (and listen) for things I hoped were still there (like the jumping fish in the backway to Fantasyland from Frontierland) and marvel at everything that was either new, or I just hadn't noticed before. Sometimes it was very hard to tell the difference.

Today I am the technical director (and lighting/sound designer) for a theater here in Phoenix and the cadre of actors. Directors and producers who bring their work to my stage consistently report their sense of being taken care of, as if I were one of the performers on stage with them. They note my attention to detail and how much that all makes a difference. They always ask where I learned how to do it, the way I do, because it's so much better than their experience with other technical people. I've always said "I just paid attention" but you know ... seeing this invitation to muse on Walt's impact on my life, I'd have to blame him as much as any other single stimulus. And even now, at 58, I'd rather just be walking through Disneyland than almost any other activity I can think of. Thanks Walt!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Darndest Things Happen at Disneyland

Peter, 60, Santa Barbara, CA

The Darndest Things Happen at DisneylandI was at Disneyland with my family for their 50th Birthday celebration with California's governor and Art Linkletter. My three children, Alexander, Zoe, and Fiona, had always heard the story of how I was among the children "interviewed" for Mr. Linkletter's show "Kids Say the Darndest Things," but because I barely understood English (my parents only spoke Greek) I never made it on the show.

At the 50th birthday celebration, wearing our gold Mickey ears and stuffing ourselves with birthday cupcakes, we marveled at how Mr. Linkletter, then 93 years old, spoke extemporaneously, seemingly totally at ease in 90-degree heat and a dark suit. After the speeches were done, we walked around and a crowd of reporters approached us, surrounding Mr. Linkletter. And there he was—right in front of us! He stopped, looked right into my eyes, and said, "You look about the right age, were you ever on the show? I am sorry if I don't remember you."

Then he ignored the reporters trying to ask their questions, and he had a five-minute conversation with us, allowing my kids to ask him various questions. After spending so much time with us, he turned to my kids and said "Believe your father, everything he says about 'Kids...' is absolutely true." My eyes welled up. I shook his hand and thanked him profusely, and the last thing he said was "Call me Art."

Only at Disneyland! Thank you for always making it the Happiest Place on Earth.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Disney Magic and the Moon

Frank, 45, Palm Springs, CA

Disney Magic and the MoonI was a Cast Member working at the Disneyland parking lot during the early 1980s. One night while operating a tram that was leaving the Park to return Guests to their cars, things started running very slowly. I had already gone through the safety spiel a few times, and everyone was getting bored and restless.

Realizing a lunar eclipse was occurring, I decided to amuse the Guests with an impromptu announcement over the loudspeaker. "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! For your enjoyment, Disneyland has provided you with this lunar eclipse," I said while pointing to the sky.

Several Guests just laughed at my joke but, after a full day of Disney magic, some of them thought Disney could do anything – I had more than a few Guests asking how Disneyland did it!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Seeing Walt at Disneyland

Yvonne, 51, Gardnerville, NC

The Day I Bumped Into WaltLong ago when the world was a little different and I was just about 12 years old, my mother took my younger sister and me to Disneyland in California. We would be able to visit there often because we lived close enough, there was no such thing as freeway traffic and it was a great place to visit for a long day.

I recall walking into Disneyland, past the train station, and into the area where we would go to visit Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln – that attraction was always our first stop. One very special day, as we left the show and looked toward Main Street, there was a horse-drawn carriage coming toward us and Walt Disney was riding up on top with the driver and waving at the people passing by. It was one of the most exciting events in my entire life! He even waved directly at us! It will always remain in my memory. What a wonderful man with such a great unselfish vision!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Turning 50

Laurie, 53, Biloxi, MS
Turning 50It was one of those dreaded birthday milestones and I admit that the closer it got the more I dreaded it. When you couple that with the fact that our son had just been deployed to Afghanistan with the Army, this was proving to be one of the worst birthdays I have ever known. Then my husband decided that I should have a special gift and made all the arrangements to take us and our other son and his wife to Disney World.

At first I was reluctant to go as I felt as if I were too old to go (the over-the-hill feeling was nicely settling in!) He refused to take no for an answer though, and a day before my birthday found the four of us on a plane headed to Florida. As we checked into the Grand Floridian, I could begin to feel that "too old to have fun" feeling begin to thaw a little. We checked in and then all of us went over to Disney World. It was just like all the commercials I had ever seen, where everyone you met and everyone who worked there smiled at you. I could not help but smile back and at each step, I could feel the 50-year-old become a 5-year-old little girl come to the surface. I was filled with the awe and enchantment of a child and the appreciation of an adult.

I woke up on my 50th birthday to a gift from my husband of a silver slipper charm with my birthstone inside. I truly did feel like Cinderella and the rest of the day and evening was filled with fun, happiness, love, and the most fun I have ever had. I realized, thanks to Disney, that turning 50 meant nothing at all, as any age is the perfect age when you can still feel the awe of a child and the walking endurance of an adult. Thank you, Disney, for bringing out the little girl in me that I thought was lost forever. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Magical Love of Walt Disney

Marcy, 40, New Orleans, LA

Walt Disney 
I was born and raised in Argentina. Walt Disney's magical world was a very big part of my happy childhood. Now in my 40s, I still admire the visionary mind and genius that created this loving place where dreams come true. My husband and I are always finding excuses to go to Disney World even if we can only go two or three days a year ... it just fills our lives and hearts with the magic that we love and need until our next visit. Spending a few days in Disney World is like going to another country as the outside world disappears — no cell phones, clocks, or worries. It's just 100% pure magical fun. To say that we love Walt Disney and his fascinating vision is an understatement!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lots of Memories of the Disney Parks

Rebecca, 18, Brooklyn, NY

Lots of Memories of the Disney ParksEven living in New York, I frequently visited Disney World as a child, starting as a baby in diapers. I was surely the child mascot for Disney, as I was a full believer in all the magic. When I was a young child, I would constantly run up to various Characters and say "Hi, it's Rebecca, I am back." I used to chase my shadow like Peter Pan and believe that I could pick it up.

A favorite story of my mother's is that when I was still a little baby I used to think the Swan Hotel was my grandmother's house. Various Characters at the Parks were extremely kind and made every moment memorable.

As I have gotten older the magic still hasn't left me. I collect all the pins I can get my hands on and the thought of traveling down south to the warmth during the cold season makes me scream and yell with delight. I enjoy Disney World so much!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Real Wish Come True

David, 40, Jeffersonville, IN

A Real Wish Come TrueMy story starts in May of 2005, when my son was born with a congenital heart defect called HLHS. Basically the left side of his heart didn't form so half of his heart doesn't work. It has taken four surgeries to correct the problem but all is well now.

On David's third birthday this year he got his wish to see Mickey Mouse and Goofy thanks to "Make A Wish," "Give Kids The World," and Disney. If it wasn't for the generosity of such a wonderful place, my son might never have gotten to visit Disney World. Everyone there treated us like royalty and there was nothing more we could have asked for.

I went to Disney as a child and I hope and pray his children will get to do the same. Thanks Disney for helping my son's wish to come true. God bless you all. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thanks a Million, Walt!

Rose, 51, Allen, TX

Thanks a Million, Walt! 
From the time that I was a little girl watching the original Mickey Mouse Club with my mouse ears on (I wore them in an airline terminal while changing flights too) to the first time I watched the color TV show, "The Wonderful World of Color." When I lived in FL, we went to Disney World at least once every year on my honeymoon and several anniversaries, including our 25th! Guess where we are going on vacation this year? Disney World of course! Walt built a world that has touched both young and old and stays with you for life. We passed this love of "all things Disney" to our now grown children. Thanks a million, Walt!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Magical Proposal during IllumiNations

True Love!Who knew work and a first visit to Disney could be one of the most magical times in one's life? I had no idea what was about to happen, but my now husband Tim had every idea.

As the Happiest Place on Earth is also in Orlando, I decided to spend some of my vacation time with my boyfriend Tim, who had never been to Disney World. I was excited to let him see why I loved Disney so much. Excitement got the best of us and we planned a week's vacation for the fall, our favorite time of year.

We were able to spend the entire week enjoying all of the parks, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween, and Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival. It was a full week of walking, laughter, and pure enjoyment. By the last day, we were anxious to kick up our feet and relax.

To my amazement, Tim wasn't so relaxed. After spending the day in Future World, we had worked our way over to the World Showcase to see some of the sights and have dinner in Japan. However, Tim decided that he wanted to go back to Future World and buy some wine from the shop there. I dragged my feet a bit, but then gave in. A debate soon followed (white vs. red, screw cap vs. cork, etc.) before agreeing on red wine with a screw cap. He bought two bottles and we headed back to the World Showcase to watch fireworks before dinner.

Tim then wanted to stop in Germany (he's part German and has a love for the country) to buy wine glasses. Though I put up a good fight (in a bratty kind of way!) about how we didn't need them, he insisted on buying two glasses that he really liked. I gave in, noting that he had to carry all the bags since I didn't understand his last-minute purchases.

After Germany, Tim and I rushed over to Japan to find seats before the fireworks began. The unplanned stops prevented us from finding a great spot, so Tim insisted we sit near the koi pond. I thought it was too far away, but he said the rocks provided enough elevation to see everything. I sat down hoping I'd still be able to see the show's water display.

Tim proceeded to unwrap the new glasses and open a bottle of wine. I thought he was acting crazy! After all, it was the International Food & Wine Festival and if he wanted a glass of wine that badly, he could have walked to the kiosk a few feet away. But he insisted that the wine we bought was perfect for watching fireworks. He poured me a glass but I refused. The brattiness continued ...

After several attempts to have me join in his toast, I finally agreed. The wine was fantastic, as were the fireworks and company. I have to admit I couldn't be a brat any longer and apologized for my mood. We enjoyed the moment, relaxing and loving our surroundings. As I heard clinking in my glass, little did I know that a life-changing moment was right around the corner.

Nearing the end of my drink I saw a shimmer of light and froze. Tim looked at me and I at him. He simply said, "What's that? May I see it? I have something I would like to ask you." I immediately started crying and smiling, while Tim took my beautiful Tiffany engagement ring and got down on one knee. During his proposal, the fireworks went off and all the magic in the world surrounded us. Of course I said yes and we savored our moment together as the show ended.

With all of the emotion, I was unable to eat at the restaurant and asked Tim if we could just cancel the reservations. There were so many phone calls to make! We proceeded to walk through the park, where I was telling anyone and everyone that we just got engaged! I was still crying and people were congratulating us with every step.

As we neared Germany, Tim said that we should just sit down, eat, and make phone calls. So we went to the German food kiosk, where the fantastic Disney staff congratulated us and provided complimentary food and drinks for our celebratory moment. They too were telling everyone in the facility our great news and it felt like we were surrounded by close friends.

I have always loved Disney World for all it's worth. But that one magical night, held in the most magical place on earth, changed my life forever. I married my best friend the following year on September 29, 2007, and we honored that special moment with Disney mementos throughout the wedding. For those who didn't notice the subtle details (think hidden Mickeys!), we wore it on our sleeves. Well, more like our heads!

And now? We're living happily ever after, remembering our vacation together!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A "Secure" Disney Pass

Linda, 56, San Gabriel, CA

My husband and I flew to Nebraska over Thanksgiving week to be with family, while there my husband lost his wallet, needless to say you need a picture ID to get on the plane. As I was checking my wallet to see if I had anything with his name on it I realized that I had his Disney Pass in my wallet. I pulled it out and gave it to security and asked if this was good enough. They all got a good laugh and said it would do along with the other information I had. Without it I think it would a little more difficult to make it through security.
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