Walt Disney World – A First Family Vacation

Seven and a half years ago, my husband and I traveled to Walt Disney World to celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary.  We meshed together memories of our own childhood Disney vacations and imagined a distant trip with our future children.

disney_edited-1Celebrating one year of marriage in June 2006

Bringing Lucia and Adrian to Walt Disney World has been a family dream, and this past December our wishes came true.  We managed to contain the big surprise by using a code word, and I burned the midnight oil designing and sewing a Queen Elsa costume, and packing while little ones were sleeping.  We will forever cherish the video of letting the kids in on our immediate travel plans.  After presenting Lucia with her mama-made Elsa dress and giving the boy a set of Mickey ears, we were off to collect more memories than we could possibly imagine.

traveling to Walt Disney World

I don’t think that there’s a way to accurately describe the sort of palpable magic that exists at Walt Disney World – or the incomparable feeling of seeing your children burst with excitement.

At ages 3 and 6, Adrian and Lucia are in the height of character adoration and the amount of attention that the cast members gave to each child was unbelievable.

In lieu of a birthday party back home in NYC, we surprised the kids with a special character lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom to celebrate Lucia’s upcoming sixth birthday.  The experience was absolutely unforgettable, as the beloved Disney Princesses master being present with each child in a way that makes them feel incredibly special.   It was truly childhood enchantment at its finest – described by Lucia as the best day of her life.

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Venturing to Epcot to find Queen Elsa and Anna at Norway Pavilion was also a top priority!  The children have been Frozen obsessed ever since we were lucky enough to attend a Frozen Movie screening with Idina Menzel.   Meeting Elsa and Anna was an absolute dream moment for Lucia and Adrian.

frozen Epcot Centerfrozen at epcotphoto(14)visiting Elsa and Anna at Epcot Center

There was so much joy in exploring The Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  Adrian loved Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and driving a car around the race track at Tomorrowland Speedway in the Magic KingdomLucia’s Magic Kingdom favorites were Under The Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid, and dancing with Stitch at Club 626 Stitch’s Dance Party.  The kids met Mickey and friends at the Epcot Character Spot in Epcot, and we all loved venturing through Epcot’s enchanting international pavilions.

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Even stolen moments of parental rest and recharge time were memorable.

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We experienced many acts of over the top kindness – that exemplified the kind of beauty that is inherent with being a part of Disney.  Amidst an incredible line to visit Merida at Fairytale Gardens – we watched staff members direct visitors to clear a path for Merida to escort a child all the way out of Fairytale Gardens.  Merida chatted with the little girl the entire time and her parents had tears streaming down their faces.  These sorts of magical moments are not few and far between at Disney.

merida at magic kindgdom brave merida at disney

I’ll forever remember my children’s wide-eyed wonder in experiencing the beauty of Cinderella’s illuminated castle and seeing Tinkerbell fly through the night sky.  Our long list of treasured moments is filled with holding hands through elaborate parades, sensational performances and spectacular fireworks.  I shed tons of happy tears.  We were pleasantly surprised by the unexpected perspective that Walt Disney World gave us.  In a place of lines and business, every single Disney team member was incredibly kind, patient and welcoming. From Kathy P. at Cinderella’s Royal Table to the present and gracious cast members – Walt Disney World treated us in ways that we want to emulate.

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There isn’t a day that has since passed when the children don’t speak of Disney.  Adrian repeatedly asks if he’s woken up tall enough to go on the rocket ship ride and Lucia greatest hope is to return again someday.  In a few whirlwind days, we stored up an incredible amount of cherished family memories.

Memories of enchantment and real life magic that are a treasured piece of our family story.

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Special thanks to Walt Disney World for providing two one-day park-hopper tickets for review purposes.  Opinions, as always, are strictly my own.