Thursday, October 7, 2021

#tbt 50 Of My Favorite WDW Memories

My at home kick off for the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration is winding down... at least for now.  I've got other things to write about, but I'm sure I'll be posting more news throughout the 18 months of celebration.  Plus, I can't wait to experience everything myself in a few months (hopefully!) and then share that with all of you!

This place means so much to me.  I've experienced so many wonderful trips to my favorite place through the years.  In honor of Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary starting this past week, I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane with a throwback Thursday of 50 of my favorite WDW memories that I've made through the years. 

1.) First Time Meeting Mickey Mouse (1992)

The first time I ever met Mickey, it was inside of his house in Toontown.  He had his dressing room mirror all set up and I remember being so excited to finally meet him!

2.) WDW 20th Anniversary Celebration (1992)

During our first family trip, Walt Disney World was celebrating it's 20th Anniversary and the Magic Kingdom was decorated.  I specifically remember seeing all of the birthday candles along the train station at the entrance to the park.  Jeremy and I also have fond memories of the parade and the giant inflatable characters towering over us.

3.) Disney Afternoon Toontown Show (1992)

Jeremy and I loved watching Disney Afternoon every day after we can home from school.  We were both so excited to see Darkwing Duck, Baloo, Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad, Chip and Dale and all the rest of the characters at the show in Toontown!  

4.) WDW 25th Anniversary Celebration and the Cake Castle (1996)

Love it or hate it, the 25th Anniversary Celebration of Walt Disney World was super sweet.  I was 12 at the time, and I was completely obsessed with the cake castle.  To this day, I love pink, sweets, candy and cake.  I've also always loved piped frosting, and this is probably one of the reasons why.  I just wish I had more pictures of it!

5.) The Day the Magic was Forever Ignited Inside of Me (Christmas Day, 1996)

The Disney Parks have always magic to me, and I think the day that cemented it for me was Christmas Day of 1996.  It was during the 25th Anniversary, but it was also Christmas Day.  I remember sitting on Main Street with my family waiting for the parade... seeing all of the people so happy to be there.  There were Mickey balloons and the smell of popcorn in the air.  Something magical sparked inside of me, and I was so happy in that moment.  To this day, I feel at home and a sense of nostalgia whenever I walk down Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom.

6.) New Year's Eve (1996-1997)

This was another defining moment in my life.  It was our first time celebrating New Year's Eve at Walt Disney World.  Mom and Dad bought us matching New Years sweatshirts.  Disney handed out free confetti hats and party horns at the Magic Kingdom and the sound of horns echoed throughout the park the entire night.  

This particular trip, we actually watched the fireworks from the other side of the lagoon as our dog Lucky was staying at Doggie Daycare at the Transportation and Ticket Center and they closed at 1 am.  We wanted to make sure that we were able to pick him up in time!  Even then, I remember how magical it was to experience New Years at Disney.  Each year, I long to be back there to celebrate the new year.  What could possibly be better than closing out a year and starting the new one at a Disney Theme Park?!?!  Thankfully, I've been blessed to celebrate quite a few more there!

7.) Lucky Riding the Tram at Epcot to Doggie Daycare (1996-1997)

Speaking of Lucky, he went to Disney more in his lifetime than some people do.  My favorite memory of him at Disney was when we were taking him to Doggie Daycare one day at Epcot.  We were parked pretty far out in the parking lot.  The cast member on the tram told us it was ok for him to get on it, as long as he was sitting on the floor in between our legs so he was safe.  Lucky absolutely loved it.  He enjoyed the breeze and riding on something new and different.  

But the best part was that the cast member remembered him.  A day or two later, she was riding by on a tram while we happened to be at Epcot with Lucky again.  As she rode by on the tram, she told all of the guests on the tram speaker to wave to Lucky who was on his way to Doggie Daycare.  Lucky heard his name and perked right up while an entire tram full of people waved at us on the way by.

*** I'll have to add this photo once I get it from my parents' house!

8.) 2000 Celebration, IllumiNations & Tapestry of Nations Parade (Nov. 2000)

I loved the Millennium celebration at Epcot.  I absolutely loved the Tapestry of Nations Parade and the giant puppets.  It was so colorful and the music was so catchy.  I also remember watching IllumiNations and being fascinated by it- the show, fireworks, lasers, fountains and the music.  I even bought the CD soundtrack that included the music for both.  I listened to it so much that I'm surprised the CD didn't wear out!

*** I'll have to add this photo once I get it from my parents' house!

9.) My First Time Staying on Property (Trip with Katie 2006/2007)

As many times as we traveled to Walt Disney World, I didn't actually stay on property until the first trip I went on without my parents.  My Mom wanted to make sure Katie and I would be safe, so she booked a trip with AAA that included our flights, hotel, tickets and the Magical Express transportation to and from our resort.  We stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter.  I loved it so much.  I took so many pictures of the room at our resort.  Katie thought I was crazy, but I kept finding Hidden Mickeys everywhere.

10.) NYE at Casey's Corner (Trip with Katie 2006/2007)

During that same trip, we were at Walt Disney World over New Year's Eve.  On New Year's Eve day, we got to the park early and decided to sit at Casey's Corner all day for a good view of the fireworks.  It was a long 12 hour plus day.  Thankfully, a few other girls from our high school were also there.  The four of us took turns sitting at the table while we went off in groups of two to enjoy the park.  Unfortunately, a few minutes before the fireworks, cast members let people stand on the lawn right in front of our view.  I had to stand on my chair in order to see them!  I don't think I'd sit somewhere all day again knowing what I know now, but I enjoyed spending time with Katie and the other girls at our little table at Casey's Corner!

11.) Seeing Disney Through the Eyes of Someone Else (Trip w/Justin 2007/2008)

The following year, my friend Justin went with us on our Disney trip.  He had never been to Walt Disney World before and I had so much fun experiencing it through his eyes.  I loved showing him all of my favorite things, and he even taught me about the lighting system at the base of Cinderella Castle.  On New Year's Eve day, we spent the entire day running around the Magic Kingdom keeping ourselves busy on the wait to midnight.  We did things that most people overlook like the riverboat and Tom Sawyer's Island.  We even caught the afternoon parade from the island!  

12.) Four Parks in One Day (Trip w/Justin 2007/2008)

That same trip, Justin and I went to all four theme parks in one day.  I had never done it before, and we decided that we'd try it!  Not only were we successful, but we got to do something in each park too!  It was a long day, but totally worth it!

13.) Eliot's First Trip (2008/2009)

The next year was Eliot's first time going to Walt Disney World.  He had I had started dating at the end of February, so when it was time for our trip at the end of the year, I wanted him to come with us.  It was fun to experience seeing Walt Disney World through his eyes as he'd been to Disneyland, but not Walt Disney World.  Obviously, he fell in love with all four parks too and the rest is history. 

14.) Taking Photos at the Castle (Family Reunion Trip 2008/2009) 

Eliot's first trip to Walt Disney World was also our Mylen Family Reunion Trip.  My Mom's entire side of the family traveled with us, as well as some of my cousins' significant others.  We planned it so we had one day where we were all taking photos at the Magic Kingdom.  I designed us matching t-shirts and I was in charge of the photo location.  Disney Photopass took a bunch of great family photos with Cinderella Castle just past Casey's Corner on Main Street USA.  Unfortunately, Eliot actually missed these photos since he was back at our hotel watching Lucky for part of the day.

15.) Watching the Parade and Fireworks (Family Reunion Trip 2008/2009) 

One of the other things that we wanted to do during our reunion day was watch the nighttime parade and fireworks together.  Papa loved both of them so much and he wanted us all to be together to see them.  I remember it being so special to have all of my cousins there with us during them.  Eliot was also able to be there with me as Dad went back to the hotel to take over watching Lucky.

16.) Riding in the Front of the Monorail (with Justin, Nana and Papa and Eliot)

Something that I'll also never forget was riding in the front of the monorail at Walt Disney World.  Guests aren't able to do it anymore, but when we still could, I took as many people as possible on it.  I remember going with Justin during that trip and Jeremy and I taking Nana and Papa during our reunion trip.  Eliot and I also went on it a bunch of times together.  Eliot still says the monorail is his favorite ride there.

17.) Sitting Outside of Blizzard Beach with Lucky (Reunion Trip 2008/2009) 

One of the days of our reunion trip, my family went to Blizzard Beach.  We brought Lucky with us and we took turns sitting with him outside of the park.  (He was getting older, and we didn't think he would handle Doggie Daycare as well as he did when he was younger.)  Eliot and I took a turn sitting with him in the shade between Blizzard Beach and Winter Summerland Miniature Golf.  Lucky obviously enjoyed himself because he took a nice nap and while laying across the walkway.  When he wasn't napping, he watched everyone going in and out of the park!

18.) Planning Our Wedding (April 2012)

Planning our Disney Wedding was so much fun!  Eliot and I went down to Florida with my parents, Nana, Papa and Jeremy in April 2012 and throughout the week, Mom, Dad, Eliot and I went to a few planning sessions.  We toured the Wedding Pavilion and the Living Seas Salon.  The four of us got to do a Private Menu Tasting inside of the Epcot kitchens and we drove behind stage at Epcot twice.  We also had our Wedding Planning Session and Cake Tasting with our planner at Franck's Bridal Studio.  It was such a special week and we absolutely loved it every minute of it!

19.) Becoming Annual Passholders (April 2012)
During that trip, Eliot and I also became Walt Disney World Annual Passholders for the first time.  We received two passes as part of our wedding package.  (Most Disney Brides knew about this perk but since I wasn't active in the Disney Bride community, it was a total surprise to us.  I opened the envelope and started bawling.)  I'll never forget going to the ticket booth and exchanging the letter for our passes.  I was so excited!  

*** I'll have to add this photo once I get it from my other computer!

20.) Engagement Photos (April 2012) 

Eliot and I never had professional engagement photos done, so we took advantage of our wedding planning trip!  We got a few photos taken by PhotoPass photographers on Main Street that I really love.  My brother Jeremy also took a few photos of us on Main Street, at the train station and at the Contemporary Resort.  I love how they came out!

21.) Tigger vs Eeyore Wedding Party Scavenger Hunt (September 2012)

There was so much about our wedding week that I love.  One great memory was having our combined bachelorette and bachelor parties at Downtown Disney and doing a scavenger hunt.  My maid of honor Katie and Eliot's best man Ryan came up with a great hunt.  We teamed up guys versus girls and we had so much fun!  I'm so glad it was a photo scavenger hunt so we could keep the pictures as well as the memories!

22.) Taking Wedding Party Photos and Fire Truck (September 2012)

The day before our wedding, Eliot and I requested that our entire wedding party go to the Magic Kingdom to take photos.  Eliot and I wanted pictures of everyone in front of Cinderella Castle.  I designed special t-shirts for the occasion: girls in pink, guys in lime and our families in teal.  The photos came out great!

The most magical part of taking our wedding party photos was that the cast members noticed.  Our PhotoPass photographer took photos of us exclusively for at least 10-15 minutes.  While doing that, the "Fire Chief" driving the antique firetruck noticed us.  He drove over and told Eliot and I that we could hop onto it with him to take photos.  We got another round of photos from our PhotoPass photographer then.  It was a really wonderful moment.  We definitely got special treatment because other guests wanted to take photos on the firetruck after us and the "Fire Chief" told them it was for the "bride and groom only."  I'll never forget this experience! 

23.) Taking Wedding Photos at the Grand Floridian (September 2012)

Our Wedding Day had so many magical moments and memories.  One of my favorite parts was taking my bridal portraits.  I had so much fun taking wedding photos at the Grand Floridian Resort Lobby.  I truly felt beautiful and like a princess.

24.) Riding in the Cinderella's Coach (September 2012)

Another princess moment was when my dream came true and I got to ride inside of Cinderella's Glass Coach from the Grand Floridian Resort to the Wedding Pavilion next door.  I had dreamed about that experience my entire life!  It was hotter than I imagined it to be, but it was so much fun.  My Dad and Katie rode with me and I'm sure that they enjoyed it too.  (Daddy still talks about how he got to ride in it!)

25.) Little Girls Waving From the Bus (September 2012)

I couldn't leave out the best part of the coach experience... the reaction of all the other guests.  When I was getting into the coach, some of the guests were taking photos of me.  But it was when we were turning onto the main road that I'll never forget.  One of the busses had to stop to let us out onto the road, and there were so many kids on the bus staring out the window at us.  Some of the little girls were jumping up and down and waving at me; I know they thought I was an actual Disney princess.  I remember smiling and waving back thinking of how that could have been me years ago when I was a little girl with big dreams.  That was a moment I will never forget.

26.) Major Domo Entering the Wedding Pavilion (September 2012)

Our entire wedding ceremony was magical, but the part that really made the entire experience real to me was when Major Domo entered with our wedding rings.  We had planned it that Ryan would pretend he lost our rings, but that Major Domo would come in walking down the aisle with our rings in Cinderella's slipper.  That was the precise moment that I got really choked up.  I didn't end up crying, but that was definitely when it hit me that our dream wedding was really happening.

27.) Having Mickey and Minnie at Our Reception (September 2012)

Eliot and I really wanted to have Mickey and Minnie at our wedding reception, and the experience was more than I ever dreamed it would be.  They "helped" us cut our wedding cake, they took pictures with us, our wedding party and our families, and they danced with us.  It was the most magical 30 minutes ever.  Wedding guests who I never dreamed would be dancing were on the dance floor with us.  

Before they left, Mickey and Minnie danced with Eliot and me to "Remember When" as we requested.  That was when I almost lost it.  I'd dreamed of that moment for so long... and there I was, dancing with Mickey at my wedding.  About halfway through the song, Mickey and Minnie had Eliot and I dance together and they danced together beside us.  It was such a beautiful memory for us.  But, that wasn't even it.  

When we returned home, I eventually looked through our wedding guest book.  Inside of it, both Mickey and Minnie had signed it when I wasn't paying attention.  It was so special that they not only came, but that they signed it.  That brought a fresh wave of happy tears.  (The memory is making me cry now too.)

28.) Scuba Mickey at Our Wedding Reception (September 2012)

Having Mickey and Minnie was a wonderful experience, but what we didn't tell any of our guests was that Mickey would be coming back at our reception a second time... in his scuba outfit.  One of the best perks of having our reception at the Living Seas Salon was that Mickey could scuba dive and swim right over to our reception!  That was so magical.  We got amazing photos and he even had a sign congratulating us!

29.) IllumiNations Dessert Party with our Guests (September 2012)

The grand finale to our dream Disney Wedding was a dessert party at the Terrace des Fleurs at the France Pavilion of Epcot.  Our guests were treated to treats and front row seats to the World Showcase Lagoon.  Eliot and I stood with our photography team while they took photos of us during the firework portions of the show.  The photos of us came out so cool!  It was the perfect way to end our wedding day!

30.) Taking Wedding Photos in the Magic Kingdom (September 2012)

A few days later, Eliot and I had our private photo session at the Magic Kingdom before the park opened to guests.  That experience was such a dream come true!  I love how our photos came out.  We took photos at Cinderella Castle, on the lawn, at Cinderella's Fountain, inside of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, on the castle steps at the back and at the Haunted Mansion!  I even got to have my own Cinderella moment in front of the castle.  (Pictured at the top of this post.)  This is my favorite photo taken of me ever.

31.) Animal Kingdom Lodge and View from Room (September 2012) 

Our last night at Walt Disney World during our wedding trip, Eliot and I used our free room block night to stay over at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  They upgraded us to a safari room and we were overlooking part of the savannah.  We loved sitting on our porch and watching the giraffe and zebras roaming around below us.

*** I'll have to add this photo once I get it from my other computer!

32.) MNSSHP After Wedding (September 2012)

After spending the afternoon watching the animals outside of our window, we spent our last night at Walt Disney World going to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.  Eliot and I wore our new bride and groom ears along with the Halloween Mickey tie dye shirts I'd gotten us.  We had so much fun.  We took pictures with Duffy, Winnie the Pooh and friends and of course, Mickey and Minnie.  I thanked them for coming to our wedding and they spent a little extra time with us taking photos.

33.) Our Honeymoon (March 2013) 

Eliot and I went back to Walt Disney World for our actual honeymoon the following March.  We had so much fun exploring the freshly opened "New Fantasyland".  We ate lunch at Be Our Guest and ordered the special glowing cups.  We rode on the Journey of the Little Mermaid ride.  I fell in love with Rapunzel's Tower and the new Tangled area.  We watched the Electrical Parade.  We explored the Flower and Garden Festival.  We visited the Wedding Pavilion and took photos while it was empty.  We visited tons of characters and filled our autograph book.  And we went to Epcot to watch IllumiNations and slow danced at the edge of the water when they played "Promise" our first dance song after the show ended.  That week was magical.

34.) Meeting Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny (March 2013)

During our honeymoon trip, one of my favorite memories was meeting Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny.  I've wanted to take photos with them for years and you have to be at Disney during Easter to do so.  This was another dream come true!

35.) Watching the Easter Parade on Easter Day (March 2013)

This was surprisingly emotional for me.  Eliot and I were at the Magic Kingdom on Easter Sunday and we got to watch the parade live.  I remember watching the Easter Parade on television as a child and I was always fascinated by the gorgeous gowns the Azalea Trail Maids wear.  They only walk in the parade Easter Day, and I literally started crying during their pre-parade.  It was another dream come true!

36.) First Run Disney Race Weekend (January 2014)

In 2014, Eliot and I started another Disney adventure when we signed up for our first RunDisney event.  We joined Dad and Jeremy in the Half Marathon.  While I didn't finish, I had so much fun!  All three of the guys finished, even though they didn't train for it!  We were all so sore afterwards but the experience really was a lot of fun!

37.) KeyCon 2014 Travel Agent Conference (September 2014)

Later that year, I went to my first KeyCon travel agent conference with my agency, Key to the World Travel.  I made so many new friends that week.  We explored the parks together.  I ate at Ohana and made some lifelong friends.  I had my first Sleepy Hollow Waffle.  I went to the Top of the World Lounge.  I went to the Animation Academy for the first time and I won the animator's sample drawing when I answered his trivia question correctly!  I went to our Fantastic dessert party and while there I ended up winning the Grand Prize at KeyCon 2014... which was a paid trip to KeyCon 2015!!!

38.) Watching the Guys Race in the Half Marathon (January 2015)

My family went back for another RunDisney race weekend in January of 2015.  This time, I was doing the 10K and the guys were doing the half.  My race didn't go so well when I hurt myself, but I really enjoyed watching Dad, Jeremy and Eliot.  I have great memories of cheering them all on.  Mom and I took the monorail over to the Magic Kingdom so we could see them there- which is about the halfway mark.  Then, we went back to Epcot so we could watch all three of them cross the finish line!

*** I'll have to add this photo once I get it from my other computer!

39.) Pictures at the Partners Statue during our last trip with Papa (January 2015)

That same trip, Nana and Papa were traveling with us and we went to the parks with them.  During our Magic Kingdom day, Papa insisted that we take a photo of him with the Partners Statue.  At the time, it seemed like a simple request.  In hindsight, it was like he knew that would be his last trip to Walt Disney World.  (We lost him a few weeks after that trip.)  Those photos and those memories are something I will always cherish.

40.) Said Goodbye to Duffy on His Final Day at Epcot (October 2015) 

Eliot and I were so sad when we found out that Duffy was leaving Walt Disney World to "travel overseas".  In a weird coincidence, we happened to be in the park on his final day, October 3rd of 2015.  Eliot and I took photos with him one last time.  We also had him autograph one of his storybooks.  I really miss his cute furry face.

41.) Finished My First RunDisney Race (February 2017)  

Eliot and I signed up for the 2017 Princess Half Marathon weekend and I wasn't really sure how it would go.  I didn't finish the half marathon, but Eliot and I both finished the 10K and I crossed my first finish line of a Disney race!

42.) Happily Ever Hatter Mouse Ears- Wearing and Taking Photos

I love mouse ears and it's a special treat to wear ears that you've designed and made yourself.  Through the years, Eliot and I have worn so many of our own creations and it's always a very rewarding experience.  It's so nice to have both guests and cast members compliment you on something you made!  Plus, I've taken so many photos of our Happily Ever Hatters in the parks!  I'm so proud of our hard work!

43.) Our First Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Parties (2017)

During my birthday trip, Eliot and I went to our first ever Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party events!  We got tickets to two different nights, and they were both a dream come true.  We took pictures with a bunch of the characters dressed in their holiday outfits, and we ate so many cookies!  We also watched the Christmas fireworks show.  

The best part of the entire evening was the Christmas Parade.  During the second party, Eliot knew when the fireworks were going to be finishing up.  Instead of waiting for them to finish, he whispered into my ear that he was going to the other end of Main Street to get us a spot for the parade.  After the fireworks, I made my way down Main Street with the rest of the crowd.  I found him sitting square in the middle of Main Street on the sidewalk by the flagpole, right in the front row.

This is "the" place to watch the parades.  It has the perfect view of Cinderella Castle and of the parade making it's way down Main Street.  The location is so perfect that during our most recent MVMCP trip, we couldn't even sit there because it was reserved for guests who paid extra for the dining and show package.

Seeing the parade from this perfect location fulfilled so many dreams that I didn't even know I had.  Watching the snow (aka snoap) falling on Main Street while the parade danced by was magical.  I cried watching all of the Toy Soldiers march by.  I remember so many Christmas mornings watching the Disney Christmas Parade.  Seeing it pass by right in front of me, with Cinderella Castle in the background, was so magical.

44.) Melissa's 33rd Birthday (November 2017)

I've always wanted to celebrate my birthday at the Magic Kingdom, and it finally happened a few years ago when Eliot and I went for my 33rd birthday!  It was such a wonderful day.  We ate at the Crystal Palace where I got a specially ordered Mickey dome cake.  I bought my first ever Mickey balloon.  I wore a special outfit of mostly small shop stuff.  And Eliot and I stayed at the Art of Animation during our trip.  The entire trip was a dream come true for me!

45.) Breakfast By Myself at Chef Mickey's and Character Interactions (April 2018)

After having a bit of a confusion on vacation days, I found myself going to Walt Disney World by myself for the first four days of our April 2018 trip while Eliot stayed in Maine to work.  I was a little bummed out, but I really did enjoy myself even though I was alone.  One of my favorite memories from that part of the trip was when I kept our Chef Mickey reservations and I went to eat all by myself.  Eating a a restaurant alone isn't really my idea of something fun to do, but Mickey and all of his friends took extra time to say hi to me and visit.  I had such a great time there!

*** I'll have to add this photo once I get it from my other computer!

46.) Wearing Sharks Jerseys at the Magic Kingdom (April 2018) 

When Eliot was finally able to join me on our trip, we spent one evening wearing our San Jose Sharks jerseys to the Magic Kingdom.  The Sharks had a game that night and we were excited to represent them while at Disney.  I even wore my matching San Jose Sharks mouse ears that we made!

47.) Rapunzel and Flynn at Breakfast (April 2018) 

Another memorable breakfast from our April 2018 trip was when Eliot and I went to the "Bon Voyage Breakfast" at Trattoria al Forno.  Like usual, we brought our three Eeyore plush donkeys with us.  (They travel everywhere with us!)  I dressed "Brother" in a Rapunzel dress from Build-A-Bear and the character interactions we had with Flynn and Rapunzel were priceless.  Flynn said we better watch out for his little Pascal and Maximus friends (tsum tsums) because they liked to cause trouble.  Then, Rapunzel made a big deal out of his little dress that matched hers.  She said she should use him as a model for all of the new dresses she was making.  It was really cute!

48.) Our First Festival of the Arts (January 2019 and February 2019)

Eliot and I have always loved Disney art and we were so excited to finally experience the Festival of the Arts during it's third year.  I was overwhelmed at how much art was there.  The talent of the artists was simply astounding and I was mesmerized by the artwork we saw.  We were lucky enough to be there for the opening day as well as the last day of the festival.  We also brought a few art pieces home with us!

49.) Cady Family Thanksgiving (November 2019)

I've always wanted to go to Disney for each of the holidays.  I've checked quite a few off of my list (New Years, Easter, Halloween, Christmas) but I wasn't sure when I'd ever go for Thanksgiving.  The stars aligned in 2019 when Eliot's family decided to gather in Walt Disney World for Thanksgiving.  Eliot and I were able to have Thanksgiving with my family early so we spent the entire Thanksgiving week with his family in Florida.

50.) Taking Merchant Boys to WDW (January 2020) 

Finally, my last memories of Walt Disney World were back before the pandemic, when Eliot and I went with my cousin Kaitlin's family in January of 2020.  This was Isaac and Osmin's first time there.  Her oldest son, Emery, was the ring-bearer in our wedding, but he was only 20 months old at the time and he didn't remember it.  It was so much fun to experience Walt Disney World through the eyes of the boys.

We spent three days at Walt Disney World- one at Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and one at Hollywood Studios.  All three of the boys loved the Star Wars stuff.  Emery and Isaac were big fans of the rollercoasters they were tall enough to go on.  (Kaitlin wasn't thrilled that they wanted to ride them but Eliot was sure to help hold on to them.)

I had a special ride on the Haunted Mansion with Emery where I told him all about how Disney Imagineers put the ride together.  Isaac wasn't a huge fan of it, and I think Osmin was kind of terrified (there's a really funny photo of him and Eliot together on it but I can't find it!) but all three boys said they loved it afterwards.  That might have been because I said it was my favorite ride, but it was still a special moment.

I spent a lot of time with Osmin while everyone else went on the rides he was too small for.  We had a blast taking photos with our friends at Donald's Dino Bash.  We also waved to the rest of our family while they rode Slinky Dog Dash.  There was also the unforgettable experience with the splash playground in the Storybook Circus area at Magic Kingdom.  Everyone else had gone on Goofy's rollercoaster and I had Osmin who was wearing his monkey backpack with one of those leashes on it.  He basically dragged me into the splash area, and after trying to keep him out of the water, I finally succumbed to it.  We were both soaked by the time everyone else got back from the ride.  To this day, I still giggle thinking about how I was outwitted by a three year old.

My favorite memory from that trip was introducing the kids to Hidden Mickeys and the park maps.  I pointed a few of Hidden Mickeys out when we passed them along the way.  But the boys favorite one was the Mickey solar farm that they could see on the park map.  The kids were fascinated by the park maps on my phone.  Kaitlin told me not to give them my phone because they might damage it, but the joy on their faces as Emery scrolled in and out of those maps was worth the risk.  They loved zooming and and looking at all of the rides in each of the theme parks.  It got a bit dangerous when Emery discovered that he could find out how tall he needed to be to ride the attractions his mom had said no to... but we still got them on a lot of other ones.  The joy on all three of their faces while experiencing Disney was something I won't ever forget.

Room for More... 

And that's 50 memories!  I should note that when I first started this list, I figured that I'd have twenty or so moments and then I'd call it good.  But as I kept reminiscing, I kept thinking of more memories.  As they added up, I decided that I wanted to do 50, one for each year that Walt Disney World as been open.  I could have kept going...  

There was the time (after our 2019 Disney cruises) Jeremy and I went to the parks together after Eliot, Mom, Dad and Nana had already left to travel back to Maine.  We went to Star Wars Land and he bought the Kyber Crystals he'd been wanting the whole trip.  We split the task of opening them up and I ended up opening two of the rare red ones.  He was ecstatic!  There was also the time when we were kids that I remember watching the double decker bus of characters at Epcot.  We loved that so much.

I remember going on It's A Small World with my parents, Eliot, Jeremy and Nana and Papa, with them in their wheelchairs so we got the entire handicap boat to ourselves.  I remember thinking how much my Grammie would have loved It's a Small World and all of the dolls.  (She collected dolls.)  To this day, I think of her every time I go on it.  I also remember how excited I was to show my Grampie the photos on my laptop from one of our Disney trips.  (That's the last memory I have with him before he passed.)  And I remember dropping Lucky off at Doggie Daycare and picking him up after a long park day and how excited he was to see all of us again.  My Papa, Grammie, Grampie and Lucky might all be gone from this world, but the memories will always be there.  

I remember how excited I was to take Eliot on his first trip to the place that means so much to me.  We've made so many memories there that I could never ever possibly remember all of them in one sitting.  It's the place we planned and had our wedding- the place we started our lives as a married couple.  The place we return to, year after year, because the magic is always there.  Eliot and I have had so so many magical interactions with characters.  We've also had so many wonderful experiences with cast members and other park guests.  We both love this special place so much.  

As you can see, I've been blessed to experience all of these magical moments in the parks with my family and friends.  I hope you enjoyed strolling down Main Street USA Memory Lane with me.  I've made so many wonderful memories at Walt Disney World- honestly, it was really hard to pick just a few of them!  

This place is pure magic to me, and it always will be.  °o°

No comments:

Post a Comment