Friends of ours are Disney addicts who seem to go once a year. How is that possible? My husband and I felt like we were depriving our children of their rites of passage to experience the magical world of Disney. We had avoided it long enough.
We actually won tickets to Disney World at a school auction which would force us to plan a trip for spring break. The irony of it all is when we tried to use the tickets, they were INVALID. I spoke to a long list of Disney representatives who told me to have a ‘magical’ day as they passed me on to another representative until finally, someone was willing to help. I even contacted our child’s school to ask them to write a letter to prove that we won the tickets at their annual fundraiser. So far, my experience was not magical at all.
The last time I can remember going to Disney World or Epcot or Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios) was in high school. My parents owned a house in Florida and my cousins and I piled in a minivan and went on our own. I remember running around Epcot trying to get my passport stamped for every country in the rain. Where is that passport now?
We also used to live in southern California and I remember going to Disneyland as a child several times and taking visiting friends there. I actually had more fond memories of Universal Studios and learning about the behind the scenes of movie making. I grew up watching most Disney movies but I was never obsessed with all things Disney or waiting for Prince Charming. Would you believe that my older sister’s name is Minnie? She decorated her dorm room at UCLA with Minnie Mouse paraphernalia.
The overwhelming choices of booking everything online on MyDisneyExperience was exhausting prior to the trip. We asked friends for recommendations, read books, and visited websites, but in the end, we were left to fend for ourselves.
We rode the Magical Express upon arriving at Orlando Airport to start our Disney journey to our hotel. After check in, we did not need keys since our Magic Bands would serve as room keys. We took another shuttle to get to our hotel room. We were so excited to use our Magic Bands to open the room but none of ours worked. We had to call the front desk for help and wait for them to activate our bands. Not feeling the magic yet.
We visited the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Met every princess imaginable. Dined at expensive restaurants to meet princesses and more Disney characters. Eeyore was a favorite and our youngest can do a funny impersonation of Eeyore being sad about having to pose with yet another kid. Rode the Disney shuttles back and forth. Had family photos taken by park photographers to take advantage of Memory Maker. The Magic Bands / Fast Passes were amazing getting us through the long lines, which gave us access to popular rides like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which we rode TWICE and avoided a 2-hour wait each time. Bought countless toys and souvenirs as if it was a Disney Christmas. It was costing us about $1000 a day not including the Disney hotel. An overnight stay in New York City would be comparable.
Did you know that “On average, 8,000 to 10,000 guests flow through the park’s main entrance every hour?” Learn more about the impressive Disney machine from Fast Company. What would Walt Disney think about the evolution of his vision for Disney World?
By the end of the trip, I was fed up with all the shuttle buses and being constantly surrounded by thousands of people. We skipped the shuttle to the complimentary Magical Express shuttle and sent for an Uber to get back to the airport. I had taken for granted how precious personal space is.
Was it magical? Yes, but at an expensive price tag. To see the smiles and wonder on our children’s faces with each experience was admittedly priceless. They made the same wish at the It’s a Small World ride to stay at Disney forever. The experience was magical but now we desperately need another holiday to RELAX.
#Disney #WaltDisney #DisneyWorld #DisneyHollywoodStudios #Epcot #MagicBand #FastPass