I stared down at what I held in my hand, not able to believe it…a ticket to Disney World.
My mom couldn’t hold back her beaming smile. “Your bags are already packed. We’re leaving tonight.”
“Tonight?” my brother, Garrett cried.
And so our surprise trip to Disney World began.
After a fourteen hour car ride from Maryland, we stepped out into the warm Florida sunshine contrasting to the harsh November cold we were used to.
There was plenty of room in our condo at the Mike Ditka Resort. It had a little kitchen and dining area with a TV that allowed for late night pizza orders after the park as we watched our favorite sitcoms.
We headed to Magic Kingdom the following morning bright and early to get there when the park first opened.
We went on all of the classic Disney rides—the teacups, the Peter Pan ride, the flying Dumbo ride—and took pictures with all of the dressed up characters. We all felt the fun and magic and acted like little kids.
We ended our day with the Electric Light Parade. The floats were incredible, glowing in the dark with the neon lights. We saw a ton of our favorite Disney characters and even Santa made an appearance!
The next day started early again as we went to Epcot. Although my brother and I didn’t think it would be quite as fun and magical as Magic Kingdom, we were quickly proven wrong. As we made our way through the different countries throughout the park, we truly felt as if we were traveling the world. We stopped for lunch in the Biergarten Restaurant in “Germany” for a German-American buffet where musicians performed authentic German entertainment.
Later, we snacked on delicious French pastries at Boulangerie Patisserie after having more fun on culture-influenced rides in “Norway” and “Mexico”.
We ended the day with lengthy stops in the fun-filled and futuristic Mission: Space, Innoventions, and the Imagination! Pavilion. In these separate attractions, we became space explorers, inventers, and the people of the future through interactive activities.
Our last day came too quickly. We started at Animal Kingdom where we saw the robotic, interactive, dancing Lion King show. We went on a safari where we saw wild animals of all sorts. It was like a close-up and personal zoo.
When that, we went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Garrett, the arcade nut of the family, had one request—the Toy Story Mania ride. Although the line was extremely long, it was worth the wait as we competed against each other in 3D arcade games that popped up throughout the ride. As a music lover, my favorite ride was the twisting and turning Rock n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith.
Finally, as it started to get dark, we went to see the spectacular Osbourne light show. The show was in a street that looked like any other that you might find in an old-fashioned small town, except for the fact that everything was covered in thousands of strands of lights. During the show, Christmas music played and the lights blinked and “danced” to the timing of the music. It was an incredible sight and a great way to get in the holiday spirit.
Although we were sad for our surprise vacation to end, we had been given a truly magical experience. We had been given a vacation from growing up, and were able to just act like little kids again for a couple days. If you allow the kid in you to come out, your Disney vacation will be one to remember.
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