Magic, Memories, and a Mouse | My Family Travels
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It was all started by a mouse – well, for Walt Disney at least, and for me too. As avid Disney addicts, my family has been to the Mouse House each year since I was two. The [url=http://www.disneyworld.com/]Walt Disney World Resort[/url], located just outside Orlando in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, is indubitably the Mecca of amusement parks and the top-visited vacation destination in the world. With four theme parks, two water parks, and a plethora of dining and entertainment options, there’s so much to do. Actually, it’s so overwhelming that tourists spend their trips racing back and forth, and thusly need a vacation from the vacation. So what keeps us returning? In August 2010, I was reminded why.

The Disney parks are the epitome of the resort’s ambition; to conjure up delightful and wonderful moments for its guests everyday. Disney calls their employees Cast Members, a constant reminder of the show they put on daily, working to make each visit special. Every role is a starring role, from the hilarious skippers on the Jungle Cruise in the Magic Kingdom, and even the janitors, who paint gigantic character portraits with water on the ground before the parades. I was lucky enough to experience Disney cast magic last year when my little cousin lost his Pal Mickey, an interactive park guide. He was absolutely devastated; he bought Mickey a few years earlier and knew the toys were no longer being made. A concierge at our hotel noticed my cousin’s long face. He told her about his missing Mickey, and she told him, “Well, you’re in Disney World, you never know where he might turn up!” The next morning, the same concierge waved us over. She smiled at my cousin, pulled out his Mickey doll and said, “Guess he missed you!” My cousin was ecstatic. She winked at me, and I couldn’t help but smile. It was truly a moment we won’t ever forget.

Now, I must admit, as much as I advocate against sprinting through the parks, I will always stand behind one thing: the moment Hollywood Studios opens, run to Toy Story Mania, the park’s most popular attraction for FastPasses. Last August, the line was long, so we made my dad wait. We lost sight of him, but luckily we happened to be standing next to one of the Green Army Men from Toy Story, who was greeting guests. Since no one had come up to him, he approached us. We told him how we lost my dad, and, using his quick wit and megaphone, the Green Army Man shouted for my father across the sea of tourists.

It was the funniest experience I’ve ever had at the park, and the look on my dad’s face was priceless. Army Man even recognized us later that day and asked if we “found Vinny.” Character interactions always make for wonderful memory. Enjoy the moment; I’m certainly glad we did.

Magic. It’s what Disney does best. They have the unique ability to fill millions of visitors with a spirit of enchantment while creating unforgettable memories for guests of all ages, whether it’s their 1st visit or their 21st. I think that’s why Walt Disney World is so special to my family, as we return time and time again. Now that I’m older, I’ve realized that a Disney vacation isn’t about which park opens early, or what ride to FastPass first, but rather the memories families share together. So, next time you’re in the parks, take your time. There’s magic all around, and you don’t have to look very far to find it.

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