There it was! As I squinted into the sun, not only did I see the gates, but I saw my impossible dream coming true. I never before realized a 12 year old could pay for a vacation to Walt Disney World!
SEMI-FINALIST 2015 FTF TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
I firmly believe I have Disney blood in me. My parents got engaged and married in Disney, and we’d vacationed there annually. Sadly, we weren’t going in 2012 for various reasons. I, however, refused to accept that. Brainstorming options to make the trip possible became my main focus, and finally the light bulb illuminated above my head. It seemed crazy at first, but what if I was able to finance the trip by starting an eBay business? I spoke with my parents, and once they got past their initial shock, they agreed to my idea. I immediately got to work, selling anything and everything I could, cleaning out my family’s basement.
After a few months, my parents realized how much money I was earning and we planned our trip, contingent on making enough money. We booked Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, which is just perfect for families like mine. We snagged reservations for all our favorite restaurants on MyDisneyExperience.com by booking as early as allowed, 180 days out. I couldn’t believe the trip was actually planned, and I eagerly counted down the days until I would be in Disney.
On the first day of the trip, we visited my favorite park, the Magic Kingdom. As we turned onto Main Street U.S.A., I gasped as I realized that we were actually there! Although I had stood in the same spot dozens of times before, this was different, because now it was my hard work that had gotten us here. The familiarity of the park came rushing through me, and in that moment, I knew I was home.
We began moving to get to the first attraction of the day, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We slipped into the Main Street Shops as we headed towards Frontierland to cut around the crowds.
Midway through that first ride, I felt time stop and as I looked around in awe, I saw my dad with his hands up, laughing. In front of me, I saw my mom’s arm around my sister, and my sister screaming in both fear and delight. Sitting there, I felt my hard work roll off my shoulders as the satisfaction filled my body.
Later that evening, as we stood on Main Street waiting for Wishes Nighttime Spectacular, I felt that familiar tingle up my back as I heard the first notes of “Starlight, star bright…” and the fireworks started dancing across the sky. Watching the show, I felt a few tears come sliding down my cheek. The way I felt standing there with my family, in our home-away-from-home, was the most content I’d ever been. I wanted to freeze the moment and stay in it forever, but I did the next best thing: I savored every minute.
The whole vacation felt so surreal. The feelings of joy I always get from Disney were magnified a million-fold because I had gotten us there. Even though we were already in the happiest place on Earth, it was in this trip that I truly felt the magic of Walt Disney World.
As an eleven year old, I never would have believed that I would, in just a year, pay for my family to visit Disney World. Now I know that age is but a number. As Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it!”
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