No, not that first time. Do you remember the first time you went to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, if you've been? For many people, they have memories of that first magical, childhood visit to the Magic Kingdom. For me, it came a bit later -- when I was in my 20s and fairly newly married. But you know what? It wasn't any less magical. I was as excited as if I were six years old, and I fell in love with Disney World the moment I stepped into the Magic Kingdom that first time. There's something about the Disney parks that truly is magical, that makes you feel like you're experiencing a few days outside of real life.
During that first trip, hubby and I visited the Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center and what was then MGM Studios (now Hollywood Studios). When we returned for a second visit in 2004, Animal Kingdom had been added and we visited it instead of MGM. I was in my mid 30s then and still loved it. So now, as the days are ticking away toward my 40th birthday, I went back for a third time recently -- this time with good writer friends Terry McLaughlin and Stephanie Feagan and Stef's 20-something daughter. She's about the same age I was when I visited Disney the first time. Here's a bit of a look at how we spent our time with commentary, a Disney travelogue a la Trish, if you will.
Woohoo, Main Street USA and Cinderella's castle. Hey, we romance writers are suckers for a good fairytale where the heroine gets the prince.
If you haven't ridden Pirates of the Caribbean for awhile, it's worth a return trip. It's been Johnny Depp-ified. Tawny, try not to swoon. :) From left: Terry, me and Stef.
I am so not a fan of roller coasters or things that spin, so there were no rides on Space Mountain or the Mad Hatter's teacups. I'm more of a It's a Small World kind of gal. The last time I was at Disney, it was closed for renovation. So this was my first time seeing the new-and-improved version. It's been updated but still has that wonderful sweetness to it.
One of my favorite spots in the Magic Kingdom isn't a ride at all. It's the Swiss Family Robinson tree house. I loved the book, loved the movie, and so I walk through every time I visit Disney. Here is the kitchen area of the tree house.
One of my favorite characters is Winnie the Pooh, and there's a store in the Magic Kingdom called Pooh's Thotful Shop where I purchased the cutest stuffed Pooh, Eeyore and Roo. Then when I went back outside, I noticed a line of kids waiting to get their photos taken with Pooh and Tigger. Don't think I didn't consider getting in the line with them.
Day 2 we spent at Animal Kingdom, mainly on the safari, and then dining and shopping at Downtown Disney. Here I am hanging with Sleeping Beauty outside the World of Disney store, which always gets a good bit of my money when I visit. What can I say, I have two nieces and they have such adorable stuff for little girls.
Near World of Disney is a candy store, where I also dropped some cash and saw probably the biggest candy apples I've ever seen. One had Mouse ears, and the other was decorated in honor of St. Patrick's Day, which was during the week of our visit.
Day three brought our visit to Epcot Center. When I first visited Epcot, we saw just about everything. But now, I totally skip Future World and head straight for the World Showcase, miniature replicas of countries around the world. Here's Germany, where I tried to remember some minuscule amount of the German language I studied for three years in high school. Guten tag, meine Freunde! (Good day, my friends.) We also got some giggles out of saying the name of the toy store in the Germany section -- Der Teddybar. Go ahead, say it to yourself. :)
We had a yummy lunch in the France section at Le Chefs du France, where the rat from Ratatouille made an unexpected and very fun appearance at our table. He was just like in the movie, same sounds, same actions. Too cute!
I spent quite a bit in the China section at a clothing store. If you're coming to RWA's national conference this summer, you might catch me wearing some of it. I am endlessly fascinated by Chinese culture and film, so it's one of my favorite sections of Epcot.
Throughout our trip, Stef's daughter was having us take really funny photos of her posing at different sites. I don't have too many of those of me, but here's the Viking dude in Norway asking, "You spent how much in China?"
So, now it's your turn -- have you been to any of the Disney parks? If so, which is your favorite? What are your best memories of those trips? What are your favorite rides and attractions?