I had been to Disney a billion times throughout the duration of my childhood, but this trip was better than any experience before. It was the week before Spring Break, just this past year; I was sitting in my office at my house debating on what we were going to do for the week since I was off of work, and our little boy was out of school. Something fun I thought, maybe we would go bowling-we had just done that last September, maybe we will go ice skating-still too young, maybe we will go to Disney World-perfect.
We purchased tickets online, and figured out how to book Fast Passes, and dining experiences. There were so many shows, attractions, and characters I wanted us to see and meet. I planned out our day, made an agenda on what times we would see shows and characters and then what time and location we would eat at. At this point I was the most excited one in my house. We had planned on just going for the day, but the week before I had found a killer deal on a hotel room on Disney property. I booked the room instantly and we were going to stay for 4 days. My family was ecstatic at this point. We counted down the days until our arrival.
As we packed our bags and headed to Orlando we dropped our dogs off with my wife’s aunt and we headed towards I4. The moment we saw the Mickey Mouse ears off of the interstate the car got loud with excitement. I knew this was going to be an awesome trip. After scrambling for parking we arrived at the check in counter at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. We got our room assignment and then headed to the room to unpack. As we were walking into the lobby of the resort we noticed it was themed with traditional African culture and traditions, there were huge statues, and different cute backdrops to take photos in front of. We were in heaven.
That night we took it easy and just stayed at the resort, mostly because we had such a big day ahead of us. The next morning we woke up at 6:30 to be at the park by 8 for the extra magic hour. As we were on the ferry to head to the park our son spotted Cinderella’s castle, his face lit up with joy and he screamed to us, “there’s the castle!” At this point I sat there with a smile on my face as well. We got to the entrance and made sure that our new Magic Bands worked, we entered the park and the excitement began. Minnie Mouse, Pluto, and Marie, the cat from Aristocrats, were right in the center of the park as we walked in. To our right in the theater was Mickey Mouse, my personal favorite, and there was a street parade right in front of us preforming Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.
First we went to see Mickey because we heard his line was fairly short. We walked in and there were only two families ahead of us. As we saw him our faces lit up with joy, excitement, and disbelief. For the first time we saw Mickey Mouse as a family. It had more meaning than ever before. Mickey talked to us for about three minutes, he showed us a few magic tricks, and he taught us to fly like Peter Pan. We took several pictures with him, some as a family and some individual. Looking back at the pictures now helps me to remember this day and the experience we shared, the laughs we had, the excitement, and the sunburn we all got in Florida’s 90-degree weather in the middle of Spring. Our little boy talked to Mickey and told him that he loved him and that this was his favorite part so far. This trip is something I will remember my whole life, because at this moment, I felt complete. Seeing their smiles and hearing the laughs from my family brought joy to me.