Greetings from New Fantasyland

December 5, 2012
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I just can't help feeling nostalgic when I'm in Walt Disney World. It was Shangra-la for my struggling mother--a place she needed to bring my brother and me. Back then, the Contemporary hotel was downright futuristic and there were still e-tickets.

There was an unplanned visit to Disneyland in Florida with a German traveller taking a U.S. trip before his stint in the army (long story).

Then there were trips with my kids when they were little--and when they were bigger. Memories flood.

This time, I'm attending the opening of the newly expanded Fantasyland. I'll tell you more about it soon. In the meantime, if the mood strikes you, how about sharing your favorite Disney memory here?

No contest. No prize. Just looking forward to hearing some of your stories, whether about the parks, the movies, or anything Disney-related.

(And, yes, I know there are some Disney bashers out there. You are welcome to chime in, too.)

Your thoughts? 

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  • Feed the Birds
    Favorite memory? Feed The Birds from Mary Poppins. It was the first song to make me cry. I was 11 when I saw the movie. The song still does, even instrumental versions of it. I think it's the most beautiful and saddest song ever written. My friend Terry Seabrooke used to have lunch with the composer, Robert Sherman, and he said it was his favorite song he ever composed for Disney.
  • Magical Memories
    I fell in love with the magic of Disney in 1977, when my parents took us on a wondrous vacation to WDW. We stayed at the Polynesian, the Magic Kingdom was the only Disney Park in Florida, and I was just old enough to ride the monorail by myself while my parents tended to my younger sisters. I learned my first Spanish phrase on the monorail "Por favor manténganse alejado de las puertas." At the tender age of almost 13, I knew Walter Elias Disney was on to something: everyone wants to be immersed in the magic, to be treated like royalty, to bask in a world where people and places and things are perfectly perfect. My love deepened when my partner-to-be treated me to a Disney trip as a college graduation gift in 1986. By then, Epcot had been born, and I was out of my mind with Disney joy. In 1992, to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary, my parents invited our entire extended family to join them on a Christmas trip to WDW. Now MGM (Hollywood) Studios was also part of the magic, and my family had a new place to play and celebrate. I saw 1993 arrive in Disney style, crammed into Epcot during a special showing of Illuminations at midnight- it is one of my most memorable New Year's Eves. 27 years after the college graduation trip, and dozens of Disney vacations later, my partner (who by sheer chance/magic happens to be named MICKEY) and I became Disney Vacation Club owners at Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary Resort. I feel like I've come full circle from the 1977 trip- now I own a little piece of the magic, and I can ride that amazing monorail anytime the mood strikes- it's right outside the door. I am always careful to stand clear of the doors as I recite the announcement in both English and Spanish. I do it every time. Really. As I write this I am pre-paving our upcoming Christmas trip to Disney World, which I will spend with Mickey and Mickey & Minnie in appreciation and delight. I cannot wait to experience the new Fantasyland, which no doubt my friend Lou will guide us through. Our family, and the world, have irrevocably changed since I first encountered the magic. And WDW has changed too. But the magic.... it lives and breathes. Always.
  • Disney Trivia
    Did you know there are more employees working in the park when it is closed than when it is open?
  • Disney on the Sea
    As magical and wonderful as our Disneyworld trips have been, my favorite memories are of our two cruises on Disney Cruise Line. Sailing to Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, and through the Inside Passage to Alaska on DCL was incredible. The service onboard is unbeatable, and the ability for children to get one-on-one time with the characters is something the parks just can't match.
    • The start of a beautiful relationship
      I met my husband at a conference in San Diego, CA. At the end of the conference, he invited me to join him to go to Disneyland. He kissed me when the lightning struck in the elevator on the Haunted Mansion ride and again during the Fantasmic fireworks. We watched the festival of the Lion King Parade and "Can you feel the love tonight" became our song. Unfortunately, he lived in Indiana and I lived in Alaska. After 11 months and 3 more dates in 3 different cities, we both relocated to Seattle - the halfway point. We have been together over 18 years, but it all started with a little Disney Magic.
    • Favorite Disney
      I enjoy visits to WDW but best memories were as a kid watching it being built and previewed on the Walt Disney Presents TV show each Sun. My siblings and myself could only imagine what it would be like and were not disappointed when we finally visited WDW.
    • Fantasyland is great
      We attended a "soft opening" over Thanksgiving. Nice addition to the Magic Kingdom. Whole family went down to visit our daughter who is interning there.
    • 1971
      Had only heard rumors about it. My boyfriend and I were on an extended stay in Miami and decided to take a free couple of days and visit. It just happened to be day 60 of DW opening! We drove right in, and was able to stay at the Polyenisian without a reservation! I couldn't figure out how DW worked...no garbage pick ups, yet everything was clean; no product delivery to the stores or restaurants, yet everything was well stocked. Everyone was so outgoing and friendly and that was EVERYONE! You thought that THEY thought they were on stage. Very cool. Years later, a friend was working for DW in reservations, UNDERGROUND. I got to visit her and see the rest of the Disney World. Still Amazing.

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