Clockwise from top: Entrance to Disney Parks & Resorts, Pineapple Dole Whip Float, Cinderella's Castle, Dinner with Mickey
Let's face it, there's only one proper, cliche word to use when talking about all things Disney: magical. And the only thing more magical than watching one of their animated classics is a trip to the "most magical place on earth" itself, Walt Disney World. Because Orlando is only a few hours from home, I've been lucky enough to visit Disney quite a few times over the years, but that doesn't mean it ever gets any less exciting.
So, in an attempt to share my Disney enthusiasm with you, dear readers, I'm going to do a little fact roundup with things I've learned over the years. Because who doesn't love random interesting tidbits, and you never know when they might help you win trivia night.
- My mother and her three brothers and sister grew up in Anaheim, CA, where their next door neighbor was the man who sold Walt Disney the land on which to build Disneyland. He was kind enough to loan his lifetime golden passes to them for the day. (I want a lifetime golden pass!)
- My mom also grew up watching Tinkerbell fly across the night sky to light the evening fireworks show above Sleeping Beauty Castle. (What a perfect view to have from your bedroom window.)
- Disneyland's official motto is: "The Happiest Place on Earth," while Disneyworld's is: "The Most Magical Place on Earth."
- Walt Disney passed away before Magic Kingdom was completed and his brother Roy stepped in. He officially changed the name from Disney World to Walt Disney World in honor of his brother.
- On opening day, October 1, 1971, Roy refused to go out and give the inaugural Magic Kingdom address, saying he couldn't do it without his brother. Everyone was in a tizzy trying to figure out what to do, when Mickey Mouse stepped up and took Roy's hand. They walked out to give the speech together.
So, next time you're down south, make sure you plan a trip to Disneyworld. I promise the moment you walk in to one of the parks, you'll feel the undeniable urge to act like a little kid, and it'll be okay, because everyone else feels the same way too. Make sure you get your first pair of Mouse Ears (or Peter Pan hat, in my case), because that's a momentous occasion. And promise you'll go ride the Haunted Mansion, because it was the last ride Walt worked on, and subsequently, his favorite. Go scream your lungs out on Splash Mountain, because that final drop never gets old, and go fly with Peter and Wendy and John and Michael on their fantastic adventure to Neverland. Stand in line for thirty minutes for some Pineapple Dole Whip because it's sure to change your life, and the fruit stand in Adventureland is the only place outside of Hawaii that sells it.
Get It's A Small World stuck in your head, because it really isn't a proper trip unless you do. Buy an autograph book and get all your favorite characters to sign it, and while you're at it, ask them them questions about their world, because I promise they'll know the answer. Visit the Barber Shop on Main Street for a trim and a little glitter for your hair. Don't forget to stop by the Pirates pavilion and say hi to Captain Jack Sparrow (although, you can't actually meet him anymore because overly ardent fans were mauling him). But above all, just give in to the magic and the atmosphere and go a little crazy, because that's what Disney is all about.