It Was More Than Just a Trip to Disney

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It Was More Than Just a Trip to Disney

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Life is a funny thing. One minute someone can be on top of the world and the next everything can come crumbling down. Recently, my family has had a lot of loss. My mom and I both lost the people most prominent in our lives all at once. With all my grandparents dying, my step dad dying, and losing all my friends, my mom and I decided we needed some happiness. To achieve this, we went to the happiest place on earth over spring break.

The endless hours of driving went in waves of being fun and horrible. My mom and I had lots of long conversations, Disney music jam sessions, and podcast listens. Then after a while we’d have arguments because we’d been in the car for too long and it’d just cycle.

The day we arrived to our hotel in Orlando was very exciting. My mom and I had been in the car for what seemed like forever and we had finally arrived. The hotel had Disney posters and ads for the park in the lobby and that just made our excitement even more intense.

In the morning we woke up bright and early and took the free shuttle our hotel had offered to our first Disney park: Magic Kingdom. When we drove under the arch labeled “Magic Kingdom” with a castle on it and officially entered Disney property, it was as if I was leaving every worry I had behind. From this moment on I would just focus on the good, the magic, and having the best time in a long time. It was a little emotional for me.

The park was amazing. Walking into downtown Disney, hearing the music and smelling the smells specific to Disney World was euphoric. Instantly I understood the slogan that it’s the “happiest place on earth.” The castle looked like it was straight out of a cartoon (because it was) and it really was just so magical. One of the first things we did was buy some mickey ears.

My mom and I walked into the Emporium, found the ears we liked, and were on our way to the checkout when I noticed my mom started talking to one of the workers. My mom explained to her the reason why we were there and connection she felt to the story of UP. She feels that the relationship portrayed in the movie was identical to the one she had with my stepdad. She teared up and really had a moment with this worker while I awkwardly stood there pretending to look at some keychains. The worker ended up giving my mom the UP ears for free. It was so sweet of her and really kicked off our Disney experience in a good light.

I don’t have anything bad to say about Magic Kingdom except that it was overly crowded- more than the other three parks we went to. Other than that it was beautiful, fun, exciting, and I really just loved it. The Happily Ever After light show at the end of the day was awe-inspiring and really emotional. Many people in the crowd cried tears of joy as the magnificent light show and fireworks went on. If you ever go to Disney World, this is a must-see. It truly was amazing.

Every park was special in their own way and I loved them all. I couldn’t decide on my favorite when asked because they’re all so different. One of my favorite days by far was the Animal Kingdom park. The morning on this day was chill. We started out by meeting Mickey and Minnie in their safari outfits. (It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip because Minnie complimented me on my shirt.) Then after that we did some shopping. We went to this pop up shop in the park (Disney has a lot of these) and started talking to the worker whose name also happened to be Anastasia.

She was really a delight to meet. She was funny and sweet and since my mom is a chatterbox, we ended up talking to her for about 20 minutes. Her station sold a lot of paraphernalia from the movie UP. As mentioned before, my mom really feels a connection to this movie. My mom expressed Anastasia about her love for the movie and the reason why we were there. Anastasia was so understanding, supportive, and really enjoyed our conversation as well. So much so, she gave us some perks for our remaining days at Disney. To make our experience “more magical” in her words, she gave us four free past passes and VIP seats for the firework show at Epcot the next day. It was so unbelievably nice and I couldn’t expect less from my name twin.

The rest of the day was so fun. We saw animals from Africa and Asia, spent four hours in a line for a new ride in Pandora, and ate really good African food. This day was relaxing and really enjoyable apart from the four hour line. The ride did end up being really cool, though.

Epcot was just truly amazing. A youtuber I watch posted on her Instagram story that she was there the same time my mom and I were. I didn’t see her unfortunately, but it was still pretty cool. It was so much fun to walk through all the different countries. Getting pastries in France, gelato in Italy, and bubble tea in China was so fun and all the food was delicious and authentic. I got to meet my favorite princess, Belle, and a cute Italian guy in Italy complimented my tattoo. It was definitely a good day.

My mom and I got to our VIP seats for the light show about ten minutes early. There was another family there who had gone through some loss as well. The year before one of the ladies lost her son to suicide. We talked with her niece who was about my age and we were all there for the same reason: to get away and find some happiness. It was really great to talk with them and relate to what they’re going through. After the show, they told us that they’d keep us in their thoughts in prayers and it was really nice. It was nice to know we weren’t alone.

We spent our last day in Hollywood Studios. This was definitely the smallest park, but it was still fun. I had the opportunity to meet Mike and Sulley from Monsters Inc, which I was beyond excited about. I cannot count on two hands how many times I’ve seen that movie. Toy Story Land was brand new so being able to walk around that and ride the rides there was really neat too. The concept was that the people are in Andy’s backyard, so there were giant toys everywhere. We ended the day with a character dinner and some Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream. It was fun to eat dinner with all the original Disney characters walking around and taking pictures with us and to top it all off with a cute dessert made it so fun.

The day we left I cried a little more than is socially acceptable for an eighteen year old girl to be sad about leaving Disney World. Actually, it was a lot more. Not only was it because we were leaving the happiest place on earth, but I had to go back to my life in Indiana. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t have any friends and everyone I’m close to is dying. This trip was the first time in a while that I was so genuinely happy. It really felt like it was my place to be and I had to leave it all behind. This fall I am going to apply for the spring semester of the Disney College Program. I loved Disney so much that the idea of living, working, and going to school there sounds like a dream come true. It really felt like it’s where I’m meant to be.

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