They say it's the happiest place on Earth, but I needed some convincing. I've never been a big amusement park person, so while I didn't expect to really enjoy DisneyWorld, I did want to honor my family's wish to go there. That was 3 years ago this month.
Even before we went, this has always been my philosophy on Disney: just expect it to cost a lot of money, and don't go if that will bother you. Because of this -- and because I expected it to be something I'd do only once in my life -- we waited to take Ben until I was sure he was old enough to remember going, and we gritted our teeth and dedicated a big budget to it.
I did all the research, including finding out which weeks would be the quietest since I really don't like crowds. I made the reservations and then, at the last minute, remembered to email a friend from high school who has worked for Disney sales for years to ask his advice. He convinced me to let him book our trip so that we could use his employee discount! We were very grateful.
Joe, my friend at Disney, also told me that, despite my misgivings, I would love DisneyWorld. He said, "A lot of people don't realize it's not an amusement park, it's a resort, and we work hard to make sure there's something for everyone."
We didn't tell Ben where we were going until the day we left; the timing had worked out that we would be celebrating his 10th birthday on June 1 at DisneyWorld. Moreover: our close friends were going to be there, visiting with their family, the very same week! Completely unplanned!
We had ordered a cake ahead of time, which was decorated and delivered to the restaurant and brought out to us to enjoy! (When we arrived at the restaurant, we found they had printed out custom menus for our party with "Ben's Birthday Dinner" written at the top!)
On our last day at Disney, they were celebrating their Star Wars weekend. We had already let Ben create his own, custom light saber in one of the gift shops. It was not for the faint of heart, as each component had to be separately installed.
(The staff there had been specially trained for that event -- they told us they had attended Jedi School!)
I hope you enjoyed my reminiscing about DisneyWorld as part of my Etsy Blogger Street Team Carnival on "A Wonderful Family Vacation"!