For this post, I wanted to take some time and talk with you about all of the things that we have encountered on our trips to Walt Disney World that truly make it our vacation spot of choice.

We have had several trips, as you know if you are a regular reader; Sophie has been six times in her nine years for at least one day.  It is as easy a decision for me to book this trip as any that we make.

We have had so many times where the Disney Cast Members (Disney staff are not employees, they are Cast Members) have shared with us the Disney Magic that I am certain to forget some of those great times.  However, here is a rundown of the ones that I remember.

  • When we took our first trip to Coronado Springs resort, that was during Disney’s Year of a Million Dreams celebration.  You may have heard about it; they were giving away gifts to random Guests, they included everything from free Disney Pins to spending the night in Cinderella’s Castle.  Well, we had our own special Dream happen to us while we were visiting.  One morning, as we were in the Main Street Bakery eating our breakfast, one of the Cast Members came over to us to talk to us.  She asked Sophie about her trip, and who her favorite Princess was.  When Sophie said Cinderella, the Cast Member then presented Sophie with a huge chocolate chip cookie that was a gift from Cinderella herself!  Cinderella had seen the Cast Member and asked her if she could give that cookie to Sophie for her!  That made Sophie’s day, and that cookie lasted us all day!
  • Some of the best experiences we have had at Disney are related to our dining.  The character dining experiences we have had have been second to none — being able to enjoy a fabulous dinner while having the ability to get autographs and pictures with our favorite characters has been great!  We have had so many more photos and autographs with the characters than we could have ever hoped to have by standing in line.  Take a look at the joy in Sophie’s face at this picture with Eeyore:
  • One day as we were leaving our resort to go to the parks, we were greeted by a Cast Member who asked Sophie about the trip she was having.  After we talked with him for a while, he presented Sophie with a set of pins — one for Sophie to keep, and one to give to her BFF, Riley.
  • In 2009, during our first trip to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — French Quarter, nearly every day we were there we had the best pair of door openers you could ask for.  They were extremely friendly, really really knowledgeable, and every time that we would see them they would give Sophie Mardi Gras beads and coins for the wishing well.  Their outgoing personality truly fit the French Quarter lifestyle, and I was saddened when I didn’t see them during our second visit to POFQ.
  • As I have mentioned before, riding in the Monorail is one of the things that just keeps building the excitement of approaching the Magic Kingdom for a visit.  However, until just a couple of years ago, I had never ridden in the very front car of the Monorail.  Well, that all changed one year when we were able to ride in the front of the monorail twice!  It was a lot of fun, the pilot was really nice and answered questions we had.  Also, we got special souvenir cards documenting that we were official “Honorary” monorail pilots at Walt Disney World, and stickers with our “Monorail Wings”.  Sadly, with a monorail accident a couple of years ago, that practice is now discontinued, but I am glad that we were able to enjoy it.
  • In 2007, during our first Coronado Springs resort visit, I decided that my souvenir for the trip would be a pin trading kit so I could start trading pins.  In 2008, Sophie decided that she was ready to begin pin trading as well.  The excitement that child gets when she approaches a cast member to trade a pin is phenomenal.  Sophie will even make a bad trade for her, just for the experience of trading with a Cast Member!
  • Last year, when my niece Stephanie and I were waiting for our food at Cosmic Rays, we were greeted by a Cast Member who was extremely exuberant in his greeting.  He asked us if we were having a Magical Day, and when we asked him about his day, his answer was “A bad day at Disney is still a better day than anywhere else!”  He went on to ask, “Where else can you work where at the Happiest Place on Earth?!”  We were both extremely excited by his outlook, and that is just one of the things that separates Disney from everywhere else.
  • In 2009, while we were at the Mexico pavilion at Epcot, we were there during extra magic hours.  We went to ride the “Three Cabalero’s” ride, and walked right on, since that ride isn’t heavily trafficked, especially in extra magic hours.  Anyway, we enjoyed the ride, and as we proceeded up the ramp, we asked the attendant if we could ride again.  Since she didn’t have anyone in line, she just continued us on, with us serenading her with a chorus of “Gracias, Mucho Mucho Gracias!”.  She just laughed.
  • Yet another thing that makes Disney truly magical occurred the last time we were visiting.  That was this past June, and that was the trip my niece Stephanie accompanied us.  We were there over Sophie’s birthday, and on the morning of her birthday, I woke up to find the phone message light blinking.  When I checked the message, it was none other than the King and Queen of the Mice, Mickey and Minnie, calling to leave Sophie a message wishing her a truly wonderful birthday!
  • In 2008, when we stayed at Coronado Springs for the second straight year, we were there for Sophie’s birthday.  On the day of her birthday, after we had left to go to the park for the day, Minnie Mouse and her team came to our room and decorated Sophie’s bed with birthday balloons and a birthday card (which included a picture of Minnie Mouse for Sophie to keep).  Additionally, every time we have come for Sophie’s birthday (which was 2008 and 2010), Sophie has been given a special desert at each sit-down meal we have each day of our trip, and this year, she also received birthday cards signed by her character friends.
  • Another thing that makes Disney Disney is how excited Sophie gets when surprise her with a trip to Disney.  I remember in 2009 it didn’t look like we were going to be able to go to Walt Disney World.  We were worried about the affect that the economy would have on our jobs.  Well, as the summer progressed, we were able to determine that we would be able to afford the trip after all, so we made our plans.  However, we kept that little secret from Sophie until the day we left.  I’ll never forget it.  One of the playlists I have on my iPod is called “Mickey Mouse”, and it is a collection of songs by Mickey and the gang.  Sophie told me that she didn’t want to hear the playlist again until the day we were actually in the car heading to Disney, so I didn’t play it — until the day we left.  Here is her reaction to hearing that music in the car:


Needless to say, it was quite a surprise for Sophie!

I know that I have left out a great many of the special times that have made up our trips to Disney, but all in all, I think you get the picture of why we love going to Walt Disney World.  There are so many other stories to tell, I can’t wait to relive those moments with you in the upcoming days.  Have a magical day, and may the sun never set on your Disney (or other) Dreams!  Thanks for reading!

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