Disney World Trips

In late September of 1998, Don had a meeting in Key West, Florida, so we decided to meet him in Orlando at Disney World. A hurricane brushed by Florida that year, so his meeting was canceled, but he didn’t find out until he got there! It was a weird trip: I took Don to the airport early that morning, returned home to get the kids off to school and pack and then load up the car to get to the airport again to make our red-eye flight to Orlando. By the time we arrived, I had been awake for most of 24+ hours so we dropped our luggage off at the hotel – it was too early to check in – and grabbed a shuttle to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. We immediately got onto the Pirates of the Caribbean ride so mommy could have some cool darkness to rest her eyes…We found Don in the hotel when we returned – early because of the cancelation –  and Don took the kids to the hotel pool so I could have a much needed nap before we headed to Epcot. The kids and I hit all the parks which included Disney’s MGM Studios (now called, “Disney’s Hollywood Studios”); Don joined us when he could. One of the highlights of that trip was that I was chosen to be one of the participants in a “special effects” show in the MGM Studios Park. I was given rain gear and placed in the wheelhouse of a “boat” to be doused with a huge “wave.’ It was fun! I think that trip cemented my preference for Disney World over Disneyland – so many choices – including the newly opened Animal Kingdom!

In the year 2000, Don’s annual convention was scheduled for Orlando in early December so we arranged to pull the kids from school and I took the time off from work to go along. This time no red-eye flight and we were all together which was much more enjoyable! Most of the time, it was just the kids and I in the parks, but, again, Don joined us when we could.  Animal Kingdom had added some additional attractions and we decided it was our favorite park. We also gave Universal Studio’s Island of Adventure a try this time (shhh! Don’t tell Walt!); we enjoyed that quite a bit, too! In fact, my favorite ride is the Spiderman 3-D Adventure because of all the technological elements that are included to make it feel as real as possible. There were a number of 3-D movie/experiences in most of the parks this time, but Jonah was not thrilled with the Bug’s Life 3-D (Animal Kingdom) because of the spiders coming down from the ceiling! It was pretty cute, though, with pokes and squirts that helped you feel the bugs were really there. It was inside the Tree of Life which is an amazing sculpture with intricate animal designs worked into the “bark” all the way up and down the tree. Very beautiful and it is the centerpiece for Animal Kingdom. All the parks were all beautifully decorated for the holidays and we were in (mostly) summer clothes – it was great!

Five years later found us back in Disney World in December again – this time without Andrea. She was in college and could not get away for the trip. Jonah and I hit all the parks together – Don was tied up in meetings and joined us when he was able. Needless to say, we saved going on the Peter Pan ride until Don could be with us – and Jonah was in a separate “ship!” I have to say that Jonah was a good sport about being my companion – not many 15 year old boys would willingly hang out with their mom! I began to dream of having a family Christmas at Disney World – perhaps even staying in the resort – something we had yet to do…

kids & dopey

Andrea & Jonah pose with new pal, Dopey

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