I went on a trip back in March to Disney World. It was the first time in a very long time that I had actually been on vacation. You see, as a college professor who works about 50 weeks out of a year (weekends included), I have very little opportunity to actually vacation. But, I resigned to have a good time and to stay off of the computer/cell phone (that didn’t happen, but I had fun anyway).
My sister and I jumped into the car and took the 20 hour drive in two days. Honestly, when I got there, there was (almost instantaneously) a weight lifted off of my shoulders. The “Cast Members,” as they call their employees, truly want you to have a good time; and, they’re always in a good mood. The minute I stepped into our hotel room, I felt the magic.
Disney is truly a place where it’s OK to be a kid and perfectly respectable to allow yourself to suspend reality. As a matter of fact, it’s encouraged. When you see Tinker Bell fly over your head at the end of the “Wishes” fireworks, you actually believe that she is flying. And so does everyone else! When you ride The Pirates of the Caribbean, you actually think that Johnny Depp is standing there as Captain Jack Sparrow. Riding through the Kilimanjaro Safari, in the Animal Kingdom, makes you really feel like you’re trekking through the African jungles. And don’t even get me started on Epcot! Each and every one of the countries represented in the “World Showcase” makes you wonder why you don’t need a passport. Like I said, it’s truly magical.
I jumped up and down getting to meet the Sorcerer Mikey from Fantasia (my all time favorite cartoon character) and nearly squealed like a little school girl when Woody from Toy Story kissed my cheek to thank me for being a teacher. I even gasped in horror as I watched Indiana Jones come oh so close to getting squashed by the giant rock. Being there simply made me feel like I was 12 years old again.
All of this is to say nothing about the fantastical display of sustenance at every corner. Wondrous Mickey Mouse shaped just about everything awaits. At the Magic Kingdom, go to “Be Our Guest,” a Beauty and the Beast themed restaurant designed to look like the Beast’s castle where the food “magically” finds you after you order it! At the Hollywood Studios, hit the “50’s Prime Time Cafe” where members of your “family” serve you fresh home cooking; be aware though, if you put your elbows on the table or don’t finish your veggies, you may be scolded. At the Animal Kingdom, visit the Tusker House, whose cuisine and decor make you truly feel like you’re in Africa. Lastly, in Epcot, eat EVERYWHERE! Take a trip around the world and sample small things from as many places as you can. But do not, I mean DO NOT miss the opportunity (in the MAGIC KINGDOM ONLY) to experience the heaven that is the Dole Whip Float- this frozen pineapple treat floating in a sea of real 100% Dole orange juice is something that will melt even the coldest of hearts.
I’ve already got my next trip planned, do you?