In today’s world of social media, we have all seen the videos of parents surprising their kids with Walt Disney World vacations. I admit, they always make me misty-eyed. I had my own moment several years ago, but instead of making it onto Facebook, it was captured on camcorder on a physical tape!
My sister and I were told we had a pre-park opening breakfast reservation at Crystal Palace. We were told this in advance so there would be minimal whining and complaining when that early morning alarm went off. I remember thinking that I did not want to get up that early; I don’t even enjoy breakfast food that much; I’m not usually very hungry in the morning; and I certainly didn’t care that much about Winnie the Pooh and friends.
We arrived at Magic Kingdom bright and early and headed into the park as others waited at the turnstiles. Dad had the camcorder out using the story that we would likely never be in an almost-empty Magic Kingdom so we needed to get some video. As we approached the end of Main Street, USA, I started to veer left to head to Crystal Palace, still not too thrilled about it and not wanting to lose precious morning attraction time. Once I began to make the turn to Crystal Palace, Dad asked where I was going. I turned to face him (and the camcorder), and told him where I was headed. I’ll always remember his response: “The castle is that way” and he pointed to Cinderella Castle. Then I knew that all this had been carefully planned and we were on our way to eat with the princess at Cinderella’s Royal Table inside Cinderella Castle. I immediately teared up and started hugging my thoughtful family.
We made our way inside the castle where we were seated at a window table overlooking Fantasyland. I still look at that window every time I see the backside of the castle. We were entertained by Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Belle, and the Fairy Godmother...the princess jackpot!
Come to find out, my dad got up in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Christmas in order to make this reservation for our family. I should also mention at this point that I was not a small child when this happened, but a 20-something year old who loved (and still loves) the Disney magic and my sweet family. Disney has always been THE happy place for us. There are no stressors and no responsibilities; just time together. As my mom often reminds us, family is everything. Never is this more true than at Walt Disney World.
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