Disney World has always been a special place to me – it was where I honeymooned, spent wedding anniversaries, celebrated milestones. When that marriage ended, the idea of never being able to visit Disney World again – a place that meant so much in that marriage – loomed over me like a dark cloud. Would I ever get my Disney certified happily ever after?
But I did go back – and each time it got easier and more fun. In July 2017, I decided to go by myself on a spur of the moment trip. I booked my trip three days before checking in – it was, by far, the craziest thing I’ve ever done! Happily Ever After had just debuted as the brand new fireworks show at Magic Kingdom and I wanted to see it! Thinking back to all the trips before, where Wishes was the fireworks show that was the hallmark of all these trips during my first marriage, and being the Disney person that I am, I was ready for a new show to start this new chapter of my life.
Settling in that night to watch Happily Ever After for the very first time, sitting on Main Street by myself (well, you’re never alone when you’ve got Casey’s Corner corndog nuggets, but that’s a different story), I reflected on all the “bad” times that had led me to this exact moment and how grateful I was.
Halfway through the brand new Happily Ever Fireworks, these lyrics from “Love is an Open Door” from Frozen begin:
“Say goodbye to the pain of the past, we don’t have to feel it anymore.”
I feel like it goes without saying, I was crying some big, fat juicy tears at this point.
You see, throughout my adult life – Disney World has been a constant for me. Through the really, really good times and the really, really bad times. It became the thing I could count on no matter what was going on in my life.
I have now seen Happily Ever After more than 15 times since it’s debut in 2017. As it comes to a close so Disney World can celebrate its 50th anniversary with a new fireworks spectacular, I can’t help but smile. I like to think of this show bookending a time in my life when I didn’t know if I’d make it through in one piece – but I did and Disney World was there for all of it. Now, as I begin yet another new chapter in my life as a new mom, there’s a new show to help bookmark it. I can’t wait to take my daughter and show her all the magic of Disney World and what a special place it is to me.
Thank you for always being there for everyone, Disney. Here’s to 50 more!