For as long as I can remember, Disney has always been a part of my life. I remember going to the movies with my Grandma Jo in Denver and seeing the newest Disney movie, all while Grandma snored next to me. Or chasing my other grandparents’ dog around the yard with my new Roger Rabbit stuffed animal and Benny the Cab box. Or the Beauty and the Beast sweater that had the printed rose leggings that I refused to get rid of, even though I never wore it because it was so itchy. But I didn’t get to experience the real magic of Disney until my first visit to Walt Disney World in 2009. So perhaps that is why I enjoy planning those first visits for adult guests. They didn’t experience the magic as a child, and I like helping transport them back to a simpler time!









It was the end of January 2009 when I made my first many trips to Walt Disney World. I remember walking into the Magic Kingdom and being blown away! There was Chip’n’Dale near the flagpole greeting guests, Minnie was prancing along Main Street U.S.A., and it seemed like everyone was smiling. It was then that I knew how special this place was. Since then, we’ve made numerous trips, sometimes just Phil and I, other times making it a more significant family trip with my parents, niece, and nephew. This October 1st, we’ll be taking my youngest niece for her first visit!









For me, the magic has always been found in the characters and the cast members. Whether it be a random character pop-up, like Jack Sparrow or Prince John from Robin Hood. To the cast members who take the time to talk to us about our celebration buttons, probably my favorite memory would be when Phil got home from his deployment in 2017, and we took a Christmas trip in early December.
I quit my job as a store manager to take a trip to Walt Disney World, and I still have zero regrets. On our first morning, we went to eat breakfast with the Princesses at Akershus in Epcot. While waiting to take our picture with Belle, the cast member asked about our celebration buttons since they said “Phil Coming Home.” We told her about Phil’s deployment and how I had quit my job so that we could make a Christmas trip happen. Sue was a military mom herself and her eyes teared up as we talked. She thanked him for his service and told us that she hoped we had a magical trip. After we were seated and had started eating our delicious breakfast, we were approached by the restaurant manager and another cast member, and they asked us if we would like to be a part of a special magical moment. Now I am always up for magic, so we agreed. They took us back to the front of Akershus, and there were all 5 of the Princesses to take a group photo with us. Typically, the Princesses go table to table to greet their guests, so this was a special occasion. I, of course, started crying and Sue came over to hug us.

While to some, a picture with the princesses might not seem like a big deal, it was so much more to me because a Cast Member had taken their time to make our trip a little bit more magical. While every guest does not demand things like this, you never know what pixie dust the cast members have up their sleeves!











As we celebrate 50 years of adventure and fantasy at the Magic Kingdom, I can’t wait to see what the future will hold. Happy Birthday Walt Disney World!








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Read other installments in our Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary series!