Before we start, I must make a confession. I have only recently become a Disney fan. I am a Disney convert. Just a few years ago, I couldn’t care less about Disney.
Sure, I saw most of the Disney movies when I was younger, but who cares? They were movies that my mom bought, so I watched them. I don’t think I was even aware of a Disneyland or Walt Disney World until middle school, and by then they were places for kids and little girls. I had no desire to go.
Well in 2010, while my girlfriend (who's now my wife) and I were in college, she suggested we go on a trip for Spring Break. That trip was going to Walt Disney World with her roommate and her roommate's boyfriend. I would do anything to see my girlfriend, even if it meant going to WDW. So, I signed up for Give A Day-Get a Disney Day so I could get free ticket into the parks (this was a promotion by Disney, if you volunteered for a day somewhere they would give you a free ticket into the park of your choice), purchased a plane ticket and flew down to Raleigh, where she was going to school, so we could then drive to Florida.
We stayed at Saratoga Springs, which is a gorgeous resort in the Downtown Disney (Disney Springs) area. We drove up to the parking lot of our hotel and were greeted with a “Welcome Home!” by the cast member attending the entrance. This moment is where Disney started to grow on me. You pull up to a place you’ve never been and you're greeted like you’ve always been there. Of course, at the time I was ignorant to the fact that her roommate’s family was part of the Disney Vacation Club and that’s how all vacation clubbers are greeted, but it still felt great.
Now we have arrived, and it was time. It was our Magic Kingdom day, the day I was least interested in. We arrived at Magic Kingdom with our papers in hand for our free tickets. Our whole day was planned here, and I wasn’t all that excited about it. Tickets in hand, we go through the turnstiles and head to one of the tunnels where above it reads on a small plaque:
“Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.”
The world around us transformed into one of the most beautiful and happy places you could be in. At that very moment, I was sold on all things Disney. A place that just minutes before, I had no desire to ever see in my life! This all happened in a few steps, and the blink of an eye.
It is true what that sign says above the tunnel.
Only moments later would my first visit become even more “magical”. We were walking down Main Street near the Confectionary when a cast member stopped to talk to us. We chatted for a few minutes, then suddenly he asked if we would like to be in a parade. Are you kidding? My first visit, and I am lucky enough to be asked to be in a parade? How cool is that? We were in the Honorary VoluntEars Cavalcade as the Grand Marshalls.
We rode in a cool fire truck from the 1910s with one of the coolest drivers and cast members you could meet. It was amazing to be riding in this truck with thousands of people lined on the street watching us, waving, and taking pictures as we rode past. I'm sure they wondering who the heck we were and more focused on the truck and drive, but the feeling was amazing.
Not a bad first visit if you ask me. Actually, this visit was life changing for me. Almost instantly, I went from no interest in Disney to soon after our trip applying to be in the Disney College Program with my girlfriend (who is now my wife). Another awesome and life changing time in my life.
So there you have it, I am a Disney convert. I talk about Disney a little too much now, which is why I have decided to start a blog. Maybe if I put a little effort into this I won’t have to bore the ones around me with the stories I share. I hope whoever reads this enjoys what I share and joins in with me.