I am 26 years old. Yes, I just told my age, but I have a reason for doing that.
Many years ago when the Disney Channel first started and they had original programming like the "new" Mickey Mouse Club, Kids Inc., and various other programs, I was GLUED to that channel. My favorite part was when they would show old documentaries hosted by Walt Disney himself talking about the behind the scenes stuff that was really cool. There were shows about Disney World and Disneyland being built; the process behind "Sleeping Beauty"; behind the scenes about The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and It's a Small World rides, and much much more.
During that time, my family started a change jar that we would drop our loose change into that would be our savings to take a family trip to Disney World. As the years went by, the amount of change in the jar grew and grew, but so did we. I graduated high school, went off to college, got married, etc. My sisters are now both grown, with my middle sister, Ashley, getting married in the Spring. Bethany, the youngest, is going to England this coming summer/fall to study abroad. And yet...no family trip to Disney World every transpired. Mom and Dad had been before they had kids (smart idea, actually). Ashley got to go with a friend who lives in Orlando. Bethany has been to Downtown Disney, but not the Magic Kingdom. And the closest I ever got was the Tampa or Jacksonville, FL, airport.
That is...until last Wednesday, January 23, 2008....a day that will live in infamy.
First Alliance Church in Port Charlotte, FL, brought me down to be the guest worship leader for their Celebrate Recovery program as well as their 3 AM worship services. On our way there, our plane landed in Orlando to let people off before taking off again to deliver us to our final destination. I jokingly told the guy that picked us up at the airport that the Orlando airport was the closest I had been to Disney World. The next day, he insisted that we go on our day off.
Well...we went. :) And I am soooooooooo glad that we did. What an AMAZING experience. I mean, I know it's a theme park and all, but it is DISNEY WORLD! MICKEY MOUSE LIVES THERE!! This had been something I had been looking forward to doing ever since I can remember, and now...now the time had finally come. I honestly had no idea what to do with myself when we got there. I just stood there for a few minutes taking it all in. It was all so very surreal. And to be perfectly honest? I cried....several times. I cried as we pulled into the parking lot. I cried as we boarded the monorail. I cried as we entered the gates onto Main Street USA. I cried after we met Minnie Mouse. And I cried as we watched the fireworks over Cinderella's castle at the end of the day.
It was so cool, and I cannot wait to go back. Here are some pictures from our time there:
And the change jar? It is still sitting on daddy's dresser. :)