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Next stop: Walt Disney World

Let me begin by saying I’m a traveler, not a tourist. I like calm and quiet, to go the less traveled areas, to learn and experience new things, to feel enriched and rejuvenated. I have been promising Goosey Lucy since she was 3 that she could see Cinderella's castle when she was 7. Her 8th birthday was in July. I blame the pandemic for the delay.

Trailer Swift, Sabine Pleasure, and Goosey Lucy asked me if I would like to join them on their great adventure. I thought I would hate every second of it: there’s not much about Florida heat in August with crowds and crowds that sounds remotely appealing.

Boy, was I wrong!

Day 1: Magic Kingdom

We started early, leaving Houston at 5:25am, and went straight from the airport to the Magic Kingdom. This was Princess Day for my princess, and she met her favorites. We had lunch in The Beast’s castle (Be Our Guest) and The Beast himself stopped by our table to say hello to Goosey Lucy. The food was wonderful; Lumière was spot on when he said "Try the grey stuff, it's delicious. Don't believe me? Ask the dishes!"

We took a spin on the carousel, visited It’s A Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean and Trailer Swift and Goosey Lucy took off on a magic carpet ride. As we were leaving the park we caught the Festival of Fantasy parade, a show in itself.

Day 2: Epcot.

We rode The Seas With Nemo and Friends, Frozen Ever After, (Trailer Swift, Sabine Pleasure and Goosey Lucy included Guardians of the Galaxy and Spaceship Earth in their adventures), sang along with Beauty and the Beast, lunched at Coral Reef, and sipped our way around most of the world. We bumped into a few princesses, ran into Donald Duck …. and if that weren’t enough, Joey Fatone was in the park as part of Eat to the Beat Concert Series. Florida Blue Cross/Blue Shield Medicare sponsored the show. Did that make those in attendance their target market?

Day 3: Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

I loved this park! We started our day with a safari, my favorite activity of the day. We did the Na’vi River Journey (amazing), It’s Tough To Be A Bug and after several rain delays, Avatar: Flight of Passage. It is not for the faint of stomach, like me. Trailer and Sabine hiked, looking for gorillas then, with Goosey, conquered Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. I had to sit that one out: after flying on a banshee through Pandora my stomach wasn’t up to the challenge. We met characters along the way to see The Festival of the Lion King - unbelievable! We had lunch at Tusker House Restaurant, another scrumptious meal. Every bite of food here has been delicious.

Day 4: Hollywood Studios

Another wonderful day! Even though we are not huge Star Wars people, we spent the entire morning in that section of the park. Goosey Lucy built BB-8 that interacted with other droids in the park. We took our turn in the Millennium Falcon and may have exceeded our time limit in Oga’s Cantina. We saw the Muppets in 3D, sang along with Frozen; Trailer and Sabine hit the Tower of Terror. We had dinner with Minnie, Mickey, Pluto and Goofy at Minnie’s Cafe, Hollywood and Vine.

Day 5: back to Magic Kingdom

Someone told me “Horses sweat, men perspire and ladies glisten.” Well, there was a lot - a lot - of glistening going on during the week and Day 5 was no exception! We started the day with breakfast in Cinderella’s Castle, made our way over to take a Jungle Cruise, stopped by the Enchanted Tiki Room and rode Big Thunder Mountain Railway.

The Country Bear Jamboree was a favorite of mine at Disneyland back in the day, but the world has changed and I think it could use some updating. The song lyrics have not aged well. Example: "Mama, don’t whup little Buford.

Mama, don’t pound on his head.

Mama, don’t whup little Buford…

I think you should shoot him instead."

yeah, just no. Same thing with the Jungle Cruise and a monkey firing a gun aimlessly into the water.

The Hall of American Presidents did not disappoint. We took our turn at the Haunted Mansion (Goosey gave it a never again) and An Under the Sea Journey with The Little Mermaid. Sabine and Goosey were Barnstormers; Goosey and I took a spin on the teacups at the Mad Tea Party. The day with an all-you-can-eat dessert buffet and spectacular fireworks.

What a week!

Should you decide on a Walt Disney World trip, here are my suggestions:

· Use Genie + to avoid most of the wait times at the rides.

· Try to schedule the things (rides, shows) you would like to do in the same area to avoid crisscrossing the parks. This isn’t always possible but not only is it a timesaver, it is a feet saver!

· Dining reservations may be made 60 days in advance. Character dining is worth every penny, not only for the food but also the experience. If you can only do one, we saw more characters at Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood Studios or Tusker House Restaurant in Animal Kingdom. The menu selection is very limited - be sure and check the options before you make a reservation.

· If you drive/rent a car, preferred parking is a godsend at the end of the day.

· We included Park Hopper with our tickets and did not use it a single time. One park a day was plenty!

· Be prepared for crowds!

· As expected, it was extremely hot! Cooling towels and personal portable fans do make a difference.

· We did the parks back-to-back-to-back – a rest day in the middle would have been nice.

· Do not let your dread of touristy things or fear of crowds keep you away from Walt Disney World.

I had not been to Disney World in at least 30 years so it was a learning experience for me. We had a wonderful, wonderful time, and are already talking about our next trip when my now 3-year-old granddaughter is 7.

It’s magical.

It’s Walt Disney World.

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