I've been thinking of some of our past trips to Walt Disney World and trying to remember my fondest memories. There are so many that come to mind! I don't want to write about or highlight all of them in one post, so I'll spread them out over several weeks, months or even years!! I'll "steal" an idea I've seen on several blogs and recall these memories on Mondays and call it "Monday's Memories!"
My first memory is probably one of my all time favorites! In 2008, my husband and I went to WDW all by ourselves to run the half marathon! No kids, no friends, no family. Just the two of us. We were able to take a few extra days off work to arrive early and leave late. We spent 2 days in the parks prior to the race and one day after the race. The day in Epcot after the race will not make it to "Mondays Memories!" That day was not fun for me since I had pulled my IT band during the race. But the days prior to the race were great!
On the Thursday morning before the race on Saturday we woke up very early, got ready, grabbed a bite to eat in the hotel restaurant and took the resort bus over to the Magic Kingdom for Extra Magic Morning Hours. We were there before the park opened so we were able to see the opening ceremonies. What an experience! If you haven't ever been to this, it's magical! The ceremony took place between the ticket turnstiles and the corridors under the railroad tracks. The characters came on the train and stood on the platform overlooking the turnstiles. Mickey introduced the family selected to "open" the park. They sang songs, played music, danced and shot confetti all over the place! I had tears in my eyes the entire time (1. it was pure Disney magic, 2. I was ecstatic to be there and 3. I was jealous it wasn't us chosen!) and I even had to choke back sobs!
That was the first part of one of my favorite days at Disney World. After we got into the park for extra magic hours my husband and I took our time walking down Main Street soaking in all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings. Prior to our trip I had found a download from The Mouse for Less that showed you the "hidden gems" in the Magic Kingdom. We slowed down, took our time and looked for all the hidden gems in this document and some others I had read about on different message boards. This quite time we spent together, enjoying the park was one of the best times I've had in the Magic Kingdom.
After an hour of searching for the hidden gems we wandered over to the Haunted Mansion. We found out that Liberty Square was not included in the Extra Magic Hours, so we went back to Fantasyland to kill some time. At the "opening time" we went back to the Haunted Mansion and were part of the first group to enter the Mansion and the stretching room. After the ride, we saw some Disney Cast Members talking to a family who was 4 or 5 doom buggies ahead of us. They were looking at something on a small portable DVD player. This peaked my curiosity, so I stopped to eavesdrop on this conversation. After a few minutes (or possibly seconds... it just seemed like minutes!) I realized what was happening. This family was chosen to spend the night in Cinderella's Castle Suite that night! Are you kidding me?!!? They were only 4 or 5 ahead of us! What if it had been us?!?! It was very sweet to see the look on the kid's face when he told the cast member he was willing to give up his night in his resort to spend the night in the castle! She told the family that Disney would take care of their luggage and they could return to their original room after their magical stay in the castle!