"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
---Walter Elias Disney

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Day 28: Happy 45th Birthday Walt Disney World

For 30 days every year Walt Disney World and I are the same age, and that time begins today. Happily, it will end with my bad self right smack dab in the middle of the Magic on Halloween.

Between now and then, we will both be 45 years young. We have grown up together, me and Disney World. My parents took me the first time when we were both very young, 1972 I believe. I was there to share in the nation's bicentennial in the summer of 1976. I was back as a pre-teen and as a newly licensed 16 year-old. My parents celebrated my then girlfriend and now wife and I's college graduation by taking us and my sister to Disney World. We shared my son's first glimpse of the Magic at three years old with my parents, and Disney welcomed him with open arms and some of the most unforgettable moments of our lives as parents. We returned with John at about six and experienced the parks in an entirely new way, and again with an almost-teenaged John who reveled in the Imagineering details. We've been twice for Lisa's birthday and once for John's. We've celebrated our wedding anniversary in Disney twice, once with a full-fledged family vacation and more recently with an adults only non-parks weekend visit, both of which were magical in their own way.

In all those years I've ridden the Skyway and Mr. Toad and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; I've seen Epcot open, seen the Mickey hand and wand come and go, and seen Future World lose it's future focus; I've seen Disney/MGM Studios as an operating movie and television studio and Hollywood Studios as a very different and still evolving park; I've fallen completely in love with the "notazoo" Animal Kingdom and seen more and more come to a park that really shows what Disney can do with themeing; I've eaten breakfast at the Empress Lily in Disney Village, spent an evening at the Adventurers Club, shopped and eaten on our way in and out of "the bubble" at Downtown Disney, and enjoyed cocktails and squid on a boat at Jack Lindsey's Hangar Bar.

Disney isn't the same as it was when when I was a kid, but then neither am I. And that's a good thing. Are there things I miss about "classic WDW?" Sure there are, but there are things I  miss about being a carefree 8 year-old, too. That doesn't mean I'm  not
happy with who I am now and looking forward to where I'm going and who I'll be in the future. Same goes for Walt Disney World.

I can't wait to see what we are as we continue Moving Forward.....

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