It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.
This weekend, for the first time as Floridians, Eric, Baby B and I made the short drive from our home to Orlando to spend the weekend at Disney World. I have to admit, that was part of the reason we decided to move down here. I mean, who wouldn't want to be closer to The Happiest Place on Earth??
Anyhoo, we went this weekend to celebrate Eric's 33rd birthday, knowing that the newest addition to Fantasyland wouldn't be open yet. And that was fine -- we could wait another month or so to experience the Enchanted Forest -- there was plenty else to do at the Magic Kingdom.
However, you can imagine our surprise when we went to get our Fast Passes for Winnie the Pooh and right next to those Fast Pass machines were Fast Pass machines for... Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid? I rubbed my eyes a few times and blinked really hard like a confused cartoon character, but it was still there. Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid.
Then I started thinking, "Well, maybe they're just getting the machines in place. After all, the ride isn't supposed to even have its soft opening for another 5 weeks."
But then I looked again and saw that the Fast Passes had return times: 6:20-7:20. But how could this be???
My heart was racing, my palms were sweating...I was kind of starting to freak out.
I turned to the attendant on duty and asked, prepared for her to say no, "Is the Ariel ride open?"
"Yes, we just opened it yesterday," she replied, cheerily. "We're doing a test run."
O.M.G. Shut the front door!
Okay, fast forward a few hours to 6:30, and we head for Ariel's ride. Now, we're already freaking out. We're going to be some of the first people to ride this ride. A ride that will surely, one day, be as legendary as Peter Pan or Winnie the Pooh (which, FYI, still have the longest lines at Magic Kingdom!). So we went skipping, all three of us, toward the ride, but wait...
Wait just one gosh darn second!!! Why was everyone dressed all of a sudden as if they were straight out of Beauty and the Beast? And why was everyone lined up at that cottage that looked JUST like Belle's cottage?!?!
It suddenly became obvious to us that they weren't just test driving Ariel's ride...they were test driving the entire Enchanted Forest!!! And let me be the first to tell you...it's uh-mazing!
Alright, alright, I know I've bragged enough about my magical weekend, but it was truly that: magical. And I love, love, love that Walt Disney quote at the top of this blog. Walt was such a dreamer, such an optimist. He had such an amazing imagination and he believed so strongly in the imaginations of others, and his spirit truly lives on in every aspect of that park.
And now I know that I absolutely made the right decision in moving closer to Disney World. If you can get past the crowds and the frustration of a 12-hour theme park day with a toddler, you can find the most amazing inspiration inside the gates of the Magic Kingdom. The idea that you get to experience worlds that you'd only ever read about or seen on a television screen is nothing short of spectacular. (And I have to stop here to give props to Universal for the mind-blowing recreation of Hogwarts and Hogsmead, which we also visited this weekend)
Okay, I know I'm yammering on, so now it's your turn. Do you get as excited as I do to see your favorite childhood icons come to life? Do theme parks make you as giddy as they make me? If you could visit any "world," whether it's been created yet or not, which world would you choose?