D is for Disney World #AtoZChallenge

Our family went to Disney World in the mid 1970’s. The 20+ hour car ride took two days with us four kids flying around in the back of the station wagon, not a seat belt to be used. Lap belts were there, weren’t they? Just not used…. ? Anyway, our favorite part of that drive was rolling around and playing in the back of the station wagon, far away from our parents (or so it seemed) and free. This is where we would put on shows for each other using small Disney toys that we had brought along. Back then those would be Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy.

Little did we know the magic that awaited us that first time. There was only the Magic Kingdom and that was more than enough for us! if Walt Disney was good at one thing, it was making Disney World a truly magical experience. It was on that first trip that I fell in love with Disney World and I knew that I would be bringing my future children back some day.

While most of my memories of that trip were happy, the one that stands out vividly in my mind is my introduction to Space Mountain- a space roller coaster. However, it is not memorable for the warm fuzzy feeling it gave me at the time. I wrote about that experience a few years ago-


My parents also “terrorized” us by making us go on the Haunted Mansion ride, which you probably know is NOT scary, and because some traditions must be passed down through the generations, my husband and I shared it with our own children and then CJ, our older grandson, when we went six years ago. The Hall of Presidents was one of my mom’s favorites and my dad was fond of the Carousel of Progress. We were all thoroughly enchanted by It’s a Small World, Winnie the Pooh and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Back then the characters wandered around the park and you never knew who you might find around the next corner. There were no lines waiting to take pictures. We just walked right up to them and said hi. Okay, I should probably re-phrase that. My siblings walked right up to them, well, my middle sister sort of dragged my little sister, and I hung back while my mother urged me to get up there. I’ll admit it was cool to see the characters- but from a distance. A very safe distance!

Since then I have returned to Disney World many times with my own family. Despite my vow to never ride on Space Mountain again, I did indeed ride it the last time we went. I was reminded of why I had sworn off the ride and renewed my “never again” vow again.

On a sad side note, we had originally planned a family Disney trip for June 2020, which did not happen. We had tentatively looked at June 2021, which will also not be happening thank you very much, Covid. We look hopefully toward 2022. On a positive note, 2020 would not have been a good year to go even without Covid so it was a blessing in disguise and little Beej will be an old man of seven when he gets to visit Disney World for the first time. Yay!

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge: D!

Hope your day is magical!


Happiest Place on Earth

magic kingdom

Our (first) trip to Disney World was very carefully planned. We wanted to be sure to take the kids when they were at the best ages to enjoy it, which meant ensuring that Andy was old enough to remember it and Michael was still young enough to enjoy it. We thought that once the kids reached a certain age they would no longer want to go. We were wrong and that trip was the first of four. Looking back we unknowingly began traditions which would be repeated each time after that first.

poohFlorida is known for its sporadic summer rain showers that pop up out of nowhere and our trip was no different. One day in the Magic Kingdom as an infamous shower pour down, we frantically looked for shelter.We weren’t the only ones! We decided that a ride would be our best escape since most people chose to stand in the doorways of the shops. In our immediate vicinity we spotted the Winnie the Pooh ride and Cinderella’s Carousel (now Prince Charming’s). The kids chose Pooh.

The Pooh ride became the first in our list of must rides. Joining Pooh was the Peter Pan ride and the Small World. Peter Pan was one that everyone enjoyed so the arm twisting was kept to a minimum when we got in that line but Small World has always been a bone of contention. To me, this is a Disney World MUST. To this day, some of my children might not agree but I will forever pull rank on them and we will always “suffer” along with the other thousands of people on the ride. Consider it a rite of passage.

Another moment that stood out on that trip took place at Epcot. We were working our way around the countries, the kids were tired, wet and hungry, and we needed some place that had food for two picky kids to eat. Just as the skies opened up,  we were caught in a torrential downpour, and at least two someones needed to use the restroom, we reached America! It was the answer to our prayers and we gratefully and soggily made our way into the very familiar feeling American fast food place. This kicked off our Epcot tradition of eating in America, despite being surrounded by countries with so many exciting and unfamiliar foods. On a side note, it traditionally rains at some point when we are eating there too.

magic kingdom aliens That long ago trip when the kids were still kids laid the groundwork for future family trips. I’m sure if someone had told us that the drippy soggy decisions we made would not only be fond memories, but also become woven into each future experience, we wouldn’t believe it.

Our next trip is tentatively scheduled for 2020 when little Beej will be 5 and his big brother will be 10. I can’t wait to see what that experience at the Happiest Place on Earth will bring us!



Space Mountain

When I was twelve years old, my family went on vacation to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. At that time, Disney World consisted of the Magic Kingdom and the resorts. It was just as magical then as it is now, even though it was much smaller.

I will never forget my first ride on Space Mountain. It is an indoor space-themed roller coaster, lasting two and a half minutes. (It felt like much longer!) It was my first roller coaster and at that time I didn’t even realize that it was a roller coaster. Something tells me I probably wouldn’t have been so eager to ride it if I had known.

My little sister was my companion for the ride. I don’t remember much except for screaming. A lot of screaming. I’m not sure if it was me or my sister or both of us or neither of us. The entire ride took place in darkness and we were unable to see the track and whether it was headed up or down or twisting or turning. At times lights raced toward us out of nowhere. The entire experience was more intense than anything I had ever experienced in my life. I can’t remember ever being that afraid.

By the time we had run the course and taken the ride of our lives, I was breathless and my sister was crying. I couldn’t scramble out of the car fast enough. My sister, on the other hand, refused to leave until the Disney worker said, “You need to get out, little girl, or else you’ll have to go for another ride!” This was all the motivation my sister needed to high tail it out of there.

I swore that if I returned I would never go on that ride again.

I kept my oath for nearly forty years. My kids went on it without me. And then I’m not sure what changed but I decided to give the ride one more try. Within seconds I realized that I had made a mistake. As I was jerked this way and that way, forward and back, I held tight to the car with my eyes squeezed close as tight as I could while I listened to the screams of everyone around me. There was no way this ride was under three minutes long.

By the time I exited the ride on wobbly legs, feeling as if I had just been shaken up and dumped on the sidewalk, I swore I would NEVER EVER EVER go on that ride again NO MATTER WHAT! And this time, nothing is going to change my mind. Not forty years to forget how much it freaked me out or the pleading eyes of an adorable grandchild!!

Day 6 of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge at Live, Love, Simple prompts “what you are afraid of.”

Hope your weekend is sunny and cheery!



Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge: Day 3

Here we are at the top of the hill, hump day, Day 3 of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge. I would like to thank Meredith for nominating me. This is turning into a real challenge for me. 🙂 It’s exactly what I needed to help get me out of a slump. Be sure to check out Meredith’s blog, Meredith’s Musings when you get the chance.

disney 2012

In 2012, we decided to go to Disney World. We had thought the last time in 2006 would be our last until grandchildren came. The kids were 15, 13 and 10. We had been surprised that they wanted to go back at those ages. It came as quite a surprise when in 2012, at the ages of 22, 19 and 16 they were still game! To be honest, most people thought we were crazy.

There are certain attractions we must experience every time we visit Disney World, especially Magic Kingdom. This is non-negotiable. And as you can see from today’s picture, It’s a Small World, is one of those. Others include Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan. YES, all of my children even went on those rides last year at their advanced adult (23,21,18) ages. How did I get them to go on these rides? Here’s the funny part. The first time we were in Disney World, back in 2002, it was raining, pouring, and the nearest ride was Winnie the Pooh. I never told them they HAD to go on the ride. They just did. And on each subsequent trip- 2006, 2012, 2014- they just fell into line and went for the ride. I like to think that they secretly enjoy the rides and don’t want to admit it! Or maybe they are just really sweet kids and they do it for me. Either way, these rides are staples in our Disney experience and in 4 or 5 years when we go back again, they will remain on our short list.

Here are posts from- Day 1 and Day 2.

The Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge rules require you to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph – it’s entirely up to you.

Then each day, nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge.

Accepting the challenge is entirely optional. This challenge is all in fun. 

I would like to nominate Joyroses from Nuggets of Gold to take part in the challenge and keep it going.

One Word Photo Challenge: Storm

This week’s topic for Jennifer’s One Word Photo Challenge is Storm.

Magic Kingdom Storm Epcot

Although my first intention was to get creative with the prompt “storm”, these photos kept jumping up and waving their hands like kids in a classroom- “Pick me! Pick me!”

And so I did.

These were taken on our Disney vacation last summer. They were taken on three different days and each time they preceded or followed a glorious storm. No cheerful Disney rain showers one minute, sun shining the next for us. Despite the volatile weather, we had fun. 🙂