The Most Magical Place on Earth

Last week I posted several picture clues about an adventure for the Murphy family. As most everyone guessed, we were in Disney World. It was a magical trip full of fun, laughter, good friends and good food.

The first picture was a view from Soarin’ – one of my favorite rides located in Epcot’s The Land.

The second was of a tiger which was supposed to be from Animal Kingdom. However, I didn’t see any tigers – lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras and a bunch of other animals but no tigers…maybe I just missed them.

The third clue was a picture from the line of Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios. Tower of Terror is definitely a favorite attraction – lots of fun with just enough scare to make you want to ride it over and over.

The fourth clue was of the take off on Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom. A classic Disney attraction though I can’t ride it as it hurts my back and I’m getting old.

This was an amazing trip for several reasons – we were with friends, we had noise canceling headphones for Mikayla, the food was brilliant and everything was already decked out for Christmas.

Traveling with friends can be weird or tricky, I’m sure. Vacation is not always peaches and cream and often when we are tired or hungry or frustrated we aren’t our best selves. But we are blessed with amazing friends who love us at our best and our worst and forgive our quirks and forget those times we gripe or complain or exhibit other less than desirable behavior. Maneuvering 11 people through the crowded Disney parks presented some challenges for sure but it also made the days exciting and adventurous. Seeing children experience the magic of Disney for the first time (or at least the first time they’ll remember) was truly wonderful.

A few weeks before we left I purchased noise canceling headphones for Mikayla. We’d had several instances lately where Mikayla was upset by the noise in an environment. When we went to Disney last year she screamed on almost every ride – our assumption was that it was due to the noise. Everything at Disney is very loud – whether happy or scary, they want to make sure everyone hears every detail. So, we gave the headphones a try and it was an unbelievable difference in her behavior. She loved everything. She wasn’t upset or afraid on the rides. She even liked the fireworks (from a distance and with headphones on). She was actually extremely compliant and good-spirited the entire week and we were thrilled with how well she handled everything.

As for the food…my favorite part of Disney…it is delicious and abundant. My dream vacation would be to go to Disney without children just to experience the food. We had three character meals – meaning the characters actually come to your table to visit while you’re eating. Chef Mickey’s had Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy. Akershus (Norwegian cuisine) had princesses – Belle, Ariel, Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora. 1900 Park Fare had Cinderella, her two step sisters and her step mother and…Prince Charming. This was one of the prettiest restaurants we visited and also one of the most fun – the step-sisters and mother were really funny and stayed in character for the duration of their visit. Several times the sisters talked about hating Cinderella and the mother fussed at them for not being married. My favorite restaurant is Ohana (Polynesian) – noodles in peanut sauce, chicken, beef, pork, shrimp with dipping sauces for each – I could eat there every day.

Experiencing the most magical time of year in the most magical place on earth was…magical. The lights and the Christmas trees and the parades and the SNOW!! It was fantastic. The first or second day there Mikayla exclaimed, “It’s Christmas here!” And so it was. The decorations were beautiful and enormous. And I was surprised by how much “Christmas” was celebrated and not just “holidays”. The songs played were very Christian and not just generic holiday songs, there were several nativities, the word “Christmas” was used both in speech and in written display. I’m not saying everything Disney does is Christian but the celebrations we experienced were not generalized holiday celebrations, they were Christmas celebrations and it was kinda neat. Here’s a little video of some of the Christmas magic as only Disney can display. My apologies for the poor lighting and/or unsteady hand throughout much of this video.

Have you ever been to Disney? What’s your favorite part (or parts, I know its hard to decide on just one)?

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