I can’t remember a time in my life in which Disney was not a prominent force. I watched and re-watched (and re-watched and re-watched) every movie my mom added to our vast collection. I memorized every line of dialogue and the lyrics to all the songs. I wanted to visit the ocean so that I could meet Ariel. I was sure that I would marry Peter Pan, and that all I needed was pixie dust to fly.
My kindergarten teacher was so amused by this, that she made me a cassette tape with the Aladdin soundtrack on one side and the Lion King soundtrack on the other. The funny part was that she delivered it to me when I was in the third grade.
When I heard that there were such places as Disneyland and Disney World, I knew that I simply had to experience them.
I was probably about 8 when my family took at trip to Southern California for a family reunion. My most anticipated part of this journey: Disneyland.
Call me a starry-eyed dreamer (I am one), but it is indeed one of the happiest places on earth. The princesses waved to me as they passed by in their carriages. I met and took pictures with multiple characters; the biggest celebrities my 8-year-old mind could comprehend. People were singing and dancing. I was temporarily living in a Disney movie.
My family was spending time together, something rare for those usually busy with farm life. We all laughed, smiled and enjoyed the rides and entertainment.
That night, fireworks filled the sky, and it made me believe in magic.
Fast-forward about 15ish years. As you might have already guessed, my Disney obsession had only grown with age. I longed for Disney World, but an empty pocketbook can put a damper on things. One day, my best friend made my dream come true.
Ten whole days in Florida, all the Disney parks… This girl knows how to spoil me!
I think my friend was pretty amused at my animation (pun intended). She’d worked for the parks before and was going to be my guide. She said that my reactions made the visit feel new to her as well.
We passed through the gates and entered the promised-land. I had gone to Disney Nerd heaven. Donald and Goofy were right there! I got to meet my favorite princesses and even met Mr. Mouse himself.
Am I overdramatizing? Probably. But I don’t mess around when it comes to childhood dreams coming true.
One of my fondest memories is of coming upon an impromptu western barn dance hosted by Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar. With a stupid grin on my face, I stood in the front row, clapping away like a giddy idiot. Before I knew it, Horace had come up, taken me by the arm, and I was a part of the action. Hand in cartoon glove, we danced about, me laughing, and him with a permanent grin on his mascot face.
After our dance, my bovine partner bowed, bestowed me with a hug and kiss, and my friend and I carried on with our magical adventure.
With that, a wonderful world Bucket List Item was completed.