Over Halloween in 2000, I finally had the chance to go on my first Walt Disney World Vacation. Although I don’t remember every little detail, it was my first “real” family vacation, and there was no better place to have that monumental experience than the parks themselves. I was 7 years old when my family went on this week long vacation to Orlando. I remember I was so excited, but I had no idea what I was in for…
First, I have to point out that my mom and her family would go on Disney World family vacations yearly when she was a kid and her love for Disney and the parks got passed to me. My dad, on the other hand, had never been to Disney. Once my parents booked our vacation, I remember my mom went right to work getting us prepared.
The first thing I remember my parents doing was buying us a Playstation game called Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour. Basically, it was a racing game but themed to the rides in Walt Disney World. As we would do each race, my mom would tell us all about the rides that were the themes of the tracks we were on. I remember her constantly talking about two rides in particular: Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain. She prepared us for Space Mountain pretty well by showing us how fast the ride would go while we were in the car (28 mph), but would explain that it would feel faster because it was dark. I don’t really remember if I ever ended up riding Space Mountain that first visit to the park, but she definitely did not prepare me for Haunted Mansion, and I will never forget my first ride.
My first specific, clear, and vivid memory of being in the parks is riding Haunted Mansion for the first time because it was literally traumatizing. After the initial experience of being in the elevator before boarding the “doom buggies”, I was terrified and did not want to ride. I specifically remember sitting in the doom buggy with my mom, eyes closed, screaming my head off and crying the whole time. I remember finally opening my eyes during the Ballroom scene where the ghosts are dancing and just not having any of it. I think this was the day when I lost all trust for my moms judgement, lol. But, Haunted Mansion is now my favorite attraction in all of the parks, so…
Even though my mom is a Disney lover like me, I always have been and always will be a Daddy’s girl. Most of the attractions that I remember going on like the Tomorrow Speedway and Dumbo, I remember sitting in the carts with him. Sorry Dee, my dad was my first date to the parks 😉
Another thing that I remember vividly, and I’m so upset I can’t find evidence in pictures, is my Halloween costume for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, so I was so excited to dress up and Trick or Treat with Mickey and his friends. However, my mom decided to “think outside of the box” and dress my brother and I as… Pebbles and Bam–Bam from The Flinstones. If you aren’t aware, The Flinstones is NOT a Disney intellectual property. Honestly, this isn’t even something that I realized until years later so at the time I didn’t notice or didn’t care, but now it’s something I just choose to remind my mom about whenever I get the chance.
The next and last thing I remember vividly were the character meet and greets and how they were so different than they are now. Of course, The Fab Five and other iconic characters would have certain designated places to do meet and greets throughout the day, but at other times there would be characters just wandering around with an attendant to take photos. This is something that is still done in Disneyland, but could never possibly happen in Disney World. I just remember it being so magical to be able to walk around and just run into Timon out of the blue.
One thing I don’t remember at all, but that I can see from the photos, is that the park doesn’t seem to be busy AT ALL. These days, there is no such thing as “Off Season” in Disney World, but apparently when my family chose to go on our trip, although it was over the Halloween holiday, this was not a busy time in the park. I would LOVE to visit the park this October and see crowd levels this low to the point where there are barely any people in my shots, but unless I get there before rope drop, that’s only ever going to be a fantasy.
I wish that I remembered more in vivid details, but that was almost 20 years ago and my memory sucks as it is. For the rest of my memories, I had to live vicariously through the photos we have. Looking at these photos made me remember how attached I was to that 101 Dalmatians stuffed animal, how I would never take off those Minnie sunglasses after I returned back to Ohio, and the magic we all felt on that trip. They also made me realize how special my first trip to Disney World was, and how I can’t wait to share this experience with my soon-to-be husband and our little family when that time comes.
But that’s all for me today, guys! I knew that it was only right to have my first official blog post recall my first trip to the parks. Just for fun, I added some more pictures down below. Be sure to check them out, and also let me know in the comments when your first trip to Disney World (or Disneyland!) was and one special moment that you remember! Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog so you’ll be notified when I post next : )