Wow! Well, 2013 has been a great year and we had a lot of fun at the Disney Parks too! Here’s my top ten list of favorite Disney Parks moments of 2013, in no particular order. Take a look, then I want to see YOUR list!
10. Becoming Part of the MiceChat Crew
One January afternoon I was playing with Magic, Memories, Mayhem (our family blog) when I was presented with the opportunity to submit an article to MiceChat. I took a post that was headed for our site, took out the 90 gajillion images, spruced it up a bit and sent it off with fingers crossed. The rest, my friends, is history. It’s been so wonderful to be able to chat with you all every week about something so dear to my little, obsessive heart. The welcoming from Dusty and the MiceChat crew and all of you faithful readers has been overwhelming this year. I never set out to be a columnist, it just fell into my lap at the perfect time, and I’m so thankful for it!
9. Taking Newbies to Disney World
I love sharing the Disney Parks with friends and family, but there’s always a little bit of extra fun when taking someone who’s never experienced the magic. Watching their eyes widen as we round the corner and they lay eyes on the castle or the first time they run into the mouse himself. We were lucky enough to take two new-to-Disney families to the parks this year, and both are already planning their 2014 vacations.
Get Park Wise: When taking newbies, the most important tip is wardrobe advice. Comfy shoes, breathable fabrics and a nice pair of shades can make your trip! They’ll be ragged by the end of the week, but if their feet are comfy for the duration, you’ll have won them over!
8. Trying a New Resort
On our fall vacation this year, our family got to try out some new-to-us digs, Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World. Not only was the location fabulous and the rooms, well, roomy, the views from the lounge were hard to beat. Several nights we decided to pack it in early and just watch Magic Kingdom fireworks during the dessert and cordials service at the hotel. Perfection!
7. A Little Pixie Dust at Shades of Green
Also during our October vacation, we experienced a little, well, actually a pretty sizable amount, of pixie dust. Our party received complimentary tickets for our entire stay!! This was especially wonderful for our friends who had some unexpected expenses prior to our vacation and were on a very strict budget. Take away the cost of tickets, and they able to have a much more enjoyable week!
6. My First Agent Education Program
This June, I was able to attend my first Agent Education Program at Walt Disney World. The week was chock full of room and resort tours, informational seminars and great guest experience opportunities. This allowed me to really see things through the eyes of guests who are different from myself and my family and has proved to be an invaluable experience. And hanging out with other Disney geeks for a week was pretty fun, too.
5. An Adults Only Trip
Seeing as the program was for agents only, I was solo on this jaunt. I was rooming with a wonderful co-worker turned great friend, and we really enjoyed touring without the kiddos, even if we did have notebooks in hand most of the time. We also enjoyed a couple nights out without having to worry about babysitters or a “curfew.” While my no-kids trips will be few and far between, that week really made me appreciate doing Disney a totally different way.
4. Flower and Garden Fun
The kids has their first Disney trip a little more than five years ago, which just happened to fall at the tail end of the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot. When a co-worker and her daughter suggested we go on an impromptu trip over spring break, we were in! This was the first time I’d been back to the festival since their first trip, and I loved all of the gorgeous displays and especially the new Food and Wine-esque marketplaces.
Get Park Wise: Look at Disney’s special events calendar or get with your travel agent to see when extra special fun is happening at the parks! These events are a great way to get a little more bang for your Disney buck and allow those who may have “been there, done that” to experience something new.
3. Tour of the Disney Dream
This was part of my Agent Education Program this summer, and while it’s not necessarily a Disney Parks experience, I have to throw it in here because it was wonderful! This was my first chance to see the Dream and I was really excited to get to spend the day on the ship. We wandered all around soaking in everything she has to offer and ended our day with a great lunch at Cabanas restaurant on the ship. I was sold from the minute I stepped on the boat, and a Disney cruise ended up under our Christmas tree.
2. The Disney Villains Hollywood Bash
This was an AMAZING party! I know I’ll get a few boos and hisses, but Hollywood Studios is my favorite park. This after hours shindig was held during the Tower of Terror Ten Miler Weekend. Since the majority of the attendees were running, the park was pretty much empty. All open rides were walk-on, and the villain meet and greet lines were super short. 100% worth the cost! And I rarely say that. And speaking of Ten Miler Weekend…
1. My First 5K
This single event goes down as not only one of my favorite Disney memories of 2013, but probably ever. I was scared to sign up, I was discouraged during training, but, darn it, I kept to it and finished my first 5K and runDisney event!! I know it was the first of many, and I love it because not only does it feed my Disney geekdom, but it is taking me to places mentally and physically I never thought I’d be.