When I was ten, my parents and I visited Disney World. We spent three and a half days at the parks and one day at the beach. We would leave early in the day and arrive back at our hotel in the early evening having spent the majority of our days at the parks and really enjoying ourselves. This was the one major and “official” family vacation that I can recall. While I loved every minute of that trip and while I continue to be so grateful for the chance to have gone, there are two things we didn’t do while we were there: we never saw any nighttime entertainment, and we didn’t meet any characters. (Okay, that’s not entirely true. We did run into Explorer Donald outside of Animal Kingdom and my mom got to meet Prince John the lion when he was strolling around outside of Magic Kingdom.) We didn’t meet Mickey though and I didn’t get to see any princesses, and while my trip certainly wasn’t lacking anything, it influenced my experience the first time I did meet them while I was on my program 12 years later.
I recently wrote about my first Wishes and the time I spent at Magic Kingdom with my roommate on my first day in the parks as a CP. While we were wandering around, we found the pavilion where Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen were meeting before the fireworks show. Realizing I had never met a princess and that I was officially a Walt Disney World Cast Member, I begged Katie to let me meet them(she wasn’t a fan of their movie, but she agreed anyway, bless her heart.) Standing in line, and then watching them walk out, I became increasingly nervous. By the time it was my turn, I was actually shaking from the nerves, but I had nothing to worry about. They were both so kind; they commented on my shirt and then had a lover’s spat over something Naveen said. I was star-struck, I could barely stutter anything out. Tiana put her arm around my waist and I held Naveen’s arm as the photographer took our pictures, and I was on my way. I was so hyped up on adrenaline that I think I actually skipped a bit. Katie laughed at me a little, but I had enjoyed myself so much and I couldn’t believe how real it had seemed to meet the characters I had only known from the movie.
Shortly after, I took my first solo trip into Magic Kingdom and spent the afternoon walking around at my own leisure and exploring the park. This actually became one of my favorite things to do, because it was always so nice to move at my own pace and do exactly what I wanted to do. On this first day by myself, I went to meet Ariel in her grotto. Now, while I don’t have any pictures from that specific day, I do have a couple from when I met her again with my friend Kaylee. As a little girl, the Little Mermaid had been my all time favorite princess, and even at 22, meeting her was a dream come true. She was so kind and comforting, because I’m sure to her I was just a weird adult acting silly. Truly, she made my entire day, and I left wearing a huge cheesy smile. I met many other characters during my time in the program, but the first two- Tiana and Ariel- will always hold a special place in my heart as my firsts, as the one’s that brought to life my childhood dreams and allowed me to fully feel the magic of being at Disney World.
On my second program I want to make an effort to meet as many characters as I can, and maybe this time I’ll commit to buying the Photopass option so I can keep the really nice pictures of the meet and greets. I want to learn how to interact with characters, because even though I met many, I was never any less awkward. I’m working on a bucket list, and this time I’d like to make the most of it. I get a second chance to experience the magic, and I won’t waste it this time.