Walking in Walt’s Footsteps

Walking in Walt's FootstepsI’ve experienced more Disney magic than is really fair for one person to enjoy. I was blessed to grow up in a family that sometimes had more than enough and was led by a father who believed those extras were gifts to be enjoyed, namely in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. At the tender age of 23, I married perhaps the world’s most agreeable man who I only half-jokingly say I brought both to the Lord and to the Mouse. Several years later that man nodded amicably and we packed up our crew for their first trip to Walt Disney World Resort. I began blogging in 2008, and by 2009 I was involved in the planning of the first Disney Social Media Mom’s Celebration. If one were to plot the trajectory of the Disney in my life, they’d surely come to the conclusion that magic is the only possible explanation.

Just when I was sure my personal Disney magic had reached its threshold, I received an invitation last May that I’ve come to refer to as my Disney mic drop moment. That’s it, leave the stage, there can be nothing better. My then 9-year-old daughter and I flew first to Walt Disney World, where we attended a special 6 a.m. opening of the Magic Kingdom, kicking off 24 hours in the parks at the launch of Disney’s Monstrous Summer. We then flew to Anaheim along with Disney Channel stars where we continued our 24 hours in the parks by visiting Disneyland Resort.

This was my first Disneyland experience, and I found myself in awe of the fact that Walt Disney himself had walked these streets. I grew up hearing about the Florida Project and read time and time again about Walt’s vision for the Walt Disney World parks. I certainly felt connected to the man behind the legends while visiting Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, but there was clearly something different about Disneyland. I stood where Walt stood to welcome guests into the park for the first time. I rode on The Lilly Belle, Walt’s personal train car. I began to understand how deeply personal and important every detail of Disneyland was to this amazing man.

Last month I experienced more Disney magic than even I could have anticipated. While attending the fifth annual Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Disneyland Resort, I watched as my friend Sara from Mom Endeavors won a Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour for herself and several friends. I had met Sara one year earlier at the same event in Walt Disney World Resort when we happened to be standing next to each other on the monorail. I was the first thing her toddler son saw upon waking up from his nap, and he immediately burst into tears. Disney magic is a funny thing. Despite such a horrible introduction, a year later Sara asked me to join her on that tour.

And so it was that I found myself standing in Walt Disney’s private apartment on Main Street, U.S.A., in Disneyland Resort. My feet stood on the rose covered carpet as I looked out across the famous lamp and down onto Town Square. I stood surrounded by Walt’s personal photographs, carefully selected furniture, gifts to his wife and grandchildren. I was once again in awe. I could imagine what it must have been like for Walt’s family to find a quiet moment in the heart of the chaos of the park, taking in all that this great man had built for his families and countless other families around the world.

I don’t know when the Disney magic will end in my life hopefully never but in the meantime I’m treasuring every pixie dust-filled moment, counting each one as a blessing.

Walking in Walt's Footsteps

Thank you to Disney Parks for providing accommodations and park tickets during this event. All opinions are my own.

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  • Wow you had such memorable experiences. I’ve been to Disneyland in CA but it’s going to be my first time visiting Walt Disney World next month celebrating our 6th year anniversary. Can’t wait!