If there were a time machine that could take you back to your childhood would you take it? While not all of our childhoods had an idyllic look or feel to them, there is a certain magic and charm in our childhood memories. There was no Disney World when I was a child and, even if there was, I’m pretty sure my parents couldn’t afford to take us there. So, our family spent a lot of time at NYC’s Orchard Beach and took vacations at Ocean Grove, on the Jersey Shore. My first trip to Disney was in the summer of 1988; I was able to experience magic through my children’s eyes, and I still hear the echo of “It’s a Small World” even now.
The “Happiest Place on Earth” is growing and expanding, as Being Latino staff learned at a recent media event held at Disney World, in Orlando, Florida. Our sojourn began with a barbeque at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch, hosted by Phineas and Ferb. Many of our media colleagues brought their children to the event and it was a joy to see their faces light up when the cartoon characters came out to dance and take pictures with the kids.
We had the opportunity to see the new Art of Animation Resort , with separate areas based on “The Little Mermaid”, “Finding Nemo”, “Cars”, and “The Lion King”. From the authentic animation cells used in a chandelier, to the color boards on the walls, there is something to look at no matter which way you turn your head. Each movie is represented in colorful family suites, that sleep six, and courtyards with pools, playgrounds, and colorful cartoon characters. Disney Imagineers, who shared details we might not have noticed, led the tour of the new facility.
The Magic Kingdom is in the process of almost doubling the size of Fantasyland. In order to reduce the wait time at the Dumbo ride, one of the most popular attractions, they have built an identical ride right next to the original. The wait line will move through the new Storybook Circus where guests will be entertained in air-conditioned comfort. There are also two new castles under construction; Prince Eric’s castle pays homage to “The Little Mermaid” and Beast’s Castle features a re-creation of the ballroom where Beauty and the Beast danced their waltz. Imagineers stated that guests will feel as though they just stepped into the movie as they look up at the ceiling and recognize the chandelier. The expansion also features an expanded Seven Dwarves train ride and a new Disney Princesses attraction.
We also had the opportunity to meet some of Disney World Moms Panel members. People considering a Disney vacation can visit their website and receive answers to their questions in real time. No question is too trivial and, since the Moms and Dads on the panel have a lot of personal knowledge, they are able to offer practical advice and honest answers. For those of you who already have experience with Disney parks and resorts, there is also an application to become a panel member.
Disney proves they aren’t only for children with their addition of Adventures by Disney with tours of countries like Costa Rica and Egypt, and their runDisney featuring marathons and half marathons on Disney properties.
Disney understands how today’s economy has affected family budgets and knows that people save up their hard earned dollars in order to take vacations. Their staff, at the parks and resorts, makes sure that you get a lot of bang for your buck. So, make plans to have your own summer to remember