When visiting Disney World which park do you go to first? I ask because most families have a game plan, especially if you've been before.

I've come to the realization that visiting the Magic Kingdom before any of the other parks is the way to go. At least for me. The sight of Cinderella's Castle makes the whole trip seem more real. And even though I'm "old" by some standards, the Magic Kingdom is one of my favorite parks.

A few years ago we took our two oldest boys to the World for a few nights. The first park we went to upon our arrival was Animal Kingdom. Now I really enjoy Animal Kingdom and it's uniqueness, but there was something missing being there first. Maybe because it's the newest park at Disney World it doesn't offer too many childhood memories - well, zero actually - whereas the other parks I can relate to because I remember being there as a kid.

For our trip in December 2009 I made sure we visited the Magic Kingdom first thing. It was dark and the castle was glowing beautifully with it's icicle lights - quite a sight! And one unlike I'd seen before as this was my first trip during the holiday season. Walking down the bustling Main Street felt great and it was as if I was home again.

With everything else in my life I have traditions and specific ways of doing things. Disney is no different. I really must see the castle before my vacation begins!
 
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When my husband and I decided to give cruising a try I was a bit skeptical. The whole idea of a big ship with lots of people and no where to escape made me a little nervous. We booked a 3 night cruise on the Disney Wonder and I jumped into the planning stages to see what it was all about. I was excited and apprehensive at the same time.

After months of finding out all there was to know, we stepped onto the ship and all of my worries washed away. As soon as the cast member announced "Welcome aboard the Sykora family!" I was a mushy puddle. What was it about those five words that made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside? Walking into the atrium on the Wonder was simply awe inspiring. And at that moment I knew Disney Cruise Line would be an important part of my life from then on.

Since that first trip in March 2007 my family has cruised two more times on DCL. Our trip in February 2009 on the Disney Magic was my favorite. It was a 7 night Western and we couldn't have asked for better weather, better service or better company. The only thing I would change was how fast it flew by!

My kids (I have 3 boys) still talk about our trip that was almost a full year ago. We still refer to our wonderful servers - Vlado and Gerry. We remember the shows, the islands, the fireworks, and of course, the food. Escargot. Shrimp. Pastries. Pizzas. Mickey Ice Cream bars. Steak. Lobster. Plate after plate of delicious delicacies that my family indulged in hour after hour. Amazingly enough, we didn't pack on the pounds because we stayed so busy the entire week!

I think it's a natural instinct to keep coming back to something that you love. Since we've had such great experiences on our Disney cruises we will continue to cruise with Disney. There's nothing wrong with other cruise lines, but if someone asks why we choose Disney the answer is simple. We love it.

If you're teetering on the edge of making the decision to cruise, just do it. Whether it's Disney Cruise Line or Carnival or Royal Caribbean, give it a try. You may find that it's the best vacation you've ever had!

 
When my husband and I first started thinking about taking our first child to Disney World we always said "We'll wait until he's old enough to remember." This seems to be what a lot of parents say when asked if they'll visit Disney World with their infant, toddler or preschooler.

We sorta stood by our original plans. We took our son about a week before his 3rd birthday. It turned out to be perfect timing in many ways. And it opened up my eyes to why it's a good idea to take kids prior to the magical age of "when they'll remember". Plain and simple - we, as parents, deserve to have memories too.

Looking back on that very brief trip we took with an almost 3 year old, I have fond memories that I otherwise would not have if we'd waited until the perfect age. I remember him sitting in Chef Mickey's with his special birthday place mat, smiling from ear to ear as Mickey and Minnie came by to hug and kiss him. I remember him riding the Tower of Terror, holding on to me for dear life. I remember him swimming in the pool at the All-Star Music Resort on the morning we had to head home because we had promised him the entire trip that he could swim and this was the only slow moment we'd had. All of these memories hold a special place in my heart.

If you ask him what he remembers about our short stint at Disney that week, you'll quickly see that he does not have many memories of the trip. But what little he does remember is enough to make me smile. His memories are similar to mine. Eating macaroni and cheese at Chef Mickey's and screaming his head off on the Tower of Terror. Great minds think alike?

It does not bother me that his memory is limited to such a small portion of our trip. Because my husband and I remember. And we have stories to share with him for the rest of our lives. That makes it all worth it.
 
Unless you are a Disney fanatic you might easily confuse Disney World and Disneyland. I'm going to set the record straight. Disney World is not, never has been and never will be located in California. Disney World is in Florida!

Walt Disney WORLD opened in 1971 (about 16 years after Disneyland). The Magic Kingdom showcased Cinderella's Castle and soon people would be flocking to Disney World to visit  Mickey and the gang. Eventually three more parks would be added and Walt Disney World would expand into what it is today.

It seems like many people who have never visited Walt Disney World do not realize how large it is. There are 22 resort hotels, 100's of restaurants, 2 water parks, a Downtown area with shopping, and so much more. On Disney property you can ride a roller coaster train to see the Yeti. Dine with the Princesses. Play golf. Take a horse and carriage ride. Fly through the air on a hang gliding simulator. Create your own roller coaster. And even experience the best fireworks displays every night. There is so much to do!

This is just a brief, brief overview of Walt Disney World. In the coming weeks I'll try to focus on smaller details in my blog entries. For now, will you take the time to share what you enjoy most about Walt Disney World? Leave me a comment!

Thanks for reading! Have a magical day!

P.S.
Today's fun fact: Disneyland opened on July 17, 1955. What's so special about that date? Exactly 21 years later I would be born - July 17, 1976. Fate? I think so!
 
Being my first blog entry I thought I'd give you a brief explanation of what you can expect from this blog. This is where you can go to find my general thoughts on travel, random reviews on travel items, and up to date information about new and upcoming attractions, etc.

Will this blog be mainly about Disney destinations? Probably. Disney is what I know. And while I will from time to time mention other vacation places and cruise lines, I will focus on Disney.

With that said, please check back often for new entries! If you have a recommendation of what you want to see me blog about please leave me a note. Or if you have a comment about an entry, don't hesitate to let me know. I look forward to blogging and I await your feedback!

Happy travels and have a magical day!