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!