The Happiest Place on Earth

Jessica and I in front of Cinderella's Castle.

The entrance to the new Toy Story Land portion of the park.

Do you ever have a place that is the ultimate comfort and as soon as you leave you can’t wait to go back, be it nostalgia or otherwise? I have a couple such places, and I’ve added another one to my list.

For the longest time Indiana was a place that I loved to visit. When we lived in Texas we would come to Salem for the summer to see family. For the most part all of my family lives within an hour of Salem so we would come to see them during the summer, and sometimes around Christmas. It was always nice to come up and see everybody every summer. I always hated to leave and couldn’t wait to comeback.

Texas has now taken that spot. I don’t go very often. The only family I really have left there is my Dad. We haven’t been to see him in several years, but he has made trips up here to see us so we have still spent time with him. There is just something about Texas that I love and I’m not sure I could really explain it. But it just always feels like home.

My newest comfort place has become Disney World. We have now made consecutive trips there the past two years. Last year was the first time I had been since I was five. Lion King was still in theatres if that tells you anything about how long it had been. So I wasn’t really sure what to expect from it. I remembered tiny pieces of my first trip, but it was all going to be new for me.

And it was incredible. I’ve always liked Disney so I was excited going into it, but it surpassed my expectations. Jessica of course is a Disney nut as well, more so than I, and she loved it as well. I was more excited for the Star Wars parts, and she loved all the Princess stuff, but we both had an equally enjoyable time taking all of it in. The sights, the sounds, the shows, everything was magic. We only spent two days there so we didn’t get the whole experience, but we still loved every second of it.

Fast forward back to this past summer and Jessica and I made our return trip, this time for five days so we could see it all. Of course we hit our favorite parts with all the Star Wars Jessica could handle and then some. We got to see the new Toy Story Land that opened up in June. It was pretty neat. Not as big as I was expecting, but I loved Toy Story as a kid so it was really cool. Especially lit up at night.

We saw Magic Kingdom and all the princess stuff that was there. We rode a few rides we hadn’t ridden on our previous trip. But then the following days were when we got all the new stuff. Epcot was neat. There was a lot of educational stuff there about the environment and things of that nature, which is fine, but I was more wanting actual Disney stuff. Our favorite part of Epcot was the “Around the World” section that had tiny snippets of several different countries and what they look like. They had food and drinks from those places, as well as shopping where you could buy traditional clothes or souvenirs. We tried a few different deserts and drinks from some places. Some of the countries were Norway, China, Japan, England, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Morocco, and France. So it was cool seeing a tiny part of those places. And most of the workers in those countries were actually from there as well, which added a bit to the emersion of it all. We did not however attempt the drinking game of going to each country and trying a beverage from there. I’ve heard first hand it can be a bit rough.

Animal Kingdom was the other new part of the park we hadn’t seen before. It was cool, but a bit underwhelming if I’m being honest. I don’t know if part of it was we didn’t stay as long because Florida did what Florida does and rained on us. So after getting soaked we decided to ride one more ride then head back to the hotel.

But it wasn’t all bad. The safari part was cool. It was as close as you can get without actually going to Africa. The section of the park based on the movie “Avatar” was cool, but I probably would have found it cooler if I had actually seen the movie.

So now that we’ve been back a little over a month Jessica and I are already counting down the days till we go back. It looks like it might be a couple years sadly, as next year is the opening of Galaxy’s Edge, the new Star Wars section of the park. And I can’t wait! I’ve slightly contemplated quitting my jobs and moving down there to be a Storm trooper or work in that section. Maybe someday!

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