My first trip to Walt Disney World was in the summer of 1995 and it was for my big sister’s 8th grade graduation. I was seven years old so some of the details are a bit fuzzy.
I remember being so excited for this trip. Not only were we going to the most magical place on earth but we were also going on an airplane! After coming off of a fresh viewing of Aladdin (by fresh I mean about the 50th time on my VHS), I could not wait to fly through the clouds. Just to be clear this post is going to be as much about the plane ride as it is about the parks 🙂
So we get on the plane and we’re going through the clouds (which look nothing like the did in the movie) and we’re finally above them and I was amazed!! It looked like fresh snow but fluffier. This is when I turned to my aunt and asked if we could open the windows to touch them like Jasmine did in the movie and much to my dismay she said we couldn’t, but it was still a perfect ride.
Just to give a little background on my childhood, I was raised by my grandma, her sister (whom I will always refer to as my aunt rather than my great aunt), their aunt (this is where I start to lose people), and my sister. All five of us went on this trip and we all had the best time.
So we get to the resort, The Polynesian, and it was beautiful! I’m not sure if anyone remembers the birds that the Polynesian had but I thought that it was so cool that they were there. I remember spending a good amount of time in the area where the birds were and talking to the handlers. It was a lot of fun!
My family had rented a wheelchair for me to use around the parks because my lungs were much worse than they are now and it was really hard for me to walk long distances. Even in a parking lot near home my family would drop me off if they could so I didn’t have to walk too far. And while all that might sound a little sad it really wasn’t.
I remember loving that we got to keep that wheelchair with us the entire time, even in the hotel room (it’s the little things I guess). One of the great things about having a wheelchair at that time was that you were able to cut the lines for rides and characters made sure they interacted with you! The one memory that still sticks out is from one afternoon in Magic Kingdom, it started to rain and all of the characters were heading for shelter from the rain but Alice stayed and made sure I got my autograph book signed and hugged me before she left.
When we went to the parks we quickly found out that Florida heat in June and my lungs did not mix. A lot of the time we would go early in the morning and my aunt and I would tap out and head to the resort while my grandma and sister stayed in the parks. The good thing about the Polynesian is that you have a fantastic view of the fireworks and they play the music in certain spots so I didn’t feel like I missed anything having to leave early.
My lungs have gotten stronger over the years and the six years later when I would go back to Walt Disney World for my 8th grade graduation I would be able to walk around on my own!