by Makena W.
For the past few weeks, I have been sharing stories about how I found out about trips to Disney. This blog is also about “We’re going to Disney World!” experiences, but not as elaborate or unique as the ones featured in previous blogs. Some of these happened to me, and others are announcements that I was the stage master for (shout out to Nicole) and worked behind the scenes to make sure that they occurred as planned and as magically as possible.
Puzzle Everybody loves puzzles, especially after you complete a really hard one. This puzzle was the most rewarding once it was finished. One day in 2006, Austin and I were told to hunt around the house for puzzle pieces. We were given hints to where the pieces were hidden. Whenever we found one, we would have to report back to the living room and drop the piece of the puzzle of there. It was a 50 piece puzzle, but there was a marble pattern covering over the image that the final puzzle would create so we had to put the pieces together as we found them. Otherwise it would have been impossible. Time passed, but sooner or later all the pieces were in place and we started peeling away. The idea was to see how many pieces had to be uncovered before we would realize what the hidden picture was. My brother got to pick which piece to peel off first and he chose one of the corner pieces. I chose a middle piece, being smart so I could see more of the picture instead of the border. When all the pieces were peeled, we discovered that it was a picture of ****all of us**** from our last Disney cruise! We were going on ANOTHER cruise!
Bags and Buses It started as a regular night, until after dinner. My brother and I received gift bags, but were told not to open them until further instructed by our parents. A few minutes felt like an eternity. In this eternity-or few minutes- various glances were exchanged between my parents and they started to scramble to make sure everything was okay. At last, my brother and I were directed to open the bags. Inside each of our bags was a stuffed animal (I got a zebra and Austin got a lion) and an Animal Kingdom Lodge pins. At the time I loved Disney but didn’t care for the resorts as much as I cared for Magic Kingdom, so I didn’t know where this mysterious Animal Kingdom Lodge was. When my mom clarified it was in Walt Disney World, I made the connection that we were going back.
Whenever we hop on an airplane to Disney World, we take advantage of the Magical Express service. When we were waiting for the Magical Express bus, a bus with cooler designs that included the colors, red, blue and yellow pulled up. Character outlines were painted on the windows. “I want to go on that bus!” I said. “Don’t worry”, my mom said, “we are.” I was 6, but I could read exceptionally well for my age. So when I read the side of the bus, I shrieked. It said “Disney Cruise Line.” We caught that bus when we left the Animal Kingdom Lodge!
Dinner As mentioned in my last blog, I am going on the WDW Radio cruise. We are going with family friends who have a daughter named Courtney. A week prior to the cruise news, we invited her family over for dinner on February 2nd, never being told that there was a reason. Of course, February second was the day after I found out about the cruise from Lou. I had to keep it a secret the whole day-not even telling my friends that I was going because I didn’t want to risk the secret getting out. She is a few grades below me, but I didn’t want to ruin her surprise. All day I could be heard singing “I’m so excited! And I just can’t hide it-oh wait, I have to,” confusing my closest friends. Finally, school was over and it was time for dinner. After we ate, Courtney received a box. When she opened it, it had a cot that my father made and a plush Wolf. This requires a little explanation. Due to an inside joke, when our families go to other places, we call ourselves “The Wolfacotts.” Hence, a WOLF and a COT. Get it? Anyway, while Courtney was dazed and confused, she got another box that had a “declaration”, if you will, explaining that our two families will merge as one. The next box had a WDW Radio shirt inside it. Finally, she reached the last box. When she opened it up, a piece of paper fell out. It said “Pack your bags because YOU are going on the WDW Radio Cruise!” She was happy, but didn’t cry I like I did (I think you could fill a river with my tears).
A Gift (August) For reasons unknown (okay, they are known-read the final experience in this blog to see why) my parents had to tell us about our trip to Orlando earlier than expected. I remembered being called from the box a Wednesday night in May of last year into the living room. When I approached the room, I noticed a box on the table that seemed like it should hold clothes. My brother and I sat on the couch as my dad congratulated us on recent things we have done. “Makena…you have gotten all A’s in school and kept your room clean. Austin, you also got good grades.” This list went on and on. IT’S A TRAP! I was thinking. “So we decided to present you with this,” Dad said. “Open up the box.” And we did. I was expecting T-Shirts or something fragile. I lifted up the lid of the box to find the car decals of the family wearing Mickey ears! I realized we must be heading back to Disney World! Since our trip to Disney in 2008, we have wanted to drive down instead of taking an airplane. Our family also adored the decals of the families with Mickey Ears. We all agreed that we would get the decals when we finally drove down. So, seeing the decals made me realize that we were going back to my laughing place.
References Do you remember those “Year of a Million Dreams” commercials? A child would get an envelope or a box and they would open it up to find Mickey balloons and the child would realize that they were going to Walt Disney World. My cousins Lilo and Rylee were young at the time, 2 and 5. The parents of Lilo and Rylee wanted them to realize that that they were going to the “Happiest Place on Earth” for the first time ever. Because Rylee was so young, they didn’t want Lilo to read something out loud and comprehend it before Rylee did. Their parents thought about the commercials and finally created this plan: the dad would come home with a big box and the girls would open it together to reveal Mickey balloons and see a note telling them about their future adventures. Well, just like any other event that you put a lot of time into, things don’t go as planned. We couldn’t find any Mickey balloons like the ones in the parks, just standard silver mylar ones with Mickey’s face printed on them. Another problem was that we realized that we couldn’t see the reveal because it would be too obvious. Eventually the day-or should I say, night-came when it was time for the big reveal. My uncle brought in a box, explaining to the girls that it just got delivered and they should open it together. Of course, when they did, balloons flew up to greet the ceiling and the girls screamed. They went to Walt Disney World in May of that same year.
Magazine Ad My little cousins Lilo and Rylee loved Disney World when they traveled down there for the first time in 2009. They talked about that trip for a few months after they came back as if they had met Walt Disney himself. It was no surprise to us when my uncle addressed my mom and me to do something creative for the girls to tell them that they were going to Disney as an early Christmas gift just 17 months later. We thought and thought for days. Then my uncle talked to us again a few days later and said that he just received the American Girl holiday catalog and hid it from the girls so that we can do something with it. It occurred to my mom and me then that it would be perfect to place an “ad” in the catalog telling the girls that they are going to Disney World. We worked on the ad for weeks. Luckily, we could be there this time to see their happy faces when they realized that they were going back to Disney World. Time flew by, but the magazine insert was finally finished, including personalized pull out tickets to the Very Merry Christmas Party! When we came over the planned night of the reveal, you could just feel the excitement and nervousness between the adults and me. Eventually, the moment came and the girls sat down and opened the catalog to start working on their “Christmas list”. A few pages were flipped, and eventually I saw the ad. At first, the girls didn’t get it. But after a few seconds, screams and hollers could be heard from down the street.
E-mail This day truly did show me that nothing is impossible and to never lose faith. It was February 7th, 2011 and I was reading the Half-Blood Prince. I got to a really suspenseful part when my mother screamed. I thought something was wrong, and since we were the only two in the house, I knew I had to do something. I ran as fast as my legs would propel me to where my mom was-her room. I opened the door so fast I could feel the drift blowing my hair back. “WHAT?” “Makena,” she said, “Read this!”
I walked closer to see that it started with “Congratulations Makena.” “Mom,” I argued, not believing what I was reading and didn’t want to get my hopes up. “It’s a scam.”
“Keep reading,” she urged. It was an e-mail from Disney, letting me know that I won a contest of some sort. I stopped cold when I realized that it mentioned the essay contest I entered in November called “Magic of Healthy Living.” They said I was one of 50 winners who would be whisked away on an all-expense paid trip to Walt Disney World. My mother was very skeptical and told me not to mention it to anyone in case it wasn’t real. It sounded like I won but maybe I was just a finalist. We responded to the e-mail and got a phone call the next regarding required information and other official stuff. To explain, my brother and I were told that we weren’t going to Disney for at least 5 years (yeah, right), so I decided to take action into my own hands and try to send us myself. I remember seeing an ad for the contest on the back of a flyer I received from our local Disney store, and wanted to give it a shot. We were required to write about healthy living, and I wanted to create something unique. I thought up of the idea of holding a “Healthy Olympics” at my school, but not for just athletic kids. It would feature events like a cooking challenge when you have to turn something unhealthy into something healthier and a trivia contest about sports and living healthy along with actions that would make you sweat, like traversing up a rock climbing wall with a parachute on. I had a lot of fun writing it, and it was my first piece of writing I had entered in a contest. I will spare you the details of my trip because maybe that will be a story for another time. Suffice it to say that it was truly amazing and I was so bummed out when we got home that my parents, in order to relieve my agony, broke the news about our August trip (the one with the car decals) earlier than they had planned!
The last 3 blogs (and this one) were a lot of fun to write. I hope that you have been entertained by these stories as much as I have been writing them and I am looking forward to reading your responses. Do you have any stories to share about how you found out about or revealed news of a Walt Disney World journey? Please post them in the comments section below!
See ya REAL soon! ~Makena
Quote of the Week: “Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten. “~Lilo , Lilo and Stitch