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Loving Walt Disney World Through a Child’s Eyes

In celebration of Walt Disney World’s 45th Anniversary, the WDW Radio Blog Team members are sharing their Walt Disney World “love stories” about the moment they became lifelong fans.


2006 EeyoreI first visited Walt Disney World in June 2006. I was on a vacation with my parents, by younger brothers, our grandmother, and my wife (she was my fiancée at the time). I was nearly 20 years old, and I was excited to finally be there. For years, I had heard about Walt Disney World. Growing up, it just wasn’t in the budget. When I finally entered Magic Kingdom Park for the first time, I was euphoric. It would be easy for me to say that I fell in love with Walt Disney World at that moment – basically love at first sight, but for me, it would be another 7 years before I truly fell in love.

After our trip in 2006, my wife and I couldn’t wait to get back. We were engaged, and had planned for a 2007 wedding, so that gave us some time for planning. We looked into having our wedding at Walt Disney World. We got the free planning DVD, and looked at all of the options. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t fit it into the budget.

In early 2007, I began my enlistment in the Marine Corps, and we moved from New York to North Carolina to start our new family. Our eldest daughter was born that September, and we started planning when we would bring her to Walt Disney World. During this time, I had discovered several websites, podcasts, and forums devoted to Walt Disney World trip planning. I have always loved WDW Radio because of Lou’s consistently positive outlook. Over the next few years, our family grew with 2 more children, and I slowly became an expert in Walt Disney World trip planning.

JS - 2013 We were finally able to get back to Walt Disney World in 2013. We stayed at Shades of Green Resort and had our 4-day Armed Forces Salute park hopper tickets. We flew in from Hawaii, and arrived very early in the morning. Everyone was exhausted by the time we arrived in our room, and we spent the day getting acquainted with the time zone. We hit the ground running the next day, arriving at Magic Kingdom Park at rope drop to watch the Welcome Show. That was the moment when I fell in love with Walt Disney World. I spent 7 years reading information about the resort, learning the history, tips and tricks, how to get the most out of your vacation, and watching the resort go through some changes from afar. The looks on my children’s faces as they watched the Welcome Show and helped to open the park was well worth the wait. It was at that moment that I realized that Walt Disney World truly is the Most Magical Place on Earth.


(Photos from the author’s personal collection.)


What was it like the first time you took your kids to Walt Disney World? Let me know in the comments!


Joshua Shusterman is a United States Marine and has been stationed in both North Carolina and Hawaii.  He is an avid Disney fan, and has taken several trips to Walt Disney World® as well as Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa.  He has extensively researched military discount programs and offers from The Walt Disney Company, and loves to spread the word to his fellow service members.  He can be reached on Twitter @JLShusterman or email at JLShusterman@Gmail.com.