In Memoriam: Magic Kingdom Park’s Plaza Rose Garden

 

In the spirit of the “In Memoriam” segment found in the upcoming, well-known Hollywood awards show, the WDW Radio Blog will be honoring Walt Disney World attractions and/or locations we have loved and lost over the years.


Nestled between Tomorrowland and the hub in front of Cinderella Castle lived a little magic piece of Walt Disney World heaven – a quaint little cove, perfect for photos and an unobstructed view (meaning, no one behind you) of Cinderella Castle. It was a quiet little spot flanked by Mickey and Minnie topiaries that became our destination of choice every time we visited the Magic Kingdom, this was “our” spot.

We first discovered this spot on our first visit as a couple to WDW back in 2007, and each subsequent visit warranted a trip to the garden. For us, it was a spot to catch our breath and truly absorb the magical wonderment of WDW. We loved the photos from the garden – so quaint and charming.  It was nice to look back, year after year, at the memories we made every trip, to see how we had grown and changed with each visit.

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In 2010, this spot became even more magical as it was where our lives would change forever: Sean proposed to me at the Plaza Rose Garden. I have to say – and, of course, I’m biased – in my mind, that was the most perfect place to get engaged. We were, in a way, alone. No onlookers except those in line waiting to get their photos taken. Roses and beautiful gardens all around us, a castle in the background, and Mickey and Minnie beside us – truly the place where dreams come true. From that moment on, I felt like the Plaza Rose Garden belonged to us. That spot was our “most magical place on Earth.”

Plaza Rose Garden Magic Kingdom

Two years later, when we honeymooned at Walt Disney World (yes, it took two years to plan our wedding due to high demand of venues in our area), we knew right away, the moment we got to the Magic Kingdom, we needed to get our photos taken there. As a wedding gift, Sean’s best friend since first grade and his wife, gave us customized T-shirts that read “Bride” and “Groom.” We donned those shirts for the day and wore them while we got our photos taken. Now, it is so cool to look back at photos that were taken during the proposal and after as husband and wife. In fact, I have them framed, side-by-side.

Felicia and Sean

Fast-forward a few years: Sean and I are were planning a trip with our moms. They were eager to see the spot where we got engaged, and we were excited to have family photos there with them in it. Then the news came: expansion of the hub. We didn’t think much of it; we knew they weren’t going to touch our spot, such an iconic area of the Magic Kingdom. Boy, were we wrong. When we learned that the Plaza Rose Garden was gone, I literally felt my stomach sink. How could “they” do this to “us”? That was our spot! We have so many memories there. How could this be happening? Reality hit hard when we heard it was gone … forever.

When we took our moms to the Magic Kingdom, of course the first words out of their mouth were “We want to see where you got engaged.” We had to break the news to them that it was no longer there. “What?!” they asked, incredulously in unison. We took them over to where we thought it was. “I think it was right around here … no, maybe here,” as we paced left and right a few steps trying to map out the precise location. We were so sad. We looked for a comparable place for photos, but just couldn’t find one.

Ironically, we witnessed several proposals that day in the middle of Main Street, U.S.A, and I couldn’t help but feel sad, but also very happy. Those couples will always have their special spot on Main Street, yet we were left with a concrete spot somewhere between some fencing, a new castle speaker, and a kiosk. At the same time, I feel incredibly lucky to have made those memories there because they will never go away.

If anyone knows of a comparable spot to get photos taken now, please let us know in the comments section, so we can continue the family tradition.

(Photos from the authors’ personal collection.)

 

“New Yorkas” Felicia and Sean are avid Disney fans.  Their first vacation as a couple was in Walt Disney World.  They were engaged there, and also honeymooned there.  After a combined 30 trips to the World, they are self-professed Disney travel agents and enjoy helping family and friends plan magical Disney vacations.

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