That First Time Feeling

6:00 AM

We escaped Emperor Zorg!!!! 

As I begin planning upcoming trips to Walt Disney World, I can't help but reminisce about the first real trip I ever took... only 4 1/2 short years ago. My family did vacations at the Jersey Shore when I was young and my only Walt Disney World experience was a day trip Magic Kingdom in the 6th grade. I'd never traveled through space in Epcot, 'dropped in' to Hollywood Studios, or escaped the Yeti in Animal Kingdom.

In September of 2012, I took my younger brother Matthew for his 10th birthday, just the two of us experiencing the full wonder of the parks for the first time. For me, this was even better than going yearly in my childhood. I was able to see the everything through Matthew's 10 year old point of view while being an adult!

We stayed off property (part of how I was able to afford the week long trip as we also went to Universal) so our days were longggg and spent at an individual park. I've learned A LOT over the last 4+ years about how to get the most out of a Disney trip - you can read any many blog posts on recommendations and tips and tricks as you want but there is nothing like personal experience!

He was such a little peanut in 2012!

We started with Matthew's first monorail ride to the Contemporary for breakfast at Chef Mickey's, which came highly recommended and I must agree it was the best way to start our trip!

The monorail ride was magical. Our reservation was super early so we could eat before the park opened and we basically saw the sun rising over the lake. It was my favorite moment of the whole trip - watching this cutie pie get so excited for what was to come and seeing him soak it all in. (I'm not crying, you're crying!!!!)

After breakfast we hurried over to MK where we began by purchasing a character hat for Matthew! It was soooo hot and humid but he insisted on this furry Chip (or is it Dale?) hat.

I think one of my favorite stories from this trip, though, has to do with Tom Sawyer Island. 10 year old Matthew was (and well, even now he still is) a bit of a hard head. Many times during our trip we argued about what we wanted to do next, or which was the better route to take to the next ride, or which snack we wanted to eat next, or... well, you get the idea.

 Well, Matthew really loved those caves on Tom Sawyer Island. I didn't. I kept hitting my head in the dark, plus it was so hot and humid and it smelled funny and I just didn't like the whole experience. So, when we were about to take the boat back Matthew decided he wanted to take the cave back to where the boat dock was and I wanted to simply walk around the caves and make our way back on the pathway. After a few moments of argument, Matthew came to an agreement: since the exit to the cave met just before where the dock was, I could walk around and he would take the cave back.

I had to think about this for a minute. I had strict instructions not to take my eyes off of him and I knew this would be breaking my promise to my mom... but on the other hand it is really annoying to have to deal with a smartass younger brother and I just wanted to get back to the main park and grab myself a nice cold drink and possibly a Mickey Ice Cream bar.

"Fine," I said, "Meet me at the exit and be quick." Off he scurried into the cave while I strolled around and waited at the exit by the riverboat dock.

And waited.

And waited.

After a few minutes that felt like years, I just knew something was wrong. I started panicking. I ran into the cave and started calling his name like a crazy lady, but no response came. Out I jogged, back round the entrance where I saw him go in, but nothing. Maybe he had gone back?

As I hurried back to the boat dock, a cast member approached me. My face must have read like a book because she asked, "Are you Matthew's sister? He is very upset."

My poor little baby had thought I left without him and worked himself into such a crying hysteria that he was almost having an asthma attack. He sobbed into my shirt as I grabbed around for his inhaler. Apparently, the cave he entered did not exit at the boat dock, but rather a separate exit which is why he never arrived. By the time he had figured this out I was already searching for him and he thought I'd left him.

We had some well deserved Mickey Shaped Treats after this and I have to say, he didn't fight with me as much on my decisions for the rest of the trip.

Waiting to see Wishes!

The next day we went to Epcot! We had so much fun riding Space Ship Earth, Mission Space, and traveling the World Showcase. Matthew took a nap during the Hall of President's and we tried to indulge in treats from every country.

He especially loved Japan as he is a big fan of Japanese culture and Pokemon.

I think the best part of this day was our reservations at Coral Reef restaurant. I planned a special birthday surprise cupcake and he just had the best look on his face when the cast members sang him happy birthday.

We had mostly rain at Animal Kingdom but made the most of our time by seeing all the shows and riding Dinosaur more than once. Hollywood Studios blew us both away with their amazing rides and shops. Going in September was amazing because we could ride everything we wanted more than once. Also, this was still when WDW had paper fastpass so it was that much easier to get on the rides we wanted. 

Who else misses the hat?!?

Goofing around waiting for Toy Story Mania

I still can't believe that first trip was almost 5 years ago, and it is even harder to believe this little guy is going to be 15 this September. Since then, I've completed multiple runDisney races, including the WDW Marathon, and I've even visited Disneyland a few times! We visited together again in November of 2015 and I'm looking forward to getting a new trip in the books soon.

My obsession for the parks has grown so much and I'm very lucky to have shared these memories with my brother. <3 Nothing will ever be as amazing as that first time feeling!!!!

November 2015

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