(The story is long. Feel free to skip to the videos and photo gallery. You must click on the photos to see the next one!)
Once upon a time, in a flat dreary land known as Kansas, a young couple sat a stoplight discussing plans for the upcoming holiday season. Between the two of them, they had parents residing in 3 separate states. To count siblings and grandparents would add an additional 2 states to the mix. Where would they wake up on Christmas morning? How were they going to see everyone on limited vacation days?
“What if we just went to Disney World?” the woman asked.
“Yes” the man agreed.
And so their Magical Christmas began to take form.
Of course it was difficult to abandon the family during the holidays and break traditions, but the couple was blessed with a supportive family who offered nothing but excitement and encouragement for the holiday plans. So with the family’s well wishes, plans began to develop. Starting with a free quote from Jenn at White Glove Destinations. Without Jenn, this story would never have been written.
Jenn booked the hotel room, made the dinner reservations, bought the park tickets and even arranged a day trip to Universal Studios – for the couple was also Harry Potter fans. Everything seemed perfect, until the young woman started reading Facebook groups and blogs on spending Christmas at Disney….
“Only go if you love standing in line for 2 hours” one person posted.
“Don’t waste your money – too crowded!” posted another.
There were even posts in all caps to show how serious the situation truly is. And for a split second, the couple questioned their Christmas decision.
But only for a second - the excitement of seeing the most magical place on Earth during the most magical holiday over shadowed any doubt they had and they boarded the plane without a care in the world.
When they finally landed in the bright beautiful land of Florida and hopped on Disney’s Magical Express, tears of joy pooled in the woman’s eyes. This was a dream come true.
Maybe they were just lucky, maybe they were better planners than they thought, but despite it being the busiest time of the year, crowds were never an issue for the couple. Sure there were lots of people, but between fastpasses and the fact they were kid-free, they never waited over 15 minutes in a line. Their park adventures began in Epcot. The morning was spent trading pins and riding rides like Soarin’, Finding Nemo, and Figment. The highlight of their morning? Taking a picture that photo shopped their faces onto Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth’s bodies. (Future Christmas card!) By that afternoon, they were ready to embark on the World Showcase. And since the couple was older than 21, this holiday showcase was going to have an extra dose of fun. They started in Canada and worked their way through each country, buying a souvenir, drink, or holiday treat from each one. The souvenir list included family name crests, moonshine, Chinese hats, and decorative skulls. The man even bought a tiny crown for the woman to wear on their Magic Kingdom days! They ended their day with a dinner in Germany. Dining at Biergarten on a traditional German Buffet. They went home with full bellies and happy hearts.
The next morning was Christmas Eve, and the couple was up before the sun to make it to Universal Studios before the line grew too long. The park opened at 8:00 am to the public and 7:00 am to those staying on property. The couple arrived at the gate at 7:00 am, decked out in Hogwarts Robes, with every intention of patiently waiting the hour to be allowed in. However, a Christmas miracle was granted and the kind young lady at the gate let the couple in early! (It probably had something to do with the robes.) Diagon Alley was practically empty, and the couple was able to ride the new Gringotts ride without waiting the typical 100+ minutes. After the AMAZING 4D ride, the couple dined at The Leaky Cauldron for a delicious breakfast. Then wands and potions were purchased and they cast spells all through Diagon and Knockturn Alley before boarding the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmead. After the magical time in Harry Potter World and the adoption of a Pygmy Puff named Phillip, the couple visited the rest of the park riding favorite rides like Men In Black, Jurassic Park, and stopping by Suessville Grinchmas. They ended the day early – due to feet so sore they could barely walk, and retired to their hotel room to nap and enjoy a relaxing evening watch A Christmas Story 24 hour marathon.
Christmas Morning the couple slept in a bit due to a brief stomach ache. At 8:30, they decided they better make the journey to Magic Kingdom if they were ever going to get in. To their delight, they entered without a hitch! (Never take a bag if you can avoid it! It probably saved them 30 minutes of waiting in line). Before they knew it, they were standing on Main Street, staring up at the biggest Christmas tree they’d ever seen, with Cinderella’s Castle in the distance. The marched toward Tomorrowland and saw a 10 minute wait for Stitch’s Great Escape – so they jumped right in. After letting Stitch escape, the couple ventured over to Fantasyland and jumped in line at Gaston’s tavern. It was a necessity to obtain those souvenir goblets! This was probably the longest line they waited in, but the appearance of Gaston made it all worth it. Also, LeFou’s Brew and Hot Chocolate were just what they needed on that cloudy morning. After their midmorning snack, it was time to ride the Seven Dwarves Mine Train! Thanks to a FastPass, they were in and out in less than 15 minutes – and it was Fantastic!!! Disney outdid themselves with the details in that quick little rollercoaster. It was all they could do to not mine some of those diamonds themselves!
Lunch was next on the list, and once again Fastpasses saved the day as the couple crossed the bridge into the Beast’s Castle. It was like stepping into a TV screen. The food was superb, the grey stuff delicious, and again, the attention to detail! In the West Wing, the woman was able to capture a photo of a petal falling from the Enchanted Rose! At this point, the park could have closed and they still would have left happy. But there was still much more to their adventures.
The couple rode the train around the park, caught a ride on the Jingle Cruise, and snuck through the Haunted Mansion. They did a bit (a lot) of shopping and waited in line for a Disney Starbuck’s. (This line was not worth it.) With coffee in hand, they made their way to Cinderella’s castle to get a good spot to watch Elsa ice the castle. As Elsa, Anna, Olaf, and Kristoff took the stage, a cool breeze could be felt down Main Street. And as Elsa lit the castle with beautiful shimmering icicles, that fluttering Christmas feeling consumed them. They made their way toward their dinner reservation at Tony’s Restaurant and as they skipped down Main Street, it started snowing! Tony’s Restaurant had the second best meal, but the best customer service – the waiter was fantastic. The couple set outside with a breathtaking view of the beautiful Christmas tree.
The next morning they slept in again, deciding that as long as they got to Magic Kingdom before 11:00 am, they would be ok. Yes, it was a risk, but the way their feet were feeling it was a risk they were willing to take. Once again, they slipped right into Magic Kingdom without a wait and made their way to Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café for a bite of lunch. The day was spent riding Under the Sea, Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan, The People Mover, It’s a Small World and the Buzz Lightyear Ride. They also met Buzz himself and caught a showing of Phillharmagic. They did a bit more shopping, this time hitting up the shop next to Gaston’s Tavern. Their day ended with a wonderfully magical dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant where they dined on steak and seafood and splurged on a glass of wine. The dinner ended with a meet and greet with The Beast. It was the perfect ending to a perfect trip. (The couple used wdwtools.com to snag the coveted reservation for Be Our Guest. Feel free to use it for yours as well!)
As the couple made their way to the airport the next morning, once again up before the sun, they reflected on their favorite moments from their trip. And while they knew it was difficult to break tradition, they also knew it was the best decision they had made. Because while one tradition had been broken, another one was being formed. The couple promised to spend Christmas at Disney every 2 years. Now, they just have to tell their parents…
Christmas 2016 – See Ya Real Soon!
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