Having grown up in Orlando, I have many memories of going to Disney World. In the early 90s my family always had annual passes so we knew the parks like the back of our hands. I remember that the first roller coaster I ever rode was Thunder Mountain (it took a number of attempts before I was brave enough to get on it). It is still one of my favorite roller coasters, even though it doesn’t have the loops and high-speed accelerations that are expected from newer coasters. One summer my extended family from Georgia came to visit. I was so proud to show my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents “my theme park”. One of my favorite memories of that visit was riding Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride with my Pawpaw as he yelled with mock terror at my “driving”. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is no longer at the park and neither are some of the other rides I remember growing up with. The 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride was another favorite that was open for only a short period of time. As a child I truly thought the voyage under water was magical.
I continued to live in Orlando through my teenage years and the Disney parks continued to be a part of my life. I can not even begin to count the number of times I went to one of the parks on a school field trip, marched in a parade, or performed in a music ensemble at one of the resorts. Each time I visited I made new memories with friends and families that I will always remember. After moving away for college I returned to Orlando and I look forward to making even more Disney memories in the future!