On October 1, 2016, Walt Disney World celebrates the Magic Kingdom 45th Anniversary. In honor of the occasion, our TravelingMom writers share their favorite Walt Disney World Memories.
Walt Disney World in the Beginning
Walt Disney World opened on October 1, 1971, with just the Magic Kingdom theme park and The Contemporary and The Polynesian Village Resort hotels. Only 10,000 guests visited the park on opening day. How time flies as now we are celebrating Magic Kingdom’s 45th anniversary!
Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom 45th Anniversary
In just 45 years, Walt Disney World has become the number one family travel destination in the United States. It has grown to include four theme parks, two water parks, shopping and entertainment district, 18 resort hotels, and nine Disney Vacation Club resort hotels. An estimated 150,000 people visit a Walt Disney World theme park each day.
WOW! It is hard to believe that it was all started by a mouse.
In honor of the Magic Kingdom 45th anniversary, several of our TravelingMom writers have shared their favorite memories from The Most Magical Place on Earth.
We have stories of weddings and honeymoons, birth announcements to first haircuts, first trips, and childhood memories. All made at Walt Disney World.
Walt Disney World Wedding with Kuleen Lashley, Kid at Heart TravelingMom
In the spring of 1995, my (now) husband was scheduled to graduate and start his new job, and we knew he wouldn’t earn vacation time for at least six months. So in just five short weeks, we planned an intimate wedding at Walt Disney World. The thought of a formal ceremony in front of hundreds of people scared us both, so a Disney wedding with no guests was perfect for us.
The morning of our wedding, we played at Disney Hollywood Studios. Then on that hot afternoon, we were married at the Polynesian Village Resort with Cinderella castle in the background. We enjoyed cake and champagne, then took a short ride on the monorail to eat dinner at the Grand Floridian Resort. I love that Disney World is such an important part of our family’s story.
Find out about the time Kuleen received A Magical Invitation: “it’s a small world” Sing Along whether you travels take you to the Magic kingdom 45th anniversary..and beyond.
Ear-to-Ear Smiles with Karyn Locke, Road Trip TravelingMom
Since our first family visit five years ago, we’ve become completely obsessed with all things “House of Mouse.” Our semi-annual visits keep us busy, but I’ll never forget the look on my daughters’ faces when they saw Cinderella Castle for the first time- and my husband’s, too! It’s one thing to visit WDW when you’re young but oh-so-satisfying to visit as a parent. It’s the ear-to-ear smiles that I remember most, and it’s those same smiles that keep us going back- it’s our happy place!
It’s one thing to visit Walt Disney World when you’re young, but oh-so-satisfying to visit as a parent. It’s the ear-to-ear smiles that I remember most. And it’s those same smiles that keep us going back- it’s our happy place!
Karyn knows 12 Walt Disney World Parades and Shows You Have to Check Out that will bring ear-to-ear smiles to your family.
Roaming Free at Disney World with Desiree Miller, FamilyFun TravelingMom
As a child growing up an hour and a half from Walt Disney World, my family would run over often to Disney (that’s what we all called it–there was never even a thought that we needed to be more specific than that).
We weren’t rich. We’d always stay at Fort Wilderness campgrounds — in our own tent. We would have loved cabin living, but even that was too rich for our blood. We’d pair up as kids and take the ferry over to the Magic Kingdom.
At the time, they still used e-tickets. We’d each get a strip or two of e-tickets, and ride whatever rides we could until they ran out. Then, we’d just run around the park until the designated time to meet up with our parents–usually at the Country Bear Jamboree. We’d humor ourselves riding the monorail around the park. It was air conditioned, so a great relief from the heat or rain that hits almost every afternoon in Florida.
I can’t even imagine letting my children pair up and run around the parks now, but those are some great memories.
Do roller coasters terrify you? Desiree knows What to do at Disney Parks if You Don’t Like Thrill Rides.
Meeting Mickey with Sarah Gilliland, Twins TravelingMom
My earliest memory of Walt Disney World is meeting Mickey and the gang. I remember feeling in awe of meeting the Main Mouse himself. Meeting characters has always been a favorite activity of mine, and I’m happy to have been able to pass that tradition on to my children.
I’ve always loved the smell of Main Street, U.S.A., and the way it feels to round the corner and see Cinderella Castle for the first time.
I’ve been fortunate enough to take my own children on several trips since their birth, and I love experiencing Walt Disney World through their eyes each time we visit.
Sarah’s love for Disney extends beyond the theme parks. Find out her 5 Reasons to Choose Disney Cruise Lines for your next vacation.
A Magical Surprise with Caroline Knowles, Travel Agent TravelingMom
I was told when my son was three that I would never be able to conceive another child (I had a cervical cancer scare.) This photo was taken shortly after we found out I was pregnant. I suspected, so I brought a test along with me on vacation. My daughter was born eight months later, and she will be celebrating her 10th birthday this Fall. The most magical experience I have ever had in WDW was finding out I was pregnant after being told I couldn’t have any more children.
The most magical experience I have ever had in Walt Disney World was finding out I was pregnant after being told I couldn’t have any more children.
You never expect to have an emergency on vacation, but if you do Caroline has Valuable Details on First Aid in Walt Disney World.
Finding Mulan and Mushu with Shannon Entin, RoadSchooling TravelingMom
Back in 2006, the Disney Princesses didn’t do photo appearances on a schedule the way they do now. Mulan was elusive. We stalked around China in Epcot, hoping to be in the right place at the right time. The kids were SO excited when we found Mulan and Mushu!
Disney isn’t just about having fun. Find out from Shannon How runDisney Inspires Healthy Living.
The Disney World Newbie Julie Bigboy, Day Trips TravelingMom
As a lifelong Disneyland guest, I only just visited Walt Disney World for the first time last year. Being such a huge Disney fan, it was wonderful to get there finally! There was a big learning curve going from compact Disneyland to enormous Walt Disney World, but I can’t wait until my next visit to make more memories.
Are you a Disney World newbie? Don’t make the same mistake as Julie – Walt Disney World Magical Express Bus – My $80 Mistake.
Disney World Honeymooner Patty Holliday, Candid TravelingMom
The first time I went to Walt Disney World was 1995 with my new husband. Our honeymoon was pushed back a bit (thanks, US Army!), so we headed to Walt Disney World in late spring.
He talked me into riding Space Mountain, something I was absolutely terrified of doing! A roller coaster? In the DARK? Nope… not happening, buddy! He knew this about me when we got married: I’m a big ol’ wimp.
But young love prevailed, and I found my brave when I boarded the rocket ship. I still remember gulping hard and shooting him a panicky look as we started up the lift hill.
And you know what? It was wonderful!
I had a great time and learned a lesson that day: I could trust my husband in all things Disney. He was the expert back then, and he knew what I could handle.
Whenever he rolls his eyes at (another) Disney vacation planning discussion, I like to remind him that our family was built on our love of Disney. Hey, man, it’s all your fault!
Planning to travel to Disney in October? Find out from Patty How to Halloween at Disney.
First Haircut with Tania Lamb, Latina TravelingMom
Walt Disney World holds a special place in my heart because it’s the first Disney park I ever visited.
With my own children, it’s a place where we’ve had many firsts. First rides on certain attractions, first meet and greets with Mickey Mouse, first taste of favorite snacks, first parades, etc.
One memory that really stands out is one of my lasts. The last first haircut of my youngest daughter. This was the last time any child of mine would get their first haircut on Main Street, U.S.A. in the Harmony Barber Shop.
It was bittersweet. It was a sign that my children were growing up, that some traditions would have to be put on hold, and that the next time it would happen would be a different phase of life. I’d have to wait for my grandchild’s first haircut.
Now I know why my parents love traveling with us. It truly is magic to see things through a child’s eyes. Until then I’ll settle on the memory of that joy my baby girl had in that chair. All that attention and all the Disney stickers a girl could wish for.
Planning a trip with your family? You will love Tania’s tips on How to Make Multigeneration Travel to Walt Disney World Sparkle.
I hope you enjoyed our stories celebrating the Magic Kingdom 45th Anniversary. What is your favorite Walt Disney World Memory?
Headed to Disney World? Traveling Mom recommends Undercover Tourist for discounted tickets.