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Column: A trip to Disney World

“Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.” — Walt Disney Company

Without doubt, my favorite place to visit is Walt Disney World in Florida. It’s a trip that takes months to plan and only days to enjoy, but it is always worth the time.

If you’ve been to Disney World or Disneyland, you understand a little bit of what I am talking about. Even if you didn’t latch onto it in the same way I did, you at least have walked where I have.

If you haven’t experienced it, the feeling is hard for me to properly describe, what exactly urges me to return as much as I do (seven times, eight if you include the trip to Disneyland). There is something about the atmosphere and being around so many memorable things that keeps me coming back for more.

This year’s trip was particularly special. The “Rodgers 5” got to return as a family, but there were a few extra travelers this year. My siblings and I were all able to bring our significant others with us. My sister’s husband and brother’s girlfriend had both been to Disney before.

My fiancé, Tim, on the other hand was the only one of the group who had never been to either park before. I did my best to tell him what to expect before we left for Florida, but words can’t possibly describe what world you were about to enter.

Now that we have been to the parks and returned safely home, Tim returned with his first taste of what Walt Disney World was like. In our previous trips, my family and I spent time at Disney, then did other touristy things. This trip was solely to go to Disney World. Tim and I went to each of the four parks twice, which was a blessing because we got rained out early two of the days because of Tropical Storm Emily.

In those eight days at the parks, Tim got to experience everything I love about each place at least once, and most things several times. I think the back-to-back days between Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom and Epcot, made everything seem like one big amusement park to Tim. By the second trip to those parks, Tim was starting to learn the difference and knew his way around by the end of the day.

One of the main highlights for me was the extra day Tim and I had at Animal Kingdom. The original plan was to just spend seven days at the parks, going to Animal Kingdom only once. One of our “rest” days was to be spent switching resorts. The eight of us would have had a hard time traveling with all the luggage in Dad’s Expedition. So Tim and I added a day for Disney and took the bus to Animal Kingdom to spend most of the day there before our check in time.

For me, Animal Kingdom was the park with the most changes. The new Pandora World opened this year, and Tim and I wanted to see more of it. The new thrill ride, Avatar Flight of Passage, may be my new favorite out of the four parks. I’ve said Soarin’ at Epcot was my favorite since it opened in 2005, but this new ride was like an amped up version of that. We got to ride it several times in our added day. It was fantastic.

Summer family vacations have always been a special tradition. This was the dream vacation, to continue that custom as we add more members to the family. I hope we can find a way to continue it well into the future. The Disney tradition has to, because the new Star Wars land at Disney will be a must see when it opens.

Contact Pam Rodgers at

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