Sometimes, there are vacations you take and you have no idea that your life is about to change forever. This was my experience during our very first trip to Disneyland in 2008. I had no idea what “The Year of a Million Dreams” promotion meant, but it was the experiences that happened during this trip that changed our lives forever. And secured our love and passion for the Walt Disney Company.
It was “The Year of a Million Dreams” promotion at Disneyland. I had no reference point to understand what that meant, as I had never been there before. Grumpy grew up in Oregon and had family in California, so he knew what Disneyland was all about. As a matter of fact, he drove down to Disneyland after he graduated from High School.
But this was my first time and we were taking our girls, Samantha (8) and Emily (6) for the first time, too . We went in March hoping the crowds would be less and the weather would be nice. That worked out well, as both turned out to be the case. Little did I know that I was in for a great surprise as, we were gifted a “dream” and didn’t realize until afterwards.
The Princess Experience – One of the “Million Dreams“
The girls were the perfect age for a Princess experience, but we weren’t sure where to go or what we needed to do. As we were walking down Main Street, we stopped a friendly Cast Member to ask for directions and to get some expert insight into where we could “find” the Princesses. The Cast Member explained that Princess Greeting didn’t start until a couple hours later. He then handed us tickets to go to the area sooner. He told us that these special tickets would get us in.
We headed over to the Princess Fair, showed our tickets to the Cast Member at the door and were brought right into the area. There was no one there; Just us and one or two other families. We thought, “There must be some mistake.” But then the Princesses started to walk down the isle and onto the stage: Snow White, Ariel, Belle, and Aurora, there may have been more, but these are the ones I remember. The Cast Members ushered us up onto the stage with the Princesses and encouraged us to get our autograph books and cameras out. We not only met ALL of the Princesses; we were able to have 1:1 time with each of them. The girls signed autographs, took pictures, and had an amazing time.
Once we were finished chatting leisurely with the Princesses, we walked out of the area, and as we rounded the building, saw a HUGE line to get into the show, which started in fifteen minutes. It was then that I realized we had been gifted one of the million dreams. The Princess that hour was Aurora. So, all those people were waiting to sit in the theater to see ONE Princess, when we were able to see them ALL.
In retrospect, I wished we would have taken more pictures, or video. But we literally had no idea how special this experience was.
As a parent, you always want your child(ren) to be able to experience things that they will always remember. You never think that its you that needs to witness something special, something unique, something just for them that will change your perspective forever. That year, with this experience, Disney gifted me a lifetime of experiences and memories.
Next week, I will continue the story of the year of Million Dreams with another story of how and why I got hooked on Disney.
Stay tuned for more Throwback Thursday Stories of “Da Hayden” Family!