Sunday, August 7, 2011
There are lots of reasons for traveling nearly 3000 miles round trip as often as we do, from New Mexico to WDW in Orlando, Florida. The great rides & attractions, the fantastic resort hotels, the parades, nightly fireworks spectaculars, out of this world dining options, and all the rest. But there is one thing that usually happens, and it can't be planned for. The people we meet! It seems that every time we go to Walt Disney World, we make new friends, and meet people who we remember for the rest of our days! I'm not one who likes to break the ice with new people. I'm quiet, and like to keep to myself most of the time. But for some reason, when I get a sip of water from my Disney Fountain of Youth , I become a little friendlier, a little less guarded. Maybe because I'm more relaxed. Maybe it's just the vibe being given off by the other happy people who are full of wonder about what lies ahead on this trip. I don't know exactly what it is, but where as I would hardly make eye contact with strangers back home, here, I am open to meeting new people, and since people come from all over the nation and the world, it can be a fascinating experience each time. We've only become "disney-fied" for a few years now, but we already have a whole list of neat people that made a mark on our disney memory banks. Here are a few of them...
"Mr. Alfredo": On our trip in Sept. of 2009, we spent Labor Day at "the town that Disney built" - Celebration, FL. We rented a car from a place in Kissimee, so they sent a shuttle van to pick us up at the Port Orleans Riverside. The driver pulled up and we asked him "are you here for us?" and he said (in a THICK Hispanic accent) "Yes, you are my people, hop in!". On the short drive from WDW to the rental car station, he shared his life story with us! He was originally from Peru, he was a taxi driver in NYC, his kids lived in Chicago, and he loved his job as the shuttle driver for the rental car company. We told him where we were from, and it's like we were life long friends. We talk about "Mr. Alfredo" all the time when something happens that reminds us of him.
Bruni: The agent at the rental car center was also very nice, and she was from Germany. Bruni was as friendly as she could be, and we enjoyed talking with her for a while. She gave us directions to Celebration and told us about some of the things in the area that we might enjoy. Such a nice lady. Again, we remember her often.
The Family from Toronto, Canada: While waiting for the bus we met a family from Toronto, Canada. They were of Indian or Pakistani decent (I think), and it was their first time at WDW, so they were asking us questions about Walt Disney World. I think that's all the nudge I need from anyone, just ask me about Walt Disney World, and you've stepped in it! I'll open up and share all that I know. When we got off of the bus, we wished them a great trip, and they did the same. A few days later, we were walking by the Rose & Crown in Epcot, and there they were! The parents were resting on a bench while the kids were off exploring. We asked them about their trip, and they said they were having a great time. We didn't even get their names, but we often remember "Our friends from Canada"!
The Wife of the Disney Tech Guy: In Jan. of 2011, we did a trip with our Daughter, Son-in-Law, and 15 Month old Grand Daughter. We babysat while Mom & Dad went to Downtown Disney. They called and wanted us to meet them there, so we got the baby gear ready and headed out to the bus stop at Kidani Village. While we were waiting for the DTD bus, a lady was waiting with her baby daughter who looked about the same age as our Grandy. We were laughing at the two sleeping babies, and started up a conversation. It turns out that her hubby is some kind of tech specialist with Disney, and while he was working, she got to explore the theme parks and resorts! They are from Seattle (I think), and this was her first time at Walt Disney World. The bus ride to Downtown Disney went by fast as we talked about all things Disney.
Disney Cast Members can also make a mark on our trips too. Like the woman at the check in desk at Port Orleans Riverside who tried to get through to the rental car company, but just couldn't seem to get through by phone. She told us to go ahead and enjoy our day, and that she would make sure to get through and verify that they were coming to get us (Mr. Alfredo!). When we got back to our room, there was a message on our phone, and she had made contact, and everything was set! She was great.
There have been others too. Enthusiastic and cheerful bus drivers, helpful servers at the restaurants, even the luggage handlers while we waited for the Magical Express to come and get us. Really too many to remember. But the people that we meet each trip are a part of the "magic" of our WDW (& Disneyland Resort) visits!
Of course, not everyone is going to be a positive experience, that's for sure! But, I guarantee, for every one "Grumpy Gus" or "Sour Puss Sally", there's ten wonderful people with cheerful attitudes, and fascinating stories and lives to share! Courteous gestures that can really make your day.
This is what you get when you water your lawn with water from the Disney Fountain of Youth!