We had the good fortune, at our annual meeting of MAST travel agencies, to win a one night stay in Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World in Orlando. This stay was good for up to four people and while we didn’t think our adult boys would be interested in this, they both jumped at the chance. They’re certainly glad they did.
We stayed a few days at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, did both water parks and as much of Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom that we could.
Then Saturday morning a car from the Royal Castle arrived to pick us up and wisk us away to the back side of the Magic Kingdom. There we were met by Steve, our personal tour guide for the rest of our stay. Right away he escorted us to the Haunted Mansion and with his special entry card, we went through secret passages to arrive deep inside the mansion and right onto the ride. Then over to Thunder Mountain for a wild roller coaster thrill and again the “Extreme Steve Pass” got us thru some dark passageways to the front of the line- ride the last 2 cars for the best ride he rightfully advised. After 2 more rides it was over to the castle to check out the only guest room in the castle.
Another secret door through the main passage in the castle led us to a small room with an elevator and with the swipe of a card the door opened and we were transported to the third floor. The foyer had inlayed tile of the pumpkin coach, wood and glass case containing THE MAGIC SLIPPER and paintings on the stone walls. Notice all clocks in paintings are stopped a few minutes before midnight- you know why! Inside was a beautiful suite with 2 canopied beds, real antique furniture, stained glass windows , fireplace, a separate bedroom with pullout sofa sleeper, and flat screen tv’s that looked like a mirror when turned off. The large bathroom contained a separate shower and full size jacuzzi tub with multicolored lighting and a ceiling that changed to twinkling stars at the press of a button.
We were then taken back downstairs to meet the Princess and have our pictures taken before dining at the Royal Table. After a great meal, Steve took us on a few more front of the line rides and then to VIP seating in time for the night parade. Fireworks followed over ” our castle” and then it was suggested maybe we should try the Buzz Lightyear ride. It was like being in a giant video game and points were scored by hitting the targets from your laser gun. Of course, Steve knew where to shoot for the most points and by the third time around the ride our oldest had mastered the game, scoring to the max 999,999- he was quite proud of himself!
After the park closed we got a chance to see underground Disney. Our personal guide took us down a couple levels where the underground network of tunnels connected points throughout the park. The Magic Kingdom is actually raised about 45 feet above sea level and these tunnels go down to the original ground level- quite fascinating!
We then walked around the now closed and deserted park and the ever knowledgeable Steve regaled us with stories about Walt and Roy Disney, the building of the park and showed us various points of interest and humorous touches added by the imagineers.
By now we had run out of steam and it was time to turn in to our suite. A turndown service had been provided including a pumpkin coach pulled by horses made from white chocolate containing chocolate covered strawberries. A quick photo was all I got before 2 hungry boys attacked the treat.
A deluxe continental breakfast was delivered to our room the next morning before we said goodbye and and left the magic behind. This was truly a once in a lifetime family experience!
John, Joan, Matthew and Bryan