Many moons ago I had the privilege and luck to win a night’s stay in Cinderella’s Castle in the heart of Walt Disney World. I share this story with everyone I meet, and because I just won’t let it die...I’m going to retell the story in a blog post. What most people don’t know is that in addition to my glorious night in a make-believe castle, I also had the opportunity to tour Walt Disney’s apartment and The Disneyland Dream Suite in California’s Disneyland Resort a few years ago. Thus fulfilling my Disney dreams trifecta. These two apartments will have their time to shine, but today’s post is all about the one that started it all.
At the time of my trip to Florida, Walt Disney World was running a sweepstakes where they randomly select one guest everyday from the parks to spend one night in the newly renovated suite on the upper level of Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom. Being the Disney fanatic that I am, I was fully aware the contest was happening, and I may or may not have made snide comments out of jealously towards the previous day’s winners. So when I was told that I had actually won the prize, I understood fully what that meant. Therefore, you get this reaction. Regardless of my 2008 style and tiny eyebrows, I still love this photo for the pure joy it represents.
After being selected, I was told that a computer spit out a random time, park attraction, and seat number everyday, and then a designated team of Disney agents went on a hunt for the person sitting in that position at the specific time. I was on the Dinosaur ride in Animal Kingdom, second row, and second seat from the left. I never sit in the first seat on the left side, because I am seriously afraid of the huge T-Rex that growls at the end of the ride. Or is it the right side? I can never remember, and that’s how he gets me every time. Anyway, on exiting my seat I was bombarded by a group of khaki vest wearing cast members who immediately escorted me out of the ride. My entourage of three college friends, boyfriend, his mom, and her two friends all followed.
Everything after they told me I won was a whirlwind. Lucky for us, we had one more night in the Parks. We quickly packed an overnight bag, and headed to the Magic Kingdom to lead the mid-day parade as the Grand Marshals. Since the suite only fit 5 people, mom and friends couldn’t stay but they were allowed to partake in some of the activities. What were some of the perks that went along with the fabulous package?
- Grand Marshal of the Magic Kingdom parade
- Lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table
- VIP escorted tour of the park
- 24hr private concierge
- Watching the nightly fireworks show from inside the suite
- Late night walk down a deserted Main Street
- Breakfast at the Crystal Palace
The Suite itself was an interior designer’s dream. We photographed every faucet, fixture, and doorknob. The room was actually pretty small, but of course Disney had every detail figured out. The windows overlooked the entrance to Liberty Square and Fantasyland. It had a sitting room equipped with a TV and surround sound, and the boys closed it off and enjoyed a viewing of Pirates of the Caribbean. The bathroom was magical; complete with Jacuzzi tub with twinkly star lights overhead, mosaic tile murals, and a throne fit for a king. We each took baths and showers to ensure we experienced every nook of the suite.
We ended the night with a late night stroll down Main Street in our Cinderella issue robes, and all of my 23-year-old dreams had come true. I swore I wasn’t going to sleep the whole night because I didn’t want to waste a minute, but in true fashion I passed out first. That much excitement can wear a kid out.
It was an unbelievable ending to one of the best vacations. From the time we left Louisiana, we never stopped laughing and I’m so glad I got to share this wonderful experience with my best friends. It’s a day we will never forget. I know Disney isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the place holds an undeniable innocence and nostalgia for me. It’s something that is unfortunately hard for me to find in the real world. I really believe that there is a little magic hiding in the corners of the parks, just waiting for you to discover it.