Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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If you are looking to take a great family vacation and have loads of fun you should think about visiting Disney World in Orlando, Florida. From the hotels that you stay in, the atmosphere of joy that fills the air and the amusement parks that everyone goes to experience the thrills of a lifetime. I have taken many trips to many places in my life but the best trip that I have ever taken was to Orlando to visit the magical world of Disney Land last summer.

        We left one early Wednesday morning around seven o'clock and drove down interstate 95 for eight hours until we arrived at the resort that we would call home for the next four days. It was kind of tricky trying to find our place of stay because all the hotels were deep off of the highway. As we drove up to the resort we had to follow a dark, paved winding road that presented to us the beauty of the south.

There were blooming dogwoods that lined the road and towering pines and magnolia trees standing behind them. As we cruised around the finale right hand curve you could see the top left portion of the resort. Dixie Landings Resort is what the gray marble sign read in the middle of the pond as fountains sprayed water up and across the air. There were big, white columns that stretched from the brick walkway all the way to the top of the two-story mansion. All the resorts down at the Disney complex had a theme to them. Ours was called the Dixie Landings Resort and was supposed to resemble the likes of the Louisiana Bayou country. It had the tall monkey grass lining the sidewalks and just the obvious look of Louisiana in every building. From the red brick and the white wood bordering and the giant clock that set in the top of the main building facing the guest as they arrived. It had all the physical features to give you that feeling that you were staying in a Louisiana mansion. As we walked to our room in the west wing of the resort, bellboys came and offered us a ride in a six-wheeled golf cart. Everyone greeted us with a smile and always said hi. All the workers wore black khaki pants and a white polo shirt with the Mickey Mouse logo in the upper left-hand corner just above the heart. By the time that we got everything all unpacked and ready it was about six o'clock and we were tired. So we went to bed early that night with excited minds filled with anticipation of the next day.

        As the new day was upon us we all jumped up and got ready and ate breakfast. The way that we traveled back and forth to the theme parks during the day was by the Walt Disney bus line. The buses were painted in spectacular colors and had many different characters on the side of them. The buses came every five minutes and different buses went to different places. The bus that we hopped on the first day was the bus that was going to the Magic Kingdom.

        When we got to Disney's Magic Kingdom and stepped off the bus I could already hear the music playing and the cheers from all the people that were already there enjoying themselves. The line going in to the park was outrageous but since we were staying in a Walt Disney sponsored resort we got to go to the front of every line and it made the trip just that more enjoyable. Everyone running around, all the little kids and all the parents that I could see all had smiles on their faces that reached from ear to ear. There was the smell of food in the air, which made your mouth water. You could here the rides in the distance rumbling the ground. As the day went on and we ran from ride to ride acting like little kids, even though I was seventeen and my brother fourteen, we eventually began to wear down and get tired. It was getting late and it was dark out. I noticed that everyone was starting to form a line around the pathway that surrounded the kingdom. That is when my dad told me that they are about to have the famous Magic Kingdom parade. The music was fun and loud and all the characters were dancing around their floats. Mickey, Mini, Tiger, Pooh and Donald were all their and many others. There were amazing lights that reminded me of Christmas. Each float had blinking bulbs that flashed green, purple, red, white and orange. As the parade came to a finish a tiny yellow sparkle made its way from the parade end to the top of the castle tower. It was supposed to symbolize Tinkerbell, from Peter Pan. As she reached the top of the tower we heard five, six, seven very loud bangs like cannons going off. Then that is when I saw the most amazing display of fireworks that I have ever seen. Purple ones exploded with green balls of fire within the core. Others exploded and had tails that reached the ground with a trail of sparkles. The show lasted almost five minutes and after it ended a huge roar rolled over the crowd as everyone cheered in amazement. That show made the old saying come true that Disney does everything better and beyond.

        The next morning we arose to a rather chilly day for the season but filled with plenty of blue sky and sunshine. We headed for MGM Studios early trying to beat the crowd but when we got there we were in for a surprise. The crowd was backed all the way out to the bus stop but there again we were lucky to have the Disney resort card and that allowed us to skip to another line and miss all that delay. MGM was my favorite theme park because it was like a movie ride park. There were rides that were based on movies like, Back to the Future and Indiana Jones. These two rides are virtual rides that you would sit down in a booth-like chair and then it moves around with all the bumps and shoves that you would encounter on the screen. The park had palm trees lining the streets and had old looking stores from the sixties placed all the way down each one. This park had a theme of the old days, the day of the gangsters. There were men and women dressed in pinstripes that had mean looks on their faces and they were trying to scare the kids but it wasn't working. The kids just wanted to take their picture with them. My favorite ride at the park was The Tower of Terror. The Tower of Terror was a giant fifteen story, red brick, run down looking hotel that stood straight up in the air. As we approached the hotel I began to hear the shrieks that appeared to be coming from the inside of the hotel. The line wasn't very long at the time so we jumped in it fast. The line winded its way from outside of the old, broken wood porch to the eerie inside. There were spider webs that hung from the ceiling and there was a distinct musty smell that reminded me of an older home. As our time came to get in the elevator, I kept hearing screams from up above and I began to get very anxious and very nervous. We strapped in our seats and the elevator began to rise in the darkness. When it stopped and the door opened the booths that we were sitting in began to move forward. A story began to be told to us on a screen that we were approaching on what happened to the people that road the elevator that tragic night. As we got closer to the screen it began to open to a warp of darkness and that's when I felt it. I felt the cold that was outside rush over my skin and give me chills. Then the elevator stopped. It was cold and no one was saying a word. Then all of the sudden the elevator plunged straight down. It felt like my heart dropped all the way down to my stomach. Then it stopped and everyone was screaming. For a moment I got to catch my breath then it shot us straight up and then back down again fifteen stories. It proceeded to do that about five times before it stopped and then we were back in the elevator slowly creeping forward as we did before our terrifying plunge. The doors opened and two creepy bellboys helped us out of our seats. After that experience we decided to only do it about ten more times because it was so much fun. We soon left because a light shower began to fall but I was very happy and but also very sad that this was our final day here.

        The trip back on the bus was really quite. Everyone said that this was because we were so tired. I think no one wanted to leave and everyone was sad. This could explain why none of us were talking. That night we slowly gathered our clothes and put them in the appropriate bags and then lay down for the final time here at the Dixie Landings Resort.

        We woke up the next day and put all our stuff in the car and headed back home. The trip home was good but very long. I have a lot of great memories to take from this week and I had unbelievable fun. For one enchanted week I was the director of my dreams and I made memories that will last a lifetime so just imagine what visiting Walt Disney World could be like for you.