We’re Finally Here: documenting that amazing feeling

You've planned every detail, counted down the days, packed your bags, and gotten yourself to Orlando. It's finally here… the vacation you've been planning for and dreaming of for awhile now! At some point soon after you arrive it will hit you: “WE'RE HERE! We're actually here!” If you close your eyes right now I bet you could even tell me where you were when it hit you on your last trip to Disney. That's a pretty amazing feeling, right? I imagine the most iconic image of “We're here” is the Walt Disney World gateway that marks your entrance to Walt Disney World property.

Does this sight make your heart skip a beat or is it just me?

For some people it may not feel like they've truly arrived until they've taken their first spin on their favorite ride (Dumbo, anyone?), or hugged their favorite character.

Who doesn't love a good princess hug?

The sight of Cinderella's castle at the end of Main Street, USA always makes my vacation feel more real. The first time I ever saw the castle was in November 2008, while we were on the ferry from the TTC. It was dark and we had been traveling, unpacking, grocery shopping, and rushing around all day. I looked across the water and there was Cinderella's castle draped in icicle lights. My breath caught and suddenly I had tears rolling down my face. That was the moment that I fell in love with Disney World and the moment that I clearly understood… We're HERE.

I don't believe the castle ever looks more beautiful then when it's all dressed up for the holidays.

We're in the process of planning our fifth trip to Disney World and I have documented each trip we've taken in one way or another. It's not at all unusual for me to come home from a week-long vacation with 1,300 pictures or more. The first few albums I made were all about the chronological documentation of our trip: We went to Animal Kingdom today so here's a picture of us in front of the park entrance; then we rode Expedition Everest so here's a picture of the ride's sign and some words about how much we loved it. Disney is truly an amazing place so for the first few trips a simple running log of our trip was plenty for me to fondly look back on. Now that we're preparing for our fifth trip I'm able to focus more on the why of everything and tell some deeper stories with my documentation. 

Another strong “We're here” moment happened in December 2010. We got to Magic Kingdom on our first day, rode a ride, then headed to Cosmic Ray's for lunch. We found a great seat on the patio facing the castle and as I settled in to hand out our lunch order, it hit me: “Wow, I'm having lunch with a castle view. We're actually, really here!” Looking back on the trip I have many fond memories, but the lunch with a view memory is still one of my favorites. I wanted to document this moment as part of my Project Life album in a way that gave it more credit than just “We ate lunch at Cosmic Ray's and then went to ride Space Mountain.” 

We're really, truly here!

I used a digital Design A page template from Project Life, some fantastic Project Mouse supplies from Brittish Designs, and a Magic Kingdom journaling card from Kim Lund to document this magical moment. While we were eating lunch I snapped some pictures of our fantastic views. I also captured some moments, including my daughter and husband looking over the park map to plan the day. I'll never forget the serenity we felt in the middle of such a crowded place during that lunch. Hopefully this simple Project Life spread will help me remember the details! We've decided to make Cosmic Ray's patio one of our first stops this December in hopes of recreating this experience.

So, I'd love to know – what's the place that makes you realize We're Here? Is it when you finally get your “princess hair” on? 

The big reveal at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

 

Wendy blogs about memory keeping, Disney dreaming, and motherhood over at Reale Life – come by to say hello!

  • Alisha

    I love those “I can’t believe we’re actually here!” moments…I, too, have had them occur at different times and places on our first day of vacation…hearing the security officer at the resort say “Welcome Home!” is probably my favorite one! I can’t wait to do a layout of all my family members’ “we’re finally here” moments…great inspiration and idea!

    • Ahhh, good one! I do love that and he’s so right – it really DOES feel like coming home, doesn’t it?

  • Gab

    Great blog post. For me it’s the sound of the music as I’m entering the park

  • Beth

    Okay, how ADORABLE is your daughter’s face upon seeing her princess hair??!! What a great capture! I LOVE this article, and you are getting to that stage in documentation of Disney that is about making the connections, not just documenting the trip. Both approaches are valuable and great, but like you I am looking for ways to communicate in my memory keeping more than each trip on its own. I agree with Gab, that the park music always catches my attention. And after having a few opportunities to fly into Orlando and take Magical Express, I have to say that really establishes the transition into the “I’m here!” mind frame. Great journaling prompt, I will have to keep in mind. 🙂