Making History at Walt Disney World, 2003

In December of 2003 my husband and I went to Florida for a vacation.  I grew up on the east coast and my family had taken frequent trips to Florida during my childhood, but my husband was from the South Central United States and had never visited Florida.  I was thrilled to be sharing such a special part of my childhood with him, and was especially excited to act as his personal Disney World tour guide.  We arrived in Orlando a few days after Christmas, and spent several days visiting the different attractions and enjoying the holiday festivities.

Neither my husband nor I like crowds, but we decided that crowds were simply a part of Disney World, and resigned ourselves to going with the flow.  We did fairly well meandering through the crowds of people in the park for the first couple of days, but on our third day the crowds  were enormous even by Disney World standards.  At one point the sheer magnitude of the throng really hit me so I went to the crest of a hill and climbed up on a bench to take a quick picture.  The picture shows a sea of people all over the park.  People were standing shoulder to shoulder everywhere; not one area was less crowded than another.  We were so packed in that I had a difficult time maneuvering my way onto the bench just to take the picture.  The whole experience was a little surreal.

Amazingly, everyone was friendly and jovial about the whole situation.  The happy spell of the Magic Kingdom held, despite the waits and delays.  Complete strangers joked with one another about the crowds, speculated about Disney’s profits for the day, and agreed they were lucky to be there in December and not July.  Eventually everyone was able to get to the attraction they wanted to see.  The park remained crowded, and everyone remained courteous the entire day.  We had a wonderful day, but I left amazed at the high attendance rate.

Later that evening in our hotel room, we turned on the news just in time to hear that the attendance at Disney World that day had been the highest in park history.  Even though I normally dislike crowds, I am glad that we were there on a record-breaking day.  It was a special experience to see that many strangers coming together and enjoying themselves.  We also have a great story and photo to share with family and friends about how we unknowingly made history at Disney World.