We’re in the process of planning a trip to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, so we decided to take a moment to look back at our 20th anniversary trip. We travel as often as we can, but since we both have full time jobs, not as much as we’d like. Travel has pretty much become our hobby and is something that we both love and we feel that it brings us closer together. For our 20th anniversary, we decided to go to Walt Disney World, just the two of us, to bring out the child in each of us. Honestly, just like Peter Pan, we’ve always teased that we’re still just kids ourselves and that one of these days, we’ll figure out what we want to do when we grow up.
We’d taken the kids to Disneyland when they were all very young and it was one of those vacations when we didn’t have a ton of money, but we made it happen anyway. We drove from Colorado to California, stopping in Las Vegas along the way. This was back when Vegas was trying to be family friendly, before they realized it was costing them money, and before they started the “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” campaign. We stayed an the Excalibur Hotel and Casino for one night and then drove across the desert to Los Angeles and Anaheim, where Disneyland is located. It was a great trip, the kids had a blast, and they never knew what a tight budget we were on. We were even able to enjoy a dinner at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and take advantage of some of the early morning eat and greets where you have breakfast and meet some of the characters.
Things were a little different for our trip to Disneyworld, there would be no driving and we were staying at our Hilton Grand Vacations timeshare in Orlando. We planned in advance, purchasing our 6 day “Park Hopper” passes and some customized maps that you could order online. We also looked at the restaurants and made sure to have special dinner reservations for the night of our anniversary, plus a few other surprises. When we arrived in Florida, it was a stress free experience as we knew that we weren’t on a schedule and could just enjoy everything that Disney World had to offer. Disney World isn’t just a single theme park, it is actually several parks, so we were glad that we had a full week to explore and relax. Even though it was April, we’d also planned a visit to Cocoa Beach since we met in Ocean City Maryland, we thought that a visit to the Atlantic Ocean was in order.
When you enter the park, they ask if you’re celebrating anything special and, if you are, they give you a special occasion button, so we proudly wore our anniversary buttons. We weren’t the only adult couples enjoying the parks, Walt Disney World has turned themselves into quite the wedding and honeymoon destination offering even coordinators that will make any trip special. Whatever your age, we would definitely recommend that you visit Walt Disney World at least once, it is truly an experience that you’ll never forget.
We started our trip by going to the Magical Kingdom theme park, which was the original park and is where Cinderella’s castle is located. Throughout the week we made our way to the other parks as well, including Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and the Epcot Center where they were celebrating the International Flower and Garden Festival. We weren’t shy about getting pictures with the various characters throughout the parks and going on the rides like Peter Pan’s Flight, Its a Small World, The Wizard of Oz, the Haunted Mansion, and so many others that there are too many to mention. We also made sure to watch several of the many parades at the various parks as well as stay in the park to watch the famous fireworks show. We really enjoyed Epcot Center where you could do wine tours and get a different glass of wine from each of the countries represented in the theme park.
The highlight of the trip was our anniversary dinner at Victoria & Albert’s, which reservations must be made well in advance as it is very exclusive, but also very much worth it. Before heading to the restaurant, we went on a horse drawn carriage ride where we enjoyed opening a fine bottle of wine that we’d purchased on our 10th wedding anniversary to open on our 20th. We had no doubts that we’d still be together and very much in love. At dinner, Dona was surprised with a princess tiara and glass slipper on a pillow made of flowers that Pete had arranged to be delivered. To say that the evening met our expectations would be an understatement as it will always be one of our very treasured memories.
It was a wonderful week that truly made us feel young again, reminding us that age isn’t a number, but a state of mind. Wherever we go this year for our big anniversary trip (we went to Aspen for a long weekend on our anniversary itself this year), we know that we’ll share new memories that will last a lifetime. In the words of the fairy tales that inspired Walt Disney to create his movies and theme parks, we are living “happily ever after” year after year.