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Journeywoman's Disney Birthday Party


Evelyn Hannon

There is a super-sized plastic badge pinned to my office bulletin board. Against a white background I see Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Pluto cavorting in front of the castle made famous by Disney. In big bold blue letters the badge reads, TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY.

And what a birthday it was...

At 65, my soul longed for more than gooey cake, trendy apple martinis and loads of generous gifts. Been there. Done that. Instead I planned an intimate event that proved to be a wonderful, magical, celebration of life. No, I did not choose to climb a mountain in some exotic local nor did I spa in the Indian Himalayas, cleansing and renewing for the next phase of my life.

To celebrate this milestone I gathered those people most precious to me and extended an invitation for four days of cavorting in Orlando Florida’s Disney World. The guest list was tiny -- six people in all -- my two adult daughters, their husbands, and two grandchildren under the age of five. In retrospect, it was the absolute best party I’ve ever thrown.

Different strokes for different folks...

Why Disney World for my merrymaking? As the party organizer I understood that each of the three generations in my family had very different needs. If this celebration was truly going to be a run-away success, everybody’s ‘happy place’– from the youngest to the oldest - had to be considered. For that, I put my money on ‘Walt’ and I won –BIG!

My grandchildren had only two expectations for this party. Four year old Josh had long ago given his heart to Cinderella. On this trip his goal was to meet the beautiful blonde haired princess in person. Lotus, my three year old granddaughter checked every nook and cranny of the park for Pooh and Mary Poppins (whom she sweetly referred to as, ‘Mrs. Pop’). How easy it was for Grandma to fulfill both these little peoples’ dreams. My heart soared with every shriek of happiness as they recognized yet another Disney character strolling down magical Main Street.

De-stressing the adult guests...

For my own daughters everyday life is extremely hectic. Like most young professionals they work hard to balance childrearing with hours spent at their hectic jobs. I felt that some well-planned time within the magical world of Disney could (and, did) temper their childrearing fatigue. As busy, responsible parents, this holiday was definitely the best of both worlds for them. They delighted in their own kiddies’ delight and they were able to do some cavorting on their own as well.

For Grandma this trip simply meant sharing uninterrupted quality time in a delightful environment with the most important people in my life. I looked forward to bonding with them and creating in my mind’s eye a plethora of joyful family memories that I would draw on for years to come. Disney World is such a happy place and there’s nothing better than watching those you love laughing and enjoying themselves.

Grandma sponsors a photo contest...

To make sure that we would have a complete picture album recording this special event, I sponsored a family photography contest with prizes offered in three categories – (1) Best Disney Spirit, (2) Best Birthday Photograph (3) Best Two/Three Generation Souvenir. Disney makes it so easy to find the perfect background for your shots by posting signs around the Parks that identify a 'Kodak Photo Spot.' Just position your group against this backdrop and click, click, click for perfectly magical memories. It was highly amusing to watch the adults conspiring and maneuvering with the kiddies to get the best shots of the trip. They all took the contest very seriously and the results were fabulous! Click here to view Grandma's Photo Album.

Don't want to worry about carrying a camera? Another foolproof way of recording your Disney World Vacation is to use the services of Disney's Photo Pass powered by Kodak. Simply have your photograph taken by any of the Disney PhotoPass photographers in any of the theme parks. They'll give you your own Photo Pass card which you can use over and over again. When you get home, just enter the number of your card at their website ( and all your photos will be displayed for you to enjoy and/or purchase. Check their website prior to leaving on holiday to see if this is a viable option for your family.

Find out why Mickey called each morning...




Back to Travel with Kiddies



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