In 1996 I got to experience the magic of Walt Disney World for the very first time!

Our parents waited until my sister and I were both old enough to experience and love Walt Disney World to take us for the first time. In November of 1996 I was 8 and my sister was 6. We stayed at All Star Sports and I remember thinking how cool the stairwells were. We went to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, MGM, and Blizzard Beach. I don’t have pictures from Blizzard Beach since it was a water park and I doubt my dad wanted to bring his camera there but I have pieced together what I remember and the pictures from the other parks for my post this week.

Magic Kingdom:

The Magic Kingdom was decorated for the 25th Anniversary of Walt Disney World so yes, the first (and second) time I saw the castle it was a giant Birthday Cake. While we were at Disney, my aunt and uncle planned a trip as well so one of the days we were at Magic Kingdom they were with us. Before entering the park we ate breakfast at Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary. We got to interact with the characters and enjoy a relaxing morning before heading to the park.

At the park we spent time in Toontown. I remember taking the train and exploring all the character houses that are no longer there. 1996 MK Haunted MansionWe also explored Fantasyland and I think that is where my sister and I got sweatshirts. Mine was pink and had all the princesses (at the time) on it. Jenn’s was pink too but I don’t think it was the same as mine. We also rode the Haunted Mansion with my uncle and cousin. My sister was with my uncle and one of my cousins and I was with my dad.

1996 MK 12

My cousins left the park around mid-day, I think they got sick. We continued exploring the park, running around Tom Sawyer’s Island, Swiss Family Treehouse, and enjoying the Country Bear Jamboree like they did in our favorite Sing-Along video (Disneyland Fun).

1996 MK 11I loved It’s A Small World and Peter Pan’s Flight. These are all still some of my favorite rides at the Magic Kingdom.

1996 MK 30I remember being frightened by the Pirates of the Caribbean ride – so much so that when they came out with the movie I wouldn’t even go see it and didn’t actually watch it for a long time. The movie didn’t scare me anywhere near as much as the ride did as a kid.

We met some fun characters!

And, of course, we stayed to watch the parade!

We must have spent a second day in Magic Kingdom as well, which is when we rode my favorite ride of the trip, Splash Mountain. I loved Splash Mountain. I remember having a Brer Rabbit book I think when I was little and I remember my dad reading it to us so we absolutely loved going into the brier patch 😉 This is one of my favorite ride photos ever.


Epcot is my current favorite, but it wasn’t as a kid. We had lots of fun there but there weren’t as many rides so I think that’s why it wasn’t our favorite. We did have some favorites at Epcot, however, one of them being my sister’s favorite of all time, Body Wars. I’m pretty sure we rode it more than once while we were there that first trip and definitely again on our second trip.

We also rode Ellen’s Energy Adventure which I still really enjoy even if it’s an extremely long ride. It’s worth it for a nice break and to see young Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye.

My sister and I also loved Figment! I had a Figment straw (pictured) that I used forever until the little Figment broke off of it. It’s probably still at my parents house somewhere.

1996 EPCOT 08

We also ate at the Garden Grill which was an awesome experience and I would love to go back someday. We met Mickey and Minnie and Chip and Dale there.

We also met up with Rafiki on our Epcot day 🙂

1996 EPCOT 05

And, of course, we explored the World Showcase. We absolutely loved Maelstrom and I’m so sad that it’s gone but hopefully I’ll get to ride Frozen next time I’m in the parks to see if it compares. Those trolls though were just my childhood!

1996 EPCOT 10

World Showcase at night


Back before it was Hollywood Studios we took MGM Studios by storm! Okay, not really, BUT this was definitely a favorite park of my family – from the Great Movie Ride to the Backlot Tour!

It really doesn’t get much better, does it?

Our favorite photo spots over the years were definitely the Muppets fountain and Singin in the Rain umbrella. We also experienced the Singin in the Rain umbrella for the very first time on this trip and our reaction at the rain magically appearing was just giddy excitement. I think it took like two more trips to figure it out.

I don’t think we ate at Sci-Fi Cafe this trip, but we did get a picture in the car.

1996 MGM 19

I do remember eating at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe though. This was such a fun experience from being told we had to finish our meals to the adults getting in trouble for things. I know we had a blast there and it was a hilarious experience.

Let’s talk Tower of Terror. If you’ve already read my last trip post, you’ll know that my first time riding it wasn’t until the following year. What I didn’t mention was that I almost got on it my first trip. Here’s what happened:

We had all gotten on the line and I already started getting scared. I barely made it through the intro video before being entirely too freaked out. The basement, everything was way too much for me so my mom and I took the “Chicken Out” exit. We waited outside for my dad and Jenn who absolutely loved it. They told my mom she definitely had to ride so she and Jenn went back in and did it again. They were still trying to convince me to ride, but I stood my ground and I’m pretty sure my dad and Jenn rode a third time while we were there. I would absolutely not go back in for any reason that trip.

Anyway, we also spent a lot of time running around the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground which was completely awesome! We were huge fans of those movies (Although I did not like Honey I Shrunk the Audience (mice)) so this was lots of fun for us.

We also experienced the Toy Story parade.

And went on Star Tours for the first time

1996 MGM 14

And apparently my sister and I joined the 101 Dalmatians live-action cast (the film was released the same month we were in Disney)

1996 MGM 101

And enjoyed the live Beauty and the Beast 🙂

1996 MGM 01

And got to meet Tigger!

1996 MK Tigger 1

All in all it was a most spectacular first trip. I don’t remember much of Blizzard Beach but I remember we were with our cousins and we got to go on water slides and rides and it was just a fun water park day. I’m sure even in November we needed a break from the Florida heat.


Our Favorites:  Everything about this trip was my favorite because I was experiencing it all for the very first time and there is nothing like it. I think my favorite ride was Splash Mountain (still a favorite) and Jenn’s was definitely Body Wars. My dad’s was probably between Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror and my mom, well she’s harder to figure out actually. I’ll have to ask her…

Food: So I talked about it a little, but we did a few character dining experiences which were fun and also Prime Time Cafe which was great, but one I didn’t really mention is Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue. I know we did it the first time we were there and loved it so much we went back again four years later (and tried to go back in 2012 but that didn’t really work out…). What a dining experience that is. Music, napkins in the air, audience participation, and lots of family-style food. It’s totally worth it and I can’t wait to do it again someday.

Haul: This trip I got a pink sweatshirt with the princesses on it, a Figment straw, my autograph book, and started my pin collection with my Minnie Mouse hat and a few pins!



About Juli

I received my B.S. in Counseling and Human Services and a minor in Theology and Religious Studies and my M.A. in Organizational Leadership in Higher Education. Through a strange twist of fate, I ended up in the Human Resources field and at a company that I really love. I'm not much of a writer because I tend to write how I talk and when I tell stories I tend to ramble and tell way too many details. I love writing though because it's fun to get all my thoughts down. I also love drawing, I love photos, and anything artistic really.

2 responses »

  1. […] work out and now I’m sort of glad because it would have been a lot for us at this time. My first Disney vacation ever was in the month of November but I haven’t been back that month since. I’ve been in […]

  2. […] the past (used to scare the pants off of me, now I love it) but you can get the gist of that story here or here. Before I went to Disney in 2015 I even started watching seasons of The Twilight Zone on […]

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