It's Your Anniversary!
A Case for Spending It at Walt Disney World

by Michelle Scribner-MacLean, ALL EARS® Guest Columnist

Feature Article

This article appeared in the December 11, 2007 Issue #429 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

I knew I was in trouble. This past summer, as my husband and I started to brainstorm ideas about where we might spend our 20th anniversary, the idea struck me -- and I just knew that I'd get a reaction from family and friends. Nine words. Nine little words started a flurry of discussion, caused some jaws to drop open, and even a elicited few small gasps...

For our anniversary, we're going to Disney without kids.

Yep. Those were the words and people had trouble with two parts of that particular statement.

Let's start with the first part: For our anniversary, we're going to Disney... People's reaction to that ranged from, "Why would you go there when you could go to some beach or go someplace you've never been before?" to "Haven't you been to Disney enough?"

My reply? Well, yes, we could have gone to those places, but for us Disney is fun and familiar and even after dozens of trips, we still haven't explored every part of each park, resort, and restaurant. This was a perfect chance to spend time together in a place that we love... so why not?

The second part of the statement also proved difficult for people to grasp: ... without kids. "What!?" Friends asked, "How can you not take your kids? Won't you feel guilty?" My reply: no. My kids are fortunate enough to have been to Disney countless times (and they will be going again), so the thought of leaving them at home with their grandmother didn't really bother us, and she was thrilled to have the opportunity to spend some alone time with her grandkids. There are so many times when we've been at WDW with our kids when we've gazed longingly at some fun restaurant and said, "Ah, we'll visit that place someday, but it's fairly expensive and our kids wouldn't enjoy it. Someday..." Well, someday had arrived and we had a fantastic time. If you're thinking of spending your anniversary at WDW, here are some reasons that it is a good choice.

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Try New Things
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Even though we are WDW veterans, there is plenty that we haven't tried before. For instance, as Disney Vacation Club Members we usually stay in our home resort, Beach Club Villas, but we decided to try a new resort -- the BoardWalk Villas -- and we loved it. It was close enough to walk to Epcot and terrific restaurants, but it was a bit different than what we were used to.

We also decided to try Jiko at Animal Kingdom. Having visited Boma many times, we'd always looked longingly at the Jiko menu with kids in tow, thinking that they wouldn't quite appreciate it. We enjoyed a quiet dinner and tried some really yummy salads and entrees.

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You Can Indulge
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We decided to spoil ourselves a bit. We started our first morning by having breakfast in our room. Eating pancakes overlooking the BoardWalk pool was a treat. We also indulged by hanging out on the porch at the BoardWalk. We ordered beverages at the carousel pool bar, and relaxed our tired feet by sinking into wicker rocking chairs and just people-watching. What a fun way to indulge and relax.

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Take A Tour
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As a science teacher, I'd always wanted to take the Behind the Seeds tour at the Land Pavilion, but my kids really weren't that interested. For $14 (less if you have an annual pass and can get a discount), we embarked on the hour-long behind-the-scenes tour. I was fascinated to learn about how they use Integrated Pest Management and hydroponics and got to ask many questions about how the team manages the growth of a variety of interesting vegetables. It was great!

I surprised my husband by booking the Around the World at Epcot Segway tour one morning. This is something that we've wanted to do for a while, but the 16-year-old minimum age level prevented us from doing it with our children. Along with 10 other guests, we received about an hour of safety and operation training by three friendly and helpful cast members and then we ventured out into World Showcase on our Segways for a behind-the-scenes tour before that part of Epcot opened. Included in our adventures was a visit to China, where we got to drive around the gift shop before it opened, a stop at Italy where we wove between the pillars, and a final trek through Future World where park visitors gaped at us with mouths open as we rolled by.

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Take Your Time
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Because it was Food and Wine Festival time we also enjoyed indulging ourselves each day by trying the food from many, many of the countries represented. For lunch we shared samples of many of the different types of foods (and loved so many of them that we bought the festival cookbook to take home). We really got to take our time and enjoy the food and did not feel as if we needed to rush to an attraction. Without kids, we were also able to take our time to carefully check out the theming in the lobby of the BoardWalk, in each restaurant, and at each attraction. What a treat!

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That Disney Touch
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When we checked in we mentioned that it was our anniversary and received anniversary pins. It seemed that every cast member and many visitors wished us a happy anniversary (and we giggled in delight every time). However, that Disney touch was really evident when we visited The American Adventure at Epcot. We were settling in, sitting on the floor waiting for the Voices of Liberty when Lonnie, a wonderful cast member who exudes enthusiasm for this pavilion, tapped us on the shoulder and said, "Please come with me. There is a phone call for you." We were a bit bewildered as he brought us into a back room, opened a wooden box to reveal a phone, and handed it to us. To our delight, Mickey and Minnie both wished us a happy anniversary! When we returned to our seat, Lonnie once again tapped us on the shoulder and wished us a happy anniversary and then led us to an elevator where we got to listen to the Voices of Liberty from the top of the pavilion (with a couple who were celebrating their 60th anniversary!), and then were led into the theater before the masses to choose our seats. This cost Disney nothing, but this little act of kindness in recognition of our anniversary really made our day.

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Get Ideas and Take Your Kids
on the Next Trip
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One of the things we enjoyed most was attending Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. We wandered throughout the park, taking in the fun and innovative costumes that people wore, and enjoyed the Boo to You parade... and we decided that our kids (even our 14-year-old) would love this party! So we are making plans to bring them back next year for Halloween.

While we were on our WDW anniversary adventure without kids, we noticed that there were many other couples without kids enjoying their anniversary -- so we weren't the only ones. When we returned home, our kids had had a wonderful time spending some quality time with their grandmother... and we have started thinking about fun anniversary trips in the future!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Michelle Scribner-MacLean is a college professor by day and a Disney fanatic in every other bit of free time. She first visited WDW when she was a teenager and now is a DVC owner who visits Walt Disney World two or three times per year. Michelle lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two boys and loves roller coasters, the fantastic food at Disney, and always cries when she sees IllumiNations. She is also a Disney podcast addict and adores WDW Today.

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RELATED LINKS
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Other AllEars® articles by Michelle Scribner-MacLean:

MouseFest Primer: http://allears.net/btp/issue421.htm

Tune In to a Disney Podcast (or Podcasts 101): http://allears.net/ae/issue417.htm

Vero Beach with Kids: http://allears.net/ae/issue403.htm

Navigating WDW with a Picky Eater: http://allears.net/ae/issue395.htm

Science in the Parks: http://allears.net/ae/issue390.htm


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Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.