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Last weekend, we celebrated the garden gnome’s first birthday, or, if you prefer, our surviving one year of being the parents of two kids under three! For the forest troll’s first birthday, we went to Disney World, and since we are still living in La Florida, we thought it would only be fair to do the same for the garden gnome.

I absolutely LOVE Disney World! If you’ve never been, and you wonder if all the hype is true, let me tell you now that it is. From start to finish, you are given a beautifully magical treatment, and you get to experience firsthand what quality customer service is like (something that many of us have forgotten, since it seems to be a dying art). Even if you do not stay in one of the (amazingly awesome) Disney resort hotels, and you opt to drive yourself to the park (rather than take the shuttle that most hotels near Disney offer), you will be struck with how amazing the customer service is. The first time that we ever went, we stayed off Disney, and we were impressed with how organized and professional the parking was. They even have that figured out. It was as hassle free as it could possibly be.

This time, we stayed at Beach Club Villas, which is next to Epcot. When we booked the room, we had no idea just how close it was. We were planning to only spend one day in the park, and had already decided on the iconic Magic Kingdom. We ended up getting to the hotel earlier than expected, so we decided to go to Magic Kingdom the day we got there (we just drive down from Jacksonville, so it’s not like a major trek or anything, by the way). The next day, we decided to go to Hollywood Studios, which it turned out, was accessible via boat (Disney operated). It made going to the park so easy, without having to climb onto a bus. The only downside about Hollywood Studios is that everyone gets dumped at the main entrance, before the ticket sales counters. As a result, lines were a bit longer (other parks are set up so resort hotel guests bypass the ticket counters).

On the morning that we left, we had breakfast in the hotel, at Cape May Cafe, where they have a “character breakfast.” This means that Goofy, Donald Duck, and Minnie Mouse walked around, meeting kids and taking photos. It was the icing on the cake!

I could go on and on about how wonderful Disney World is, because, honestly, it is so very wonderful. It was a treat to see our kids having the time of their life, making memories that perhaps they will forget, but we will not.