A Magical Escape

January 25, 2024
Featured image for “A Magical Escape”
By: Preston Young

In the heart of January, a month typically associated with resolutions and chilly weather, Rachel’s family and I embarked on my fifth consecutive journey to the enchanting realm of Disney World. This time, however, we decided to slow down and savor the experience, indulging in the small things we had always wanted to do but never had the chance or time to do. 

Our journey began with a hiccup as our flight down to Florida, leaving out of Hartford, was canceled due to a snowstorm. After many hours on the phone with both Disney and JetBlue, we came up with a plan to fly out of LaGuardia and back into Hartford. The only issue was getting to LGA and then getting home from BDL. So, we drove up to Hartford the night before our flight, dropped our cars off in the parking lot, picked up rental cars at HVN and drove them to LGA, where we flew out of. Now, we were ready to embrace the magic that awaited us in the Sunshine State.

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by perfect weather – a pleasant 60-70 degrees every day. While for many in Florida, this may seem cold, going from 10 degrees to 60 degrees was a beautiful feeling. One of the joys of returning to Disney World for the fifth time in January was the opportunity to revisit some of the small things that had eluded us during our previous visits. Whether it was a particular attraction, a show, a unique dining experience, or simply strolling through less crowded areas, we relished the chance to immerse ourselves in the details that make Disney World so special. 

Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of our trip was the two after-dark nights at the park. The extended hours, from 10 PM to 1 AM, provided an exclusive and magical experience. While there is an extra cost, you are sharing the park with no more than a couple thousand people versus 60,000+ during the day. This gives you virtually 0-minute wait times on every ride, and you get unlimited free ice cream, beverages, and popcorn. Knowing we would be at the park late and with no crowd, we were able to spend those days visiting Disney Springs, other resorts, and going to lounges, making our days more relaxed. 

Exploring the parks after dark offered a completely different perspective. The usual daytime hustle was replaced by a serene ambiance, with even our own firework show. Attractions took on a new life as they twinkled with lights, and while the temperature did get down into the 40’s, the experience was well worth it.

As we strolled through the illuminated pathways, indulging in popcorn and ice cream, we couldn’t help but reflect on the resilience that brought us to this point. The canceled flight, the reconfigured plans – all of it led to these moments that would become the heartwarming memories of our fifth January at Disney World.

Now my job is to convince Paul and Jill to take Kyle and Ryan!

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