ME: Did we ever go INTO Disney World, in Orlando? I have no memory of the park, except for the outside of Epcot Center.
MY BROTHER: We never did the Magic Kingdom. Did go to Epcot.
Whaaaaat??? How did I miss that? My mother reassured me that I thoroughly enjoyed my time on Daytona Beach, but she informed me that we only went to Orlando because my father had a conference to attend. I am seriously impressed with my parents for keeping me, as a 7 year-old, happy with coming so close to Disney World, but never actually going in. Then again, my parents are pretty awesome.
So is my husband. After he was done cracking up over my faulty memory, he made it his mission to give me the best experience possible. Romance! Adventure! Hijinks! We spent the first half of our vacation at a swanky hotel in Vero Beach, where we met up with some friends who were also looking to get away from the gloom of Chicago. It was a blast, but in an "Ahhhhh... so relaxing" kinda way. Then we drove up to Orlando to meet up with our other friends, a couple of seasoned Disney-goers who decided that they didn't want to miss the chance to see my first time at the park. These two knew the park inside-out! Not only did we get to see and do just about everything, but they introduced us to the semi-secret, underground-ish, super-cool pin-trading industry.
Yeah, pin trading. Apparently, there is a whole industry, specific to the park, where decorative Disney pins are made and sold to patrons. Sure, you could buy some pins, many of which are adorable keepsakes, but our friends taught us that you can also trade pins with cast members (staff) at the park. I managed to collect a complete series of classy, black-and-white cameo pins of Winnie the Pooh characters, and I love them. It's neat to be able to start and finish a collection in a single day.