I won the Disney lottery. My Uncle and Aunt have worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida for longer than I have been alive, so I have never had to pay for a trip to visit Mickey Mouse.

When I was 7, my family moved to Clermont Florida (a suburb of Orlando) when my dad got a job at the Disney Credit Union. School was really rough for me that year, and to escape all of the bad things going on around us my Mom would take me and my two-year-old sister to Disney for an hour or so after school... perks of free entry and a 10-minute drive. We would walk around and collect the change we saw on the ground, we made money in the parks. We knew the innards of Epcot like the back of our hands. I have the script from the tram memorized in English and in Spanish.

But after so many trips to "The Most Magical Place on Earth," the magic becomes sort of ordinary.

You start to see the things the first time visitors don't, you learn things that maybe you didn't want to know, and the secrets of Walt Disney's brainchild become common knowledge. After all, there are only so many hidden Mickeys to find.

Don't get me wrong, Disney World is still one of my favorite places and I firmly enjoy every trip I take there... it's just different than it used to be. There are still some things that don't get old. The way my dad and my sister and I would scream "Cuidados Ninos!" as we plummeted down Expedition Everest, or the absolutely stupendous and unmatchable taste of Dole Whip on a hot day. Those are the pieces of Disney that will always mean something to me. The way the inside of the Epcot Golf Ball smells or the connection I feel to Figment. There are the pieces I miss as the parks have changed. The Norway Ride that was overtaken by Frozen and the loud monstrosity that was Ellen's Energy Journey.

The nostalgia I feel for Sonny Eclipse and the starlight cafe goes beyond anything I can put into words. There are parts I love that others don't. The "picturesque" castle is just in the way of me and the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. My favorite parts of the parks are the ones other people look past, the parts that have meaning to me but aren't the popular ones for tourists. Those are the little things that I look forward to when I visit. The little things like the sparkles in the sidewalk or the music at the center of Epcot's fountain. The little things mean more.


The pieces that are common are interesting as well... if you have the eye to experience them. It becomes like you're living in one of those videos on Youtube where they expose all of Disney's hidden gems or tell you about the things they discovered while working as a cast member. After a while, you become complacent with the major wow factors and they mean less. On a Disney trip with my school band, I got to show my friends all the good things and watch them experience the magic that I had lost. Everyone needs to be reminded of the magic in the little things. The big picture magic may be lost, but the little gems that make me smile or remind me of my childhood is what the Disney Magic really is for me.