FOCUS - APRIL 2018 47 Onceuponatime,inalandfar,faraway… and so began the magic envisioned by Walt Disney, more than 90 years ago. I have just returned from a wonderful visit to Disney World and, albeit my fifth time, the magic was stronger than ever. I recall my first visit, sometime in the seventies, when the Magic Kingdom was the only park in existence. Being swept through the ghouls and goblins in the haunted mansion was offset by the bellowing bears in the Country Bear Jamboree. Watching the animatronics in the Hall of Presidents was mind boggling and seeing pirates come to life in the Pi- rates of the Caribbean experience was breathtaking. I cannot say enough about my first visit, and was equally thrilled this time around. Disney knows how to do it and they do it right. It is not the cheapest locale in Florida to visit, but if you want perfection, you will find it there. Besides, it is almost an obligation to take your children and grandchildren, the way our parents and grandparents took us. The best and easiest way to live the experience is to stay at one of the more than 25 magical resorts. When you ar- rive at the airport a Disney coach whisks you to your hotel (I had to wait less than 10 minutes). Check in was very fast and simple. You see, Disney lets you prear- range a number of things: Before you leave, buy your tickets – this is a must or you will have nothing but headaches. There are also some specials for Canadians, which ease the currency exchange. I was excited when I received an email indicating that my ‘wristbands’ were ready to load up. One click and it took me to all my res- ervation details. The next step was to select some of the attractions I wanted to do. You can choose up to three per day at specific times, which means a very short, if any, lineup. You can switch on the fly while you are there, but some of the more popular attractions, such as the new Avatar exhibit, will quickly fill up. You always have the option of not using the ‘FastPass’ system and waiting in line, but why bother if you can avoid it. You can also make dinner reservations before you go, and I would suggest you do. You may want to change your mind when you are there, but Disney Florida caters to 60,000 people a day and they all get hungry. What I ended up doing was eating a good breakfast, having ice cream for lunch and eating dinner around 5. That way I avoided the dinner rush and the lineups. There are four parks: Magic King- dom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hol- lywood Studios; plan on doing one per day. There is also Disney Springs, a great shopping and eating area, with the largest Disney store in the world. I found ...................... Please turn to page 48 ...and it all started with a mouse! The Magic Castle is still the main attraction at Walt Disney World. BY JONATHAN VAN BILSEN