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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Patriotic Makin' Memories Monday

Kristen & Pat 1989
Every serious Disney goer has experienced the wave of young Navy men and women enjoying the parks. When you see them you should offer your congratulations, because not only are they serving their country, but chances are good that they've just graduated from boot camp. In the fall of 1989 I was one of those trepid souls going out in public for the very first time as a US Service Woman. After 13 weeks of hell, the most rigorous experience of my life was rewarded with visit from my family and a trip to EPCOT & MGM (now Disney Hollywood Studios). Above you see me posing with my Aunt Pat on that first shore leave weekend. She was the original Disney fan in our family and made sure to instill the belief in all things Disney in my life. She was my rock, and my joy, she taught me about everything good and cultural.

Bootcamp Graduation 1989
My parents had rented a car during that trip, so that they could pick me up from the Orlando Naval base and take me to the magic. Our first stop for the weekend was EPCOT. The Character interaction I received during the weekend was amazing. They really go out of the way to help graduates celebrate and make special moments. The cast members are even more gracious and all voiced their appreciation for those of us heading out to serve our country. I couldn't have imagined a better place to celebrate the beginning of my adult life than Disney.

Bootcamp Graduation 1989
On my second day out we went to the brand new Disney MGM (now Hollywood) Studios. What excitement to get to tour the brand new park. My best memory was that Mickey Mouse got down on one knee and proposed to me, it was so magical.. at least until Minnie showed up. I laughed and laughed, a crowed gathered around to watch the scene being created and the conflict of this odd love triangle.

Disney is a magical place, and for those newly minted sailors out in the world for the first time, it's a delightful was to spend their first shore leave. When you see them, don't forget to say thank you, because without those brave souls willing to fight and die for the country America would not exist.

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