Young Jedi

Visionaries usually become that way through trial and error.  Often it ends up as more error than trial.

The Disney theme complex in Central Florida is the antithesis of that thought.  What began in Anaheim, California on July 17, 1955 as Disneyland has grown into a small nation of its own.  And is operated more efficiently, economically and peacefully than virtually any other country on earth.

Just 16 years later, on Oct. 1, 1971, the beginnings of the vast complex called Walt Disney World opened to the public.  Record breaking crowds from around the world streamed into the park. They were greeted with an amazing tree house, pirates, tropical birds and shows featuring the animation and animatronics that foretold the future of entertainment.

The visitors continue to this day, making the Disney Florida complex arguably the most famous vacation destination in the world.

With fanfare continuing during the years of construction, EPCOT opened on Oct. 1, 1982 as EPCOT Center.  Today it is known simply as EPCOT.  Other segments opened over the years and the originals continued to evolve and upgrade.  A visitor to Disney World in the mid-70s returning today would still see familiar sights but would be able to enjoy a host of new attractions such as the Hollywood Studios and animal and water attractions.

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Cinderella steps outAhoy…

While Donald Trump had his own air force for a brief period of time, Disney has its own navy under the guidance of Admiral Mickey.  Originally working with established cruise lines Disney evolved into a fleet of its won with four ships carrying a total of more than 13,000 passengers.

Cruise itineraries vary each season and 2016 will have a new theme on the Disney Fantasy…Star Wars.

The Star Wars films will be shown on board and then passengers will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Darth Vader and others from the series.  They will also have the opportunity to enjoy some down time in the Mos Eisley Cantina where all sorts of intergalactic denizens gather for a social drink.

Disney cruises very from the Caribbean to Alaska to Europe and beyond.  And while children are the main concern, adults need not think they are forgotten.  There are venues and dining rooms where adults can enjoy themselves while the youngsters are taken care of elsewhere.

Shows, again geared for the younger set with Disney’s wondrous characters, also provide for mom and dad.  You won’t see the likes of Andrew Dice Clay and his more than X-rated excuse for humor, but you will see more shows geared toward adults.

Disney has also gone further to make sure time of the ship is family time.  It does not have a single slot machine anywhere on board any of its ships.  The company’s reasoning is that it doesn’t want the children left alone while parents spend hours gambling.  That would put a major dent in the bottom line of any cruise company but Disney is willing to take that hit.

Sailings out of Port Canaveral can be combined with a visit to the parks and makes a great side trip.  Caribbean sailings also stop at the private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay (pronounced “key”).  While many cruise lines in recent years have set up their own private islands, they’ll find it difficult to compete with Disney’s.

There are water craft, a hands-on opportunity for kids and adults to interact with sting rays, food-and plenty of it, several beaches and a tram for transportation around the island.  For information check out

Orlando airport is a short distance from the complex and has flights from virtually every corner of the country.  There are scores of hotel rooms on the property and in the surrounding area.

It is the complete package.

For more on Disney…there’s a wealth of information over at Traveling Mom. Click here.

Image sources: Top image courtesy of Disney Cruises; bottom image by Sandy Nesoff