During the mad rush at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, students and faculty alike plow headlong through fall semester finals to finish up the semester. Everyone looks forward to a relaxing winter break. Spending the holiday season with family and friends, the last thing on anyone’s mind is more madness. My winter break however was anything but relaxing, but it was certainly a very magical time.

Growing up as a little kid I always loved to watch all the different parades on Christmas morning, especially the famous Disney Parade. Little did I know that I would one day spend that time of the year in Disney World.

What a place to spend Christmas! Being the most magical place on earth and all, many people travel to Orlando to witness the magic for themselves at this time of year. This is definitely one trip that everyone should make at least once in their lifetime.

To say that it was crowded would be an understatement, but by no means did this lessen the experience. The one thing that surprised me the most was that even though I was in Disney World for 6 days, there was never an end to the events to see or the rides to ride. One week is simply not enough time to do it all.

Many friends at home would ask, “Did you see the parade?” To be honest the only possible response is, “Which one?” Parades of all sorts could be viewed at all times of the day including my favorite, The Disney Electrical Parade.

If parades are not quite your thing, there were plenty other things to do, including touring the world at Epcot. While at Epcot I highly recommend eating, and if you are over 21, drinking your way around the world as all the different represented countries serve their native food and are run by exchange workers from those countries.

The Animal Kingdom Safari is another must do for people of all ages. While similar to a zoo, in the safari you get to see the animals roaming around without cages. This attraction is so large that you could fit all of Magic Kingdom and its parking lot within the habitat. Also be prepared for delays as my first trip was halted by a few Giraffes that decided to stand in the middle of the road.

If you are more into show seeing then Hollywood Studios is the park for you. Shows of all the Disney movies to antique car shows can be seen here. Plus this park is home to the famous Tower of Terror as well as the Rockin’ Rollercoaster for all of you adrenaline junkies.

By far the best shows to see are the fireworks that take place after sundown in each of the parks. While all the shows were breathtaking, the one to see without a doubt is Illuminations in Epcot. While starting a little slow, the show quickly picks up into a water, laser, firework explosion of colors lasting close to half an hour.

Far exceeding my expectations, Disney World is the place to be during the holiday season, and an experience that will last a lifetime. So for all of you out there that doubt it is worthwhile because of the crowds, you couldn’t be more wrong.

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