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Walt Disney World at Any Age: Meet The Golden Grammas

ORLANDO, FL — When you think of someone making their first visit to the Walt Disney World® Resort, you often picture mom, dad and a couple of very young children.

However, that feeling of seeing Cinderella Castle for the first time isn’t reserved for very young families. That magic can still happen at any age.

Meet Cindy Benedix-Fleischer, Pam Blevins, Lavonne Johnson and Kim Cruse. These four “Golden Grammas” have just returned from their very first trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. No longer just a summer getaway for the nuclear family, The Golden Grammas are representative of a changing demographic of Disney vacationers that includes adults without children, singles and the young at heart.

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The Golden Grammas in Walt Disney World

The Golden Grammas. From left to right: Cindy Benedix-Fleischer, Pam Blevins, Lavonne Johnson and Kim Cruse

To Orlando via Anaheim

If these ladies look somewhat familiar to you, it may be that you’ve seen them on television before. The Golden Grammas were featured in a commercial called “Forever Young” for the Disneyland® Resort Diamond Celebration. According to Cindy, their commercial ran much longer than originally planned due to its popularity.

“It all started when I won a trip to Disneyland,” explains Cindy. “I wanted to take my family, but the trip was only for four so I thought I’ll make this a trip for me. I called my cousin Pam, then my sister-in-law Kim and finally my cousin Lavonne and said ‘Hey, want go to Disneyland?’”

Of course they all said yes.

That trip led to The Grammas submitting their Disney memories on Facebook. Soon after they were contacted by Believe Media, the production studio responsible for the Disneyland Resort television spots. They wanted to use them in a commercial.

“We made lasting lifelong memories doing this commercial,” says Cindy.

A Whole New World

While the ladies were quite familiar with Disneyland Resort, the Walt Disney World Resort was a whole new experience for them. Their inaugural trip, which was sponsored by Academy Travel, took place in early March. The Grammas were able to have experiences that are unavailable in California, such as the Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival and the new Rivers of Light nighttime show in Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park.

The Golden Grammas visited Epcot for the first time.

The Golden Grammas visited Epcot for the very first time.

They also got to see the World in style, with a Private Premium VIP Tour of their first day in the Magic Kingdom.

Livestreaming The World

While The Golden Grammas aren’t millennials, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t tech savvy. In fact, they spent much of their trip livestreaming their experiences and posting selfies on their official Facebook page.

The Kingdom Insider was fortunate enough to be able follow The Golden Grammas throughout much of their stay. We got to see their first reaction to Cinderella Castle, and even attended a taping of ABC’s The View in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park with them. During a commercial break, The Grammas were invited on stage to dance to “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred.

You can’t make this stuff up, folks!

Thoughts on The Walt Disney World Resort

After their busy week, the Grammas had time to reflect on their experiences. We reached out to them to ask for some thoughts on their first trip to Walt Disney World.

CINDY:
Disney World is so much bigger than the place that holds our heart, Disneyland. With that said, Walt Disney World has so much more to offer, not to mention the open space to walk around and not get bumped or pushed or have a stroller run into you.

My favorite of the four parks is Magic Kingdom. There’s just something magical about Cinderella Castle. You get the same feeling when you walk through those gates. The little girl just comes out in you.

The Golden Grammas can't wait to return and experience Pandora - The World of Avatar.

The Golden Grammas can’t wait to return and experience Pandora – The World of Avatar.

 

LAVONNE:
I think I liked the Tower of Terror the best. When the whole room went outside the elevator was a total shock to me. I can still hardly believe it. Also we liked Thunder Mountain so much we rode it repeatedly.

I totally enjoyed the restaurants at Epcot and would love to go back and check out some of the ones we missed. The gardens are beautiful.

I feel I missed out on exciting things at Animal Kingdom. Wouldn’t it be fun to walk through at my leisure and check out the animals. Also I missed that Dinosaur ride and the biggest thing, Pandora. I loved the Avatar movie!

Disney World was overwhelmingly beautiful. Our trip was so jam packed full of so much activity it’s really hard to pinpoint one experience. It was a wonderful time I’ll never forget!

Lavonne takes in the wildlife on the Kilimanjaro Safari in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Lavonne takes in the wildlife on the Kilimanjaro Safari in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.

 

KIM:
For me I think what I really like the best about the park itself was the fact of how clean [Walt Disney World] is. All of the plants are in great shape and kept up that makes for a very nice relaxing atmosphere.

Even though the place is crowded it wasn’t as crowded as Disneyland, I know that’s because there’s four different parks so it definitely can spread people apart.

My other experience that I liked was the Magic Bands. I really, really like the idea of just having a bracelet on your wrist you walk up put your wrist to the scan unit and you’re cleared. It’s very convenient!

As far as the rides go, I would have to say what I really liked was the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It’s got to be the smoothest roller coaster I’ve ever been on.

The Golden Grammas loved the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.

The Golden Grammas loved the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.

 

PAM:
I think everyone young and old should take the time and visit these four wonderful parks. I enjoyed each and every one of them. I could have easily spent three full days at each one.

You know that feeling you get of excitement the night before Christmas? This is how I felt about Walt Disney World! I could not get enough of all those beautiful flowers, landscapes, and topiaries [at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival].

Oh and all the beautiful buildings with so much detail — it was so amazing!

Being an older adult I appreciate and notice all the hard work that goes into it. I loved getting a chance to visit other countries!

Another thing I really enjoyed was all of the delicious food it was some of the best food I’ve ever eaten.

Just talking about this and reliving our Golden Gramma trip and these new memories makes me want to come back!

The Golden Grammas enjoyed an afternoon of shopping in Disney Springs. Here they are at the Vera Bradley store.

The Golden Grammas enjoyed an afternoon of shopping in Disney Springs. Here they are at the Vera Bradley store.

 

The Walt Disney World Resort is for Everybody

The Golden Grammas are the face of the new Disney visitor. While traditional nuclear families still make up a majority of park visitors, more and more we’ve seen adults visiting without children. It’s likely that Disney is aware of this, and embracing an older demographic. Recent expansions like Disney Springs™ seem to cater to a more adult audience, and Epcot continues its reputation as being “Disney for grownups,” despite recent kid-friendly additions such as Frozen Ever After.

That doesn’t mean you should leave the kids at home. It does mean that you don’t have to take the kids to have a good time at a Disney park.

The Golden Grammas relax for a bit in Disney Springs.

The Golden Grammas relax for a bit in Disney Springs… but not for very long!

No matter how “adult” Walt Disney World becomes in the future, seeing Cinderella Castle for the first time will always be a magical moment whether you’re eight or eighty-eight.

To read more about The Golden Grammas’ adventures in the Walt Disney World Resort, stay tuned to The Kingdom Insider. You can also follow The Golden Grammas on their official Facebook page.

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