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When you think about how you’d spend your 100th birthday, what comes to mind? Hawaii? A cruise? An intimate dinner with your great-grandchildren? Well, for Becky Arino of central Florida, there was only one way to mark this huge milestone. Her centennial birthday would be spent riding the Buzz Lightyear attracton, seeing The Lion King show, and hanging out with her good pal, Mickey Mouse.
That’s right, this girl took her 100th birthday celebration to Walt Disney World.
As the 22nd of 24 children (yes, you read that right), Arino grew up in Tucson, Arizona and spent her Saturdays at the movies when she was a kid.
“It was there in the movie theater that she first saw, and fell in love with Mickey Mouse,” Rebecca shares. “In fact, she still has her official Mickey Mouse Club membership from the movie theater they used to always go to.”
Rebecca adds that as her grandmother became a grown-up and started her own family, she made sure to visit Disneyland every year, too. In 1997 she flew to Orlando, Florida to see Walt Disney World for the first time, and “instantly fell in love.” Not long after, Arino moved to Florida and has been a season pass holder ever since.
Last year, after braving the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train on her 99th birthday and handling it like a pro, Arino emphatically declared that she wanted to celebrate her 100th at Magic Kingdom, too. So her granddaughter Rebecca made it happen.
First, she ensured that her grandmother’s entire family (which totals a whopping 72 people) could be accommodated at her favorite restaurant — Trail’s End at Ft. Wilderness. They also made sure to hit up all her favorite attractions in the theme park.
All in all, Rebecca says her grandmother had the time of her life. Some highlights included the Pirates of Caribbean attraction (where cast members made her an honorary pirate), going on her own personal parade with the Country Bears, and of course, “it’s a small world.”
Best of all, Rebecca tells Babble that before heading to dinner, there was one more stop they had to make: A visit to see Mickey!
Once there, her grandmother Becky “showed Mickey her Mickey Mouse Club Membership card, and soaked in all the hugs that he gave her.” Disney cast members even had a Mickey Pillow pal waiting for Becky as she left Mickey, which Rebecca says her grandmother hugged closely for the rest of the night.
After dinner, most of Becky’s family headed home, but this young gal wasn’t done partying yet — especially once she learned that cast members had lined up surprises for her at The Lion King show the next day.
Once there, Becky and her group were seated in the very front of the theater, where she “beamed through the whole show.”
“One of the animals even included her in their march around the stage playing one of the instruments,” Rebecca shares. “She waved at the audience instead of playing her instrument, but at 100, who can blame her?”
When the show was over, the centenarian was ushered out a set of doors and greeted by the cast, who all sang “Happy Birthday” and snapped photos with her.
Definitely a birthday for the record books. And, it’s not surprising to hear that this fun lady is already planning her 101st birthday at Walt Disney World — the theme, of course, being 101 Dalmatians.
Happy Birthday, Becky! We hope next year’s bash is just as fun and memorable.More On