As a kid on Sunday nights I eagerly waited for Tinkerbell to appear on my TV screen waving her magic wand to change everything into living color. It was on an episode of “The Wonderful World of Color” that Walt Disney first introduced viewers to his dream park, Disney World, in what was then the small city of Orlando, Fla. Later, as a wide-eyed high school student, I visited the park, astonished at the incredible details of one man’s vision. And it was only the Magic Kingdom!
Today, that park has expanded beyond our wildest dreams and celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with a host of events and new attractions.
If the beach is more your style, there are new hotels to explore along the Gulf Coast and we offer a sneak peek. And don’t worry if you’re confined to a wheelchair for writer Barbara Twardoski lists the many accessible beaches along the coast, plus vendors that rent specialty chairs.
For mountain lovers, check out Hot Springs, a town that doubles as a national park — also celebrating an anniversary, its 100th this year. Writer Tom Adkinson explains how the steaming waters emerging in this Arkansas town started as raindrops 10,000 years ago.
And that’s just some of the highlights of this, our “Celebrating Summer” issue. We’re going to take you to the quirky Tomato Place in Vicksburg and visit the Safari Wild Animal Park in Como, Miss. Jason Frye shares his favorite Southern swimming holes. And there’s much more.
On a sad note — but not for her — we say goodbye to our esteemed editor, Mary Ann DeSantis, who retires with this issue. We wish her lots of joy and happiness as she relaxes on her Florida lanai, but we insist she keeps writing her wonderful stories!
So, what are you waiting for this summer? Get out there and celebrate the sun.