Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Palm Harbor family gets enchanted night at Disney

An aura of mystery surrounds Cinderella's castle, the chateau-style fantasy that serves as the hub of Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom. Few have seen the inside beyond the public areas. Fewer still have stayed overnight in the third-floor suite originally built for the master Mouseketeer himself. But you can now add to that exclusive list the Morera family of Palm Harbor.

"It was just like an amazing experience because I felt like a queen," said Kaitlyn Morera.

The fairy tale began when mom Evie Morera took Kaitlyn and son Daniel to Orlando to celebrate Kaitlyn's 13th birthday in August. Work obligations kept dad, Publio, from joining them.

As they exited a ride at Epcot, the family was approached by a roving Disney "Dream Squad," who told them they'd just won a night in the castle as part of the Year of a Million Dreams promotion.

The family was told they were chosen because Daniel was sitting in the right seat on the right ride at the right time.

"I fainted, then I started running and screaming," said Daniel, 6.

The Moreras were ushered into a hidden concierge office with a giant grandfather clock that never strikes midnight, the fateful deadline imposed by Cinderella's fairy godmother in the Disney movie.

The family marveled over the foyer, with its elaborate mosaic floor in the shape of a pumpkin stagecoach and corner cabinet that housed Cinderella's glass slipper, tiara and wand.

They slept like royalty in the ornate, carved beds decorated with huge "C" monograms.

And they found it was easy for the three of them to all fit in the giant jacuzzi tub.

"I think it was better than I expected," Kaitlyn said. "I was, like, looking for a flaw because I just didn't expect it to be as wonderful as it was. And everything, down to the outlets on the wall, was perfect."

The family was also treated to a Disney FastPass to speed them through lines for rides and attractions, free meals and private, round-the-clock concierge service.

They got to marshal the afternoon parade and had VIP seating to watch fireworks later that night.

But the piece de resistance was having the castle all to themselves, the Moreras said.

Daniel figures Cinderella, who visited with the family, loaned the Moreras her guest suite.

"She lives upstairs," he said.

The family was surprised to find the room tidied and the beds turned down when they returned after dinner.

That was the work of Cinderella's mice, Jaq and Gus, the family was told.

"I can never top my daughter's birthday now," said Morera, laughing. "It's such a perfect thing for her to remember for the rest of her life and tell her kids about someday."

The day was exhausting, but perfect, Kaitlyn said.

"I could not wait to hit the pillow, but I wanted to stay up because I wanted to absorb every little detail. I wanted to remember it forever."

Rita Farlow can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4162.

>>Fast facts

Year of a Million Dreams

More than a million prizes will be awarded during the second year of Disney's Year of a Million Dreams. Winners, who cannot be related to Disney staff, are chosen through a random selection process at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista and Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. Prizes range from free dinners and "FastPasses" to cruises and accommodations at Disney resorts. The retail value of the overnight stay in Cinderella Castle is $587. For a virtual tour of the castle guest suite, go to

Palm Harbor family gets enchanted night at Disney 09/13/08 [Last modified: Saturday, September 13, 2008 1:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gradebook podcast: On HB 7069, with Palm Beach schools superintendent Robert Avossa


    After months of discussion, several Florida school districts filed suit against the Legislature over the contentious HB 7069, calling parts of it unconstitutional. At the same time, some of them also sought grant funding established in the same measure. The Palm Beach County school district did both. Superintendent …

    Palm Beach superintendent Robert Avossa
  2. Hooper: Jean Chatzy chats about the intersection of wealth, health

    Personal Finance

    Public safety officials can readily identify a city's most dangerous intersections.

    Personal finance adviser Jean Chatzky is one of several high profile speakers on the slate for the Women's Conference of Florida in Tampa next week. [Handout photo]

  3. Video: Buckhorn, Kriseman team up in Tampa Bay pitch to Amazon

    Economic Development

    Across the United States, cities and metro areas are in a frenzied bidding war to convince Amazon their regions are the best fit for its new headquarters, HQ2.

    The Tampa Bay area is no exception. …

    The first  video, rolled out on Oct. 19, 2017, features Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, left, and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman welcoming Amazon and talking about why Tampa Bay would be a perfect fit for the second Amazon headquarters.
  4. Dirk Koetter sounds Bucs alarm: 'They're the players that we have'


    The other day, Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith was asked about the lack of production and pressure from the defensive line, especially off the edge.

    Then it happened.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (28) takes the field for the start of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the New England Patriots on October 5, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
  5. Tampa police schedule update at 11 a.m. on three Seminole Heights deaths


    TAMPA — Tampa police have scheduled a news conference at 11 a.m. for an update on their investigation of three suspicious deaths in southeast Seminole Heights during the past two weeks.

    Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan addresses reporters about the latest suspicious death in southeast Seminole Heights Thursday night. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL | Times]