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BROOKINGS FAMILY VISITS WALT DISNEY WORLD

Amber Rackham gets a hug from "Jungle Book" character King Louie on her visit to Disney World. ().
Amber Rackham gets a hug from "Jungle Book" character King Louie on her visit to Disney World. ().

Pilot story by Marge Woodfin

Photos courtesy of the Rackham family

Steve Rackham and his family had what he called "a spectacular trip" to Disney World recently.

The Rackham's won the trip in a promotion at Ray's Food Place more than a year ago, but business and family obligations kept them from taking the trip earlier.

The grand prize, a trip for four, allowed daughter Amber to invite a friend, Barbara Nelsen, to accompany her, her dad, and mom Debbie, on the trip to Florida.

The prize included airfare, all ground transportation, lodging for four days and three nights, passes to all the parks, and $500 in Disney dollars for "walking around money."

According to all family members the trip was definitely worth waiting for. Steve said when he told their hosts at Disney World that the vacation would be published in his hometown newspaper, "They rolled out the red carpet and treated us like royalty."

Their accommodations were upgraded to the Wild Animal Kingdom Lodge and to five nights. "The Wild Animal Kingdom Lodge is fantastic, rated highly on the travel channel," Steve said. "The entry was three to four stories high, filled with art, a huge fireplace, African theme, 300,000 gallon pool with a water slide, and they fed the animals just below the lodge."

"I think it was a really great trip," Amber said. "It was a really good experience, and I had fun with my family and my friend."

Debbie said, "The hotel was just marvelous. The water park was really neat, with a ski lift up to the top and Blizzard Beach. Epcot Center was great with all the different villages replicating different parts of the world."

Debbie said she especially enjoyed Pleasure Island, which was open to adults 18 and over, with its major bands and dancing, with blues clubs, jazz clubs, piano bars, and comedy clubs. "As we were leaving we asked to take pictures and the comedians all came out to pose with us."

For the Rackhams, the good times didn't end with their visit to Disney World. They traveled on to the Florida Keys to visit Amber's godmother. Steve said they enjoyed visiting the Hemmingway estate. "The architecture was out of this world," he said. Having lived in Hawaii for a number of years before they moved to Brookings, the Rackhams loved the "blue, blue, blue water" of the Florida Keys. "And Disney was nice enough to fly us out of the Keys," Steve added.

They said they're all happy to be back home in Brookings, but the memories of the wonderful experiences of Disney World will remain a bright spot in their lives for years to come.

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