It's amazing sometimes, what you can experience during the most ordinary adventures. They say that a spiritual experience is an experience which you sense with your "Sixth Sense," instead of with one or more of your five normal senses, sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. I've always agreed with the belief that such an experience can be encountered anywhere, and I encountered my first one on vacation in Florida.

My name is Stephanie. My family and I were visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando for the summer. We had gone to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney's Animal Kingdom, and now we were going to Disney's Blizzard Beach water park. It was a lot of fun, riding all the slides, the lazy river, and the big pool. But it was as I was going to go down Summit Plummet that something quite extraordinary was going to happen to me for the first time.

I sat on the top of the slide and lay down. When I said I was ready, the lifeguard there gave me a push, and I went down. It was exhilarating, I can tell you, going down that almost vertical water slide at 60 mph. I felt like I was going to lose my hair, even though I obviously wasn't wearing a toupee or a wig. But it was shortly after the ride started that I saw something I never dreamed I would see.

There's that old park story of the cartoon character, the Ice Gator, who went skiing down a wet slope on the melted ski resort that Blizzard Beach once was, and landed in a pile of snow with a big splash. Well, as I went down Summit Plummet, I actually saw Ice Gator himself! His scaled skin was blue, and he wore a red scarf and a yellow inner tube, just like Disney had envisioned him, and on his face was a joy and excitement so pure I couldn't believe at first. But I knew somehow that I wasn't dreaming, he was right there beside me as I slid down the slide. It looked as if another duplicate Summit Plummet was to the right of the one I was going down.

Time seemed to slow down, but the exciting ride went on for several extra moments, or at least it seemed that way to me. Ice Gator said to me, "Do you believe in magic, young one?"

Shyly, I said, "Yes, I do. That's why my family and I came to Disney World."

He replied, "Then enjoy the plunge, and don't forget to spread the word that everything that belongs to Disney belongs to anyone who believes in magic." Then he went "YAHOO!" and seemed to fall into a pool of cool water. I echoed his "YAHOO!" as I suddenly came back to reality and splashed into the bottom of the slide.

My parents and older sister commented later that I must have really enjoyed that ride, and I told them about how I saw and met Ice Gator on the Summit Plummet. My sister didn't believe me, but my parents at least said that I had (have) a lovely imagination, and that I must really be in touch with magic and love.

Indeed, I was, because for the rest of the day at Blizzard Beach, as I continued to ride everything, I saw Ice Gator everywhere I looked, like he was following me around in my mind and heart. And for the rest of my life, I knew that the magic of imagination was one of the strongest forces in the universe.