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FGCUSabre
03-30-2008, 12:56 PM
That lucky guy!


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - One lucky Florida teenager is getting an around-the-world tour of all eleven Disney theme parks.

Eighteen-year-old Joshua Peterson of Eustis is collecting a prize he earned a year ago while visiting Epcot.

Peterson was exiting a ride when workers informed him he'd won Disney's "grand marshal world tour" prize as part of the company's Year of a Million Dreams promotion.

The whirlwind tour begins with the Magic Kingdom parade on Wednesday. He and his family will then visit the three other Disney parks in Central Florida.

Then it's off to Anaheim, California, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Paris.




Luck and a bit of grandmotherly advice catapulted a Eustis teenager from an Epcot ride to an around-the-world tour of all 11 Disney theme parks.

Joshua Peterson, now 18, was exiting Mission: Space when he was tapped by Disney World workers as the winner of the "grand marshal world tour" prize, one of the gifts tied to the company's Year of a Million Dreams promotion.

"We were going to go eat first, but my friend's grandma told me that we might as well go on the ride first so we wouldn't get sick," Peterson recalled.

His prize-winning spin happened last March, early in the Million Dreams push, which has been extended through 2008.

"I didn't know anything about it until after they came up to me on the ride and said 'How do you feel about winning?' " Peterson said. "I never knew what they were talking about."

At first, the confusion included his mother, who was not at the theme park that day.

"When they called me and told me he won the grand marshal world tour and that he was at Epcot, I thought he got to be in the parade at Epcot going around World Showcase," said Tracy Lauritzen, Peterson's mom, who will accompany her son on the trip along with his 7-year-old sister, Jill, and stepfather, Kevin Lauritzen.

The selection of winners is "totally random," said Faron Kelley, project director of the Year of a Million Dreams for Disney. A computer program determines the exact location and time for each prize to be awarded. Select cast members then descend upon the winners. "It's almost a covert operation," Kelley said.

Although Peterson, a senior at Eustis High School, was an annual passholder with a penchant for attractions such as Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom and Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom, his prize-winning day was the first time he had ridden Mission: Space.

"He was on the right seat at the right time," Tracy Lauritzen said.

The whirlwind tour begins with the Magic Kingdom parade on Wednesday. After hitting the three other Disney parks in Central Florida, the family will be flown to the two parks in Anaheim, Calif., followed by stops at the Asian parks (Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea) and the two in France (Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park).

"They will be treated as VIPs in these locations," Kelley said, complete with tour guide. Housing, airfare and meals are included in the prize. The official rules list its "approximate retail value" as $45,370.

Disney said it gave away 1.25 million prizes last year, ranging from Disney Vacation Club memberships to not-available-in-stores mouse ears to front-of-line privileges to an extra hour at water parks. A prize similar to the one Peterson landed is still available but has not been awarded yet this year. The same is true of the prize that provides exclusive private time on Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas.


Just wanted to give more details!