disney lover in the midwest

I have a confession — I love Disney. Not necessarily ALL things Disney, but I probably think about Disney more than the average 34 year old lady.


As a kid, I didn’t have much exposure to Disney aside from the occasional movie we’d watch. I became obsessed with The Little Mermaid once it was out on VHS (ha!), watching it over and over on summer break. I can still sing along with all the songs and probably recite most of the words.  We went to Walt Disney World when I was in 5th grade but it wasn’t what I know now as a “Disney vacation.”  It was us driving to the beach, staying there for a few days, then driving to WDW for a couple of days and staying somewhere in Kissimmee.  Spending one day at the Magic Kingdom and then the second day rushing through EPCOT and MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios). Throw in a time share presentation for some free tickets, and there you have it.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved the trip and appreciated my one childhood opportunity to visit Disney World.  I’m glad that my parents were able to make that a reality for my sister and I.  But now my idea of a Disney vacation is much different.  It is planned out months (or more) in advance, down to which park(s) we’ll visit on which date and even a few restaurants that I don’t want to miss. We use Disney transportation, stay in Disney resorts, and only go to Disney Parks.  We just want the full Disney immersion.  The full experience.

I guess you could say I’m of the opinion that there are people that “get it” and those that don’t.

If you’re not sure which one you are, let me shed some light.  If someone tells you they are going on a Disney vacation and you say “oh, neat! Are you going to {insert anything that’s NOT Disney here, such as Universal Studios, Sea World, the beach}?” — you don’t get it.  If you have ever referred to Magic Kingdom as “Disney World,” you don’t get it. If you don’t even know what I’m talking about (because obviously Disney World and Magic Kingdom are one in the same), then you REALLY don’t get it.  And that’s okay. That just makes me a bigger dork than you – or just a bigger Disney fan. People that aren’t Disney fans tend to think Disney fanatics are a little crazy. Maybe they are. Maybe I am.

What is it that I love so much about Disney? I don’t know…it’s just magical. That’s dumb to say, but it’s true.  When did I fall in love with Disney? In 1999 when I did the Walt Disney World College Program. I met Ryan there. I fell in love with him and Disney at the same time. When the college program ended, I cried because I’d miss my friends, my boyfriend, my job, and everything about that carefree, happy, magical place. Since living there for 4 months in 1999, I’ve only been back four times.  Ryan and I returned during Spring Break 2001.  I went on a work trip there in 2002, introducing some very special kids with special needs to the magic.  Ryan and I went again on vacation in 2007. And finally we returned in 2013 as parents of 2 & 3 year old little boys.

disney family

My interest and obsession grew while planning to take the boys on that trip. During our time there and since the day we got home, my appreciation and love for Disney has grown. Seeing it through my children’s eyes changed Disney for me yet again. The boys have continued bringing up various memories from the trip that we haven’t previously discussed. They were pretty young when we went and I know they won’t recall everything 20 years from now, but I’m always surprised at how much they have retained from WDW. They ask when we’ll go back. They talk about it like it was the best time they’ve ever had in their lives. I WANT to make that happen again, for them but also for Ryan and I.  It’s our place, sentimental for so many reasons. That’s where we went on our first dates. It’s where we fell in love. We love that the boys love it.  I hate that it’s so expensive but I find myself googling tips and advice for how to better plan for our next vacation.  It’s not a matter of “if” when go back to Disney, but a matter of “when.”  And I want that to be as soon as reasonably possible. Until we get a trip reserved, I will be on a mission. Having a Disney vacation to look forward to is a great feeling.

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