Growing up, my family always visited Orlando for one week every year over the summer. That being said I grew up in the Disney World parks. It was a part of my childhood, and has become a part of who I am today. As a child, the night before leaving for Disney World always brought on butterflies and excited jitters. I would often stay up late that night, dreaming about the magical world that is Disney. Flashing forward to middle school, the parks began to become the same old thing. The long, hot days coupled with the same rides every year at Disney caused my family to take a couple years hiatus from the Disney Parks. While I’m sad that I did not have the love for Disney then that I do now, it was so important for me to grow up, get a break, and give Disney some time to add new things. I ended up going again to Disney World with my family and childhood friend (Mary Beth Garrett–love this girl so much) the summer before my junior year. This was easily one of my favorite trips of all time, and we ended up going to all four parks every at Disney World from literally park open to park close. Mary Beth had only been to Disney once when she was a young child, so she was experiencing everything for the first time. Getting to see someone else fall in love with Disney and experience the magic of Disney brought out my Disney love once again. My love for Disney came back right before I met Nathan (my husband), and I was able to bring that Disney excitement back into his life as well!
Disney to me is so much more to me than a large castle, overcrowded parks, and long lines. Disney to me is about celebrating friendship, family, and love. It is about connecting with strangers (always talk to the people next to you while waiting in line; so much fun getting to meet new people!), having fun, bringing back the child in all of us, and creating memories that last a lifetime. Some of my favorite and biggest life moments have happened at Disney. Nathan and I have taken close to 6 Disney trips together (many with his awesome family), and our relationship has grown and thrived around making those Disney memories. We got engaged in Magic Kingdom, had our engagement dinner at Grand Floridian with a view of Wishes, and we honeymooned at Disneyland (my first time). While every day at Disney has not been perfect (such as standing in line for 3+ hours for Space Mountain and then it closing as soon as you get to the front of the line), every day has been filled with magic and dreams and wishes. Disney sparks that giddy, joyful, dreamer part of myself that I do not get to show on an everyday basis.
Disney to me is bringing out the child in all of us. From excitement to imagination to creativity, Disney inspires all of us to be more and do more. I love that I can step into a Disney park, and feel as though I was magically transported into a whole new world! Where cast members line the streets ready to bring that extra magic into your day, where photographers wait to capture all the memories you hope to make, where children run with joy to their favorite characters, and adults meet up with friends to ride some of the best rides there are. Disney to me is about loving more and loving fully, being kind to all, brave no matter the situation, and enjoying every up and down in life.
Disney to me is about tradition. I recently visited Disneyland, the hallmark and beginning of the Disney company. While smaller, Disneyland brought me to the roots of the parks and why Walt created this dream of his. Walt believed that it was vital that tradition remained a part of the Disney company, even as changes and growth was made throughout the years. Disney traditions began in my own family with visiting Disney World every year and always going back to our favorite rides and restaurants. Disney traditions began in Nathan’s family with becoming DVC members, going to Disney World several times a year, and being able visiting other Disney locations (Aulani in Hawaii, Adventures by Disney, Disneyland). Nathan’s family even has a special tradition during Christmas where they have a “Disney tree” that is purely dedicated to ornaments and special memories from their many Disney trips. Now with these traditions, Nathan and I plan on making our own special traditions and building our family up around them as well.
Disney to me is about being able to take that Disney magic and spirit with you everywhere (even while not at the parks). One of my favorite things to do at my own home is watch Disney movies as they were a constant in my childhood, and I have been slowly growing my own collection of Disney movies to be able to show to my own kids. I love being able to incorporate Disney into my outfits and being able to share my love of Disney with others (my UP shirt has sparked on so many conversations with strangers about how much they love that movie!). I love incorporating Disney into my own home with special artwork, quotes, and pictures. And my favorite thing ever, just being able to talk about Disney with others! Disney friends are some of the best ever and it is a special community to be a part of!
While I know that Disney every day/all day is not for everyone, I do believe everyone can appreciate some aspect of Disney and get that nostalgic feeling when watching one of their favorite Disney childhood movies. Before I even begin to share some of my favorite things about Disney (including tips/tricks, best places to go, and even Disney in everyday life), I wanted to make sure to share why Disney is so special to me. May your every day be filled with as much Disney magic and fun as I get to experience on an everyday basis.
Here’s to more dreaming, believing, trusting, and wishing.