It All Started With A Mouse

I feel like I was born with Disney inside of me, mostly because I am way more passionate about Disney than the rest of my family, and rumor has it that I was conceived in Disney World. So naturally, I was made to be a huge Disney fan. In reality, though, I have my grandfather to thank for Disney playing such a huge role in my life.

My grandfather was a dentist who owned his own practice in a small town in south Georgia. He was also a Disney fan, and as his Christmas gift to his employees every year, he would take them and their immediate family to Disney World. Not only did he have a very successful practice, but Disney was much more affordable then. He would buy 4 and 5-day tickets in bulk at $100-$150 per ticket, and at that time, park hopping and no expiration where included. After he passed away a few years ago, my mom actually found more unused tickets in his safe. And guess what? They’re still good! However, I digress.

My mom started working for my grandfather as an office assistant when she was 19 and in college. Here’s another digression: while I call him my grandfather, he was my step-grandfather. My actual grandfather (my mom’s father) passed away from lung cancer when I was three. The man I refer to as my grandfather married my grandmother when I was around eight years old. He treated my sisters and me like his own flesh and blood, and we all adored him, so much so that if my husband and I ever have a son, we’re naming him after my grandpa. Ok, so back to the story. My mom was included on the company Disney trips. The trip was always a couple days after Christmas, staying through New Year’s, and returning shortly after. It might be the busiest time of year, but I swear it is the most magical time of year.

In short, I grew up going to Disney World every holiday season, from the moment of conception up until I was 19 in 2005. My grandfather retired and stopped footing the bill sometime in the late 90s, and my mom kept the tradition alive for us. After 2005, it just got way too expensive for her to continue to take us, and to be honest, I can’t remember a family Disney trip where there wasn’t some sort of drama. That last trip…woof…probably the last nail in the coffin.

Shortly after I started dating my husband in 2007, I decided it was time to go to Disney. I had been away too long and Zac graciously agreed to go with me. So in February 2010, we went for a week. I would have preferred my usual time of year, but I was working retail, he was freelancing, and this nonpeak season was much more affordable for room rates. I thought Disney might lose some of its magic for me by not going when it was all decked out for Christmas, but I was pleasantly surprised. The weather was perfect (high 60s during the day), it wasn’t crowded at all, and I discovered that waiting in line for two hours for Space Mountain was not the norm (I don’t think any wait time exceeded 30 minutes.) I silently judged Zac the whole time, knowing that if he didn’t come out of this a huge Disney fan, that might be the end of us (I’m joking, but not really.) Fortunately, he loved Disney, and I think his love for it is up there with mine.

Since then, Zac and I have been going every year, multiple times per year (I think our record is six times in one year, which includes Disneyland Paris.) He proposed there on Valentine’s Day in 2012, we got married there in December 2012, honeymooned there in January 2013, and finally bought into the Disney Vacation Club in May 2014. My daughter, who is 17 months, has been three times already. So now you understand what I mean when I say that Disney isn’t just a brand to me; Disney IS my life.

Now I want to hear your story! Who or what got you into Disney? What has been your favorite trip? Where do you like to stay? Do you have any Disney travel questions? Be sure to comment below!

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