Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Before I Had My First Glass

It all started in January of 2011.  My family had recently moved to Rochester Hills, Michigan.  My husband, a dentist, had been picking up tons of extra hours at work for a colleague on maternity leave.  He was gone most mornings before the kids got up, and he didn't get home most evenings until after they went to bed.  I was left at home with my son Jack (then a kindergartner) and my daughter Sadie (then a preschooler): taking care of the house, scheduling playdates, shuttling kids to and from school and activities, paying the bills, preparing the meals, and trying to explain why daddy was hardly ever home.  Don't get me wrong--I loved (and still do love) my life.  It just wasn't an easy time for us, and all of our nerves were frayed.

Then, one January day, my husband called from work and said, innocently enough, "After things slow down, we should definitely take a trip.  How about Disney World?"  At first, I wasn't convinced.  I'd been to Disney World twice with my high school marching band, and in typical teenager fashion, I'd been underwhelmed.  Besides, Disney World just seemed so saccharine and cheesy, not to mention expensive.  I knew that our family needed a vacation, though, so I booked a trip to Disney World for September of 2011.  I decided that, since I hadn't been to Disney World in a long time, I should probably do a little research.  I anticipated that this would take a few hours.  Wrong!!

I started by checking out the official Disney website, and I was immediately overwhelmed with information.  I was left with more questions than answers: Walt Disney World is actually FOUR parks--not just Magic Kingdom?  There are three categories of hotels?  Wait, I have to make dining reservations 180 days in advance?  What in the world is a Park Hopper pass?  The list went on and on.   

I quickly realized that I needed to do some serious planning if I was going to make this trip successful.  I bought a few books and checked out some websites.  Then some more books and websites.  Then some more.  I spent hours and hours reading and planning.  With every new tidbit of information, I became more excited about our trip. I didn't realize it then, but I was mixing up that first batch of Disney Kool-Aid.

Finally, September arrived and our trip was only a week away.  One day, when picking my son up from school, I was talking to another child's father, and I mentioned that we were going to Disney World.  He said that they had just returned from a trip to Disney World and that they were disappointed; due to the crowds, they were only able to experience one attraction per hour.  He said they spent more time waiting in line than having fun.  I asked him about his itinerary and touring plan, and he replied, "What touring plan?  We just showed up and hoped for the best."  It was at this moment that I realized how much my planning was going to pay off.

And pay off it did!!!  It was a trip that we will remember for the rest of our lives.  Our kids were completely awestruck by the characters, the attractions, and the magical "vibe" that Disney provides.  We were able to experience every attraction on our list with minimal waiting, we ate at every restaurant we wanted to, and we still had tons of time to relax and swim at our hotel.  On our last day, my son sobbed as we left our hotel.  I'd be lying if I said that I didn't have tears in my eyes.  One of the Cast Members ("Disney Speak" for employees) at our hotel gave my son a hug, then looked at me and said, "Oh, honey.  You drank the Kool-Aid for sure!!."  She was right.  I was hooked on Disney.

My daughter seeing Cinderella Castle for the first time.  We stayed ahead of the crowds, so she basically had the castle all to herself!!

As soon as we got home, we couldn't wait for another glass of Kool-Aid, so we started planning our next trip.  We went back last summer and had an equally successful, memorable vacation.  Currently, we are planning a combination Disney World/Disney Cruise trip for the spring.

I realized that the biggest difference between our trip and Jack's classmate's trip was simple: I invested hours of planning into our vacation, and we stayed ahead of the crowds.  We were always where the crowds weren't.  When you book a trip to Disney World, you invest a significant amount of money, energy, and time off work.  It makes me so sad when people come home from Disney World and feel that this investment was a waste, when I know that they could have had a truly magical vacation if they would have planned beforehand.  I also know, however, that many people cannot devote the necessary time to plan.  BUT I CAN.

I would love to create a personalized itinerary and daily touring plans for your trip to Disney World.  I can also provide lots of insider tips, dining suggestions, and ideas for extra activities.  And I can do all of this based on your interests, preferences, and the demographics of your traveling party.  Don't come back discouraged and disappointed; drink the Kool-aid with me instead!!  Visit my Facebook page, "The Magic Minus the Mayhem" at  Check back for new blog entries; I'll be sharing a few tips and tricks!!

Next up: The First Taste: Our Inaugural Trip to Disney World Part One, The Big Announcement.


  1. This is awsome! Even if you've been to Disney before this would be a big help. Disney can change a lot from one trip to the next and having an expert to help you make a good plan of attack would be a huge advantage. Can't wait to see your next post!!

  2. Thank you so much! Look for my next post tomorrow!