WHEN I KNEW WE WERE OFFICIALLY
ADDICTED TO WALT DISNEY WORLD
Hi, my name is Michelle and I'm a Disney addict. I'm not alone in this. My husband and kids are the same. In fact, I blame my husband for our addiction since I was in my mid-twenties before stepping foot in the Magic Kingdom. I have vague memories of watching The Wonderful World of Disney movies on Sunday nights at the home of my grandparents and seeing a movie or two in the theater but that was about it for my Disney experience growing up. My husband, however, was at Walt Disney World before it was built. His mother took him to visit the building that housed the architectural model, followed by a trip to the Magic Kingdom during opening week. They went regularly until moving away from Orlando.
I was pulled into the Disney vortex of addiction when, after several years away, my husband's parents moved back to Orlando. We took the opportunity to visit the Magic Kingdom while staying with them. I was hooked. Our four year old daughter loved all the colorful magical experiences, with the exception of being temporarily scared senseless by Snow White's Scary Adventures, and I was amazed at the beauty and scope of the park itself. The theme parks I had visited up to that point were fun in an instant thrill sort of way but Disney was different somehow. It had that extra element of nostalgic charm and well maintained beauty. In fact, Disney theme parks were the first to devote extreme amounts of time and effort to park appearance and detail. From that point on, Orlando is where we've spent most of our vacation time.
TELLTALE SIGNS OF ADDICTION
Telltale signs of addiction began to emerge among the rest of our family as the kids, five of them, got older and we started meeting other families in Orlando or traveling with friends and relatives. Once, while planning a trip with friends for a four night / five day stay in Orlando, we were caught off guard by their suggestion we go to SeaWorld. More stunning was the fact they only really wanted to spend two days doing anything Disney. Honestly, we had almost forgotten Orlando was considered the Theme Park Capital of the World for reasons other than just Disney. I think somewhere along the way, we simply blocked it out.
Where to stay became an issue as well. We assumed we'd be staying at a Disney Resort but our friends suggested instead a nearby hotel central to all the top theme parks in Orlando. It had simply never occurred to us to stay anywhere else. After all, we're the family who can tell you instantly what the acronym EPCOT stands for and why C is for community now instead of the original word ‘city.’ We also know the name of the restaurant in the castle was changed from King Stephan's Banquet Hall to Cinderella's Royal Table because King Stephan is Princess Aurora's (aka Sleeping Beauty) Father, not Cinderella's. Sleeping Beauty's castle is in Disneyland, not Disney World. In fact, this change in name was brought about by the many Disney Addicts who insisted on authenticity. But I digress. Do you see how the addiction takes over?
SHARING VACATION TIME
We ended up staying at the hotel our friends suggested and visiting other theme parks. While we felt a little unbalanced at first, we had a marvellous time. SeaWorld was great fun and so was Universal. We enjoyed ourselves but fully embraced our title as Disney snobs and it became a fun joke the rest of the vacation.
PASSING THE TORCH
When our oldest son got married, he and his wife honeymooned at Walt Disney World. She had never been and he enjoyed showing her around. He told us afterward how excited she was when he explained the pin trading rule about how cast members have to trade with you up to twice a day even if your pin is a scrapper. The fact our grown son knows all this clearly indicates an addiction to Disney. While it's under control most of the time, it is a daily battle. But don't judge too harshly. After all, who or what does it hurt unless you count the wallets of those addicted.
Michelle Rise is a homemaker and Mother of 5 and travel enthusiast. With many years of experience trekking through Disney parks with her Family, Michelle has become an expert on navigating families through Disney. She also enjoys travel to most other destinations worldwide and when not writing about her experiences or teaching her children to drive, Michelle can be found chasing the family dog up rainbow mountain with her husband of over 25 years, Ben. You can follow Michelle on Twitter, @Rise7Up, for all of her latest writings.