Welcome to Stress Free Mickey! So why another Disney Blog? What’s unique about us is that we are four sisters with four opinions and perspectives. Throughout the blog you will notice four different colours which represents our four different voices. When you see black, it is Erica, red is Heidi, yellow is Elisia and grey is for Danielle.See what we did there? (…Mickey Mouse colours…) We each have strong opinions (that’s an understatement), and unique knowledge about all things Disney.
The Love Affair Begins
We’ve been going to Disneyland since 1988 (I was 4 the first time we went and have memories from that trip). But my most memorable trip by far is our trip in 1992 when our family, our grandparents, and our aunt and uncle with their 4 kids, took 3 weeks to drive from Vancouver, BC, Canada, down the Pacific Coast to Disneyland. Our mom did such a good job of making that trip, and every one since then, memorable. A lot of our tips and tricks have come from her.
I was only four and picking my nose in the following picture, so I don’t really remember a lot about that trip. But it’s super fun that this moment has been immortalized on the internet for all to see. Whereas I was only nine months in ‘92, but it was about the whole family, so all I have are videos and pictures, and it’s still super fun! Don’t let a big age gap between kids stop you from going, because you don’t want your oldest kids to outgrow the magic! In our books, you’re never too old for Disney. There is something special about seeing the wonder in a child’s eyes when they encounter the magic that is Disney.
A lot has changed since ’92, as you can see:
Top row (left to right): Dad (Tom), Mom (Lottie), Danielle, Grandpa (John), Grandma (Kay), Auntie (Gwen), Uncle (Fred)
Front row (left to right): Elisia, Heidi, Erica, cousin (Dana), cousin (Julie), cousin (Andrew) and cousin (Matthew).
Note the super-fly matching, home-stitched outfits.
Our family went every 3-4 years. It was a big deal. A HUGE deal, really. We would have family meetings and talk about how many days we would go, and what we wanted to do, and where we would stay. We had a Disney piggy bank and would put in any spare change we could find. And we even suckered my grandparents into donating to the cause whenever we could. Since that time, we’ve all been married and now have children ranging from newborn to age eleven.
We’ve learned a LOT of things along the way… and we get asked on a weekly basis about tips for Disney: where to stay, drive or fly, what to pack, what to bring into the park… so much so that I have a document sitting on my desktop of our best tips. We still do trips every 3-4 years together and bring all of our families. We’ve also done Disney separately.
Another thing we always get asked is “You’re going to Disney AGAIN?!”. Yes. Yes we are. For us it’s so much more than a destination. It’s our family happy place. Once you get the Disney bug, it’s honestly hard to shake. One of my favourite things about returning to Disney time and time again is that it’s constantly evolving. And yet it’s also the same.
There is always a new attraction, a new show, new restaurants and new things to explore and experience. But the old familiar feeling stays the same; walking down Main Street, the smell of Pirates of the Caribbean, the happy tune of Splash Mountain… it’s contagious. There just aren’t that many places to travel that hit such a wide range of people. Sure, there is waiting around on rides, but we take that time as a family to engage with each other, play games, and relax. It’s all part of the experience. All I have to do is start hearing that music coming through the speakers to get a huge grin on my face and that childish excitement.
A couple years ago we went to Walt Disney World for the first time! And it was such an amazing time. We’ve done Disneyland more than 20 times, easy, but that was a first for us. (Update: we recently counted and discovered we’ve had almost 80 trips combined!!!!) And I (being the Type A personality that I am) spent hours and hours scrolling the internet for tips… and I still felt unsure and unprepared until we finally went.
There’s a lot of information out there… a lot of it is personal preference and opinion. Take or leave ours, but we thought we’d share our experiences with all of you. A lot of our tips are for making Disney affordable (hence the name stress-free). We like to go with quantity over quality. Some people want to go one time and budget isn’t an issue. There will still be tips for that crowd, but our goal is to get you there! Hopefully we can provide some awesome information that makes it easier for you to get there sooner, and stress less once you are there.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. When you click on a product link it in no way affects the cost of the product, but we get a small commission directly from Amazon. All of the products recommended are things that we personally would use or have used. We also use ads throughout to help cover the costs of running this blog. All of the opinions found here on Stress Free Mickey are those of our own and are not affiliated in any way with The Walt Disney Company. The content is created by the four of us, unless specifically noted otherwise. We so appreciate your support, thank you!
- What age is best?
- How do I go about booking?
- Where do I buy tickets?
- What are the different passes?
- How to save money?
- And many more!
Thanks for coming! We hope this answers the question, “Why another Disney blog?”
Have a magical day, and stay tuned for more!
Erica, Heidi, Elisia and Danielle
This is great. Looking forward to more
No one can say the Gardner families don’t know how to have fun! Love the pictures, girls.
Brilliant! Love how the colours separate your voices. Your years of experience and tips have helped so many, thanks for taking the time to share them with the world!
From your guys’ trip back in ’92 and on, I have ALWAYS loved hearing the stories, seeing the pictures, feeling the excitement of emotions through you girls… I have lived those trips vicariously, and one day – fingers crossed – I’ll be able to go with my family, and look forward to utilizing every tip you have to offer 😉
Great idea for the site, and love the separate colours for each of you <3
Love it, I enjoy hearing your individual points of view through the text – keep it up ladies! xo