Let’s start by introducing ourselves. You’ll notice different colours. Four sisters, four colours. When you read black, you’re hearing from Erica, the eldest. Red is Heidi, second born. Then comes Elisia as yellow. And Danielle, the fourth, and final sister is grey. 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. 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, so take or leave ours, but we thought we’d start sharing 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!
Some topics you can look forward to reading are:
- 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! Have a magical day, and stay tuned for more!
Erica, Heidi, Elisia and Danielle