Welcome to the first stop on our Disney Friends Blog Hop!
Since we’ve started in July 2018, we’ve been beyond pleased to develop friendships and relationships with other Disney fans. If you had asked me 6 months ago if I thought I would’ve met up with friends we met through Instagram at WDW, I would’ve thought you were crazy. And yet we’ve found incredible relationships. The coolest thing about the Disney community is there is room for everyone! This blog hop is all about getting to know us bloggers and why we do what we do.
When you’re done reading this blog, click on the “next” button at the bottom to make your way through the loop.
Stress Free Mickey
Let’s start by introducing ourselves. When you’re reading, 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? We each have strong opinions (that’s an understatement), and unique knowledge about all things Disney. As you follow this journey with us, we hope you can relate to at least one out of the four of us.
I am the oldest of the sisters, and have 3 daughters. Audrey (11), Addie (almost 9) and Lexie (just turned 6). Before I was married we went as a family every 3-4 years to Disney. Once Dan and I were married we often had the chance to go to Disney annually, whether with the family, or with work opportunities. My husband is the Generational Pastor at our church, and we’ve had the great privilege of being to Disney a lot because of work. We have driven to Mexico a lot over the years and on the way home we always plan to have a team building day in the park… and a few leadership conferences have been near Disney as well! I am an A-type personality and love lists, so here are all of the times I’ve been to Disney (21 as far as I can count):
Whole family trips (with my parents and sisters):
1988, 1992, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2013, 2016 (WDW!)
Individual family trips (with Dan and our girls… and friends!):
2010, 2011, 2012, 2017
2008, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017
Anniversary trip to WDW:
I have been to Disney a total of 21 trips, many of those with my husband and kids. My husband and I have been married since 2005. We have a daughter Ava, born in 2008, and a son Evan, born 2011. We have basically gone every year since we had our daughter! It’s no surprise that our kids are just as crazy about Disney as we are. I believe that Disney isn’t just a destination, it’s a way of life. I love Disney crafting, including DIY ears, shirts… you name it, I’ve probably made it! I love recreating the foods we have eaten in the park once we get home. It’s a way of keeping the magic alive for me. I could talk about Disney for hours. It’s truly one of my favourite things!
I’ve been a total of 23 times. It’s been a mix of large family, individual family, graduation, birthday, band, youth group and missions trips. I feel like there aren’t many places that suit such a wide range of ages, so when my husband and I get to talking about where to go on vacation, my default is Disney! I’m a high school teacher currently teaching a grab bag of home ec and humanities. My husband and I have been married for nine years, and we have two boys.
Oh gosh, I can’t even remember all of the times, but let me think…. I think my count is 18. Mostly with the whole family, and then for missions trips. I did one trip with my best friend, and then two with my husband, one of which included our daughter who was just 13 months when we went. It is seriously my happy place; if I haven’t been for a while I get that Disney itch. Sadly, we all have to come back to reality sometime. I personally keep the memories alive by painting shoes or canvases for myself and others (with a Disney movie playing while I do this obviously!).
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 four kids, took three 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:
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 crowds, line ups, and waiting around, 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 amazing. 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.
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! Planning a vacation shouldn’t be a stressful experience, and the anticipation leading up to your vacation should be part of the fun. We look forward to helping you plan your Disney trip whether it’s your first one, or our fiftieth one.
1) What age is best?
2) How do I go about booking?
Check out: Booking Your Trip to Disneyland
3) What are the different passes? Where can I find the best price?
Check the answer out here: Everything You Need to Know About Disneyland Passes
4) What’s Disneyland like at Christmas?
Check out: Disneyland at Christmas
5) How can we save money?
We’ve got you covered… Operation Food Budget: Disneyland
6) How do I do Disneyland with baby’s or toddlers?
Take a look at Surprise Disneyland Trip with Toddlers, July 2018
7) I want to plan a trip to Walt Disney World, but I don’t even know where to start!
Thanks for coming! We hope our blog will keep you coming back again and again.
Have a magical day, and stay tuned for more!
Don’t forget to check out the other blog posts in our loop!
For all of our friends posts, here’s the complete list:
Erica, Heidi, Elisia and Danielle