Last week on the blog we launched the much anticipated ZADD Crew’s Must Do: #Foodmotivated Edition. Much thought and collaboration went into the making of this amazing list and it really got me thinking about how much I haven’t done at Walt Disney World in all my years traveling there. If this were a WDW version of “never have I ever,” I would be super sober and bored. I started to feel a little left out of all the things I’ve missed over all the years traveled there.
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change my previous Disney experiences for the world. Our family’s travel priorities were different back then. You see, when I was younger, we always went in the summertime and it was the same routine. We brought our own food sometimes, would eat some quick service meals here and there to save money, and tried to fit in all the rides we could in the smallest amount of time (thank the heavens above for FastPass+ now). Our travels were more focused on the rides and saving some money as opposed to staying at resorts and enjoying a lot of the food offered. We were there for more of the ride and parade experiences.
I had never stayed “on the resort,” as they say until I got married. Lucky enough, I married into a Disney family. In fact, My husband Doug’s first visit to WDW was in the womb. His family would go every couple of years growing up, a lot like mine. It was actually one of the things we loved about each other and bonded over. I mean, who wouldn’t love a man that can, and will, sing Mulan’s “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” at the top of his lungs at any time. There’s also something to be said about someone who knows the true pain of standing in line to ride “Space Mountain” or “Splash Mountain” before FastPasses and the feeling of seeing “Cinderella’s Castle” each time you go to Magic Kingdom. That certainly is a man who put a ring on it, and I was oh so glad to oblige.
In the beginning, we would sit around and talk as a family (Doug’s) about things we loved and missed at the parks. I would find myself saying “I’ve never done that,” or “I don’t remember that at all” more than I wanted to admit. I would start to make a list of things I needed to do the next time we went (maybe this was the first spark for the #Foodmotivated list). One of the first things I had to do was get my first pair of ears. What I mean by that is buying my first pair of official Mickey Mouse ears with my name embroidered on them (i.e., the ones you always see in the ads that the kids are usually wearing). This was a tradition my sister-in-law implemented for her kids just as Doug’s mother did for them and it was time for me to join the club. Needless to say, over the past 6 years, I have felt like I was experiencing WDW for the first time each time we’ve gone.
I felt like I was initiated into the most important club of my life, the Mickey Mouse Club, duh! It was little things like this that made me super excited to go each time. Over the past couple of years, Doug and I decided to try being annual pass holders. I never in my life thought I would ever be one because we lived in South Carolina. After looking at the numbers, we realized it was well worth it. We knew we would be going multiple times in that year-long period. I almost cried when hitting purchase on those bad boys for the first time, making our future adventures that much more concrete.
Even something like staying in the resort was a huge deal for me. I had no idea the “whole new world” that was out there and the extent of Disney’s property in Florida (great, now I’m singing “A Whole New World” and it will be stuck in my head all day). I still haven’t seen a good chunk of it.
Having said all this, it’s almost a game of “never have I ever” Disney edition. As I’ve become friends with more Disney folks and, more or less, stalked some people on Instagram, I realize just how much more there is to do, see, and eat. I once read an article stating that you could visit WDW every day for a year and still not do all there is to do (I think I mentioned this before). This is why I get irritated at people who don’t understand why we keep going back and say it’s mostly for kids (insert me rolling my eyes here). Oh contraire, my friend. Each time we go, I have plenty of things on my list to do and now, with the addition of the #Foodmotivated list, to eat (I cannot wait to get moving on this list, by the way).
Even now, some of my new Disney friends will talk about things I’m almost embarrassed to say I haven’t done yet or even heard of. I have become way more ok with it because it means we have tons of reasons to keep going back. In 2016 I was blessed to go at Halloween time, which I had never seen before. Y’all, It was so, so magical and I’ll have some fun things to say about that soon enough on the blog but it makes me even more excited to plan a trip for Christmas time.
All in all, feeling like a newbie all these years later is proving to be quite fun! I can’t wait to create more ZADD Crew Must Do lists as we prepare for our next round of trips. In the meantime, I would love to hear from more of you on your own “newbie” experiences as a non-child and what you now hold in your heart as a “must do” for Disney parks and resorts. I will share my own with you in return. Stay tuned!