Like many folks who follow the DIS, I’m known by my friends and colleagues as a Disney “Expert.” While I’ve always loved and appreciated Disney World, my status as Disney “Expert” is a fairly recent phenomenon. There are several factors that brought me to this status today.
Starting a new job with a longer commute
A few years ago, I started a new job that increased my commute from 25 minutes to about an hour (each way). With all this extra time, I needed something to distract me from the New Jersey traffic. So, I started to listen to some different podcasts. Pretty soon I found The DIS Unplugged, and I was hooked. I even found the Disneyland Edition, which helped me plan a Christmas 2013 trip (our first family Disneyland trip)!
Since I first started listening in 2012, the DIS has added lots of additional content, such as the Universal Edition, DIS POP and the Dreams Unlimited Travel Show. These have all become staples on my long trips to and from work, and my Disney (and Universal Studios) “expertise” increased!
Becoming a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Member
Ever since 2003, I had been lightly considering purchasing DVC. That was the year my future husband and myself sat through a sales pitch for DVC. But, it was not meant to be. We had only been dating about a year, and so we didn’t feel it was logical to buy real estate together. Fast forward to 2014 (10 yrs of marriage and 2 kids later), my husband I decided to buy some points at the Beach Club Villas on the resale market. Coincidentally, we believe that this was the very property that was being pitched to us back in 2003.
The contract that we bought came with some unused/banked points that would expire within a few months. So, we took our very first “spontaneous” trip to Disney World during a long weekend in January 2015. We stayed in a 2 bedroom, just us and our kids, in the Saratoga Springs Resort. We got to experience a new resort, and a totally different way of staying at Disney World – with lots of SPACE! Since that time, we have stayed at the Bay Lake Tower, Beach Club Villas, Boardwalk Villas, and Animal Kingdom Lodge. Some of these trips were short, and some were long. All of them have contributed to my knowledge of Disney World!
Becoming an Annual Passholder
Never would I have imagined that, living in New Jersey, I would have an annual pass to Walt Disney World. But once we started traveling to Disney World more often, it became a “no-brainer”. And after purchasing the annual pass, it became easier to justify a quick trip to Disney World, staying on-site through DVC and leveraging our airline miles that we had accumulated through other travel. We have taken a bonus trip during Spring Break, as well as a 4-hour trip to Epcot while waiting for our plane to depart after a recent Disney Cruise.
Finding the DIS Boards
While I admit that I’m not a very active member, The DIS Boards have been incredibly helpful in planning different trips. From making the most of a trip to Disneyland during the busiest time of the year, to figuring out how to get from Guangzhou, China to Hong Kong for a quick trip to Hong Kong Disneyland, the DIS Boards have never let me down. Whenever I have a question, or if I want to know what the latest news (or rumors) are going on, I can hop over the DIS Boards.
Embracing the “Me-cation”
You might be wondering, what’s a “me-cation” (pronounced mē-ˈkā-shən)? Well, a “me-cation” is a vacation you take all by yourself, without any family, and potentially without any friends. It’s a time to just get away from it all for a couple of days. I took a “me-cation” in June 2015 and went to the Star Wars Weekend celebration at Hollywood Studios. I had an amazing time, at an event that my kids would not have appreciated.
My husband and I now have a long-standing tradition of “me-cations” whenever one of us can get away (the other one watches the kids). It helps us to get our “Disney fix” without paying for, and worrying about, the whole family in Disney World. These quick, usually spontaneous trips, have been key to adding to my Disney knowledge. Of course, we still take our family vacations and our “we-cations” (just the two of us) as often as possible as well.
Even for a Disney “Expert,” there is always something new to discover and learn about Walt Disney World. For example, in the Fall I’m planning to take the Keys to the Kingdom Tour, where I’m sure I will learn lots of new things and also finally experience the underground Ultilidors for myself.
What about you? Have you been identified as a Disney “Expert”? What kinds of experiences have contributed to your status?