My Thoughts on The Bucket List Family #30stays30days Challenge at Walt Disney World

Gee Kids

Earlier this week I shared a news story from The Bucket List Family, who concluded their #30stays30days challenge with a sweet surprise announcing that they’re expecting their third child. In case you don’t know, they’re the ones who spent thirty days at the Walt Disney World Resort sleeping in a different hotel each night.

As it turns out, many people online are completely annoyed by the entire thing; so much so that it’s blowing my mind and has left me compelled to share my own opinion about it.

The comments started rolling in almost immediately after I published the story. Folks were calling the whole thing a cheap publicity stunt while others said that the family is ‘rich’ and that Disney should’ve ‘chosen’ a different family to host; one who could never afford to make this happen on their own. Others are posting things like, ‘rich people keep getting stuff they don’t need for free.’

In my opinion, people who post these types of comments don’t seem to understand how a business works. This ‘challenge’ was not intended to be a free vacation for the Gee Family. This was work – and a lot of it if we’re being completely honest. Vlogging is A LOT of work. Being a ‘travel journalist’ is A LOT of work. You’re not sitting with your feet propped up on a desk eating bonbons while your nanny takes care of your kids. The finished products we see are the beautifully done videos of the family having fun in exotic and beautiful places on their YouTube channel. What you and I don’t see are the countless hours that are spent shooting and re-shooting video then sitting behind the computer editing video and photos.

Related: One Family Embarks on “30 Stays in 30 Days” at the Walt Disney World Resort

This family works their buns off doing what they do, and doing it well, I might add. So much so that Disney took notice of them and sought them out for their campaign. Why not? They’re a cute, young family and this is what they do for a living. Most businesses I know of have a marketing line item on their P&L with a budget allotted for it – use it by the end of the fiscal year or lose it.

Let’s be honest for another minute here; these guys look really good in front of the camera – all of them – and that, folks, is one of the biggest reasons why Disney reached out to them. Now, you may not think they’re good in front of the camera and that’s okay, you don’t have to. Not every family could do what they’re doing and do it well or we’d all be doing it. That’s what makes them successful. Being invited to partner with Disney on this project had everything to do with that. Let me tell you something else too; it’s not easy to be on camera sharing all of this stuff either. It’s a lot of work to wear a constant smile.

These people were [and still are] very successful entrepreneurs well before they were approached by Disney. They have a huge following on social media. Their YouTube channel has 128K followers and they have 824K followers on Instagram. Sure, they may have gained some followers from their #30stays30days at Walt Disney World, but they earned the majority of those followers on their own well before Disney ever approached them.

People are also mentioning that the family could certainly afford to pay for this trip on their own and that they should have completed this project on their own dime and then blogged/vlogged about it. Here’s the thing; that was not the point of this project or any of their other projects as a matter of fact. Like I mentioned above, this project was not intended to be a free family vacation. Disney reached out to them because they liked what they saw on the family’s social media accounts and felt that they were perfect for whatever it was that they were looking for. Listen, we don’t work in the marketing department at Disney, so we don’t really know what their exact needs were or how they as a company are benefiting from this project.

Some people are even saying that Disney should’ve picked a more deserving family to do this. Listen, those kiddos have grown up in front of a camera and they’re really great in front of one too. They say what’s on their mind and they’re not shy at all. In fact, they’re very well-spoken for their age, in my opinion, of course.

Now, let’s talk for a second about how their story began; a little history lesson if you will. Way back when, Garrett, the dad, created a mobile app with a couple of his college buddies. The app did very well and he eventually sold the tremendously successful business for a ton of money. You can read more of their financial story here. I really think the fact that the dad built a successful company and sold it for a profit is so cool. That doesn’t come easy. In fact, Jessica, the mom, talks about how she was the one who worked full-time while Garrett worked at the app he was building.

Their bloodline now is the people who follow their story, in turn, making them money on YouTube – probably a lot of it too. It’s crazy to me that people online are so incredibly bitter toward them for doing this. I’ll be [one of] the first to admit that I’m kind of envious that their kiddos are seeing the world at such a young age. The family seems really genuine to me – maybe I’m naive, but what I see is a nice family who legitimately worked their buns off to get to where they are; all while showing their kids the world.

One last point I want to touch on before I go. I’ve seen lots of folks comment on the family using the term, “bucket list.” For many people, a bucket list is simply a list of things one would like to do before they leave this world. Sometimes people with a bucket list are closer to the age of retirement, but the fact that this young family is tackling their bucket list while they’re young, healthy, and vibrant as successful entrepreneurs should be commended. I would’ve loved to be in a position to do what they’re doing in my late twenties when my kiddos were small.

If you don’t like the family and/or think they’re boring, don’t watch or follow them. It’s really just that simple. They live a charmed life, you say? YouTube, Instagram, Twitter – all those social media sites and many more – they’re free to use by anyone who wants to use them. What’s stopping you from becoming a travel journalist yourself? You want to live that so-called charmed life? Get after it then. What’s stopping you?

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*The information contained in this article represents the opinion of the author, and not necessarily the opinion of the DIS.

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