Disney has Ruined Me!


Yes, you read it correctly. Yes, I actually said that Disney has ruined me! You’re probably wondering if I am delusional, haven’t slept, or maybe just lost my mind. But no, I’m completely coherent. Disney did ruin me, and I’ll tell you how.

Thanks to Disney, I will probably never get to see half of the places in the world that I’ve wanted to visit. I have always wanted to see the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park, Las Vegas, Italy, and the list goes on and on. I had sort of a bucket list of places, if you will, that I said I’d love to go and explore. Will I go? No. Why? Because since I’ve been traveling to Disney, and taking my children there, there is no place else I can justify visiting!

Here’s my thought on that one. Like a lot of families, we can’t just drop everything and go on vacation. I wish that were the case, but we can’t. In order to venture out and travel, this requires time to save money and plan. Money being the most important part. So, the reason I can’t visit other locations is because there’s a little voice inside my head that says NOT to do that. That voice that says “wouldn’t you rather use that money and save for Disney?” And that voice is right. Darn it!!! Because I know how magical and fabulous WDW is, I can’t spend my money elsewhere. As you know, it’s expensive to go to Disney, even if you wait for special offers, it’s going to cost you. I just can’t fathom putting money aside to take my family anywhere else. See, Disney ruined me! I told you so.

Being that it’s a new year, even though the weather is still freezing here, I always start looking forward to the warm months ahead. Part of that is thinking about going on a trip. I used to love going to Traverse City here in MI. It’s about 4 1/2 hours from me, has a big beautiful beach on Grand Traverse Bay, and there is a lot to do there. It’s pricey though. I thought for a moment, that maybe since it’s closer to home, we could go for a long weekend. After contemplating, and running numbers, I thought NO WAY! That chunk of change could be put towards a Disney vacation, which is way better than going “Up North” as we say here. See? Ruined!

I have tried to change my way of thinking. On the drive home from Orlando the last time, we made stops in South Carolina, West Virginia, etc. The scenery was beautiful. It just so happened to be the weekend of the “World’s largest flea market” in Virginia, and the people at the Welcome Center told us to swing by and check it out, which we did. While at the Welcome Center, we pulled out brochures for Virginia Beach. The discussion then turned to, well, maybe on our next vacation, instead of Disney, we’ll go to the beach. Heck, it’s closer to home and probably a bit cheaper. Great intentions, right? Surprise, surprise….. we never went to Virginia Beach. I don’t even have to tell you the reason why, you already know!

So now you get a little more background on why I say Disney has ruined me for life. Walt Disney’s visions of his Magical Parks were without a doubt amazing. He knew what he was doing, and did it well. Years and years later, so many families are loyal to Walt’s creations, and try to get to the Parks as often as they can. Maybe I should blame my parents? They are the ones who first took me to WDW at the age of 6! See what they started? A lifetime of Disney memories had begun after that. I can’t count how many times I have gone to Disney since then, but I know it’s where I always want to go. It got even better once I had children of my own, and got to see Disney through their eyes. I remember clearly, when my son Andrew was 2, us standing near the train station at the Magic Kingdom. I was holding him up when “Wishes” began. The look of wonder on his face was priceless, and I began to cry. I’m getting choked up just thinking of that moment. That, my friends, is pure magic. It’s what makes my heart swell. Happiness like that makes me want to go back for more.

So, if Disney ruined me from being able to travel to other destinations, then so be it. For now, that’s where I love to go. Maybe someday when I’m older, I will be able to justify taking weekend trips to other places, and squeeze Disney in there too. Maybe I will be able to afford to travel to multiple places. For now, there is only one place that comes to mind when I think of getting away, and that’s Disney. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I bet some of you are “ruined” too.

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Michele Atwood is the Owner/Editor of The Main Street Mouse and it’s subsidiaries and author of the books “Moving to Main Street U.S.A.” “How Many Sleeps Till Disney?” and “How Many Sleeps Till Disneyland?” Michele also contributes Disney news to the Joe Kelley Morning Show on 107.3 WDBO in Orlando. She and her family made the move from Michigan to the Orlando area to pursue their Disney dreams. Michele is a life long Disney fan, and has two sons who have followed suit, each going on their first Disney trip before their first birthday’s. Part of the goal Michele has for The Main Street Mouse is not only to keep members informed, but to create somewhat of a Disney Family by relating to others through personal experiences and opinions. Also, Michele is making it a priority to share stories of inspiration and hope to other Disney Fans in an effort to share the Magic and hopefully make a difference in the lives of others. ~ I enjoy writing personal perspective blogs, doing TMSM Meet Ups for our readers, and keeping the constant interaction going with others, sharing the Disney Magic to people when they can’t be at their Happy Place.

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8 thoughts on “Disney has Ruined Me!

  • February 9, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    This rings true for our family as well. We have been going since 1995, a little over a year after we were married. I was inebriated, but decided to make a go of it the next year…. I bought a set of Mickey mouse ears, and was immediately hooked!
    I was a rookie police officer at the time, and Disney being the expensive habit that it is, so I got a part time job at the local Disney store, which allowed us to feed our habit. We went for 4 days the first time, and three years later, we were going 3x per year. We don’t do that anymore, but we bought a Hilton time share and now we spend a glorious two weeks there every summer. We love Disney, and our daughter loves it, too… which makes sense since she was there in the womb and had her first real visit at the age of nine months.

    Oh, and don’t worry about Las Vegas… That place is bloody awful.

  • February 9, 2014 at 5:04 am

    I’m really fortunate that my work requires that I travel across two hemispheres and as such take advantage of fantastic journeys to faraway places that I can’t imagine how I’d reach any other way. When I vacation though, you can bet that Disney experiences are going to be in the mix. This year, vacation time is going to be about five months, maybe a little longer, and I’ve got a trip to DLR, two trips to WDW, and several jaunts to Disneyland Paris (which will be my first time there! Any tips are very, very welcome). I’d really like to squeeze in a Disney cruise as well (best cruise line I’ve ever sailed with) but we’ll see about that. I understand the feeling very well for wanting more magic, more wonder, more joy and more unforgettable memories from my vacations, and quite frankly the rest of my life, so even when I’m not traveling to begin a Disney experience I make sure to bring the Disney magic I love with me; imagination, curiosity, smiles to everyone I meet, and plenty of humor. Take that trip to the Grand Canyon, Cindershella, and create your own magic there and everywhere else you go <3

  • February 9, 2014 at 2:35 am

    Disneyland is that way for me. Even when I go by myself, I feel the world around me melt away when I pass through those magical gates. I remember over the summer going with just the kids and watching Magical fireworks and just started crying. I was so overwhelmed thinking about the perfect day we had together as a family. No cell phones, no school, no Xbox, no iPads, no distractions. We talked, we laughed, we rode our favorite attractions and no one fought. It was absolutely Magical. And that is why I, like you, prefer to spend my money on Disney instead of other vacations. I want to make as many of those family memories as I can before they head off to college.

  • February 8, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    OMG this is exactly my way of thinking. Each year we talk about other places we would like to go but won’t because we can’t bear to give up a trip to Disney to do it. Most people just can’t understand why.

  • February 8, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    I truly know the feeling…. I have been going since I was 7, first time was 1973… it is truly my happy place. I have created a whole new generation of disney lovers… I remember driving down from Cleveland in our various campers in my youth… So many great memories… I still remember riding the monorail and seeing the Epcot ball being built …. We bought a DVC membership because my wide said I have never seen you so happy as when you are here… I still get the same sense of wonder…. I too have seen it in my girls eyes… How magical … I just made my reservations for two weeks at Xmas …. Sooooo looking forward to it! May try and get down for the food and wine festival again…

  • February 8, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    I can totally relate! We moved to NC 18 years ago from MN. For those first 13 years we traveled home or to the beaches here in NC. In November 2009 we took our daughter to Disney World for the first time. Totally ruined!!!! We have been back two more times, April 2011 and September 2012. We are currently planning/booked our fourth trip in August this year. I feel the same way about going anywhere else when the money could be used toward a Disney trip.

  • February 8, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    It is like I wrote this article myself! My parents used to take us to WDW a day here and a day there. This past Sept, my family of myself, my husband and 3 boys went and stayed at the resorts and visited the parks. A first for me! Now it is all I can dream of. I want to go back! But it is going to be a long time scrimping and saving to go back. Thankfully, my parents already took me to Vegas, Grand Canyon, etc. But I am ruined too!

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