Going to Disney…. and Not Taking it for Granted


As you know, we are new Florida residents, we’ve only been here two years. Before that, 18 hours away from here in Michigan, we were Disney crazed fans who were always planning and plotting our next trip to Walt Disney World. Life happens, and sometimes there was a LONG pause in between trips, and all we had were photos and videos to remind us of what we were missing. There were times that we had Disney vacations booked, and had to cancel for one reason or another, and it was always a huge disappointment. One year I had to have knee reconstruction surgery, and the trip was cancelled somewhat at the last minute. Oh I remember how bad that felt. On the plus side, when we booked our Disney trips, we always thought of fun ways to tell the kids, “We’re going to Disney World!” I loved seeing their faces, and how excited they were. The trips were great, and a lot of special memories were made. We always loaded the car FULL of souvenirs, because we never knew when we’d be back to our Happy Place, because as I said, life happens and there were no guarantees. Well, that’s all been reversed now.

Nowadays, we do to Disney World much more often obviously, because we live so close to the Parks. Instead of planning to go to Disney, we plan and save money to go back home to Michigan to see our family and friends. Our “vacation” this summer was Michigan, which sounds funny because that’s not someplace we think of as a vacation spot, but the people I love most are there. Parents, my Grandma, Brother, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Friends…… I need to see them every so often, it’s important and I miss them so much. But still, it’s all reversed. So how is Disney “home” for real now? Truthfully, it’s all still very surreal. While driving to get my older son from school last week, I thought about how I still can’t believe we live here, that I was brave enough to make the move, that my kids basically go to school at Disney. It’s like it’s not real, hard to explain, but I’m thankful.

After our trip to Michigan, we headed to the Magic Kingdom to meet up with friends for the day. We haven’t been there in a couple of weeks, so I was excited to go. When we got onto Main Street, and saw the Castle, my husband got my attention. He said “can you believe we actually live here and get to see this all the time?” I replied, “actually, no, I still can’t believe it.” That’s a good thing if you ask me. The magic of Disney is something that really shouldn’t be taken for granted. I know how blessed we are that we live so close to WDW. Sure, we can’t afford to go nuts and buy a ton of souvenirs or eat at fancy restaurants now, after all, it’s expensive and we’re not on vacation anymore. But what we CAN do is on a Saturday, go for a walk through the Magic Kingdom or other park, go on some rides and watch some fireworks. It’s not about buying things or eating everything in sight, it’s family time, and more affordable. I remind my boys all the time too, how blessed we are that we have annual passes and can visit Disney much more often that before. Our group was talking about that yesterday too, our friends the Smoot’s remind their kids how lucky there are too. Again, Disney shouldn’t be taken for granted.

So, even though we live close to Disney, we appreciate it. I remind myself all the time how things used to be and how sad we were when we couldn’t visit our Happy Place. I remember how I used to get teary eyed on my last trip to the Magic Kingdom before heading back to Michigan. Now, I cry when I leave Michigan to come back to Florida! Funny how things change. As we were leaving the park yesterday afternoon, I looked around at the Halloween decorations and the buzz on Main Street, and felt thankful. We stopped by the Roy and Minnie bench, and I remembered how cool it was the first time I saw that. Disney is magic, it’s a gift that Walt gave to the world, and I for one will always be thankful and never take that for granted. ~M


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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.

Michele has 6610 posts and counting. See all posts by Michele


2 thoughts on “Going to Disney…. and Not Taking it for Granted

  • mm
    August 20, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Thank you for sharing your story Monica, and thank you for following along, it’s very much appreciated! ~M

  • August 19, 2016 at 3:45 am

    Hi Michele, I look forward to the TMSM on Facebook all the time you have such great info. On the story Going to Disney (not taking it for Granted) as I was reading it I to am a new Florida resident in November it will be 1 year. I also move here from Michigan, I am a spouse of a retired military member our first base was at Eglin AFB in Florida (1983-1985). We attempted several times to drive to Disney World but with a child it felt like forever with the drive, so never made here. As our daughter was growing up in other states or countries we would watch Mickey Mouse club or movies, and she would ask her dad can we go to the place with the castle and Mickey Mouse. He felt so bad and tell her not now we can’t afford it, but when you grow up you can go their and get married their. That seemed to be a good answer for her, she grew up went to college meet a wonder guy in college. Husband retired In 2003 from military we moved back to Michigan still never went to WDW. I believed it was 2008 was my daughter first WDW trip with her boyfriend from college. After that she was hooked, in October 2010 her boyfriend asked her dad for permission to marry her. He surprised her with a trip to WDW proposed to her at the Grand Floridan under the fire works. She called me to tell me the news I was so happy for her she said it was so magical she felt like a princess. They came back to Michigan to set the date, not very much time it was in September 2011. We got the phone call with the date and location Walt Disney World, her dad said ok but why their. Her reply was because we never went their as a family and you said I can get married their so I want to get married their, my husband laughed and goes man I thought she would forget about that promise, ok so what needs to be done. Well in May we are gonna go meet the wedding planner, set everything up for September and do a marathon (Everest Challenge) also mom need to come with us for the planning. That was my first time and I was hooked since 2010 until June 2015 I have been to WDW 6 times. In August 2015 my husband passed away, my oldest son (who lives in Orlando) came to Michigan to move me with him. Because my husband plans was for us to moved to Florida in December 2015 to start a New Year (2016) where we will be happy. As my husband said you are in the car you see the signs for Disney World and you get this big smile on your face,you walk in the parks and you are a kid again. Since I move here in November I have had family and friends come from Michigan to go to Disney World. I have a annual pass and have gone to the park myself over 25 times and you don’t need to spend a lot of money on souvenirs or food. I take $20.00 and be at the park for 7 hrs I alway get popcorn and a drink, and I still walk in to the parks with a big smile on my face. In June I went back to Michigan for 6 weeks I had a nice visit with my family and friends but was excited to get back home. As you said Going To Disney: Don’t Take It For Granted, I know I Won’t Because Disney World Is My Happy Place. So again thank you for all you do with the TMSM .
    Thank you Monica R

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