JenSop: The Singing Traveler!

Idealist. Dreamer. Singer. Explorer.

Why Disney?

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“Why Disney?”

How many Disney fans haven’t been asked this question?  It seems that you will always have those people you run into that don’t get your love of Disney World.  Maybe they haven’t been there before.  Maybe they only went once as teenagers when they were “too cool” to let themselves like it.  Maybe they think it’s just for kids.  Whatever the reason, those of us who love this wonderful place are left baffled and confused as to why someone wouldn’t share our passion.

I figured I’d share my own reasons for loving this wonderful place called Walt Disney World.  Perhaps to preach to the choir, or maybe perhaps to even enlighten a few “doubters” out there.

1.  Why not?

So, I go to Disney every year.  What’s wrong with that?  Aren’t there people who go to the shore every summer?  Or what about those who rent a house in the mountains every year?  Or what about the people that take a Caribbean cruise every year?  How is going to Disney every year any different?  Some people like to lay on the beach for a straight week.  Some of us would go stir crazy after two days and need to have more activity.  For example, I remember a trip to the Outer Banks when I was in college.  I know some people love the Outer Banks and I respect their appreciation of it, but it was probably the most boring vacation I had ever had in my life.  I was so sick of sitting on the beach and I was scared to go too far into the water because I thought sharks would get me.

2.  Theatre!

As many of you know, I’m a singer.  It’s what I went to school for and what I have primarily chosen to do with my life.  I’ve been in over 30 productions of opera, operetta, and musical theatre.  I LOVE theatre!  Well, Disney is one giant interactive theatrical experience!  And I’m not just talking about the literal theatrical performances that happen on Disney stages.  I’m talking about the little details in every nook and cranny, on every ride, in every attraction.  Every where you go in Disney, it’s like being on an elaborate set of a wonderful show.  And each ride has a story!  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good roller coaster like the ones at Dorney Park or Six Flags.  But they’re just a barren track sticking up in the air.  At Disney, they create a storyline, a set, props – a FULL theatrical experience from start to finish.  Let’s take Expedition Everest in Disney’s Animal Kingdom for example.  Disney built a replica of Mount Everest right there in the park, and you ride a train into the mountains in search of the Yeti – only to have the Yeti find you first.  Not only do you experience a fun ride, but you are immersed in the story of it from the very moment you get in line.  Who else does that?

3. It’s affordable!

Many people think that Disney trips all cost a lot of money.  Wrong.  It’s probably one of the cheapest vacations you can take in this country.  Depending on where you stay and how long you go, you can go for very little money. I have DVC (Disney Vacation Club), which is Disney’s version of a time share.  Sure, there was a chunk of change to put down in the beginning, but I essentially have pre-paid lodgings at Disney until 2057, when my contract expires.  So when I set up a trip, I’m not having to think about paying for my lodging.  And even if I wasn’t DVC and wanted to go regularly without spending a lot, Disney has Value resorts that let you have the luxury of staying on property, without having to shell out a large amount of cash.  And with features like the dining plan and free transportation, many other expenses are easy to handle or non-existent.

4.  Food!

I love the food at Disney – there are SO many choices!  We are NOT talking typical amusement park food!  I mean, of course you can get that there too, but there are so many different things to try!  While at Disney, I avoid burgers like the plague.  I stick to the other restaurants.  My favorite restaurants feature Indian cuisine, Greek food, African fusion, Asian flavors, Pacific island flavors, and so much more!  I don’t eat out very much at home, but at Disney, the food is one of the stars.  And the restaurants have every bit as much detail as the attractions! And I always do the dining plan option, so I eat all these amazing meals at a very low cost.

5.  Nostalgia.

I’ve talked about nostalgia before in a different note.  It’s a powerful emotion.  I have tons of it.  I first visited Disney World when I was a little girl in the mid-1980’s.  That very first trip was so magical to me.  I don’t remember every moment, but I DO remember LOTS of moments.  My little life was changed and would never be the same.  After that first trip, our grandparents took my sister and I on several subsequent trips before I got to high school.

Before our second trip, my grandfather let me study the Disney book and maps to help in the planning and preparation.  I studied it all and memorized the maps.  I felt SO important when we entered the Magic Kingdom on that next trip and my grandparents asked me how to get to a certain ride or a certain restaurant. Mom-Mom did ALL the rides with us, as Pop-Pop’s heart condition prohibited him from riding many of the attractions.  But we still were all together most of the time, having a blast!

My grandfather passed away in 1996.  Those childhood trips are some of my best memories that I have with him.  I still cherish them so dearly.  Every time I go to Disney, I think of Pop-Pop and the wonderful times we had together in this magical place.

That emotional connection became even stronger when I was in high school, and our band marched in the parade in Magic Kingdom.  Here I was in my favorite place, marching down Main Street, with the castle straight ahead and people cheering all around us.  What a rush!  And I was in Disney with my friends!  It was so cool!

6.  Memories yet to come.

On every trip, you make more special memories.   I had a blast going with my parents and grandmother for an all-adults trip.  Daddy still talks about Soarin’.  (It’s now his favorite ride!)  I had an amazing girls-only trip with friends.  And I look forward to our big trip in 2012 when we get to give my nieces their first Disney trip.

So you see, I have many reasons why I love Disney so much.  It’s not because I have an obsession with Mickey Mouse – Mickey’s great and all, but he really has nothing to do with my love of Disney World.  I really don’t think ANY of the characters in the Disney lexicon have anything to do with my love of Disney World.  This place really stands alone in it’s own specialness.  I’ll keep going back.  I’ll enjoy it with my family and with my friends.

So, fellow Disney World fans, what’s YOUR reasons for loving it so much?  🙂

Author: JenSop

One of my favorite quotes is, "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." I guess I've been a dreamer all my life - I set my sights high and then I try to reach the sky. Some might call me a naive idealist, but that's just the way I am. I believe in always taking the high road, I believe in true love, and I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. If you put good out into the world, good will come back to you! Being the dreamer that I am, I pursued singing as my primary life's calling - I've got two degrees in classical voice under my belt, and I sing just about anything under the sun. I also love a good adventure. Over the past few years, I've done quite a bit of world traveling, and have even lived abroad for stretches at a time: mostly in Vienna (Austria) and Croatia. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and I became a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. (Seriously, I KNOW Disney - I've been going regularly since I was a little girl - and I LOVE it!) And with all my experience traveling and living in Europe, I'm becoming quite the specialist in that travel category as well. (And last year, I started working as a Tour Director in Central Europe!) As to the other juicy details of my life - I'm originally from Pennsylvania, I'm married to an awesome Croatian man named Miloš who is the BEST adventure partner a girl could ask for. (He's also an expert on knowing how to make me smile.) He's truly the love of my life! I've also had all kinds of other jobs along the way, besides singer and travel pro. (Which is pretty standard for those of us who went to school for music.) I've worked part time weekends as a Disney Princess look-alike for children's parties. I've been teaching for almost 20 years, and have lots of experience in retail and customer service. Oh, and I should also probably mention that I'm a huge Lord of the Rings/Star Trek nerd! :-) Let's all go along for an adventure, shall we?

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