JenSop: The Singing Travel Pro!

Idealist. Dreamer. Singer. Explorer.

Counting down the days to Disney – new experiences and bittersweet nostalgia.

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With my Disney trip getting ever closer, I just can’t control my excitement about this trip! It’s all I seem to think about anymore! I have a hook on my bedroom door full of potential cute outfits for my trip. I have a drawer full of travel size goodies just waiting to be packed, and I bought a new travel make-up bag to take all my favorite essentials. Then there’s that new video recorder that I can’t wait to try out at Disney!

Some may wonder how I can still get so excited about a place that I’ve been to so often. But don’t we all have our “favorites” in all kinds of categories? Music, restaurants, sports teams. Just because we experience them often, it doesn’t lessen their appeal to us. For example, I’ve been listening to Enya for almost as long as I’ve been visiting Disney World. But I never get tired of her music. Her albums are regular play lists on my iPod and are a wonderful source of relaxation and comfort to me. I’m a big fan of Red Lobster, but I certainly haven’t stopped going just because I’ve already tried lobster and I don’t need to do it again. (Haha!) I don’t really like sports, but it certainly seems that there are many people out there who don’t ever tire of their favorite teams and have the same excitement every season.

This is how I feel about Disney. I have my all-time favorite things to do and can’t wait to do them! I can’t wait to feel that rush of adrenaline when you free fall on Tower of Terror, or the exhilaration of feeling like you’re hang-gliding over California on Soarin’. Or hearing the music that plays in the background at the Swiss Family Treehouse (Swisskapolka), which instantly takes me back to being 9 years old again. Or my favorite part on Pirates of the Caribbean right before you go over the falls and that skeleton pirate is steering the ship through the storms – you can feel the wind blowing and you hear the familiar “dead men tell no tales…” echoing along in the background. Or the feeling you get when you enter Magic Kingdom and you’re standing on Main Street with Cinderella Castle down the street in front of you. The whole rest of the world and it’s problems just melt away.

I’ve posted before about “Why Disney” and the reasons I like to go. But I wanted to take a moment to elaborate a bit about the nostalgia factor.

I was so fortunate as a kid to be able to go on multiple trips to Disney World. Our grandparents took my sister and myself regularly, and I just can’t tell you how much those memories mean to me. That first trip changed my life, but I still remember my second trip especially. Pop-Pop had let me help with the planning and I (being the nerdy kid I was) memorized the entire Magic Kingdom map and EVERYTHING on it. You name it, I knew where it was. When we stepped into the Magic Kingdom for the first time on that trip, we went in without a map and my grandparents let me lead the way to each ride, restaurant, and bathroom. Wow – I felt so important.

I was lucky to have such wonderful times with my grandparents and I was especially close to my grandfather. I really think he’d be over the moon to know that one of my jobs now is to help people plan Disney trips. (He was also my BIGGEST supporter in the whole entire world when it came to my singing, which I am eternally grateful for.) I think of Pop-Pop every time I go back to Disney World. I wish he was still here to share it with us.

But when I’m thinking of Pop-Pop while at Disney, I’m not overcome with sadness at all. My memories are of joy and happiness. And it’s joy and happiness that radiate around me when I’m in Disney. Maybe Pop-Pop really is tagging along with me the whole time, and I just don’t know it! 🙂

Now, I did mention new experiences in my title, right? Right! I have a few new experiences planned for this trip – the most exciting being dinner at Victoria and Albert’s. For those who don’t know, V&A’s is central Florida’s ONLY 5 Diamond Restaurant. It’s located in the Grand Floridian resort and is said to serve the most amazing food you will ever eat in your entire life. Rest assured, my trip report this time around will also include tons of pics of my food at V&A’s!  I’m also trying out some other new-to-me restaurants on this trip. The new Hacienda de San Angel just opened at the end of last year outside the Mexico pavilion in Epcot, and I can’t wait to try it! I’m also trying out Yachtsman Steakhouse and Fulton’s Crab House. (If you haven’t figured it out already, food is a big part of my trips!)

And who knows what kind of veterinary visits I’ll be able to catch in Animal Kingdom on this trip!

New experiences and nostalgia – that’s what Disney is to me. 🙂

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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 this year, I've 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 engaged 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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