|Our favorite character is Stitch, |
but the kids love Mickey too!
Warning: This post may get a little emotional.
Some of you may know that I'm a small business owner, specifically I am an independent consultant with Passion Parties. To tell you a general overview of what I do, I work with women, men, and couples regarding sexual health, intimacy, and relationships. Additionally, I work with an amazing group of men and women on my team, Team Bed Rock, to grow professionally, emotionally, achieve financial freedom, and development. I am proud to say that I recently celebrated my third anniversary this past June - so to say that I love what I do, is quite the understatement. In this post, when I refer to a "party", this is work for me - I facilitate entertaining and educational parties for men, women, and couples. And not to brag, but my customers and guests find me to be a riot - I make them laugh till their sides hurt.
I was at a party last night with a super fun group of ladies, and was sitting outside chatting with some of them about kids, families, and then Disney Parks, specifically Disney World. I was sharing my excitement that I only had 31 days until my next trip. One of the ladies had attended a party earlier in the year when I was preparing for my May trip with all the Hommels - we took seven Hommels with us to Disney World this past May as a family reunion. This of course brought about the discussion of how many people had never been to a Disney Park before.
This made me so sad, because Disney is such an amazing experience for kids and for parents. So for those of who have not heard my Disney story, I'm going to share it with you now. Today's post will probably be a bit long, emotional, and sad to say there will be few if any travel and planning tips.
My First Disney Trip:
My first Disney trip was when I was 4 or 5 years old, I'm sad to say I do not remember much about it. But the memories I have are very precious to me. That was the last trip I clearly remember my father, who shortly after divorced from my mother, and moved several states away. After that trip, I saw my father a handful of times, the last and most recent being my Senior year of high school, which has been more than 10 years now.
My Next Disney Trips - Sans Kids:
Ironically, my husband and I decided to visit Disney World for our Honeymoon. Oh, if I knew then what I know now, I would have made the most of that seven day trip. I say ironically, because his previous girlfriend was a huge Disney addict like me, although not a planner like at all. He hopped from one Disney addict to another, poor man. ;-)
A year later, we visited Disneyland for our one year anniversary and my 21st birthday - it was an awesome long weekend and very special for us. But, it was expensive - we stayed at the Grand Californian and had park hopper passes for three or four days. A month later, we discovered we had made a very special souveniour from our trip, our oldest son Paul. By this time, Disney Parks had really earned a special place in our hearts and we looked forward to bringing our son, or kids to Disneyland in the future.
So fast forward about five years, we have two amazing kids, Paul and Anya, and live about four hours away from Disneyland. Our son had just started kindergarten and we had Disney fever - we were worried the perfect age to take him would come and go and we'd miss it. So we set the goal to save up the money needed to visit Disneyland at the end of kindergarten. I began saving money and even went back to work to help out with financial goal to earn the money needed. Sadly, I lost my job and was at a loss how best to save up this money needed for the trip. Our seven year anniversary was coming up, and I decided to host a Passion Party to earn some free products for our anniversary, especially since at the time - I just could not afford to go out and buy a bunch of stuff for our anniversary. I hosted this party and was really surprised at how many people attended and bought stuff from my party. I looked over the kit needed to start the business and decided I was going to give it a go.
My first month was a flop - I hosted one party, and it had two people show up. However, the next month went really well and set me on my way. Shortly after Christmas, after being in the business for only eight short months, my husband began interviewing with other companies and felt confident that we were about to do a cross country move due to an amazing job offer. This meant - no Disneyland for the kids. So I booked up my January calendar and worked super hard for two weeks and got the cash together for a hotel, tickets, and money for food, spending, etc. I bought the tickets and we hit the road early February. The kids' first visit was so magical - I always get teary eyed thinking about it. Paul and Anya were at the perfect age, they thought all the cast members in costume were the real characters. We got lucky with no lines that weekend, perfect weather, and just a wonderful, amazing experience. We spent three days at Disneyland, and one day at the beach in San Diego. During this trip, my husband received the call that we were indeed moving to South Carolina - in three weeks.
It was this first Disney trip with the kids that made my business so real and precious to me. Whenever I'd pack up for a party, I saw Mickey ears and knew where the business would take me.
Another Disney Trip:
We returned to Disneyland a year later for my mother and father in law's vow renewal, we had a wonderful trip - seeing family we hadn't seen in a few years, and the kids loved the visit. After returning, Steve was invited to his fraternity's convention that was being held in Orlando, FL. We had never taken the kids to Disney World before, and it had been nine years since we had been, so we jumped at the chance to visit.
This was the first trip I began to seriously plan as I would be alone in the parks with Paul - now 7, and Anya - now 6. Steve would be at his convention during the day, and be rejoining us at the Pop Century resort. I also want to share here, about Disney packages. I knew from previous visits how expensive eating in the parks could be, but also knew that it would be a pain to travel off and on property for food. This is when I learned about Dining Packages. After receiving the Disney Planning DVD, I had my heart set on taking my kids to the Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort where they could watch the animals from their rooms. I began reviewing the Disney website and knew I would need $1600 for five days at Pop Century Resort (value resort - the Animal Kingdom Lodge rooms began at $500 a night), tickets (I opted out of park hopping this time as it was another fee), and the mid tier dining plan package. So I got my behind in gear and generated the money in a month to pay for everything cash. However, I knew I'd still need more money for spending and for Steve to spend during his convention, gas, etc. So after I had paid for the package, I still needed to save money for the trip itself.
The night before, we packed the car up, filled the cooler, and was all set to hit the road the next morning. I took a sleeping pill to make sure I went to bed early since I was the driver. Both Steve and I woke up at 2 AM and could not go back to sleep - so we loaded up two sleeping munchkins and hit the road. We arrived to Disney World bright and early that morning, and I will admit I cried when we passed the Welcome sign. Armed with information, I picked up my room keys and we began our trip.
Tip: Take pictures of your kids everyday at the beginning of the day. If you get separated, you will have the most up to date picture. Even better, have a park photographer take the picture so it can be easily spread throughout cast members if need be.
It was at the end of this trip that we bought into the Disney Vacation Club. Yep, you guessed it - I cried. I cried because this was the reason I became a Passion Parties' consultant two years prior - to take my kids on amazing and memorable trips.
Disney Vacation Club:
Our first visit to a Disney resort after buying into Disney Vacation Club was to Hilton Head Resort - it was a short trip, just two days over Easter weekend, but the kids had a wonderful time. Twenty-five days later, we hit the road with a total of 11 Hommels - my husband's twin brother and his family from Iowa, father and mother in law from Mississippi, and my husband's oldest brother who still lives in Nevada. Our kids got to see their uncles, aunt, cousins, and grandparents and share their Disney love with everyone.
|IA and MS Hommels|
And of course, the rooms were a huge step up from the value resorts. We stayed in a two bedroom villa at Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, Kidani Village with a Savannah View. That means, we were able to walk out onto a balcony from either of the bedrooms or the living room, and watch zebras, giraffes, and more eat and walk about. My earlier dream to stay there with my kids had become a reality. Yes, I cried again when I entered the room.
During this visit, my best friend, soulmate, and husband and I celebrated our ten year anniversary. We ended up just where we began ten years prior - in Disney World and so in love. It was wonderful to be in the park with him this time and share honeymoon memories with our kids. The in-laws took our munckins for a night so we could have a special date. We headed over to Epcot to have dinner and walk around the World.
While we did not eat at the same resturant we ate at 10 years prior, we did end up at La Hacienda (in Mexico). It was very romantic and due to the lateness of our reservation, we were able to watch Epcot's fireworks' show - IllumaNations, from our table.
So Here We Are . . .
So here we are, three years after becoming a Passion Parties' consultant, ten years after my first trip with my husband, and getting ready to head back. Some of our most precious memories are Disney related in one way or another, directly or indirectly. And it brings me back to my conversation with the ladies at my party last night who had never been to a Disney Park.
It's not outside anyone's grasp - you can get there and should go, if only once in your life. Disney is not just another theme park with overpriced food and lousy service. The Cast Members go above and beyond to make magic happen for kids and adults alike in the parks. During our previous visit in May, my son - Paul, our Disneyland souvenir was asked to open one of the Main Street stores on his birthday. Everyone sang to him, he threw the opening pitch, and had several pictures taken. At the end, he was even given one full sized picture for free. He felt so special and kept telling people, "It's my birthday, I'm 8."
So you don't have to become a Passion Parties' consultant to go to Disney World (but if you're curious let me know), it was my vehicle to get there and I'm very happy with my business and the opportunities it has afforded me. Find a way to get there, I promise you - it will be worth it.
You can visit my website Southern Pleasure Parties for more information regarding Passion Parties products and business opportunity. You can also find me on Facebook - send me friend request to Amanda Hommel. You can view all my latest Disney pictures here.