It’s not an exaggeration to say that I grew up at Disney. For my 4th birthday, my family drove from Charleston, SC to Walt Disney World for what would become an annual week of camping in Fort Wilderness on the shores of the Bay Lake. Most of my favorite memories happened at Walt Disney World: from clinging tightly to my daddy’s arms for my first ride on Space Mountain to snuggling on mom’s lap during the campfire sing-a-long to dancing around Prince Charming Regal Carrousel with Prince John on my 7th birthday to locking my little brother in the stocks of Liberty Square to dining solo at Jiko the Cooking Place for my 38th birthday!
As California natives, my family made a few treks back west to Disneyland as well.
During college, I discovered that I had a knack for booking air travel to visit family on breaks; so, it was a natural progression after college that I took over planning the family vacations.
The hardest one to plan was the first one. Mom and Dad had done such a great job during our childhood, so it was intimidating to step into the role. Particularly since we had all gradually moved to Houston, TX and were flying to WDW for the first time, which meant we couldn’t camp at Fort Wilderness. We stayed off site, and while we had fun, we really missed the immersive experience of staying on-site. It was hard to do research back then as the internet was still primarily an academic forum and commercial use had only just been permitted. The hotel we stayed at advertised a suite able to sleep 6, but we quickly found that their definition of a suite meant a loft with a queen bed, a fold out sofa, and a murphy bed in the dining room wall, all open to each other. Oh, and one bathroom! None of us slept well on that trip.
Thankfully each subsequent trip improved over the previous ones, and the most recent family trip in 2012 was one of the Smith’s best yet.
Since moving home to California, I have grown to love Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. The California parks are a very different experience. Disneyland holds charms peculiar to itself alone, like Pinocchio’s Daring Adventure. They are geographically much smaller, but I find that they can be more intimate, particularly during non-peak season. Plus if you can get in, Club 33 is absolutely amazing. I dined there once with family friends who got us a reservation and was blown away by the attention to detail and level of service.
In August of 2014, my older sister lamented that she had never celebrated a birthday in Disney. Within hours, I had booked them a trip to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure!
With over 30 years of Disney travel (with family and without) under my belt, I am excited to share my tips & tricks with clients to help you make magical memories that will last a lifetime!
Please contact me at (805) 990-2298.