Shelley J., NDM 121, describes her journey from a small child who watched Disney on television to an adult going to Disney for the very first time. Her passion for the magic only grew stronger. Read how she transitioned from child to mom, DVC owner, NDM, and finally a CM. Next step? Hopefully, Florida resident. What makes you an NDP? Have a story to share? Have your own Disney Fan Site or Podcast you want to share with the community? Send it to ndm130 AT thedisneydrivenlife DOT com. We just might feature your story here on Sharing Saturdays.
Hello all, my name is Shelley. My interest in Disney started as a child. I can remember back in my younger days looking forward to Sunday evenings when Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color would come on. It was that time of watching something that was so magical, but the true heartfelt passion did not take root until I was an adult. It was not until I was able to make that trip that would change my life FOREVER!
The real journey began in 2005 when my husband and I were able to financially afford to go to Disney; it would be my very 1st time to go. My husband had been a few times while in high school. Our girls were 14 and 4 at the time; we decided to make it that surprise trip. The trip was planned and booked for 12 days. At the time, I was afraid to fly so we made the 15.5 hour drive from our home in Virginia to Florida. Our home for our stay was the Fort Wilderness Cabins and Campgrounds. Even with all the “planning” I did for this trip – ADR’s, which park on which day,etc – it was still over whelming how much there was to do! The best memory I have was seeing the looks and expressions on my daughters’ faces as we walked into Magic Kingdom and stepped on Main Street, looking at Cinderella’s castle in real life for the 1st time. I still get emotional and misty eyed when I think and talk about it. At end of the trip I can just remember telling my husband we had to go back. The day after we returned back to reality, I was planning our trip for the next year. During that time until the next trip, my fascination with Disney was quickly turning into a deep seeded obsession. At first I would look at the Disney World website, daily and sometimes several times a day; it was like I was fueled to stay connected with something that I had never experienced before, (there is more to life than just getting up and going to work every day). Then I searched Google for “Disney fans”, “Disney clubs”, just anything Disney. When I stumbled onto finding forum boards, it hit me – there really ARE others out there that feel just like me! I found NDM#1, she was just starting to share her experiences of Disney and was still pretty new in the blogging realm, but I followed her like a hungry fan for a Mickey ice cream bar.
In 2006, we made our next visit and the planning and preparing for this trip was more intense. I knew and had Disney friends, more resources to use, but this trip became a turning point for us. We decided to become DVC members. For the next couple years, our trips were the “1 time visit a year” visit, but by 2009, once a year was not enough! Being DVC members gave us the opportunity to go for “quick trips” – which for us meant 4-day trips. Those trips would require us to fly and I never flew, but when NDM#1 hosted her first meet up, I had to go, I had to be in the mix of my entire fellow neurotic Disney family.
Since that first trip in 2005, I have become a DVC member, a D23 member, annual passholder, and a Disney Visa card holder. With these memberships one would think I would be content with my insertion of Disney, but no. A few years back I felt I needed to be closer to the Disney brand. I mean considering it was running in my veins. I decided to try being a Disney Travel Agent because I really wanted to help others plan their trips. It was the planning of trips and the excitement of the details. After a few years as working as a TA, I made the decision to leave that adventure to pursue my true calling with Disney and become a Cast Member(CM). With this position, I felt I would be able to truly live what was Uncle Walt’s dream. I joined my local Disney Store and currently I am a part-time CM.
But,I don’t want to stop there! After all these years, my family has decided that we want to pull up our roots up here in VA and relocate to FL. I will say this point in the journey has not been an easy one. We have been faced with so many obstacles – our house value is not to a point of selling for a profit, trying to secure jobs in FL, finding the right community for us. I do feel at times overwhelmed by trying to get to that next step of living my life, being a daily Disney driven NDM. I will say though, it is my passion for Disney and through this community I find my true purpose of what it is to get up daily and live a life I think truly honors the Disney brand but continue to keep the vision of Walt Disney living on. As they say “keep moving forward”.
Thanks for allowing me to share a part of my story! I can be found on twitter at @luvlifeinfl