JeniLynn Knopp (234 Posts)

JeniLynn was born and raised in South Florida. Being so close to Walt Disney World, she grew up regularly visiting the Mouse and developed a fascination with the creativity of Disney Parks. Noticing that her happiest moments seemed to always take place in Walt Disney World, JeniLynn began trying to recreate the magic of Disney in her everyday life beginning in her pre-teen years. Adulthood, sixteen years of marriage, and three children later, JeniLynn continues to lead a Disney Driven Life and diligently works to pass her love for Disney on to her husband and children. She has blogged for Touring Plans and been a contributing writer for The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and she currently co-hosts Orlando Attractions Magazine: The Show; however, her primary focus has always been with the community that has grown around her own site, The Disney Driven Life. Through these venues JeniLynn strives to help other Disney fans stay connected to the brand that has served as a keystone in her family’s life.

Some people have all the luck.  Others just don’t.  For whatever reason, some people are given a bad hand when they start out in life.  And, yet, as we all know it isn’t really about what we are dealt in life; it is about how we play the game.  The NDP of this month is one who took her “unsuited” cards and turned them in to a “full house” that lead to a Disney Driven Life.  Meet Lynn W. (NDM #371).

Lynn grew up under circumstances that would cause many people to wilt and become bitter.  Hers is the type of pain that more than once has destroyed the life it was inflicted upon.  In spite of her difficult situation, though, Lynn strove to find a better path that led her to promise and happiness.  She found it in her husband, Dan, and when the two became parents to Corbin six years ago, she knew Disney must play a role in their family unit at some point.

During her maternity leave, Lynn saw an ad for Disney on the television.  In spite of her longing to go as a child, she had never been taken to the Happiest Place on Earth.  She looked at her newborn, realized that time would pass quickly and promised herself that she wouldn’t take a minute of his life for granted.  This little one would have the trip to Disney World for which she had yearned.  She didn’t know when, and she didn’t know how.  The distance from Michigan to Florida made the cost of travel seem insurmountable, but she didn’t care.  She knew whatever it took, their family would not just wish upon a star.  They were going to reach and take hold of it.

Baby Carter was born two years later.  It was an event that shook Lynn to her core.  Carter was delivered, but when he didn’t cry the moment he emerged, she knew something was terribly wrong.  Her heart froze, and it became hard for her to breathe as she watched her child be whisked off to the neonatal intensive care unit.

After forcing herself to be able to walk within hours of her c-section, she was permitted to see her little baby.  Her heart broke as she laid eyes on him lying helplessly, tubes hooked to his small body in various places.  His lungs had not developed, and he needed constant monitoring.  She was forbidden to do anything more than delicately touch him, and she was terrified.  Once again she vowed that–should he pull through–she would take her boys to Disney or anywhere else in the world they wanted to go.

Carter eventually made a full recovery and was permitted to come home.  He was happy and healthy.  Lynn wasted no time in working towards the goal she had set.  She immediately started scouring the Disney website for information.  She also began to diligently budget, so that she could save enough for their family to experience the Disney dream vacation that has become so iconic in America.  “It would happen,” she thought.  It had to happen.

A move to South Carolina followed shortly which put Lynn that much closer to her goal.  Whereas it was previously a 24 hour drive to get to Disney, she now only had five hours of highway between her and Mickey.  The week of Valentine’s Day, Dan came home from a shift at the fire station and asked if their family could finally make that pilgrimage.  Within the hour a hotel was booked and tickets were purchased.  Research, shopping and packing consumed her until the fateful day arrived and they passed over the Walt Disney World threshold.

Lynn recalls, “That three day trip was all it took for me to be hooked for life!  We returned to Disney in September with my mother-in-law and purchased annual passes.  We went back in December for my birthday and again in February with our friends from Michigan for their first trip.  I surprised my husband and son with a birthday trip in July, and we went again the following September with other friends who had just adopted.”

Disney had definitely become an important part of their life, and with good reason.  “I loved that when we were there, there was not a care in the world,” Lynn explains.  “All the past (and even the present) . . . none of it mattered.  There was no work.  There were no pressing responsibilities.  It was just me and my family.  All we had to focus on was having a good time and enjoying each other.”

All the years since, Lynn has continued to enjoy Disney Parks with her family.  She has also brought it further into her home and lifestyle.  Conversing regularly with Disney fans who are like-minded has become an important part of this lifestyle, and she invests much time in developing these relationships primarily online.  Her quips of encouragement, support and exhortations to persevere are evident to those who are fortunate enough to know her.  Her life’s journey and ultimate victories give her a voice of experience that brings comfort to others who have struggles of their own.

Lynn stands steadfast as an example of a Disney fan who has allowed the carefree mentality of vacationing to invade her everyday life.  “It’s so funny,” Lynn giggles.  “These days I try to not let things get to me.  For example, if a driver in front of me is going slow, and I feel myself begin to get frustrated, I stop myself.  I think, ‘What would I do if I were at Disney?’”  This is enough to give her pause and slow down.  “I’ve realized that in moments like those, I could be missing something.  In my hurried rush, I could be passing something by that would totally change my experience.  It’s about relaxing and enjoying what is around you in that moment.  That is what Disney has taught me.”

Lynn, you really are an inspiration.  The vision of taking your family to Disney was not just about taking a vacation for you.  You allowed it to be symbolic of making a better life for yourself and those you love, and you certainly have done that.  So many of us benefit from the example that you set, and for this we are honoring you with the title of Neurotic Disney Person for the month of March.

Contributed by: JL Knopp (NDM#1) JL is the creator of The Disney Driven Life. She is also a blogger for Savvy Auntie and Touring Plans as well as a contributing writer for The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.


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