Welcome to a new addition to The Disney Driven Life – the Neurotic Disney Person (NDP) Spotlight! Please check back to see who will be the next NDP in the spotlight. If you know someone who should be highlighted, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with their name, contact information (Twitter handle, Facebook page link or email address) and why they deserve their moment in the spotlight. Now on to our guest of honor….
NDD#110 Mark W. was one of the “lucky ones” – he was able to go to Disney as a child with his mom even if it was only a couple of times. Something about one of those visits flipped the neurotic switch in him and suddenly he found himself at Disney with his mom seven times in just two years as a young adult. The moment that sticks in his mind as being “the moment” when he became a NDP was during the 1999 EPCOT Millennium Celebration. More specifically is the first time he saw the Tapestry of Nations in 1999, so much so that he still listens to the CD almost daily! Mark says “I remember being the only kid in my high school who always talked about Disney or had the Millennium Celebration CD playing between classes.” Some things never change.
Unfortunetly life happened and his next visit to see Mickey and friends wasn’t until he was married and had a five year son of his own to share the magic with. That meant a break from December of 2000 until March of 2011 – enough to make any Disney lover long for another trip! Mark still remembers that first trip with his wife and young son – both who’d never been to Disney before. Living close enough to drive, they arrived at Pop Century in the pouring rain after about a 12 hour drive but decided to try the parks anyway since the rain had let up. As they walked into the wet Magic Kingdom under the train station for their first family trip, a Cast Member pulled them up to the curb for a front row seat just in time to see Spectromagic! It doesn’t get much better than that, especially on your first visit. Or maybe it does. Mark’s working hard to be sure his wife and son love Disney just as much as he does. I think he’s doing well – they’ve been six times since 2011 with trips number seven and eight coming soon!
Visiting Disney World gives Mark a different appreciation as an adult and it’s very special for him to experience all of his family’s Disney firsts and seeing the magic through his son’s eyes. Being able to visit has taught Mark and his family a thing or two about the parks: “do your homework about Disney – especially dining and the prices! There’s always a way to save money and know what you’re getting ahead of time.” Another tip is that “time equals money, especially at Disney.” That’s great advice even for a seasoned traveler.
Mark’s Disney Driven Life shows in a variety of ways; he’s always planning a future Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR), watching episodes of Phineas and Ferb or figuring out what Disney kitchen thing to get on the next trip. In addition to all that fun, Mark also started his own Disney related blog called Illuminating Epcot. When he’s not blogging about his favorite park or his favorite attraction (which just happens to be Test Track with the new renovations), he’s helping others plan their own magical Disney vacations or is co-hosting the Generation Mouse podcast. With a passion for the Disney parks, Disney movies are a close second for Mark which helps to keep the Disney magic alive between visits.