He may be late to our NDP party, but better late than never I always say! Read on through NDD Chris’s journey to becoming an NDP. Can you relate to his situation? 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.

photo courtesy of Chris W. * NDD 300

photo courtesy of Chris W. * NDD 300

I’m NDP when it comes to Walt Disney World. There, I said it. If you’re reading this, at least there’s a pretty good chance you’ll understand.

I’ve always known Disney had devoted fans, but I haven’t always been one of them. In my younger days my family took a couple of trips to Walt Disney World and once went to Disneyland, but other than fond memories from my youth, I wouldn’t say Walt Disney World or Disneyland made a huge impression on me, other than instilling a love for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.

In fact, I went through a period where I almost avoided Walt Disney World – I devoted time (and money!) to travel, scuba diving, and goofing off. In some ways, time well spent, but I’m glad I now “get it” when it comes to appreciating how some people could visit the Disney parks and resorts pretty much at any time and be happy.

Some people love fishing, golf, visiting the beach – whatever. I’m happy for people who can genuinely enjoy a particular place or activity. There are too many of us who go through the motions even when it comes to having fun.

We took our first family trip in 2004. It was an awesome trip, highlighted by scuba diving in The Seas Aquarium at Epcot (highly recommended), an unexpected encounter with Cinderella after dining in the Castle (on our first night, no less) and having Cinderella spend about 15 minutes with just us, and even riding out Hurricane Jean at Animal Kingdom Lodge. By the way, if you’re looking for a place to ride out a storm, you can’t beat a Disney Resort. Uninterrupted power, pizza, improvised lobby entertainment and activities, and popular Disney movies on Resort TV – that’s the way to do it.

But even after seeing my oldest daughter’s reaction to seeing the Castle for the first time, I still didn’t get it. After that, we made a couple of trips – great ones, but WDW wasn’t tops on my list of places to visit.

And then, our 2011 trip happened. We stayed two weeks, and it finally clicked. The trip duration may have had something to do with it, but I think it had more to do with slowing down, taking in the resort, parks, and the whole experience. Maybe it was because I really enjoyed the time with my wife and kids. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy spending time with them anywhere, but I think we can all agree that a typical Disney vacation lends itself to great family fun. During the trip, I began to notice things like the area music loops, and definitely noticed how time seems to stand still while you’re there.

When we got home, I found myself missing Disney World, to the point that I began searching for online radio stations and sites where I could stream or download park music. My iPhone is loaded with resort music. I’m ok when people make fun of me for this.

I started to get into photography a little. And of course I gravitated toward Disney photography. There are many terrific photographers out there – amateur, semi-pro, and professional photographers who’ve captured stunning pictures. One day I hope to capture images that approach their quality. I don’t know when we’re going back, but I’m planning on taking as many pictures as I can without thoroughly annoying my family. And hopefully I’ll have some really good pictures to share. Besides doing a better job at capturing memories, I think I’ll enjoy the atmosphere and time with my family even more than on previous trips.

And we’ll have another child experiencing Walt Disney World for the first time. I can’t wait to see the reactions she’ll have, and how her older siblings will once again experience things for the first time by watching her.

I pass the time listening to resort and park music loops, and audio from the rides. There are great podcasts out there, and of course, great websites like “The Disney Driven Life” where you can experience a bit of the magic even if you’re not there.

So, even though I’m a bit late to the NDP party, I think I’m here to stay.

Just remember, there’s no shame in reliving a great Disney experience through sights, sounds or smells. Go back through your photos, listen to podcasts and music, watch the movies, and take as much soap and shampoo from the resort as you can.

Chris ~ NDD300

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.