Charlene K. (21 Posts)

Charlene grew up watching all the classic Disney movies and dreaming of being a princess but only recently became a full-fledged Disney Fanatic when her Prince Charming finally talked her into taking their family of seven on a WDW vacation (after 10 years of begging). Now, Charlene is often found pinning Disney tips, reading Disney blogs, and strategically planning out their next Disney vacations. Out of their five children, there is only one little princess, with whom Charlene can live vicariously through, meeting Disney princesses and watching all the magical Disney fairy tales together. Charlene is also an independent travel planner with Ears of Experience, contact her for all your Disney travel needs at


My husband Adam and I have been married for 10 years (I know right?? Yay us!), for 9.5 of those years, he has been wanting begging to take our family to Walt Disney World. For 9.5 years, I have refused. See, he grew up going with his parents and grandparents and wanted to share the magic with our kids. I grew up camping in state parks and riding the rides at our county fair.

Sort of the same thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel and show my kids as much of the world as we can afford, but…

Charlene K - beach vacation

(Montego Bay, Jamaica 2011)

This is my idea of a vacation.

Charlene k - disney

Walt Disney World 2015

This, is not.

Fast-forward to 2014 when my wonderful in-laws wanted to gift us a stay at their time-share in Kissimmee. Yes! Another vacation! We live in Minnesota. I will jump at any chance I can to get out of here during winter.

Commence the planning.

Mid-way into the plans, as we were throwing around ideas of what to do with the kids and where to go, Adam looks at me. And I knew. And I caved. My lazy beach trip had just turned into a circus. Mind you we now have five kids, ages 16 all the way down to three months. So, I did what any Type-A person would do. I read, pinned, strategized, and read more. As a result, I changed our accommodations reservations no less than three times (I think my FIL was ready to abandon ship before we even set sail).

I don’t like to have plans when I’m on vacation. I want to do what I want when I want. I had heard of this necessary (ugh.) planning for Disney from friends.  Friends that quite possibly are THE biggest Disney fans here in MN. Annual Passholders, Marathon runners, they are seriously there every four months or so. I asked them once, “Don’t you know there are other places in the world to travel??”

Back to the planning. I bet I made and changed our ADRs 37 times before we left. There were nine of us going, Adam’s parents were coming along for the fun, so making some of these reservations took serious finesse! But I kept reading and pinning until I literally felt like I had already been there. How in the world did people plan Disney trips before Pinterest? I was exhausted and I was still in MN! And yes, I know what you are thinking. Rookie. Should’ve called a travel agent.

Type-A, remember? My trip, my way.

I also decided, since this may very well be the only time we go there, we were doing it all and doing it right. I ordered matching t-shirts for everyone. I ordered lanyards, pins, and autograph books. I went to the Dollar Store to stock up on rain ponchos, games and glow sticks. I printed off a Disney countdown calendar for the kids. We were totally ready. And I was even starting to get excited. Just a little.

Charlene K - family vacationI have no words for when we walked through the gates and into Magic Kingdom. It truly.was.magical.  I was in awe and suddenly felt like I was nine again. I just stood there and took it all in. Adam was trying to rush us to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train but I couldn’t move.

Our entire trip was a huge success; each day we opened a park, and closed it down at night. Exhaustion doesn’t even begin to describe how we felt, but then again, neither does elation.

On the plane ride home, we agreed to return in three years, when we no longer have babies.

That was in February.

Adam and I are now going to Disneyland in September, we are making arrangements with a travel agent (yes, I’m getting smarter) to take advantage of the current free dining promotion, I am training to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February, and some of our other Disney loving friends want to take a WDW vacation with all of us next April. I joined the Magic of the Month Club. I mean, who doesn’t want surprises from Disney delivered to your home every month??

Welcome to Disney Obsession.

It hit me about a week after we got home. First, withdrawals set in. Then, full on neuroticism. How soon can we get back? What is DVC? Do we want Annual Passes? My kids only just recently quit singing “It’s A Small World” and I sort of miss it…There isn’t a day that has gone by that I haven’t read Disney blogs, kept up with all the latest updates/announcements, and crunched numbers for our next Disney vacation. I even bought Mickey Mouse sheets. For my bed. Lunacy.

So long, lazy beach vacations. You have been enthusiastically replaced.

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