Often times people place a monetary value on things to equivocate treasure, but few things hold more value to me than my Disney memories.

Over the years, I have been so very blessed to enjoy so much time at Walt Disney World and on Disney Cruise Line that I have made lifelong friends and lasting memories that I could never replace.

As my kids get older and our traveling style changes, I have really been looking back and reminiscing on those old and not so old memories and really appreciating what they mean to me.

Many times it’s easy for me to get wrapped up in the trips that I have planned for others with small children and it is such a joy to me, but it is even more fun for me to scour the corners of my mind and revert back to the days of my own, when we had those family trips that many of you are enjoying now. Because of this, I thought it might be fun to just reflect, and share with you a few of my most special Disney memories of all time in no particular order!

When I look back and think of things that make my heart smile, the first time we stayed at the Poly has to be mentioned. Many of you may remember me telling the tale of my very first visit to Disney when my kids were still small enough for strollers, stopping on the monorail at the Poly and telling my husband it was my dream to stay there although I knew or thought I knew that we could never afford it. My husband confidently smiled and said, that we would indeed one day stay there……fast forward many years and much hard work later, we walked into the Poly as first time guests. The feeling was one of the most breathtaking of my life. It wasn’t the resort itself necessarily, its decor or mystique, but the history behind our Disney dreams from years gone by with two little people in a stroller staring amazed from a monorail at the seemingly unattainable. Realizing at that moment that my work and my passion had merged into a beautiful accomplishment of literally being able to call our beloved Poly, home. Never take for granted any time, I lay my head down at Poly and I am always reminded when I walk in those doors of the first time I laid eyes on Disney, that first trip so life changing I cannot accurately explain it in words. There is no stronger feeling of home than here.

Back in 2014 we were headed on our second 7 night sailing on Disney Cruise Line. The Fantasy is such an amazing ship and Halloween on the High Seas to boot! Little did I realize when embarking on this nautical adventure that one of my most unforgettable moments of all time would occur on that extra magical deck 4! I always joke about the “magic happening” on deck 4, so now I will explain why. My kids had decided to go to deck 4 and sit and wait on Gary and myself. Gary went out ahead of me, well, because I always lag behind as I soak up every second of a Disney ship and it’s details. I stepped through those doors and turned to my left, I see Gary and my kids with their eyes widened with amazement…….I turn to my right to see Captain Mickey…..JUST Captain Mickey! I immediately start crying! What did you honestly expect??? He comes straight up to me and gives me the biggest hug. I was in total amazement. It’s so rare to get that character interaction without a handler or tons of people surrounding you. It was such a special just me and Mickey experience that I will cherish it for the rest of my life. So, long story short, the magic DOES happen on DECK 4!

Details, details, it’s all in the details. We found this out on a whole new scale one night in the Magic Kingdom. Again, spending as much time as we have at Disney, we get to do lots of “paying attention” so to speak to the details within the parks and the subtleties and secrets. This particular night was no different. We had come back into Magic for the evening and had decided that we would concentrate on a hunt for hidden Mickeys. Scouring and searching, we were met by the sweetest security guard in the pathway beside 7 Dwarfs Mine Train leading to the Be Our Guest restaurant. He asked us if we had lost something…..since all four of us were staring at the ground, LOL! We explained to him we were looking for hidden Mickeys. He ask us if we have ever seen a hidden Oswald! What??? Was that even a thing? Most of you know that Disney Studio lost the rights to the Oswald character in 1928, but those rights were championed back in 2006 by none other than Bob Iger.

To commemorate this, the cheerful security guard explained to us that a hidden Oswald was placed in the new Fantasyland expansion that opened in 2012. This section of course houses 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, the Be Our Guest restaurant and other attractions in the Magic Kingdom. He showed us the location of this little known hidden detail and we were literally overjoyed. We look for it every single time we visit Magic Kingdom to this day, BUT that wasn’t all. This magical security guard was not finished. He then told us how happy it made him for people to appreciate the details of this magical place rather than being so caught up on the hype and rides and other things. He asked us if we had seen the hidden Mickey in 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, and at the time (when 7D was new) we had not. He proceeded to take us to to the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train ride…….not to the fastpass line, but straight to the front two cars, on the promise that we would keep the location of the Mickey to ourselves, so as to not ruin it for others. I will literally never forget that night as long as I live. Pixie dust at it’s very finest.

On our very first visit to Walt Disney World, I have one memory that always stands out to me for two reasons. Reason one, it is a thing of the past that rarely happens these days, and reason two, there was a magic in that moment that can never be replicated. I remember my tiny little kiddos on our very first visit to Magic Kingdom being so bright eyed and overwhelmed at everything in front of their little eyes. Everything was new and different and amazing. We made our way down Main Street, through Fantasyland and ventured toward Liberty Square. There, standing on the pier, all alone was the first character my children ever greeted with, the beautiful princess, Pocahontas. It was an amazing moment to see their faces as they realized the princess from one of their favorite movies had jumped into reality and was right in front of them. I remember feeling like I had won the lottery seeing this transpire. There are times when I round that same corner in Magic Kingdom and see those two babies, dressed alike, run-in toward Pocahontas with autograph books in hand ready to begin their first magical adventure of many. I wouldn’t trade that for anything on this entire earth.

Another of my top memories happened not too long ago and because of this particular day, I have made a lifelong friend that is more than special to me! Bella and I were hanging out in Animal Kingdom one day this spring and we wondered over to Pandora. I was working on gathering information and taking photos and videos when I decided to stop and film the drummers in Pandora that were performing.

Unable to clap and film at the same time, I started clapping my fingers together on my free hand and cheering on these amazing drummers because frankly, the crowd was too quiet for me! These guys and girl were giving it their all at summoning the banshees and I was so excited to have the time to be able to stay there and enjoy their playing!

We cheered and supported and soon the banshees were summoned and the show concluded. Bella and I started to leave the area and make our way over to Flight of Passage to ride, when right in front of us stood the female drummer. I was stunned. I told her that she was great and we enjoyed the show. She said to me…..”You ARE AMAZING”…..I’m thinking, what did I do??? She thanked me for my support of the show and presented me with one of my most treasured Disney possessions, her drumsticks! I was reduced to tears. I had never been so honored by cast. Bella and I were in total shock!

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. We are back hanging out in Pandora and hear drums in the distance!!! And you guessed it! My friends are up there drumming their hearts out! I clap my fingers together like before……ALL their eyes light up! They know us! When the show concludes, they make a bee line straight for us and tell us how happy they are that were are back. I enjoyed our conversations and even got some funny pictures together. They have become so special to us and now request that we come visit them specifically each time we are back and to make sure and bring our family and friends!

These memories may seem silly to some, but for those who have or will experience Disney magic, you understand that these stories are priceless and help to build the fabric of my Disney quilt of memories that I cherish. While Disney is a destination, it is a place where some of the most precious memories are made with family and loved ones.

Looking back is so special to me and I hope you enjoyed a small portion of my stories and recollections. Each of you that allow me to help you plan give me joy by allowing me to help you create these types of memories with your family and I could not be more grateful. I am blessed with each of you because my love of Disney evolved into me living my dream! —

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