Prior to 2016, our Disney World vacationing always felt like it was the last. Much like everything in life, you never know when your last time will be your last time until it’s passed. I think that this is also the case for a good amount of us as we start off Walt Disney World vacationing. Yes, we study up on the best resorts to stay in to accommodate our needs, we research and finely tune our dining reservations and are ready to book at the 180-day window armed with our laptop, smartphone, and tablet simultaneously, we may obsessively scour YouTube for our favorite podcasts, we know the best times to go to which parks on which days, and we even know exactly what time the 3 o’clock parade goes by in Frontierland. But the underlying theme for that is that it could all end after the next trip. You always want to get everything in, every last drop of POG juice from your ‘Ohana breakfast, that one last popcorn kernel on the way out of Magic Kingdom, that one last stroll down Main Street before packing your bags and boarding the Tragical Depress, I mean Magical Express, back to MCO. Just one more round of Buzz Lightyear to become the Galactic Hero that mom always told you that you were. But like Tony Stark once said, part of the journey is the end.
For me, this could have a crushing effect on my anxiety. I loved our trips more than anything, but I would feel stress, anxiety, and remorse if things did not go to plan. Knowing what I know now and sometimes stopping just to take a look around and taking it all in, I see this in a lot of folks in the parks. When you see that seemingly always loving mom or dad blowing up on the kids because they are tired and want to go back to the hotel to swim instead of going on the People Mover that he or she was sure that they would love. What should be such an exciting trip to enjoy with your family can turn into a firestorm of internal stress and anxiety because you want everything perfect for the ones that you love. Despite all of that, we kept returning to enjoy all of what the parks and resorts have to offer and learn to keep that anxiety and stress just below the surface, making sure that our little ones are feeling that stress free Disney magic, but missing out on that small component for ourselves.
Then came the tour at the Polynesian that changed our Disney World vacationing forever. Once we bought into DVC, it was as if a huge weight was lifted. While nothing is forever, at this point I knew at least for the next 10 years, we were going to come back each year. We didn’t have to book every great restaurant every time, because we were going to be coming back home again. Our annual trips could then turn into multiple times a year. It turned into both family trips and trips that were for just Michele and I. We now have bought three separate contracts (with a fourth on the way) and are able to plan both smaller “long weekend getaways” as a couple now that our boys are getting older, and more adventurous trips that are out of our comfort zone, such as our 2020 trip to Aulani by way of Disneyland (both firsts for us), because we know that our “DVC Home” will always be there and that we will always come back to. We have been able to experience that next level of Disney World vacationing that too few people enjoy. The Disney vacation with little stress and fear of not experiencing every last thing. In my opinion, your Disney Bucket List is most enjoyable to complete when it is a marathon, not a sprint. I used to think that their “Welcome Home” tag line was just another piece of catching Disney marketing. But after a three years of ownership and endless moments of joy with my wife and boys, I finally get it.
How has DVC Ownership changed your vacation experiences? I would love to hear about it.