Happy Working Song

After our vacation ended, we were back home, and back to the normal, day to day activities.  Our family had a lot of things on the agenda for the summer, but we were also enjoying being home together as we were all finished with school for a few months.  Being an elementary school teacher, I have always had the opportunity to have time off with my children to relax and soak up as much summer fun as possible.  Up until this summer, I have also always coached either cheerleading or softball, and for the first summer in eighteen years, I had nothing professionally to do except plan the next school year.

As I made plans for another school year, I found my mind drifting to the thoughts of wishing I had a side business….planning more Disney trips.  Don’t let this confuse you, I love teaching, I always have.  But I am also getting to the point in my career where retiring is closer to happening, as I am not getting any younger.  I know I can’t “not work”.  I know that I love Disney, and it just feels natural to want that as part of my professional life.  Several friends were taking trips in the upcoming months, and several had talked to me, wanting my opinion about what they should do, where they should stay, even talking to me about joining DVC.  I found that a lot of my conversations revolved around Disney in some form or fashion, and I didn’t mind it at all.

While our summer moved on,  and we were dreaming of days back in the Florida sun, my youngest child fell and broke his leg.  I guess a week in a wheelchair at Disney wasn’t enough for him, because he got saddled with six more weeks.  My poor son ended up being in either a wheelchair or using crutches for the remainder of the summer break.  After seventy four days, two different casts, and two different walking boots,  he finally was released.  During those days that we were homebound, we spent most of our time watching Disney movies, and planning for our next trip the following summer.  He handled it all so well, and honestly never complained about a thing.  He was a fantastic little trooper.

As the school year resumed, and we all went our separate ways to our schools, my mind began to wander off to how quickly our summer seemed to fly by.  I still had friends coming to me wanting to discuss their Disney trips, and I am fortunate enough to work with one of my best friends, who also has a passion for Disney.  We find a way, each day, to talk about something regarding our trips, or friends/family members who have been on trips, or even just our children and how much they love Mickey Mouse.  We love discussing these things because it just brings an air of happiness to us and we forget about the stresses that we may currently be under.

One morning in September, I woke up around 3 am, which is not my normal wake up time. I hopped on the computer and began thinking of my friend Nikki, who was my vacation specialist.  I then went to the company website, read some bios of some of the specialists, and saw the link for “Join Our Team”.  I don’t know what came over me, but I decided to fill out the form.  I truly didn’t think I had a shot, but I thought, at least I could say that I tried.  If it was meant to be it would work out.

Less than a week later, I had a response.  I was siting in a restaurant drive through, waiting to place my order when the reply came through.  I opened it immediately, and I was prompted to answer a few more questions.  Initially, I planned to wait until I got home, and then would reply when I would have some quiet time to myself to really think about how I wanted to answer.

That would have been a great plan.

Instead, I answered each question immediately.  It felt right.  I didn’t want to wait.  I kept thinking “don’t get ahead of yourself, take it slow”, but I just poured my heart into my answers and again thought, “what do I have to lose?”.

About two weeks later, I had another response.  This time, I about fell out of my chair when I saw the email.  They “still” wanted to talk to me??  How???  Why me??  I spent about an hour answering questions this time, wanting them to be perfect, knowing that if I didn’t answer these correctly, my one shot would be gone.  I felt really confident with my answers.  Still not confident that this job would be mine,  just confident that I gave it my all.

A week later, another response.  This one saying that she would be in touch soon.

Five weeks later, I finally got the email I had been checking my inbox for, day and night.  I was asked to be interviewed.  We scheduled a time to talk, and had anticipated it would take 20-30 minutes.  After an hour and ten minutes of one of the best conversations I have had, I had this little feeling inside, that my dream could really become a reality.

It did.

A few days later I was offered a contract with Magical Vacations, LLC.  I began my training immediately, and finished as quick as possible.  I booked my first vacation for  a guest before training was even complete!

I had never been more ready for anything in my whole life, as I was for this opportunity.  I had tried other part time businesses in the past, where I had to “get out there” and promote myself, and I could just never see myself doing that.  But this was different.  I wanted to get out there, I wanted to be seen and heard.  I wanted to continue helping people find their happiness.  I knew I could do it, if given the opportunity.  I was so thankful for this chance and for people believing in me.  This was what I was waiting for….waiting on….waiting to do.

The most wonderful thing, is I am able to continue my job as an educator, and maintain a job that allows my dreams to come true.

In my next post, I will begin sharing with you,  all of the wonderful experiences you can have, while doing life the Disney way.

You’ve Got a Friend in Me

After my husband and I had our magical anniversary trip, it was time to make plans for another week long stay at Disney. When we bought into DVC, they let me choose my first “Welcome Home” stay, regardless of how soon it was approaching. I chose a week in May, in which I knew it would work best with everyone’s school calendar.

In the past year, I was used to someone else planning my trip for me. This time, I did it myself, and again, in the process of planning, it got me thinking about how I would love to do this as an actual job. There was so much excitement in planning our trip, so many choices, and so many things to consider. It never overwhelmed me, in fact, it pushed me to create the ideal vacation for my family since I wanted them to feel relaxed and rejuvenated, yet also enjoy every minute we were in the parks. One of my best friends, Katie, was accompanying us on this trip, so I also wanted to plan extra special things for her, since she hadn’t been to Disney in about 10 years. I soon realized that I had a true passion for planning things outside of my normal day to day life, and my mind began dreaming of a time when I could do this for more than just my family vacations.

Our week was absolutely glorious. We stayed at our home resort, the Polynesian, in a beautiful room overlooking the gorgeous foliage of Florida. Our room was located so closely to the TTC (Ticket and Transportation Center), that we were easily able to walk from our building to there and catch the monorail to spend a day at Epcot or catch the monorail that was located at the main entrance of the Polynesian to spend the day at Magic Kingdom. It was definitely a win-win for us.

When we were choosing DVC resorts to be our “home”, we thought long and hard about what meant the most to us as a family. It had very little to do with the status of a resort and mostly about accessibility for our entire family. While my son is not a true disabled person, he does have a physical condition that causes a lot of pain in his hips, knees, ankles, and feet. We have been going to therapy for six of his nine years, and he wears daily orthotics (AFO’s/SMO’s) to aide in better walking. But even with those, he fatigues easily, so spending a few hours walking, much less an entire day, is not something he is able to do. We knew a monorail resort would be best not only for him, but also for trips that my parents were able to travel with us. We also knew, from past trips to Disney, and my son being in extreme pain from walking, that I realized we had to use a wheelchair in order for him to enjoy this trip and future trips as well.

A fantastic thing about buying DVC from Disney is that you have a separate phone number to call at anytime to make reservations, check on accommodations, or simply ask a question regarding a future vacation. I needed help in selecting who to rent a wheelchair from, and they gave me the name of several choices. I found a fantastic rental company who had our wheelchair waiting for us at Bell Services when we arrived, and a wonderful cast member brought it right out for my son.

This trip was special for so many reasons. Katie and I had been working and coaching together for the past five years. We both resigned from coaching for different reasons, and thought this trip would be a fantastic way to celebrate the work we had put in and a toast to each other’s future. On top of that, my kids love her and she has the most laid back personality. Very easy to please and easy to take along anywhere we go. Did I mention she’s also an AMAZING artist? She made about 10-12 sets of ears for us to wear during our trip, as well as sketching Disney designs on shoes for my kiddos. We all need a friend like Katie.

This trip was everything a girl’s trip should be (plus kids). We enjoyed sleeping in every morning. I should say “they” enjoyed sleeping in. I enjoyed getting up at 7, sitting on the balcony for at least two solid hours, eating breakfast, reading, and simply relaxing. We got moving around lunchtime, and we spent the days hitting the parks around 1, coming back for a swim/nap, and going back to the parks for much cooler evenings with less time waiting in lines. It became a challenge each night to see just how many rides we could get on with the short wait times.

We enjoyed character meals with Lilo and Stitch, every single princess, meeting Goofy and Mickey, paused for much needed photo opportunities, rode the most magical rides, recharged with some snacks, enjoyed the Florida sunshine, and indulged in Dole Whips and adult beverages. I couldn’t ask for a better trip with a friend, than the one she took with us.

But there was still something I yearned for….even at the happiest place on Earth. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what felt off, but I would soon realize it. In the next post, I will share how I made all of my Disney dreams come true, with a little faith, trust, and of course, Pixie Dust.