To me the human element is such an important part of my travels to Disney or anywhere else. Our lives are all woven together in one way or another. Taking the time to pay attention and to soak it all in is something that has taken me years to cultivate. I often spotlight someone I have met in the parks on my Thursday posts, but today I am highlighting someone I have been lucky enough to meet from my life as a Disney blogger. Mike Ellis is a fellow Disney fan, a great writer with his own blog My Dreams of Disney
, and a phenomenal friend. I cannot tell you how much he has helped me with my blog and my facebook page. I am not the only one who he helps either, there are many others who owe might a great big thank you. I had a chance to meet Mike and his family during my trip to Walt Disney World this past September for the 40th Anniversary celebration. We even took this goofy photo. So, here’s to you my friend and thank you for sharing your life with us.
Tell me about your first visit to Walt Disney World
My first trip to Walt Disney World was in 1979. I was 11 years old, and my Grandma and Grandpa, who had moved to Florida for retirement the previous October, took me, my Mom, and my sister when we came down. My Dad was self-employed, so he wasn’t able to come. I had so much fun!
What is it that you love most about Disney?
More then anything, the thing I love most about Disney is that feeling that you get as you enter the Magic Kingdom. That instant transformation out of the state of Florida, out of the here and now, and into a simpler time and place, a place where everyone knows one another, where music is playing, where people are walking the streets.
What is your favorite park?
My favorite park is without a doubt, the Magic Kingdom
. So many adventures lie in store for you, it’s amazing. Where else can you go to experience the past, the present, the future, the fantasy, the history, all in one park?
What is your favorite resort?
Truth be told, Cindy and I have only taken Sophie to a handful of resorts. We first stayed at Coronado Springs in 2007 and 2008, then Port Orleans French Quarter in 2009 and 2010, then Bay Lake Tower in 2011, and a short visit at Pop Century, also in 2011. Next month we will be staying at Animal Kingdom Villas, in the Kidani part of it, so that will be fun. Right now, though, I think POFQ is my favorite, despite the proximity of BLT to the Magic Kingdom, but that may change when we are at Animal Kingdom Villas.
What is your favorite ride? Show? Fireworks show?
My favorite Fireworks show is Illuminations. I love the fireworks, but more then that, I absolutely LOVE the music at the end that goes with the show. That is what brings me back time and time again!
What is your number one must-do for a new visitor?
When a first timer is coming to WDW, the one thing that I urge them is to try and make sure that they don’t stress themselves out too much trying to do too much. Take it easy, relax, remember that you are on vacation, and then, look at the websites, figure out what rides you really have to check out, and plan on hitting them. For me, I love the classic attractions at the Magic Kingdom, so I try to take all of them in.
What is your best memory, so far, of Disney?
Bar none, the absolute best memory I have of Disney was on October 1st, 2011, the 40th Anniversary of Walt Disney World. I was blessed to be able to take my family down for a long weekend, and on Saturday, the day was absolutely incredible, with wonderful temperatures, a beautiful sky, and big crowds — but not rude, at least not to us. Most importantly to me was that I was able to meet some of my really close friends in the blogging world, and get to talk with them and further cement our friendships. It was a real highlight to be able to meet Brenda, and Chris, and Steve and Lisa, and Bob and Donna, and George also!
What are you looking forward to in the years to come?
I am excited to be able to keep taking my family on trips to our favorite place to vacation. Next year we are planning on visiting Disneyland, so that will be a new treat that we’ve never done before. For me, the key to all of these trips is the memories that we create — lasting memories that we will remember for years at a time. It’s those memories that really makes Walt Disney World what it is.
How do you explain this special relationship Disney fans have with each other?
In the Disney community, there are two words that mean perhaps more then any other: “Disney Magic.” Disney Magic is the glue that binds all of us together. It is what makes vacationing at Walt Disney World or the other Disney parks so incredible. It is being able to get out of your car and step out of the here and now, and step into a day gone by. Disney fans, despite our differences in so many ways, all can relate together because the Disney Magic brings us together.
If you have never been to Walt Disney World before, please investigate it, look at the numbers, compare it to where you normally go on vacation, and you might be surprised that a Disney vacation can be affordable. If you want to, I invite you to check out my blog, My Dreams of Disney. In there you will find all sorts of little things that will, at the very least, enable you to bring a small bit of Disney Magic to your computer screen! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see YOU at the parks!