The Family Behind The Blog

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Welcome!  My name is Amy and I started this blog.  My first trip to Walt Disney World was as a preschooler with my parents who are also big Disney fans.  I am now taking my daughters, nicknamed Tink and Minnie, whom I am sure will be third generation Disney geeks.  So this blog is about Tink and Minnie "growing up Disney" as well as my memories of "growing up Disney" myself.  I have lots of Disney experiences to share and I am excited to have this forum.  I'd love to hear from you about your love of Disney.  The sharing of ideas and memories is what makes the Disney online community so great.

To give you a little more of my Disney background, my parents bought into Disney Vacation Club when I was in high school and the trips became much more frequent.  We lived about a 10 hour drive away so getting there was relatively easy.  My brave parents took me and a group of friends for a high school graduation trip.  In college, I went with friends and then returned for the Disney College Program and was a Cast Member at Crystal Palace.  After graduating from college, I moved back to Kissimmee for two years.

Several years later, I met my Prince Charming.  I finished the Disney Marathon the day before our wedding planning session.  Our Disney wedding was complete with a white chocolate castle on the cake and surprise guests at the reception (Mickey and Minnie!!!!!!)  Our honeymoon on the Disney Wonder was fantastic!

When I found out I was expecting our first child, I managed to keep it a secret and weaseled my way into my parents WDW trip.  I shared the big news right before Illuminations.  Tink celebrated her first birthday at the World and had breakfast with Mickey on the big day.  We took Tink on an 11 day vacation to WDW in the fall of 2010 and had a great time.  On that trip, I surprised my parents again with the news that Minnie was on the way.

Minnie and Tink visited Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort in January of 2012 and Walt Disney World in May and November of 2012 and January, May, and November of 2013, as well as May of 2014, October 2015, May and October 2017.

A big thanks to my very patient and not all that much of a Disney fan husband!

Thank you to my parents who taught me to chase my dreams, to believe in magic, and if it rains on vacation, to splash in the puddles.

To my brother, gracias.  Thanks for sharing this project with me.

A special set of family photos...and the story behind them



Well hi there! My name is Chris but all my friends call me Ridge.  It’s a good nickname that stuck from my high school band days.  My first trip to Walt Disney World was in 1991, the summer before I turned 10.  My parents, specifically my dad, are huge Disney fans, so I come by it honestly.  After the first trip I got to go on, the mood around the house was how and when can we go back?  So in 1993 my parents bit the bullet and bought into the Disney Vacation Club.  It has worked out to be a great benefit for our family.  My best guess is that I am in the 40+ visits range but there is still stuff I haven’t seen and things I haven’t enjoyed.  Now we are working on indoctrinating the newest members of the family to be the 3rd generation Disney aficionados.

Ridge's Updates, He is now Married and has a baby!

Chris and Tara were married on 05/10/2020. Charlotte was born 11/14/2020

Tara is also a life long Disney fan with many visits to WDW under her belt. She knows all the Disney sing along songs from the VHS tapes from the 90's and isn't bad at Disney Trivia. 


It all started with a Mouse… And a Preview Center

Actually it started in the late 50's and early 60's when I was a child watching The Mickey Mouse Club. I loved watching The Mickey Mouse Club, Spin and Marty, and The Hardy Boys. (For you younger folks, "Spin and Marty" and "The Hardy Boys" were serials that were shown as part of the original Mickey Mouse Club.) And on Sunday evenings we watched Walt Disney introduce The Wonderful World of Disney. We never went to the movies much but I still remember sitting in the balcony with my parents at the Alabama Theater to watch the Disney movie "Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with a Circus" staring Kevin Corcoran who played "Moochie" in the Spin and Marty series.

My sister and brother-in-law lived in central Florida and on one of our trips in 1970 they took us on a long drive down Interstate 4. There was absolutely nothing around except orange groves as we drove into the middle of nowhere. We finally turned off the interstate and soon found ourselves on a beautifully manicured four-lane road with large oak trees hanging with Spanish moss that lead to a modern looking steel and glass building. The trees stood out as they did not match the orange groves surrounding our trip down the interstate and I found out these were part of the Disney "magic" transplanted into the landscape.

The building was the Walt Disney World Preview Center. Here we were able to see what Mickey and Walt had planned for the Florida Project. The Preview Center featured a video that had aired on The Wonderful World of Disney with Walt Disney telling us his plans for this wonderful vacation world in central Florida. It also included clips of the construction of the Magic Kingdom attractions. There was also a large miniature display of the entire Magic Kingdom. Lights would spotlight different places in the Magic Kingdom as a hostess described the attractions awaiting us once the park opened October 1, 1971.

When we would visit my sister we would spend the day at the Magic Kingdom. When I married the love of my live in December 1973 we came to the Magic Kingdom on our honeymoon. Over the last 36 years we've watched the World grow as our family had grown. And now our children are the creators and main contributors to this blog. When my daughter asked me to be a guest contributor she reminded me that I can be credited "with starting the WDW obsession." She is now passing "Growing Up Disney" along to her daughter.

A few years ago, it finally dawned on me that the ubiquitous Preview Center building still existed among the hotels leading from the Crossroads Shopping Center to Downtown Disney. It is now occupied by the offices of the Amateur Athletic Union. Every time I drive past there I still remember my first trip down that four-lane road to preview what "Uncle Walt" was building in Florida.

I wrote the above post as my first contribution to what has become a family project.  I am happy to have two wonderful children who have become best friends of each other and, as adults, of mine.  It is an honor to be part of this project with them.  My daughter is the driving force behind this blog and is our "editor-in-chief" keeping us on deadlines to get our contributions posted.

Walt Disney World has been a fun place to take our family over the years.  I remember sitting with my "little girl" on the sidewalk on Main Street waiting for the Parade to begin when she was 3 or 4.  My daughter and son-in-law will now have the joy of doing the same thing and watching their children as they are "Growing Up Disney".

Read about our first trip together as husband and wife in the post originally written for DIStherapy and their 40 Days to 40 Years celebration.  The year was 1973.

More about the Growing Up Disney Family:
We are 3 years old!