OK, enough suspense! How many times has Keebles been to Disney World already? The answer still isn't ready to be revealed...let me wander just a bit before I give an actual total.
My first ever trip to Disney World was 1981. I was 10, almost 11 years old and, once it was finished, I swore I would never take another family vacation as long as I lived! Not because Disney was bad, but because my Step-Dad...well, let's just say he isn't the nicest person on the planet. Back then, the only park was Magic Kingdom (Epcot was only a model in Tomorrowland and we had no idea they were actually building it-pre-widespread internet usage). We stayed off-site because there were only a couple of resorts then (and staying on-site wasn't such a big deal like it is now). We also did Sea World, Circus World (R.I.P.), Cape Canaveral and NASA, the beach, and probably other things I don't remember...all in one week! Plus, not only was it the middle of summer, but I was also cutting my molars. Not happy days.
It was also much harder to hide the fact that I was different than other kids my age by then. Do I remember rides or important moments from that trip? Nope...one of the only memories I have is throwing a very loud and public hissie-fit because I was told I could only have one stuffed plush, either Mickey or Minnie, and I wanted both. Needless to say, I got both - not because I was spoiled and just wanted both (OK, I am spoiled, but that's another story), but because Mickey and Minnie were a "set" and should stay together, especially since they were in matching summer outfits (told you I was "off"). I can remember everyone around staring at me, I remember my Mother's face, I can even remember the puzzled look on Am's face. Weird what we remember in detail. Asper-Keebs was shining in her first ever spotlight, and not in a good way.
So much happiness in our little family:
Notice my Mother has four legs? Another tantrum of mine...I hate getting my picture made:
I did go on vacations with my Step-Dad's parents or with my Aunt and Grandmother and even once with my Dad, so I still managed to go to a lot of different places. I never felt like I missed out on anything...lack of family experiences or not.
Later on, when I was in my late teens, my parents and my sister went again...without me. I moved out at 17 and had separated myself even more from the family by then. They didn't ask me to go anyway (not that I would have said yes). I kind of wish now I would have gone with them...to see Epcot in the early years? What a trill! But I know that it would have been just as miserable as '81. They had a good time without me (I don't think I am the problem, the tension between me and my Step-Dad is to blame, but it still hurts my pride knowing they could have a better time without me).
Once I got married, I really wanted to go as a "couple". My ex had never really been anywhere and I was really anxious to show him all that I had seen, no place more than Disney World! I even went to a travel agent (back in the day when you still needed travel agents), booked the trip, and was paying for it when we got divorced. I wasn't so upset about the marriage, but definitely about another Disney opportunity gone (at least I got my money back)!
In 1999, knowing that I still wanted to go, my Mother offered to go with me. Now my count was up to 2 trips! Granted, '99 wasn't much better than '81, but for an entirely different reason. I was at my social worst...constant panic attacks and severe anti-social disorder. I was also less than a year away from filing bankruptcy...some people eat for comfort, I spend. So, when I wasn't trying to hide at every opportunity or making myself sick when I couldn't hide, I was buying everything up in sight!
By 2004, Am and I were grown and relations between the family was better, so why not break my oath and try again? Plus, it would be the first time Am's husband had the full monty of life in our family. Surely, now that Am and I were grown and we'd all matured, we could do much better, right? WRONG! '04 made '81 and '99 look like picnics! We can laugh about it today (Strawberry Shortcake?!?!?), but at the time I had a hard time keeping myself from crying every five minutes.
I planned that entire trip all by myself for five people in three separate rooms (and thank god for that-I was extremely grateful for my solo room). I studied and researched every single book and what little there was on the internet at the time and basically did everything I could to make it all picture perfect, only to be shot down at every turn by my Step-Dad.
It wasn't all bad though...Am and I got closer, everyone else could finally see what a jerk my Step-Dad is (instead of just me), my oath of no more family vacations was renewed with vigor, and my love for Disney got even stronger, bad trips be damned! Once we split off into groups, we were even able to enjoy the end of the trip! Some of our favorite (and worst) memories are from that trip in particular (best-"yo, ho, yo ho a pirates life for me, I use a knife to stir my tea!"; worst-show out at Le Cellier).
Notice how everyone tries to act like they are happy except for the Jerk-Meister? Glad I take the pics now and don't have to be in them or it would have been even worse (not entirely sure Am's not saying, "just shut the hell up and smile":
In an effort to finally have the perfect jerk-free Disney trip, Am and I decided to go together without the rest of the family (although my brother-in-law would have been more than welcome...he's just a very busy man). So in 2005, Sisters Amuck was born and I had my first "real" Disney World trip!! It was also my first stay at Wilderness Lodge (which is probably why it's so endeared to me) as well as our first Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party! Now the addiction was in full swing!
2006 - my first solo and Christmas trip; 2007 - another Halloween Sisters Amuck tour de force; 2008 - my second solo and my first real Food & Wine Festival participation; 2009 - Sisters Amuck travel in luxury thanks to Am's husband; 2010 - another Sisters Amuck masterpiece; and 2012 (I skipped 2011 for financial reasons and I still regret it to this day) - last year's trip and my first Disney Passholder experience.
Granted, even the wonderful trips had their "moments", but not even Disney World is 100% perfect (just 99%). Then again, maybe the horrible years make every good moment in Disney even more magical. I don't really care why it's so wonderful or important to me now, it just is!
So, in case you lost count...that's 10 trips total in my whole life!!!
This upcoming trip is quite possibly the shortest, but I'm really planning on it being the best one ever! I do have reservations about December for many different reasons (Am knows them and concurs on most), but I haven't given up hope on it yet. 2013 will add another two to my belt.
Come 2014, I am planning a spring Flower and Garden Festival trip with my friend Kate over at The Suddenly Kate Show, but I also can't miss a Halloween trip, so another one is in development for October (plus, with the passholder discounts, I can go twice a year for the cost of once a year).
In 2015, there will be a Disney World trip (although I'm not sure when), but there will also be my very first Disneyland trip with my T-Boo! So good times ahead folks and plenty more Disney-themed blog posts on the horizon!!
Congratulations again to all the blog winners!