Sunday, January 30, 2011

Understanding Disney Addiction

As we discussed in the last blog, there is now a diagnosis for Disney addiction known as Neurotic Disney Person (or mom, dad, grandma, etc.).  Once one is properly diagnosed (see previous blog for more info or visit, it is important to begin understanding the diagnosis.  Many of you out there who are living with this condition have already begun this process.  Understanding Disney addiction really begins with simply understanding Disney.  Then the cravings kick in and you have to know MORE!!

Well the greatest thing about Disney addiction is that it is actually OK to want more!  And one of the best ways I've found to feed a Disney addiction is through podcasts.  I've known about podcasts for a few years now, but never really understood how amazing they can be until the last 8 months or so.  That was about the time I inherited my husband's "old" Zune.  Kendall just had to have the new, HD Zune, so once he was able to get it, I got the older, larger hard drive, model.  As I was playing around with all the options, I noticed that it had podcast capability.  So I thought, why not check that out.  I had heard on Magical Mouse Radio (via Live365 on my computer at work) that they had a podcast called the "Be Our Guest Podcast" where they discussed all things Disney.  So, I typed it in the search box and, sure enough,  there it was.  I downloaded a few podcast episodes to listen to and I was HOOKED!  What an amazing way to gain as much Disney knowledge as possible.  So as I listened to Mike and the gang, I heard them talking about other podcasts and having other podcasters as their special guests.  Next thing you know, I was subscribing to Lou Mongello's WDW Radio Show, Betamouse, and WDW Today.  And there are so many more podcasts out there that I would love to start listening to.  

 Although I love doing website research on Disney, there's just something about listening to these fellow Disney addicts talking about every Disney topic under the sun.  And all while driving to and from work!  The only thing is, now when I have a conversation with someone about Disney, it generally includes the phrase, "well, the other day I was listening to a podcast on (fill in the topic) and they said..."  What's really amazing is that you as the listener really begin to feel like you know these podcasters personally.  Like they are a part of your "Disney friends."  (Don't try to deny it.  You have friends and you have Disney friends.  All Disney addicts do.  If you don't, and would like to have more Disney friends, stay tuned for part three of this series when we explore support groups for Disney addicts!)  What's even more amazing is when they actually do become your friends.  Many of these podcasters also have special events or "meets" at Walt Disney World, which allows you to get to know them as well as fellow Disney addicts who are also listeners.  I was very privileged to do just that on our last trip to the World, and made so many wonderful memories and new friends in the process.

So while you are researching your Disney addiction, don't forget to do a search for Disney podcasts.  Many can be found on iTunes or in your Zune marketplace.  Also, many of your favorite Disney websites have their own podcasts or they have feature writers who participate in podcasts.  Many of the podcasts can be downloaded to any type of mp3 player or you can even listen directly from your computer. 
Do a little digging and see what type of podcast appeals to you.   And stay tuned for part 3 of the Disney addiction series, "Support Groups as Treatment for Disney Addiction."  Have a great day, enjoy some podcasts, and (as Mike would say) "we'll see ya real soon!"

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Diagnosing Disney Addiction

As any therapist will tell you, you can only go so far in therapy until you are willing to acknowledge the problem and accept responsibility for your role in it.  Well, when it comes to Disney addiction, there’s only one primary diagnosis…neurotic Disney person.  A neurotic Disney person is one who has “a passionate (and sometimes irrational) love for the Disney brand with a particular focus on the Disney parks.”  Symptoms include, but are not limited to living a Disney Driven Life.  “This includes activities like watching Disney movies, listening to Disney music and podcasts, discussing Disney topics with family and friends on a regular basis, participating in Disney communities online and enjoying every minute of it.  But the paramount event in the life of a Disney Driven person is planning and anticipating a Disney vacation.” 

You can imagine my delight when I finally learned that there was a name for my condition!  I first learned about it while listening to Be Our Guest Podcast Episode 265, when JL Knopp, founder of was the guest.  As I listened to JL talking about her obsession with Disney,  her Disney driven life principles, and the “sacred seven,”  I knew I had just found a kindred spirit.  Then when I learned that I could stand up and be counted as a Neurotic Disney Mom, I knew I had to do it!
So, without further ado, I would like to announce, “Hello, my name is Mendy and I am Neurotic Disney mom #375.”  Wow, that feels great!!! 

If you would like to join me in the ranks of neurotic Disney people, visit and be counted.  Remember, the first step to proper treatment (not to mention fun) is to admit you have a problem, then have a great time doing something about it!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Making Memories

Since my birthday, I've been reminded how important our memories are to us and that making memories is an integral part of our relationships with those we care about.  Why my birthday you ask?  Well, a few reasons actually.  One, I tend to get a little introspective around my birthday, and since it is so close to the New Year, it compliments my goal setting and resolution making!  Two, this year I had a wonderful birthday get together with some great friends who made me laugh so much and really helped me to create some great birthday memories.  And thirdly, my Pa Pa, who was 99 years old, passed away on the evening of my birthday.  Yes it was very hard, but it really got me thinking about how many amazing memories he must have had.  Memories of life experiences, places he had seen, inventions and improvements in technology, and memories he had created with his family. 
So many times, our days and nights are filled with scheduled things.  Our lives tend to rush past us.  And so for me, a huge part of our yearly Disney trip is all about making memories with my family.  Then, when we come home, the race is on to preserve those memories.  Whether it be in scrapbooks, photo albums, or DVD slideshows, those memories have to be saved and relived for years to come. 

Our honeymoon at Disney. 

The first time we took Payton and he spent the majority of the trip on his Daddy's shoulders. 

Payton's 5th birthday at Hollywood Studios getting birthday wishes from all the characters in the Stars and Motor Cars parade. 

Waiting, and waiting, and waiting for buses at Caribbean Beach resort.  Meeting new friends in a treehouse. 

All of these memories and so many more.  But I've often found myself wondering, am I too busy trying to get that perfect photograph or the best video angle that I miss what's really going on around me?  I miss the memory in the making?  Sometimes I think that's true.  For example, we attended our first Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party this year and had a blast!  It was nearing time for Hallowishes, the amazing fireworks show, and we had found a great viewing spot with seating and everything!  So we got ourselves situated and I pulled out both the camera and the mini video recorder.   So here I am, getting everything set up and the show starts.  I'm clicking away, checking my settings, trying to keep the video stable, AND still trying to watch.  It wasn't working.  In the end, I think I only really watched a small fraction of the fireworks, and even that little bit told me it was the best one I'd ever seen at Disney.  And yet, I missed the moment.  I missed looking at my son's face to see his amazement.  I missed sharing a glance with my husband that said, "I'm so glad we are doing this as a family."  I missed the moment.  The video is good, the pictures are OK, but neither will ever truly represent the beauty of that fireworks show.  The beauty of that moment, of being so caught up in the magic that I set the camera aside.

Now granted, I'm not advocating for leaving your camera at home.  I'm an avid photographer and of course my favorite subject, other than my son,  is all things Disney.  But when the camera stops you from participating in the moment, in the creation of the memory, it's time to put it back in the bag and immerse yourself in the magic.   Because that's why we go to Disney, to bring magic into our lives and to create magical memories with the ones we love.

I can only hope that I will have the many years that my Pa Pa had time to enjoy during his long life.  What I can do though is ensure that I am fully participating in the memories that I create now!  My wish for all of you is that you find a way to be present in the moment...and keep "Makin' Memories." 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sad Times

I apologize to all of you for the lack of blogs.  Due to a death in my family, I haven't been able to post anything new since the New Year.  For a while, I lost the magic.  However, just yesterday inspiration took hold and several new blog ideas were jotted down.  So I promise, new blog coming soon!!
Thank you for your patience & understanding!


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Well HELLO 2011!!

I read on Facebook yesterday where someone had made the following comment to the question, 'What are your New Year's resolutions?':  "I don't make any.  If I keep my expectations low, then I'm sure to meet them."  Honestly, that statement makes me so sad.  I think way too many people look at making resolutions as a chore.  That's not the purpose of a resolution at all.  Yes, you are resolving to do something, but it's an opportunity to set goals and to dream big!  For me, it’s like setting my goals for the year; making a game plan.  Do I meet every one of them?  Not usually.  But it gives me something to strive for. 

As you probably could guess, I have some Disney related resolutions for 2011.  The two easiest are that I will take a Disney Cruise in 2011, and I will attend Star Wars Weekend in 2011.  Those are the easiest because I’ve already booked the trips!  So that’s probably cheating a little bit, but I have to say, those are two resolutions I’m very excited about!

I resolve to ride the Jungle Cruise this year, and to get my guys onto the Carousel of Progress.  I resolve to explore more of the Animal Kingdom Lodge rather than just sleeping there.  I resolve to run another Disney 5K and begin training for a half-marathon in 2012.  (Not sure yet how I’m going to pull that off, but I’m sure going to try!)

A few more Disney resolutions I have for 2011 are to read more Disney related books this year on the history and making of the parks, to develop my blog series on how Disney enriches lives in mind, body and spirit, and to stand up and be counted (some of you already know what this means, for those who don’t, be prepared for a blog about it!).  I resolve to further expand my creativity in the spirit of Disney and most of all, to live by Walt’s quote of “If you can dream it, you can do it.”  I’m ready to let my dreams become catalysts to action in 2011. 

So what are your goals and dreams for 2011 (Disney or otherwise)?  Write them down, share them with a friend, and then resolve to take action to meet those goals.  Don't be afraid.  Dream big and know that others are on this journey with you.

Happy New Year everyone!  Thank you so much for joining me on this blogging journey.  I'm so looking forward to hearing more from you all this year.