I remember seeing a story about this on TV last year and thought hmmmm…yes, that totally makes sense. Experiences, NOT things, make you happier! I read about it in The Huffington post too! It is something that I fully promote in our family. Don’t get me wrong, sure, finding a cute pair of shoes or a smart new handbag is fun too but the thing that truly makes my soul feel full is spending time with my family. Sharing experiences with them! So I have made it my mission to create experiences for our family instead of plying them a bunch of things, toys or electronics…aka, stuff!
My most recent experience with implementing this mantra was our family Christmas trip to Walt Disney World. If you follow my blog or know me, you know Disney has been a part of my life since I was a kid. Heck, I grew up 40 minutes from Disneyland in California so my parents took us on mini vacations to Disneyland all of the time. I want to give those same memories to my family. Recently one of my dear friends Marylouise and her family moved to Orlando and she and I have talked for years about doing a Disney trip together. So once she moved, we knew it was Disney, game on!
I started planning months ago (thank you Kim Stiles from Fantasy Trip Travel for always being a huge help). We decided for the first time in our lives to splurge on annual passes to Disney. (aka please take my credit card Walt). With annual passes come some discounts, so we chose Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and WOW…we were not disappointed! We decided this was going to be our family Christmas present. A total surprise for our girls! My Momma Jane who lives with us was SO in and we were all getting excited. I love the idea of multi-generational traveling too!!! I shopped online and in stores and got great deals for matching shirts for all five of us. Yes, remember…we are THAT family! (Hello, you SAW our Christmas card, right?!) I also had my husband’s company My Smart Shirt make us all matching sweatshirts. Five in our family and six in my girlfriend’s family for yes, a total of 11 of us rockin’ this trip! My girlfriend Marylouise and I decided to call it the #EverythingTrip because that was how we felt it was going to be…everything and it SO was! We are already planning our second annual!
We picked up the girls on their last day of school with all of our bags packed and we were off. I love my 10 yo Lily’s face in the surprise video! What you don’t see right after I stopped the video, is she leaned up to give me us a hug and was in tears. She was SO happy and said it was the BEST Christmas present ever! Yes! My day was made and the trip had only just begun! We drove to Florida and everyone was giddy! Staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian was a great move! It gave my mom the opportunity to monorail or bus it back from the parks when she needed a break. It was so super convenient. Plus the life size gingerbread house in their lobby is a sight to see! What a beautiful hotel!
We did Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom (our first time), Epcot and Hollywood Studios! Our fave is of course Magic Kingdom but since our family loves Star Wars, we loved going to Hollywood Studios and checking out the new Star Wars Launch Bay and Lily got to do Jedi Training, which she LOVED! So did Mommy. 😉
Since this was our three year old Luna’s first real experience at Disney, I cried pretty much everyday watching her face. Really, I am such a sap! I cried on It’s a Small World because she was so in awe! I cried when she was hugging Sophia The First and wouldn’t let go! I cried when she squealed at everything! I even cried when she didn’t like The Haunted Mansion (my favorite ride) at first but then wanted to ride it again and again (which we did) and then she told EVERYONE that would listen that she went on “Haunted Mansion!!”
Having this memory with my husband (God Bless him for wearing every single one of my silly matching shirts), our daughters and my Momma Jane truly made for one of the BEST family vacations we have ever had. My goal for 2016 and forever really, is to create as many of these experiences for my family that I can. I truly believe this is what life is all about. Living life to the fullest and enjoying every moment that you can!
What has been your most favorite family experience or trip? Would love for you to share so I can get some ideas added to my must experience list!
Here is to 2016! Happy New Year everyone!!
XO Surviving Mommy