The Year Without Disney: How to Keep the Disney Spirit Alive Between Trips -
Award-winning travel guidebooks

   guidebooks   |   news   |   podcasts   |   boards   |   blog   |   worksheets   |   photos   |   articles   |   updates   |   register   |  

The Year Without Disney: How to Keep the Disney Spirit Alive Between Trips

by Andee Zomerman, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 12-01-2011 > Articles > Walt Disney World > Making Magic  

Outside, the leaves have ended their colorful transformation, the crisp air has forced my sweaters out of the closet, and my afternoons are booked shuttling kids to all of their extra-curricular activities.

Normally this time of the year keeps me busy enough to let frivolous thoughts escape. But recently, something occurred to me, and my heart sank to my stomach. The year-end nears and I have not taken a Disney vacation.

It’s not like the revelation surprises me. Earlier in the year, my husband and I discussed our travel plans and decided an extravagant vacation didn’t fit in our calendar or our budget. Though we had no formal plan to travel far from our Oregon home this year, I secretly thought we might escape for a long weekend to the Disneyland Resort. But unless a truckload of Pixie Dust dumps on us in the next few weeks, 2011 will be the first year that I will not step foot on Disney property. It appears that Mickey and I won’t reunite until at least 2012 (or later?), so I am discovering ways to keep my “Disney spirit” alive.

Helping Friends Plan Their Disney Dreams
Helping people I know plan their Disney vacations excites my “Disney spirit.” Just last week, my Girl Scout co-leader met me for panini and soup to devise a touring plan for her family’s first visit to the Disneyland Resort. She became a tad overwhelmed when I spoke of spreadsheets, but the result was a fun-filled schedule, fully planned by the end of lunch.

Helping Strangers Plan Their Disney Destination
The community forum displays an abundance of questions waiting to be tackled by fellow readers. When not planning my own getaway, I lose myself in scanning posts from others planning theirs. In the past, I’ve spent countless hours on the site researching every detail about an upcoming trip. I may be stuck at home this year, but I can take time to share my experiences in order to help people I’ve never met plan the vacation of their dreams.

Disneyland Plaque photo
Disneyland Plaque

This plaque appears overhead as you enter Disneyland Park. - photo by 4Zs

Manage Those Photos
Knowing I won’t be taking new Disney pics this year, I can devote some time to organizing the prints from previous sojourns. Will I fill one album per trip? Should I make a compilation of excursions by the decade? Maybe I can dedicate a scrapbook focused on my children growing up with the characters. Whatever I come up with, I know my “Disney spirit” awakens in the photographed memories that are significant to each magical vacation.

Keep “Expert” Status
Even though I’m not traveling to a Disney location this year, I can still send away for my free planning DVD for the Resorts and Cruise Line. A multitude of blogs constantly update me on current Disney events, while reading the latest edition of PassPorter's Walt Disney World keeps me abreast of the changes and additions I need to be aware of to maintain my Disney-expert reputation.

Trying Something New
I almost feel blasphemous sharing this. Knowing we wouldn’t be saving our pennies for a 2011 Disney vacation, we did activities we don’t normally do on a Disney excursion. Staying local, we rode bikes, went water skiing, tried horseback riding, and even went camping! I admit I had an honest-to-goodness, restful time in the outdoors. Time away from the theme parks proved that we could keep the “Disney spirit” of family alive even if a life-sized mouse wasn’t there to welcome us.

Yes, I have experienced mini pity-parties because I don’t get to see Mickey this year, but working with others as they prepare their own Disney holiday gives me almost as much joy. One recent morning, a friend texted me as she and her family were driving to a different California theme park for her son’s birthday:

Friend: Driving by Disneyland. He asked if we could go there instead. So we are.
Me: Much better decision. Stop by City Hall on Main Street to get him a bday sticker.
Friend: Keep the hints coming. Do you suggest Park Hopper since it’s open until 10?
Me: Yes on PH to get max roller coaster time. No if coasters aren’t important.
(20 minutes later)
Friend: Screamin’ is AWESOME!

Throughout that day via our iPhones, my “Disney spirit” was kept alive as I vicariously shared my friend’s impromptu destination decision. She texted after favorite attractions and sent pictures of “World of Color.” After all, if I can’t experience the Disney Magic in person, I might as well share in the Magic others are having!

You've discovered a PassPorter's Club Concierge Tip!
Ting the bell to read your tip and save it in your Concierge Desk!
About the Author:
Andee Zomerman lives in the Pacific Northwest and is a wife and mother to a family that loves all things Disney. They seem to be constantly planning their next Disney vacation – even while experiencing the current one.

Recent Walt Disney World Articles:
The Health Nut's Guide to Keeping Fit at Walt Disney World - Part 2: Following Through - A Walt Disney World Planning Article last updated 10-01-2015
Remembering Bill Myers, Our Bagman and LizardCop - A Tribute to a Fallen Hero and Longtime PassPorter Guide last updated 09-23-2015
Shades of Green Resort - A Walt Disney World Resort Review last updated 09-24-2015
The Health Nut's Guide to Keeping Fit at Walt Disney World - Part 1: Activity Options - A Walt Disney World Planning Article last updated 09-17-2015
Splitsville Luxury Lanes - A Walt Disney World Resort Review last updated 09-10-2015

More Related Links:
Gardens of The World Tour - A Guided Tour During Epcot's International Flower and Garden Festival last updated 5/28/2009
Star Wars Weekends - Feel the Force at Disney's Hollywood Studios last updated 6/4/2009
Unusual Photo Opportunities - Getting Unique Photos at Disney last updated 6/18/2009
The Osborne Spectacle of Lights - Disney's Hollywood Studios last updated 7/6/2009
Dashing Through The ... Snow? - Sleigh Rides at Walt Disney World last updated 11/30/08

Reader Comments:

Thank You for a great article!!! I too am not able to travel to Walt Disney World this year due to budget restraints:( First year in a long time I have missed a visit with The Mouse). Since last Feb I have helped 8 co-workers and family members plan their trips to Walt Disney World. Some travelers are first-timers and some are repeat visitors. As mentioned helping others plan their trips and regular visits to the PassPorter site and others, helps me get my "Disney fix" for this year smiley for :)smiley for :) Thanks again for letting me know I am not the only one yearning for that "special" Disney trip.

     Mtfarlin on December 1, 2011 @ 7:08 pm
Truly a disney wonder! I always think that it's not just the fun of going yourself, but getting others excited about going and sharing your expertise and hints. Wonderful article, Andee! I only get to go to WDW every five years, but oh, i have fun planning and talking to others for the rest of the time! :o

     LesliePR on December 7, 2011 @ 7:53 am
View all 2 comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)

Updated 12-01-2011 - Article #755 

Read additional articles from

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  



We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2015
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - 13,14,15,16,17,18
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Discussion forums about Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel provided by PassPorter Travel Press, the ultimate Disney travel guide and book series.

$200 Disney Visa Gift card-Does it expire?
by cbate717
7 Oct 2015 at 11:06am
You know how you can get a Disney Visa from Chase and sometimes they offer the $200 gift card with it (after you spend a certain dollar amount in so...
(click title above to view replies)

[Where on property can you buy] Disney Dollars?
by AmbRuss
4 Oct 2015 at 10:51pm
If this is in the wrong place please move.. Does anyone collect Disney Dollars? Where is the best place to get them at Disney World? I have...
(click title above to view replies)

Need to quickly get Annual Pass (AP) with Disney Rewards dollars - help!
by Caldercup
23 Sep 2015 at 10:40am
So, I belatedly realized I didn't have an active Disney Rewards card (to put my rewards points on), and I'm getting heavy pressure from my pushy...
(click title above to view replies)

Total Visits: 5736

PassPorter ~ 1998-2015 ~ 17 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
News & Updates
Message Boards
Concierge Desk
Books & E-Books
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.