We just had a Big Year… a Big Disney Year. One year ago I purchased a Disney Platinum Pass. In that year, I was a guest at six different Disney Resort Hotels, had logged about 30 days of park time and rode in my very first Minnie Van (though it was not the last).
What is a Big Year?
Glad you asked. Oh, you didn’t, but I’m gonna share anyway, because in order to understand the Big Disney Year, you need to know a little bit about the inspiration.
The Big Year is a 2011 movie, starring Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin. It’s a family favorite in my house. The three main characters are very different men who have one thing in common. They love birdwatching, or birding as they call it. These competitive birders (Yes, bird watching can be competitive. Who knew?) spend one year trying to see as many species of birds as possible, and at the end of the year, there is a winner of The Big Year contest.
But instead of me telling you more about it, take a look at the trailer.
A New Big Year is Born
Of course, the Big Disney Year didn’t begin the day I purchased the annual pass. It was quite a while in the making. We have to go back in time a bit to see how we were laying the groundwork for the year, before we know it would be a big year.
I took a mom sabbatical
I write a lot about my love of youth ministry. Other than my family, it’s one of my biggest joys. However, the signs of burn out were beginning to appear. I found myself enjoying the kids, but it was harder and harder to summon the energy to do the work that leads to the meaningful relationships we strive for.
In hindsight, it could have been my undiagnosed thyroid condition rearing it’s ugly head, but I had no idea at the time that my thyroid was an issue, I just knew I needed a break. So, in the late spring of 2018 I listened to what my heart was saying and spoke to our youth director and associate pastor.
I let them know I needed to take a step back, and reassured them I was definitely coming back.
I knew I had made the right decision when I found myself missing the ministry activities and the kids by mid-October. I still needed more time, but I was convinced when I came back, I would come back stronger than ever with more clarity.
Extracurricular Momming had to go
But wait, there’s more. I stopped lots of other volunteering and activities I deem as extracurricular momming.
I cut back my volunteer activities at my kids’ school. I cut back so much on carpooling, I just stopped and took my own kids where they needed to be. On my own. In my own car. By myself. It was magical.
As long as you communicate your needs in a friendly manner and in a timely way (so you aren’t stressing out other moms) I found that all was just fine.
A big family change
One family change was likely the catalyst for the entire year. While I won’t get into the details here – that’s a story for a post all of its own – I will say that it was a GREAT thing. One of those moments that you work towards for years, and when it finally happens, it can be overwhelming.
Anyway, that moment made us take stock and realize that life really is moving fast, and the kids that we still consider babies aren’t going to be living in our house forever.
YouTube on TV
This is my favorite part.
Right around the end of the summer of 2018 my hubby, bless his heart, discovered the joy of watching YouTube on the big TV for the first time.
It really was cute.
He discovered YouTubers and channels that he never knew existed. One channel caught his attention.
The Disney Food Blog, then Tim Trackers, then many more! And all this Disney content streaming right into our living room really made us want to visit Disney again. And soon! So before we knew it we had two separate vacations in mind.
We definitely want to visit in October to experience Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for the first time. How had we never been?
The second trip was going to be at a time of year when the whole family could go, which meant summertime.
Math really is fun, y’all
We pulled out the calendars – all of them. School, sports, work, church, etc.
With two perfect weeks for travel selected I sat back, pretty excited. When my hubby, who is lighting fast with the math, said…
You know, if we are going to be in the parks that many days, we’d be better off getting annual passes.
Well, folks, that is just not a suggestion you have to run by me twice. I am on it. On. It. The only problem is what I call AP-itis. It’s real.
With freshly minted Platinum Passes in my little hands, we set about scouring the calendars for other pockets of time to visit.
By the end of our Big Disney Year, we had visited six times, staying at a different Disney Resort Hotel each time. Y’all this year ended way too quickly, but I am so excited I get to relive the journey one chapter at a time with you.
Next Week: Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
The beginning of a Big Year with two special meet ups, two items checked off my Big Disney Bucket List, and a decadent experience. Stay tuned.
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