So pleased to have Jason from Islands of Investing guest posting today! He’s traveled across the world to see Disney, and had quite the experience. If you’re interested in contributing your own Disney guest post, please contact me.
My very first Disney experience was late 2006, as a 25 year old. I was lucky enough to have my then-girlfriend now-wife’s family invite me on one of their very special family vacations to the US. Turned out they were pretty huge fans of everything Disney – especially the theme parks, and this trip was to involve no less than 10 days at Disneyworld.
I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into, or what to expect. As a young boy, I had always pictured Disneyland as a mythical, magical place, that no-one really visited. It genuinely didn’t seem like a real place to me, living on the other side of the world, in my own small sphere of reality. It certainly wasn’t something my own family ever talked about.
I was simply blown away by my first visit. I vividly remember every ride and experience at the first park we visited, Epcot. The attention to every detail, the atmosphere of fun and magic, and the sheer quality of everything was like nothing I’d seen before. And all the other Disney parks had the same impact.
What made the experience even more amazing was my wife’s incredible planning around what rides to do when, and her family’s knowledge of all the tips and tricks (including optimisation of fast-passes!), being veterans of the Disney parks. It really pays to be prepared and organised! (That also included being up super-early and at the park about an hour before it opened – lucky I’m a morning person ☺)
A terrifying (but eventually enjoyable) ride
My wife and family played a nice little trick on me, on the Tower of Terror at Disney Hollywood Studios (or MGM as it was known when we were there). I knew nothing about it, and was happy to just go along for the ride. I assumed there might be some riding up and down in an elevator – sounds fun!
All was going great until our elevator came off the rails, and drifted forwards towards a pitch black room, with the doors closing behind us. Then – the DROP! I have seriously never, ever screamed like I did on that first ride. It was blood-curdling. The only time so far in my life I genuinely thought I was going to die. Stupid as it might have seemed, the free-falling experience was totally unexpected.
I was shaking for about 30 minutes afterwards, barely able to speak. But after a few more brave rides, it has since become one of my favourites! I’ve definitely overcome a few fear-factors on some of the more extreme rides, and now I just can’t get enough of them!
“We came all the way from Australia!”
We arrived at Animal Kingdom (another Disney theme park), bursting with excitement to experience the “Expedition Everest” roller coaster for the first time. When the gates opened, we couldn’t contain ourselves – we all started running towards the ride (you’re not really supposed to run!), which was all the way over the other side of the park. When staff yelled out to us “You don’t need to run – the ride isn’t going anywhere!”, we replied “But we are! We’ve just come all the way from Australia, so we’re making the most of every second!”. And it was worth it – we got about 3 rides in before it started getting ridiculously busy! Definitely one of my top 2 or 3 favourites.
I could go on and on about all the other amazing rides and experiences, but I’ll spare you the details – and let you discover them for yourself one day if you haven’t yet been.
We will return again!
I’m so grateful to my wife and her very generous family for that first experience. It’s definitely one I’ll remember forever.
I know it often seems weird to people who either haven’t experienced it, or believe they’re too ‘mature’ for a theme park, that a grown man can have such a brilliant experience at a place like Disney. But I think when you really do immerse yourself in it, you really see what an amazing, fun, joyous place it can be. It’s great to be able to awaken you’re inner child! (but there are still plenty of more daunting adult rides too). Although I must admit – I’ll probably never get quite as excited as the rest of my family about all the parades, even though I will admit they are pretty spectacular.
I’ve been back to Disneyworld / land a few times since with my wife – including a visit to Tokyo Disney (which is amazing!). But we’re most excited to take my 2 year old daughter in a few years, and hopefully start a new, wonderful family tradition and create some more unforgettable memories!
Jason is the creator of the Islands of Investing, a quiet place away from the constant noise of the investment world. His blog is focused on learning about the important things for becoming a better investor and living a good life. He’s striving towards financial independence – and balancing this with occasional family trips to Disney!
If you’re interested in booking your own Disney vacation, request a quote from my affiliate Laura. She’s got all the best deals, works for free to you, and will save you a ton of money on your magical experiences.