When I graduated from high school, I got my very first "official" job working at Disneyland during the summer and holiday seasons.
Whenever I tell people this, they excitedly ask, "What did you do?" (Like maybe I got to fly from the Matterhorn during the fireworks show or dance with Mickey on a parade float or something awesome like that.)
And then I tell them I worked Guest Control for the shows and parades, which basically means I stood on the sidewalk (with a flashlight wand) and told the guests where they could find the closest restroom or what time the next parade would start.
No, it wasn't glamorous, and I was paid just about minimum wage, but I loved every single day of work.
I got choked up on my first day because I was so happy to be there. And I cried on my last day because I was SO SAD to leave. And every day in between, at least one person would ask me if it was my first day of work because I would skip around the park enthusiastically, smiling, making new friends, and doing my best to spread that Disney magic.
Disneyland was my element.
Fast forward seven years, and I was the mom of three preschoolers, living in an itsy bitsy apartment in Southern California, waiting until we found the right house to buy.
I looked around for a preschool I thought Alia would like, but then I discovered that for $99 a piece (that was the price back then), I could buy annual passes to Disneyland for me and Alia--and Grace and Ethan could get in free.
And that was the start of "The Perry Family's Disneyland Preschool."
Over the past eight years, we've had family passes on and off, when it's worked with our vacation budget and our family circumstances, and though I'm sure there are still tons of things I can learn, I can confidently call myself a "Master of Disneyland with Children." (Is that bragging? I'm not trying to brag. Please forgive me if it comes across that way, okay?)
So now that I've learned all of these things, what do I DO with them?
I've hesitated even talking about Disneyland on my blog or Power of Moms because I understand that not everybody has the opportunity to go to Disneyland. (And some people don't even like Disneyland, which I honestly can't comprehend.)
But this idea of a "Disneyland Kit" has been in my mind for months, and so I'm currently in the process of putting together a downloadable resource to help parents really make the most of their Disney vacation.
It will most likely consist of an eBook, a planning template, and a couple of special downloads, and my hope is that it will bring lots of new friends to Power of Moms--as well as enable families to create wonderful vacation memories to last a lifetime. (Seriously, parents invest thousands of dollars and weeks of vacation time--sometimes to travel across the globe to get here. I want them to have the time of their lives.)
And it's been good for me to work on something so fun.
Saren and I spend hundreds of hours each year creating web pages, typing up newsletters, responding to emails, and figuring out lots of details for our website--which is well worth it, when we look at what an amazing community we get to be a part of--but sometimes I just need to open my computer and "type happy."
That's what this Disneyland Kit is for me.
So the reason I'm writing up this post is because I want to know if there's anything you think needs to be included in this Disneyland kit.
Do you know of any bloggers who are already talking about this? Do you have any favorite books on the subject or best app recommendations for a smart phone? Do you have any advice you're dying to share? (You can check out our Power of Moms Facebook thread if you want to see what's already been said.)
And if you have anything else to add, please email me or leave your ideas in the comments.
(If you have specific questions you'd like me to address in the kit, please leave those, as well.)
Thanks so much!