If you've been going annually since you were a toddler, if you worked the College Program, if you went the first time when you were 13 or when your kids were teenagers, if you're planning your first trip now....
Tell us about how your Disney love story began. When did you fall in love with the Mouse? When did a Disney cast member say "welcome home " to you and you started to cry?

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OK! I'll start!

I never went to Disney with my family as a child, or a young mom. I liked some Disney things but was not the Disney nut you now know.

When I met and married my Floridian husband, I still wasn't there.... Then we were taking the boys for DH's brother's wedding in May of 2003 in Tallahassee. DH was still active duty and it was a year when there was a GREAT Disney promotion for military members and dependents. I told DH I wanted to take the boys to Disney world. I bought the Unofficial Guide (DH thought I was OUT OF MY MIND -- he didn't think anyone needed a guidebook or a plan for touring Disney!) .... and I read. And read some more. And then we went and it was AMAZING. AMAZING. 

Shades of Green was closed for refurbishment, so we got to stay at Caribbean Beach.

We had such a fantastic time that the rest of the family (DH's parents and brother's family) wished they had gone with us, and we still had days left on our tickets that were good til the end of the year...  so.... we went back in October of 2003!

And then I found Tami and Sus on Twopeas and got hooked on Disneyscrapping. Changed my scrapping, vacationing and Disneyloving world.

I read a TON of Disney history and books. We don't go nearly as often as many members here -- we've been to WDW in May 2003, October 2003, October 2007, Disneyland in June 2010, and Disneyworld in Dec 2013.

Great topic, Merrick!

I have always loved Disney movies...Mom collected them :-)  I remember her bringing me to see Bambi on the big screen at a small theater during the summer when I was little (and I should state it wasn't when Bambi first came out LOL!!)  Mom has always had a thing for Goofy so we were exposed to lots of Disney stuff even if it wasn't the park.  I went for the first time as an adult at the age of 22.  My bf at the time went to FL on a shoestring budget and one day at the MK was our "splurge".  I honestly don't remember a lot of it but thankfully have some pictures to remember the trip by (too bad the ex is in most of the character photos!)  The biggest thing I remember is the characters were always milling about, this was in the year 2000...not the structured M&G they do now. 

I never in my wildest dreams thought I would marry someone who would fall in love with Disney right along with me.  We planned our belated honeymoon/1st anniversary trip in 2011 under the condition he would get to select our next trip destination.  He caught the bug when we were there and we have gone 3 times since then!

I have seen the castle a bunch of times and I still tear up that first time each trip when it first comes into view...and when we leave the MK for the final time each trip.  I think it's the most magical park :-)  I have it on my bucket list to visit Disneyland and at least one international park.

I think I had a deprived childhood because the first Disney film I got to see at the cinema (theatre) was The Fox and the Hounds and I think it was the only one. My Dad took me to see the Jungle Book before that but I think it had already started or something because we didn't see that we saw Orca (look it up - not in the same league at all!! scarred me for life)

I first went to WDW in 1986 when I spent the summer with my Mum and Dad's friends when I was 16. I went to Magic Kingdom and Epcot (I think a couple of days in each) and loved it. I don't remember meeting or seeing many characters that first time but I was bought my first set of Mickey ears :) (I still have them with my name embroidered on them )

Since then I have been in 1989 when I went with my boyfriend of the time(first time at MGM), 1991 with my now DH, 1993 for our honeymoon, 1995 and then 2005 (when we caught the Flower and Garden Festival) and 2011 with DH and our 2 boys. I have a lot of the Disney animation films and have taken the boys to see a lot of them at the cinema. I just like the friendliness of Disney and the last couple of trips we have taken time to meet characters (I didn't think the boys would want to in 2011 as DS1 was 12 but they did :) ) and our last trip we also spent time hunting out hidden mickeys which were new to us. There always seems something new to see or do!

I would love to go during a holiday like Halloween or Christmas but that is just not feasible for us while the boys are at school.

I always wanted to go to Disney, but living in the UK and mum and dad not earning huge amounts of money I knew it wouldn't happen. But every Bank Holiday Monday, when I was a child, they always showed a program called Disney Time and it showed clips of Disney films, sometimes the presenters were in Disneyland or World and I eagerly waited for these programs to come on. We didn't have many Disney films on video and we didn't go to the cinema that often so this was the only way to see Disney films, I loved it! I always loved the look of America and was hooked on any American TV program, Fame was my favourite and then there was Dallas and Dynasty etc, and we watched them all and I just wanted to go to America!

I met my lovely Hubby but before we were married we were at University and saving some money to go to do Camp America together which was really exciting. Steve and I were living together at the time, and we started to go to church and he became a Christian, which I was already, and then we decided that we should get married rather than living together, so all the money we saved for America went on getting married. It was a little sad for us but getting married was the best thing ever and God never let's you miss out on your dreams:-). For quite a while we didn't really think about going to America, we were too busy working and then starting a family. But going to Disney was always at the back of our minds.

After our second child we began to discuss when would be the best ages to go, as we thought it would be a once in a life time trip, we wanted the kids to be old enough to remember it. So we decided on Abby being 10 and Michael would be 8, so we began to save and save and save. It was a little half hearted to begin with as we had no idea how much money we needed and neither of us had ever travelled out of the country so it was all a bit scary. One day we looked at the figures properly and realised we weren't that far away from a workable figure to go! So the saving really began in earnest, that was in 2009. It was a huge deal for us to travel so far and spend so much money and we really didn't know what to expect. But it surpassed all our expectations!! I have to say, I had a feeling of being at home in Disney and just loving every moment of it. Seeing the castle was amazing, and for us, just being in America was a dream come true! We spent 3 weeks our first time and truly didn't want to come home at all. We cried when we left Magic Kingdom for the last time and I cried when I walked into my house back in the UK. We were really homesick for Disney for weeks, but we had already decided we would return as we just loved it so much! So we worked out we could save enough money in 2 years and that's what we did! We returned for another 3 weeks in 2011 and had as much fun the second time round. I was a bit worried we wouldn't, as reliving something isn't always the best thing, but it was just great!

A year later we saw about the Star Wars weekend and the kids were very into Star Wars then and really wanted to go and so did we! But we thought there was no way, until we started looking and we found the cheapest flight and villa ever and amazingly we could afford it, so we booked it and flew 3 weeks later, and I have to say, that was our most favourite visit! The kids absolutely loved it and it was so exciting booking and going so quickly, it was a whirlwind trip for us, but the best fun ever! If you ask the kids now about their best memories it is always Star Wars Weekend, those sorts of memories are priceless.

This is probably very long winded, sorry about that! But that's how we started our love with Disney:-).
Yikes! I should probably have put some paragraphs in that! Sorry!

Great stories so far!

Julia - you mentioning Disney on TV reminded me of the Mickey Mouse Club. Oh how my little sister and I loved watching it!! That was back when Disney Channel was a premium channel though so we didn't have it except once or twice a year when the cable company showed it for free. Back then it was during the season of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake being on there. This is so fun to go down memory lane :-)

When I was little there were only 3 channels on TV and then 4 probably when I was a teenager - no cable or satellite at all.

I remember those Disney programmes too Julia - lots of clips from various film and the presenter talking. We didn't have any Disney films at home either. I don't think we had a video until I had nearly left home and they didn't really show the whole of the animated films on TV I don't think. Did they?

Oooh fun thread!

I spent parts of my childhood in Florida (my dad was in the Coast Guard - we moved around a lot and lived near WDW on a couple of occasions) and my parents took me to the Magic Kingdom a few times when I was around 5-7 years old. I don't really have many memories from those day trips but the ones I do have truly stand out! Examples:

- Watching the MSEP and getting freaked out because the turtle with the glasses came way too close to me sitting on the curb!

- Being in awe riding the monorail - getting transported from the blah parking lot to seeing the park from the window was truly magical!

- Riding Space Mountain with my dad and screaming at him the entire time that I was going to throw up. (I wouldn't ride another roller coaster for about six years after that.)

To this day, the monorail and the MSEP are among my most favorite attractions. And Space Mountain too. :)

I remember my parents taking a day trip with some friends to Epcot not long after it first opened. I was supposed to go to but I thought Epcot would be "boring" so I stayed at my grandparents' house instead.  Can you imagine???  What was I thinking??

After moving away from Florida, we would still return to visit family and we'd always make a stop at WDW, staying at various resorts each time (anyone remember the Treehouse Villas?)... Needless to say, I've been hooked since then and try to make yearly visits to WDW.  Luckily my husband likes it enough to humor me.  :)  We will be having our first child in July so the visits are on hold for a bit, but one day it will be neat to take our son for the first time!

Cris, my first ever Disney film at the cinema was Fox And The hound!! We must be a similar age:-). I think I did see Jungle Book too, but it wasn't new, it was like a children's special. I remember the queue being absolutely huge!!!

Valerie, our first ride was Space Mountain and it scared us all to death and we nearly didn't go on any more rides, and we were adults! :-)

I'm 44 Julia (heading for 45 ahhhh!)

I was about 6 when I saw Orca - I'm sure with the ratings now, you wouldn't be able to take a 6 yr old.

Cris, We are a similar age, I'm nearly 41. :-)
Just looked up Orca, it's not anything like Jungle Book!:-). You are right, I doubt the ratings would be for a 6 year old now.

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