It All Started at 5….#DisneySide



Welcome to those of you joining me from Home is Where the Mouse Is and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the Final stop on our Magical Blogorail.

My Disney side came about when I was 5 years old and my parents took me to Disney for the first time ever. I was a rather outgoing kid, so I made friends with characters, as well as Cast Members in just about every park. Although I don’t rememberย everythingย from what trip, I do remember key parts, and I know that my first trip in winter of 1999 was the reason that I still love Walt Disney World to this day.

PicMonkey Collage

During the large gap from 1999 to 2005, I remember really getting myself into Disney movies – especially the Disney Sing-Alongs from the 90s. I watched them over and over, and I’m pretty sure I wore them out.

When my family went back to Disney World in 2005 (I was 11 at the time), my grandparents went with us. I have them to thank for my love for Disney – and my Disney side – because they took my mom to Disney in the late 80’s, and it got her hooked! (Which, in turn, got me and the rest of my family hooked!)

In 2005, I started pin trading, which was pretty new to Disney World at the time. I loved seeing all the cool pins that Cast Members had, and being able to trade them. (I started off with 4 Tinker Bell Pins, and now, in 2014, I believe I had over 80 pins on my Pin Board).

Notice anything different about the EPCOT ball? This was the last time I saw Spaceship Earth with Mickey’s hand and wand beside it. Do you miss the hand?

2005 was also the last time that I ever went to Disney with long hair. (Not important, just stating a fact!)

PicMonkey Collage

My next trip was in 2009. This time, we took along great friends of ours who had never been to Disney before. It was really cool seeing Disney through the eyes of people who had never experienced it before. My brother was 2 at the time, and our friends had a 7 month old baby. Both of them enjoyed it immensely, so I won’t be scared to take along young kids when I have them someday.

This particular trip, I was 15. I was in between the ages of experiencing Disney World as a child, and experiencing it as an adult. (Although, everyone is a child at Disney World!)

It’s no longer an option, but on this trip, we got the opportunity to ride up front with the Monorail driver. It was so cool to see the Monorail from the front seat, and be able to take advantage of watching how it worked. Our monorail driver’s name was Ed, and he even posed for a picture with me and Gracie!

PicMonkey Collage

I think after our trip in 2009, we began to wear my dad down. He used to say 3-4 years between Disney trips because that was all we could afford. But somehow, we ended up talking him into another trip in 2010 (thanks to doing a homeschool convention). And 2011. And 2012 (twice!). And most recently, 2013. I’m not exactly sure how we did that, considering the fact that we don’t make any more money now than we did then.

I think it has to do with the fact that my dad loves Disney just as much as the rest of us do. And that we’ve figured out how to go to Disney on the cheap end of things – while staying on Disney property!

2010: This year was our first trip in May – it was hot and sticky and kind-of gross, but we had an awesome time. It’s really hard not to have a great time at Disney! We wouldn’t have chosen May (we usually go in fall/winter), but we were working at the homeschool convention in Florida, so we figured we’d get a Disney fix while we were down there!

PicMonkey Collage

2011: Again, we were down in Florida for the homeschool convention, and had to get in a Disney fix! This was also our first time ever staying on Disney property – 3 nights at Port Orleans, Riverside just to try it out! I don’t think that we’ll ever be able to go back to staying off-site! On-site is just so convenient!

This trip, we also got to take 2 of my homeschool-convention friends along for a day at Disney! It was so much fun!

PicMonkey Collage

2012: In 2012, we were lucky – and blessed – enough to go twice! First in January, and then again in September. January was a family trip. We went for 10 days, and stayed on property at Port Orleans Riverside. September was everyone but my dad – we went for the Ultimate Field Trip, and stayed at All Star Movies.

Both trips were great! I was just glad to get to my Happy Place twice in one year, when we had such big gaps in between all our other trips!

PicMonkey Collage

And last, but not least, our most recent trip was in December of 2013. My family had been dreaming of going to Disney at Christmastime for years, and finally my dad said, “let’s go for a Christmas trip in 2013.” Mom and I jumped on that, and started planning right away before my dad could decide to change his mind! ๐Ÿ™‚

This may be one of the most memorable trips for me! It’s the one where I feel like I got to spend the most time at every park, taking my time and really breathing the whole place in! I love everything about Disney – it makes me feel at home. The Cast Members are all so helpful, the characters are so real.

Disney is so real to me. It’s a place I feel at home as soon as I see the sign that says, “Welcome to Walt Disney World.” When I see Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom, I know that it’s going to be a good day. When I ride Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios, I know I’m going to scream and giggle all at the same time. When I walk through the countries in World Showcase at EPCOT, I feel like I’m actually in those countries. And when I see the beautiful animals at Animal Kingdom, I know I’m not in a zoo, but in a place where they truly care for these animals, and want to save them from extinction.

I just feel at home.

PicMonkey Collage

Disney is in my blood – it runs through me in more ways that I can even explain to you. I may see something that has nothing to do with Disney, and it reminds me of something Disney!

And yes, if you’re wondering, I do have a trip planned for 2014! My mom, and two of our friends are heading down to Florida in November for my 21st birthday! Oh! And not to mention, we’re going for a day in May, too! We’ll be down for another homeschool convention and decided to spend a day at Magic Kingdom doing the Keys to the Kingdom tour that we’ve been wanting to do for years.

So you see, we always find a way to fit Disney into our schedules – no matter how crazy our lives may be.

Because it makes us happy.

Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Orange this month. We will be back on February 27th with an all new theme. Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with our Disney news, photos and stories. If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ Capturing Magical Memories

2nd Stop ~ I Am a Disney Nerd

3rd Stop ~ Disney with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

4th Stop ~ Home is Where the Mouse Is

Final Stop ~ Ashley Aspires

  • Welcome aboard! Great kick off. Love all those Disney memories. I had to laugh. My husband remembers our trips by my hairstyle so I loved the long hair comment.

  • Wow – what a great recap of our Disney trips and how your #DisneySide has come to be! I love it!

  • Great post Ashley! Next thing you know, you’ll have talked your Mom and Dad into a DVC ownership! Way to go!

    • AshleyAspires

      Oh, if only! I’d love to be a part of the DVC.

  • Awesome post Ashely! I love seeing the evolution of your Disney fandom. And I’m so glad you joined the Magical Blogorail. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • james @ HomeisWheretheMouseis

    Great post! I have to admit I wasn’t a fan of the “hand” when it went up on Spaceship Earth, but I did miss it when they took it down. I remember sitting in the front of the monorail with my younger brothers and my dad one trip! I wish I could do that with my kids, but I understand why they don’t do it anymore.

    I’m so glad I’m sharing the loop with you this month, and that I got to know you a little better from this post!

  • Great post! I loved those Disney Sing Along videos when I was growing up too!

    • AshleyAspires

      They were awesome, weren’t they?! I loved those darned things!

  • Ashely – what a great post. I loved taking a walk down memory lane with you.

  • Rosanne_Mottola

    Ashley – welcome to the Magical Blogorail! It’s so great to have you here. Your photos are terrific and I love the collages you made. I’m so glad Disney gave you memories to last a lifetime. I can’t wait to read more about your Disney (and eating!) adventures.
    Rosanne @ The Disney Point

    • Rosanne_Mottola

      And PS – make sure you go to Jellyrolls at the Boardwalk on your 21st birthday!

      • AshleyAspires

        I really want to go to Jellyrolls, but I’m not sure if it’ll be this time or not! We’ll have to see!

  • Super article, Ashley! I got to see you grow up Disney style with all your pictures ๐Ÿ™‚

  • ReturnToDisney

    Great post! Can’t wait to see more of your Disney adventures!

  • Great trip through time! I love learning about your DisneySide and DisneyHistory! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Spaceship Earth with the Mickey Wand! I remember those years…I always figured when they took the arm down they’d take the sorcerer’s hat down in MGM, excuse me, Hollywood Studios as well!

  • DIStherapy

    Ashley, I love this post so much! You are the same age as my boys, so you had so many of the same Disney experiences and loves. (We have quite a few worn out video tapes as well!) Thank you for the trip down memory lane; I hope my kids appreciate their Disney upbringing as much as you!!

    • AshleyAspires

      Thank you!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I absolutely loved writing this post, so I’m glad that you all enjoyed reading it! I’m sure they DO appreciate it! I can only hope that I find myself a guy that won’t mind spending some time at Disney World with me…like…every year.

  • DisneyDonnaKay

    Great post Ashely!! My Ashley is a little older than you and we definitely wore out some Disney tapes. Love that you have had a #DisneySide all of you life!!