Story by CINDY BURBAGE
Photos by TONYA CHESTER PERRY
For much of the working class, a vacation is a haven – a resting place on the horizon dreamt about and planned out for the better part of a year. Vacations are a pleasure that most everyone looks forward to arriving. People save their money for months or years to indulge in that fantasy family getaway, and though the destinations may differ from family to family, the anticipated outcome is always the same – a fantastic time. A time so wonderful it will be the topic of conversation at every family holiday, and one that no one ever tires of seeing footage from. Vacation is that time when you can simply leave work behind. Whether it is for a few days or weeks or even more, vacation is a time to rejuvenate and possibly create some of the most unforgettable memories ever made. Where better to do all of this than the most magical place on Earth?
Disney World and the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida is one of the most planned for and visited vacation spots on the planet. There are folks that retreat there once a year and yet some plan for it as something that is once in a lifetime. It is a place for both young and old, where the magic never wanes. It was with a magical mindset, the knowledge of someone well-traveled and a desire to make it that much more magical for someone else that Pooler resident, and author, Amy Bashor, decided to journal her Disney journeys. Every month for a complete year, Bashor journeyed to Orlando — to the Most Magical Place on Earth, Disney World – and kept a detailed journal of it all, even including, among so much else, her activities and accommodations.
The love of Mickey Mouse and all that is Disney was not an instant attraction. Amy confessed, “I wasn’t all that into Disney until I had a little girl; and then there were princess dresses and stories around the house.” In 2012, Amy along with her husband and two and half year-old daughter, began their journey for their first visit to the Magic Kingdom. “My husband absolutely hated it”, she admitted. “We saved money by staying offsite of the Disney properties and my husband was an absolute bear”, the author giggled. Because of the horrible experience, Amy believed that would be their one and only trip, not knowing what the next year had in store for them. By the following December, Bashor convinced her husband to give the Magic Kingdom another shot. “It was around Christmas time for the holidays; we indulged and stayed at the Polynesian Resort. The Poly is cool because it is near the monorail center. This allows you to take a monorail to the Magic Kingdom or Epcot Center within 5 minutes. Once he realized we were able to walk in and out of the parks, leaving our sleeping little girl in the stroller, he was suddenly willing to go back again,” she shared. At this point, Amy began writing trip reports on the website, mouseowners.com. The site is designed for frequent visitors to blog about their experiences and pictures with the Disney Theme Parks.
In 2014, Amy found herself visiting one of the happiest places on earth every month. While still writing the reports for travelers, an internet friend challenged Bashor to write a book about her trips to the park. And ta da, ‘A Year of Disney’ was created. Going to Orlando every month was not planned for the mother. “It just kind of happened. There was something offered every month that I was interested in going and doing. And somewhere around June or July, I realized I’ve gone every month so far and there were things I wanted to do the rest of the year. I’m just going to see if it’s possible for someone living here in Pooler, we’re only four and half hours away, to run down and have a good time”, she reminisced. Most of the weekends were family trips, some she would travel with her daughter alone. Determined to finish the year and enjoy the events, she traveled alone also.
Choosing a favorite time of year to visit Mickey Mouse and his friends has proven to be a difficult task. “The Halloween Party is one of our favorites. We usually go down early as in September. Samantha, my daughter, loves to trick-or-treat. When you leave the party, you have a huge bag of candy. Plus, they have a parade that features some special characters. We also enjoy the Christmas Party for some of the same reasons; there are some different things that they do during this time. And then there is Epcot in the spring. It is beautiful- the flowers and gardens. Just looking at the topiaries they do. There are dozens of these that look like characters.”
Traveling to Florida on a monthly basis proved to be expensive. Although Amy had points for traveling from work, it wasn’t long before she began exploring other options for lodging. It was at that time she discovered Disney’s campground resort, Fort Wilderness, and her second book idea was born. “I don’t believe many people realize that Disney has a campground right there on Bay Lake, just a boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom. This is particularly good for larger families, because many of the hotel rooms you can only fit four to five people to a room. By the time you are at child number 2, it’s a no go. The campground is neat because up to 10 people can stay at one site”, she shared.
Helping people through her first hand practices is what motivated Amy Bashor to write her books. The information she provides to her readers are her personal experiences and loving memories that will be shared for many years to come. Amy’s info can be found at the following links: www.ayearofdisney.com and http://www.youtube.com/
According to ‘A Year of Disney’, Amy wrote what she attained from her year in the most magical place on earth, “In a way, our Year of Disney will never end. We will return to Disney World many times over the years to come. Indulging my fascination with Disney World has led to some wonderful family memories, to finding new friends and to exposing our daughter to imagination and creativity from a very early age. Treasure the time. Go make memories with your family.”