My first six months of 2014 were vastly different than the last six. It has been a whirlwind either way, to say the least! We loved, lost and experienced new things.
Buckle up…we’re going on a year 2014 review!
I had been posting on my former blog Painted Butterfly Studio since 2008 and on another site before that so I’ve been blogging for a long time. My posts in early 2014 were mostly about my dad and his health struggles. It was a way of updating my family and friends that are spread around the country. They were able to read about his daily life in a very real way so much better than a Facebook update ever could convey. I wrote about his declining health in the post My Dad and my last post on that site was this one, Remembering My Dad.
I hadn’t written much in 2014 because I didn’t feel like I had much to blog. After my dad’s death all energy and joy to write had been sucked right out of me. For three months I didn’t write at all, thinking about what I wanted to do with myself. I was in a serious rut, for sure! In addition to this, my husband decided to switch careers and started a new apprenticeship as an electrician. This meant a pay cut and limited time at home with him attending school again. The budget was strapped tight and we made additional cutbacks throughout our household.
In May, my family and I went to Disneyland (with passes I’d won on the radio) and I felt myself become rejuvenated again. Disneyland had been my dad’s favorite place and I could feel his presence with me through the Park. It was as if he guided me that day in the direction I needed to go. I had a plethora of Disneyland posts on my original blog that I’d been wanting to rewrite. I had tons of images, trip reports, stories and knowledge from 40 years of visiting Disneyland that I wanted to share. I knew that I wanted to start fresh and move in a new direction and from that on June 17th, 2014, Saving Up for Disney was born!
I started by writing and posting once or twice a day until I had a decent amount of material on my site. I focused on the budgeting aspect of being able to save for a dream vacation on a frugal budget. I wrote Disneyland tips, a few DIY ideas and some recipes. It was a start!
I searched endlessly online, reading all that I could about Disney blogging and joined a few groups on Facebook. I have found a warm community of like-minded Disney fans that are helpful and welcoming!
I stumbled across The Magical Blogorail and applied as a Junior Pilot (guest writer). I was overjoyed to be accepted and am thrilled with the friendships and challenges I receive from posting with them. My first post was about How Disney Helped Me Deal with the Loss of My Father. It was well received and I was so happy to be able to share my thoughts. I am glad to say that I am now going to be a Full Time Blogorail Pilot in 2015 and can’t wait to be posting monthly with the Blogorail in the new year!
It was through the Disney online community that I also discovered the Disney Parks Moms Panel search. I’d seen the question and answers on the Disney websites but never knew how the application process worked. I was able to apply this year and over the course of a wild 3 month process, made it through: Round 1 question and essays, Round 2 questions, essays and video entry, Round 3 phone interview (with Gary Buchanan, Disney PR & Social Media extraordinaire!) and finally to the instant Round 4 quick-turnaround question. I can call myself a Disney Parks Moms Panel finalist (one in eight in consideration for the sole Disneyland slot) but unfortunately I didn’t receive the final position . It was terribly exciting and terribly crushing at the same time. I blogged about my experience in the post What I Learned by Reaching Round 3 in the Disney Parks Moms Panel Search. Next year I’ll have a “FastPass” straight to Round 2 and you can be sure I’ll be trying again!
In August my husband and I had the opportunity of a lifetime, traveling to Central Europe with a vacation that I won on Pinterest from Skype. What an adventure that was & I blogged about the experience here. In making time for blogging, I’ve cut back a bit on my contest entries but I did write a post on how the contest process works for me. Let me know what you win!
In October I received an invitation to join other media families at Disneyland’s Family Media Day. It was a trip like no other I’ve ever experienced. Though I’ve visited the Parks 100+ times over my years, this was a visit where I felt as if I was Disney royalty! In addition to receiving complimentary Park-Hopper passes for me and my family, we also enjoyed a party with treats and eats, special souvenirs and even a designated space to view the fireworks. I can guarantee you that there were a few happy tears shed when I watched the finale explode over Sleeping Beauty Castle that night! I feel very blessed that in a short amount of time blogging I was recognized by Disney to receive that invitation.
Moving in to 2015 I have plans and ideas in place that I hope my readers will find exciting! I intend to incorporate more guest writers, giveaways, unique DIY, Southern California travel ideas and lifestyle advice that helps us continue to “save up for Disney”. I plan on hosting a few more in-home #DisneySide parties just for fun. My post about a simple #Disneyside birthday party in a Mine Train theme was my most-read post of the year!
I hope to grow my blog with more readers and comments (that’s where you come in, hint hint!) We plan on taking another day trip to the Happiest Place on Earth in the coming year and I’ll bring you more entertaining reviews and posts about my discoveries. As a San Diego native, I’ll also be writing more about other Southern California attractions so you can plan your own vacation here to our sunny state!
In the meantime, I wish all my readers and followers a very Happy New Year! Please join me in January for my new budget-friendly Resolution Series!