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In the midst of the craziness and all that is today’s world, I knew it would be the perfect time to allow myself the opportunity to tell you, the Mouse Marketplace Community, why I love what I do for Mouse Marketplace and what this Company and Community means to me.
I think, in order to get the full picture, we need to take it back a few years… where it all began.
I have been blessed with the Disney obsession since I first traveled to Walt’s World in November of 1999 as an eight year old girl. I traveled with my Grandparents, three aunts, three uncles, my mother and father, seven cousins, my brother and my sister. In total, we traveled as a party of 20.
My grandfather James, particularly, gave me the fascination and belief that all things are magical, fun, and beyond my wildest dreams just by allowing me to witness Walt Disney World for the first time. He and my grandmother fully funded this trip. I would not know it yet, but they would bring my dreams to light.
Photos Courtesy of Kristi Savino - 1999
Walt Disney World… before 1999, I had only imagined what it would be like to travel there. How much fantasy can an eight year old have? I suppose I did not realize there was a world of magic beyond the television sets we had in our home. I would see the various commercials on TV promoting the Disney Parks and the hotels that surrounded them. My oh my… it could not be real! Or could it?
Boy, was it real. It was fantastical, colorful, magical… I stepped foot inside the world of fantasy and BAM, life was changed FOREVER.
Photo Courtesy of Kristi Savino - 1999
Since the moment I left, I longed for the day I would return. Most like everyone in this community. We do not say we’re going HOME for the sake of saying it. It is where we get to feel most like ourselves. A place where worries just do not exist, and every minute of every day is sprinkled with Pixie Dust.
It would be a few years before I returned to Walt Disney World. This time, I would be competing at a National Gymnastics competition. There were so many memories from this trip. One that sticks out most in my mind is hours after my first day of competition. I competed and we immediately determined we would head to EPCOT – FOR DINNER!
I know this may seem like a bland memory. But for me, it was seriously something that felt like it would only happen at Disney! I was an intensely competitive gymnast. Strict diets and a head in the game mentality meant I was always thinking about my next practice, the next skill, the next competition… Thinking of something other than gymnastics while at a competition, was literally unheard of. Yet, here we were, my mom and I… Dinner, in EPCOT. MEXICO. It felt otherworldly. A Disney Park… for dinner. I could not believe I was saying that.
Fast forward just a short time later. A teenager in Disney. I believe I was 15 years old. How different the parks can be for those who travel while in their teen years. Now, adventure takes on a new meaning! We dubbed ourselves the fab five. We were just the five oldest cousins at the time and I was the youngest. We rode every rollercoaster, did all the things, and saw new sights. It is amazing how you look at Disney differently at optimal stages of your life. I was 8, 14, and now 15. All three experiences were super different, but also super unique.
Photos Courtesy of Kristi Savino - 2006
Though we spent more time on our own, we did eat all of our meals with our parents, younger cousins and grandparents. We went to the Hoop-De-Doo Review for the first time and had the absolute time of our lives. They chose my grandfather to be one of the “stars” of their show. Fitting for us because he definitely was the star of ours. He laughed, blushed, and enjoyed himself so much. It was such a fun opportunity to get to experience that while also having the tendency to feel like a kid. We banged on those washboards and ate so much food. I highly suggest this dining experience, if, or when, it returns to Walt Disney World.
Photos Courtesy of Kristi Savino - 2006
I visited the Mouse House twice this year. Just a few weeks apart. I turned 16 on the day we arrived. It was a strange feeling. I was with my school as a member of the marching band (side bar: I was also a varsity cheerleader. High School was an interesting time for me – haha). We participated in Music in the Parks and my parents were able to come back down and support the band and celebrate my birthday.
As things go, my teenager came out while celebrating my birthday that year. I was bummed we could not eat at 50s Prime Time and gave my parents a run for their money because we ate at the Brown Derby instead (serious face palm). Friends, the meal was genuinely out of this world. It was delicious and an amazing memory. What a brat, I was! My teenager attitude took over and here I was, 16 and sitting in one of the most sought-after restaurants in all of Disney and I was whining. HUGE EYE ROLL. If I could, I’d like to take this one back!
We went numerous times over the next few years. Celebrated birthdays, life events, as well as my aunts 50th birthday, Disney Style. She is fighting the admiral fight. Breast cancer is a very real thing and her biggest wish, at the time, was to spend her 50th birthday at Walt Disney World with her family. That is JUST what we did.
Photos Courtesy of Kristi Savino 2006/2017/2013
I have visited WDW twice a year since. We have added new family members over the years, gained angels, and brought love into our homes. This is why my love for this place is unlike any other. I am 100% engulfed in all things Disney. My pride for spreading Pixie Dust is so real and I love that I get to do it so often. I learned at a very young age that Magic is for All. Young, old, happy and sad. It assists the world is turning round.
When I found Mouse Marketplace, I just knew our views aligned. The community was like a dream. Other groups, for me, did not compare. I felt like there was one common goal among us all. Positivity and Pixie Dust. That’s all ya need. I decided this was the place I would call my home away from home and turn to it when I needed a giggle, a smile, a spot of hope.
I get to be involved in something HUGE. I get to write and express my love of Disney to all of you! I sign all of my posts, Love & Magic because this is what truly means the most to me. My absolute adoration for Disney and how I get to share that with my family and friends both related and not makes for a better tomorrow. This is where I belong and this is why I do what I do. This is also my hope for all of you; to find peace and solace within this community. Our team works hard all day, ever day, to bring magic to all of you. I love and respect each of them and am honored to be here.
Mouse Marketplace has shown me that Magic, truly, is still for All. My grandfather taught me, Mouse Marketplace allows him to live on in me.
Spread kindness and pixie dust like confetti… to one person, or to a group, you may just make their day.
Love & Magic,
In Loving Memory of James Demarest – the creator of Magic for All
My dreams came true because of you