In order to get the full picture of what Im about to write, you should first read what WDWInfo posted on this very topic.
This is a case where they were one of the first Disney bloggers to really get a story out there from what I can tell. I had this sitting on my screen for a while now – I just didn’t publish it… life got in the way. But to be very honest, I liked how they tried to convey an opinion that was trying to help set some of the records straight about the whole campaign. To elaborate, when Disney announced what was going on with this promo, there was a lot of bad info floating about among the different Disney fan sites. Everything from focusing on their financial success to the myth that they won some sort of contest – and how come fans didn’t hear about the contest. The speculation ran rampant – and it was hard for FB group admins to keep control of what was being said.
When the Gee family posted today on an Instagram story “Mean comments and hateful messages” and referred to the WDWInfo article linked above, I re-read it. Then I scrolled to the comments below. I can only assume that is where such a post would come from. I’m only guessing that they have seen similar comments on their own pages from time to time as well.
The thing is – you would think that in the world of Disney fans, you would not see such comments, even if they were directed at Disney more than the Gee’s. What I read below the article was somewhat along the same lines of what was being said across all sorts of Disney fan pages in the very beginning. It’s hard to explain why this is such a difficult concept. I mean, being a Disney fan gives me great joy. I may not be a fan of certain things, but that’s ok. I can simply not partake in whatever I don’t like. After all – everyone does Disney differently. I don’t have to be jealous of people who have lavish vacations, because I consider time I spend with my family a big luxury already. I don’t need to do everything in order to be considered the connoisseur that I am.
But let’s break this down a bit… but take all costs and promotions aside.
A 30 day vacation?
Many fans were wanting to know how they could get picked for such an adventure. Here is my question – if you were picked, would you even be able to accept the challenge? It’s a serious question. Many of us work to afford our Disney habits, and unless you’ve been with a company for a couple decades, and you did not use any of your vacation time up to this point, chances are, you would never be able to get the large block of time off to do this.
This was marketing.
I have a pretty traditional family. And while I am in front of the camera three times per week, I don’t consider myself very the kind of person that would be photogenic enough to be put in a major marketing campaign. My kids, maybe. Me… not so much. I know my limits. This is one of them.
It’s a lot of work.
Let’s face it. The Gee family was on the go – a lot. While I am sure they had downtime, they did quite a bit on a daily basis. In some ways, it seemed a lot like work, which is what travel journalism really is. Yes, you do the job because you love the travel and different experiences. You also have to write about what you see. You have to video everything then edit down hours of video just to get the few minutes per day of footage you really want to show. There is a lot going on here in the background. Heck, I have vacation footage from years ago that I still have not compiled.
You still have to be parents.
This was not a free-for-all from what I could tell. This was a structured time on property for the family. However, the children are still very young and I am sure at those ages, the Gee’s still experienced what other parents experience while on vacation. You know what I mean…. Tired kids. Tired feet. Wanting snacks. Wanting a break. Not wanting to wait in certain lines. You get the idea. I know they most likely had people help them out with their time there, but kids are kids… and parents still need to be parents. I am sure they made a few “first timer’s with kids” mistakes as well.
I consider myself well traveled compared to many other people. However, it’s mainly my ability to navigate airports, enjoy different cities, and driving long distances on major highways. I’ve stayed within North America and the Caribbean, which has its challenges – but nothing like what this family has done. Travel can take a toll. They have done this for a couple years now and I can only imagine that it takes a lot out of a person. But they are also probably used to it by now. Still – living out of a suitcase is not all its cracked up to be.
I said over on the Behind the Ears Podcast a couple times that I loved the idea of seeing a lot of different things done around Disney that did not just include the parks. There is so much more, I think we tend to not see how vast of an entertainment district Disney holds in Central Florida. To see the little things being done by The Bucket List Family was rather refreshing and was inspiring to me as I would love to include some of their experiences in my next family vacation. To do different things like relax around the resort, to enjoy the pools, to do a dinner show, to simply enjoy the fireworks from outside the parks, to try dining that you normally would not try. These are all things that to some would be considered a bit outside the box but could be really rewarding and memorable times.
I’m sitting here thinking…. there is a difference between “doing” Disney and “embracing” Disney. And the latter, I think they did. Even being a paid promotion, I think it accomplished one of it’s main goals – to inspire guests. Not just to inspire guests to book their next vacation, but to really see what Disney has to offer.
To the Gee family… I, as well as those who listen to the podcast, would love to hear about all your adventures. Please respond to my email (BehindTheEarsPodcast@gMail.com) and we can set something up. I am sure it would be a great time!