I’m a huge fan of bucket lists. I always have been, though I suppose I did need a little change of perspective to really begin to understand their power. (You can read about that here if you’re so inclined, and check out my “adventure list”.) But I totally understand why you may be asking, “What on earth is a Disney Bucket List?!”
Sometimes bucket lists can be overwhelming. For example, I can’t even begin to fathom what it would take for me to visit every country in the world – but when I dream about doing so, and more importantly consider why I would want to do it in the first place, I learn something about myself. I learn how much it means to me to discover new cultures and connect with all different kinds of people. How much it means to me to see the unique people, places, and things that fill our planet.
I have a couple of friends that do a lot of work with the idea of bucket lists – and I really owe my new perspective to them. In a nutshell, here’s what they say about “living your list“:
“We are what we repeatedly do… it’s not about doing stuff for the sake of adrenaline. It’s about living to your full potential every day. It’s about being the best possible version of you. If you Live Your List you are taking control of your destiny. You are living an inspired life full of adventure and intrigue, as a lifelong learner.”
In a conversation I had with one of the Live Your List guys, Ryan Eller told me they’ve found that almost every time someone starts making a bucket list, it goes through phases. Part of it is about accomplishing fun things for the sake of doing them – usually involving adventure or travel. But eventually, as someone really looks at what would make their life one of fulfillment, the list starts to take on a secondary role.
I’m not going to suggest that having a bucket list answers the question, “What is the meaning of life?” but I will say that the tendency is to begin looking at what is important to the list creator, and perhaps opening their eyes a bit to a greater purpose.
Super heavy for a Disney post? Sorry. Back to the topic at hand…
A Disney Bucket List?
I always wanted to go on an Adventures by Disney trip because they looked like more fun than I could imagine. (Update: they are that much fun and more!) My family wouldn’t mind going on a thousand more cruises, because they’re fun and take us to beautiful places. We will return to Disney parks over and over again because they make us happy. But honestly, there’s more to it than that.
When I travel with my family we remember – even if closer quarters don’t magically end fighting – how much we actually like spending time together. We create memories that we could’ve never planned for.
When my husband and I were struggling with infertility, I felt in Walt Disney World queues more than any other place (super weird, I know…) that whatever our family would ultimately look like, we were going to be ok.
The details and backstories and “stop and smell the roses” moments we’ve had on Disney vacations have allowed us to practice that same habit elsewhere.
When I began writing about Disney travel, entertainment, history, etc, it was because I enjoyed it. But doing so allowed me to connect with so many wonderful people, and has helped me remember what it looks like to live a life of delight – even in between trips and big moments.
Something as simple as making a goal to watch through all of the Disney movies as a family has allowed us to create and enjoy unique experiences, some of which were even educational.
But why make a Disney Bucket List?
I have a Disney Bucket List, and a lot of the stuff on there is just fluff. Then again, maybe vacations with family and friends – including taking multiple generations on trips or providing experiences for someone who might not otherwise have the chance – will change our family for the better. Maybe visiting the Walt Disney Family Museum will inspire my kids to dream big. Maybe looking back on our visit to Aulani will remind us how beautiful and diverse God’s creation truly is.
Each new runDisney event we participate in may allow us to get or remain one step closer to optimal health. A cabana on Castaway Cay might pull us away from the real world right when truly we need a bit of an escape. Seeing The Little Mermaid on Broadway may be the catalyst for my children to utilize the talents they’ve been given.
Dr. Suess said (in a book I think everyone should reread at least once a year),
“Out there things can happen and frequently do, to people as brainy and footsy as you. And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along, you’ll start happening too….
You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting… so get on your way!”
It’s true: sometimes in life the vacations we take, movies we watch, and games we play are absolutely, 100% for fun and only fun. I think that’s ok, actually… but I also think sometimes there’s more to life if we look for the joy and the lessons in the little things. And I think that as any Disney fan knows, the Disney universe has plenty of opportunities for exploration.
Pin this for later inspiration, or a reminder to update YOUR Disney Bucket List!
See my “Ultimate Disney Bucket List” here, or my general Bucket List (“Adventure List”) here.
Do you have a Disney Bucket List? If so, I’d love to see a link to it (or any Bucket List you might have). If not, what would be the first item on your list?
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!
Well done Jennifer! A lot of thought goes into a bucket list, perhaps more than what goes into a Disney bucket list, but anyway, here’s the start of mine from a few years back: http://www.mydreamsofdisney.com/2013/09/magical-blogorail-red-disney-bucket-list/
I love your list! I definitely agree about using DVC points elsewhere… it was a major draw for us too, but we’ve not yet really looked into it. Then again, we never have points enough as it is! 🙂
Good point is that a Bucket List should be realistic. Each addition should be meaningful but reasonably obtainable in the average lifetime. Thoughtful article. Nicely done!
I’ve gone back and forth on this, I think. For most of my life I was in agreement – why put something on my list if it weren’t attainable? As I’ve explored the idea more though, I think there’s something to be said (beyond cliche, even) for dreaming big and extending yourself a bit. Of course if you make a list like mine that includes something seemingly impossible you have to approach it differently. Where sometimes “failing” at a Bucket List might mean someone allows themselves to feel like they did just that, failed, if you have a list full of HUGE dreams, you know they won’t all happen. For me, that’s reframed my thought from “I probably can or can’t do ___” to, “Who knows! Maybe it could happen!” and I’m much more focused on squeezing the most out of my moments.
Definitely a conversation I’ve fallen in love with over the past few years! We’re in total agreement on the meaningfulness piece. I could add “climb Mt Everest” because one of my friends has very intentionally included it on his – but I really don’t have any desire to do so! 🙂 Thanks for chiming in!
Kimberly Baker (@kimberly_baker)
Such a great article! While one experience on a bucket list might not seem like a big deal, you’re exactly right – you never know how it will affect your life. You’ll make great memories and maybe even get a new perspective on life.
YES! You’re exactly right. Sometimes something really isn’t even that meaningful… but I think anyone who thinks back on their childhood realizes that it was often the little things that affected us the most. Thanks!
The Mousekatools Mom
I love your point of view on bucket lists! I guess I never really thought about them more as a list of goals. It is a great way of sorting out what is important to you. And I agree with you that Disney is so much more than being happy going on rides. It is the time taken off work and school to spend together, in each other’s company. It is making those memories and showing those you love that spending that time together is important to you. Great post!
Thanks so much! I truly hadn’t given them much thought at all until a couple of years ago. For me, they’re a lot more meaningful this way! ????
This post is beautiful. This line: “When my husband and I were struggling with infertility, I felt in Walt Disney World queues more than any other place (super weird, I know…) that whatever our family would ultimately look like, we were going to be ok.” I want you to know that it is not super weird. I had similar struggles, and I have many health struggles too. At the end of the day though, we found our happy place. We feel at home, comfortable, reflective. It’s beautiful!
Thanks so much for your sweet comment! It’s a lot easier to share in a real life conversation, but I’m glad it wasn’t a totally crazy statement 🙂 It’s a special place, that’s certain.
Becky @ Disney in your Day
I’m such a list person. I have a checklist to try every Disney hotel and restaurant, as well as my Disney bucket list. (Plus non-Disney related stuff – and I have those books 1000 places to see before you die and 1000 foods to eat before you die!). There are so many different things to do in Disney that I definitely need a bucket list.
I love this post. We watch our first born go off to college this year and he will not be going with us to Disney this year. But we cherish the memories we made with him on previous trips and look forward to when he can join us again. Making memories should be on top of our list every day.