.....Erin went to Disney World once as a child, and then several times as a young adult, and when her first daughter was a toddler, Erin wanted to introduce her to Disney. She told me, “I was in elementary school when Disney World opened. A lot of my friends’ parents were taking them to the park and they would come back to school and tell me these incredible stories. I was fascinated, and remember thinking, ‘How do you make a world?’ I was totally sucked in by those stories, The Wonderful World of Disney on TV, the gorgeous commercials. I was so freaking jealous. I vowed, even as a 10-year old kid, when I grew up I would take my children to Disney World as often as possible.”
“So, while I was staying home raising my daughter, I wanted to introduce her to Disney World, and we started going on Disney vacations. I had a research background and I started doing copious amounts of research on how to plan the best possible Disney vacation. The other moms in the neighborhood would tap my expertise. I was a go-to resource, and over coffee or lunch we would just talk for hours about how to plan a Disney trip. In 2007 Disney started the Disney parks Moms Panel, and I had basically been doing what the Moms Panel does on my own for several years. So I pursued it. To get the first round of panelists, Disney ran a contest. Several rounds of written questions and then phone interviews. I answered their questions, made it through the interviews, and of the more than 10,000 people who applied, I was one of the 12 who were selected.”
“Over the years I have answered over 11,000 guest questions about literally every aspect of planning a Disney World vacation. Anything from ‘my kids are afraid of bugs; my child has an allergy; what ride should I not go on; where should we stay; I am on a limited budget, what are some cost savings tips—really anything. Over time, I became more and more aware of things and enhanced my expertise and got quite adept at explaining how to do Disney......”
....The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line by Erin Foster with Len Testa and Ritchey Halphen describes Disney’s ships and itineraries, restaurants, children’s activities, and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island.
Erin has sailed over 20 ocean cruises, all on Disney Cruise Line, and has done two river cruises on AmaWaterways through Adventures by Disney. Erin’s first cruise was in 2003 on the Disney Wonder, a four-night Bahamas cruise stopping at Nassau and Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s private island.
I asked Erin if anything in particularly prompted her to go on a Disney cruise since she hadn’t cruised before and had not yet begun working with the Walt Disney Parks Moms Panel.
“We were just fans of Disney and were looking to do something different with our kids. At the time my twins were about three and my older daughter was six. Disney seemed like the logical place to start cruising.” I asked if she had any apprehension leading up to her first cruise, like fear of seasickness, concern that she wouldn’t like it, worry that it might be boring. Erin replied, “Honestly, I didn’t love it. I wish that I had more apprehension about seasickness leading up to the cruise. I was very sick on my first cruise, like clutching the bed seasick. One of the reasons we chose a Disney cruise is because it had a great reputation for little kids. One of my daughters happened to be in a phase of separation anxiety. So, she would be clutching to my leg while I was seasick. She didn’t want to go to the kids club and I hadn’t considered that and brought any toys or other things for us to do, and I was not feeling well anyway. So, the first cruise was kind of a disaster. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t cruise again for eight years.”
Who would have predicted—if you were a fly on the wall in that Disney cruise ship cabin observing this deathly seasick mom, dragging her toddler clamped around her leg—that years later that mom would be the author of The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line. “Exactly! When I look back on it it’s really actually pretty amusing. I didn’t go on my second cruise until 2011. Had a much better time then and have been cruising regularly since.”
I was curious what prompted Erin to try cruising again given the unfortunate circumstances of the first one.
Read about Erin’s follow-up Disney cruise and the rest of Erin’s story in Cruising Interrupted, available now!