/ Thursday, October 13th, 2011

by Brian Vasil

It’s that time again!  Time to take a look into the mind of those that live with those that love Walt Disney World!   This time, the spouse is Chris Mahnken…husband to our beloved travel guru, Beci Mahnken!   Chris’ answers are GREAT (and from a very unique perspective) as he himself works for our favorite Mouse!  Enjoy the interview!

1)  On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you rank your spouse’s obsession with Disney?

It’s variable. There are times when she’s involved in a project for the Disney fan community where she’s focused on nothing else, and the obsession is up at 11. There are other times when she and I are doing something else where it eases off. For her I think the obsession is more about friends and the community. She loves Disney, and going to Walt’s apartment or getting to drive onto the studio with me is always going to be cool, but spending time with our friends is always going to be better than that. We’re just lucky that our friends seem to like Disney almost as much as Beci does.

2)  Was he/she a Disney fanatic before you met him/her?  When did the obsession start?

She was a fan, for sure. She’s been a big fan of Disney since her father took her to Disneyland at age 7 or 8. She wasn’t really obsessed until I took her to Disney World for the first time. Since then it’s just sort of ramped up.

3)  What would you say is the reason for his/her Disney obsession?

I doubt if there is a single reason for any of us. She admires Walt as a person, and a leader of his company. She has great memories from Disneyland as a kid. What’s not to like about the parks, and the ships, and the movies. All that is part of it, but I think the most important factor is friends and her love of the community.

4)  How much of your house is dedicated to Disney?  Do you have places in your home that are off limits to Disney?

Not nearly as much as could be. There is a little bit of Disney in most rooms, like a Mickey cookie jar in the kitchen, and signed inaugural posters from all of the ships in the living room, but the main collection is in the guest room which is 100% Disney, complete with the latest “Do Not Disturb” card from Aulani on the door.  Of course Beci’s office is crazy full of Disney stuff, including Beci herself…

5)  Do you share your spouse’s enthusiasm for Disney?  If so, is it at the same level?

Well, I get Disney all day, every day, since I work for Mickey, and everybody at work thinks I’m a bit over-enthusiastic about Disney, but I doubt if I’m quite the fanatic that Beci is. But I can definitely see her peak from where I’m standing.

6)  What is a trip to Disney like with your spouse?  How frequently do you visit?

Other than the interruptions for this meet, or that meet, or an off site meeting with Disney Parks & Resorts Execs, things haven’t changed much since the first time we went. We have our favorite rides to take (for me, any coaster, for her anything haunted), our favorite places to eat, and special places we always have to visit that hold memories for us.  Strangely, now that I work for Disney, I don’t get to visit as much as I used to, and living in Seattle makes the trip to Orlando a bit too far for a quick weekend visit, but I do get to Disneyland once in a while still.

7)  What do you tell your friends/family about the Disney influence in your home/life?

We don’t really tell them about it, we take them to WDW with us.  Several times we’ve rented out a Grand Villa and brought a few families of friends with us and now those people are (to a lesser extent) all big Disney fans also. In fact, this year we’re taking one family (including our godson) with us to Disneyland, and another family (including Beci’s best friend from childhood) to Disney World.

8)  What techniques have you developed through the years to help you better understand your spouse’s love of Disney?

Luckily we don’t have any lack of understanding for each of our love for Disney. When I started working at Disney and went to my employee training they gave me my cast member badge, and I was so excited I had to stop the training so I could take a picture and send it to Beci. There isn’t any gap between her love of Disney and mine.

9)  What advice would you give to spouses living with Disney-fanatics?

Embrace the madness. Really, how bad is it that you have to go to Walt Disney World, or Disney Land, or on a cruise every once in a while? Just find the part that you like the most, and direct the fandom in that direction. And have fun!

Special thanks to Chris for answering our questions!  Sounds like he and Beci are a magical match!  Keep checking the blog for additional interviews in the coming weeks.  Let us know who you’d like to hear from in the comments below.

Brian Vasil has been Disney-obsessed since his first visit to WDW in 1971 (he was only 3 months old…and has visited 100+ times since then). He’s been known for leaving hidden Mickeys in the place settings at his wedding, always choosing the “Desert” ending at Horizons, and weeping at the end of “Wishes” (it gets dusty…). He lives in Ft. Lauderdale with his wife Mindy and daughter Brianna.



3 thoughts on “SURVIVING THE DISNEY ADDICTED SPOUSE – Chris Mahnken”

  1. Emma G says:

    What a fun blog post! It’s nice to see that the Disney magic doesn’t wear off for either Chris or Beci despite their work lives being focused on Disney as much as their personal lives!!

  2. Jon Grant says:

    Awesome. Huge “thank you ” to Chris… Beci has arranged magical moments for so many people– something that doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work and travel, and that wouldn’t be possible without a supportive spouse. You rock Chris!

  3. JohnO says:

    Beci is arranging a magical moment for my family and I after winning a free trip to WDW!!!!! Horray for Disney lovers!