by Brian Vasil
Now is the time! Â Now is the best time… Â Once again, it’s time for our carousel theater to rotate for us to get to know another spouse of the Disney-addicted! This time around, it’s Charlene Caggiano… wife to the one and only Tony Caggiano! Â He is a big part of the WDW Radio community and, if you are a box-person or his friend on Facebook, you know him well! Â What is it like being married to THE Tony Caggiano? Â Read on!
1.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you rank your spouse’s obsession with Disney?
Is there an 11? Tony is unbelievably obsessed with anything Disney, but especially Walt Disney World in particular. He isnâ€™t happy unless he has at least 2 Disney trips planned coming up. He doesnâ€™t watch much T.V. but have a rainy or snowy day and he has no problem starting a Disney Movie Marathon for he and the boys. (mostly him I think).
2.Â Â Â Â Â Â Was he a Disney fanatic before you met him?Â When did the obsession start?
Yes, he was a fanatic long before I met him. It is tough to say, exactly when it started, seems like it has always been a part of him. From our first date he was already telling me stories about his childhood trips, visiting Walt Disney World every year.Â He has been collecting WDW EVERYTHING since he could barely walk.
3. Â Â Â What would you say is the reason for his Disney obsession?
His parents certainly had a lot to do with it. His Dad loved to take the family to Disney World, usually a couple times a year. The Polynesian was a home away from home for the Caggiano family. Tony is also a wonderful cartoonist and artist in general. He has a degree in animation and Disney has always been behind a lot of what he does and loves.
4. Â Â Â How much of your house is dedicated to Disney?Â Do you have places in your home that are off limits to Disney?
Actually, almost none of our home is dedicated to Disney (YET). Our Christmas tree is decorated in only Disney ornaments (we each pick an ornament on every trip we make, since our first WDW trip together in 2001…thatâ€™s A BUNCH of ornaments!!!), and we have a few Disney Christmas Big Figs, but aside from that there is not much Disney in our home right now. The boys playroom and bedrooms have a strong Disney influence. They love it all too, especially Pixar.
What we will do in the future is another story, Tonyâ€™s Disney collection is right now in our basement and attic…I would have to guess he has 50 large tubs of collectibles here and more than that still in storage at his parents house. From opening day tickets to banners that hang in the parks…he is out of control!!! (But in a good way, I guess)
Our hope is to someday have a family room or entertainment room with a theater where he can display a lifetime of collectibles.
5. Â Do you share your spouse’s enthusiasm for Disney?Â If so, is it at the same level?
Yes I do…but I am not so overly obsessed with Disney as he is. I definitely love taking our Disney vacations as a family. I love sharing his Disney obsession with our two boys.
We did have our wedding at Disneyâ€™s Wedding Pavilion with reception at Grand Floridian, which was pretty amazing.
6. Â What is a trip to Disney like with your spouse?Â How frequently do you visit?
We visit 3 or 4 times a year, sometimes more. No matter where we go for vacation, Tony is not a sit around kind of guy, he likes to do things and see things. He likes to keep busy. If you are going to hang in Disney World with Tony, you best be a morning person!!! We rarely miss a rope drop, but we do have a routine during our visits. Up early, but always make time for relaxing in the afternoon with pool and nap. Evenings are usually back to a park for some fireworks and a nice sit down family meal.
We have made a lot of friends over the past few years, so we wind up meeting old friends, making new friends and hanging out on most trips as well. Itâ€™s always fun.
7.Â Â Are your children into Disney as much as your spouse?Â Â Any stories of your kids and Disney-obsession?
Our boys are well on their way, following in Daddyâ€™s footsteps. You would have a hard time finding a non-Disney character in our house. Nearly every toy they have is Disney in some way. They LOVE anything Pixar, especially Nemo or Cars. Our boys think it is normal to go to Walt Disney World every 3 or 4 months.
There are too many stories of our kids and Disney to count. It is always the most fun to see the boysâ€™ reactions while experience Disney Magic…taking Jordan, who was 3 at the time, to meet one of the engineers on the Walt Disney World Railroad and seeing the cast members face when this little boy started rattling off all of the trains by name…he does the same on Big Thunder, he knows all of the ride trains by name there as well. Â Or having Dylan go stiff as a board and begin trembling and squealing because he just spotted Nemo Submarines in the distance as we walk through Disneyland. Those are the things which make all of Tonyâ€™s craziness more sense.
8. Â What do you tell your friends/family about the Disney influence in your home/life?
My side of the family all still lives in South Africa, where I was born and raised. They have visited Disney World with us several times, even once before I met Tony. They always enjoy our time there, and aside from that, there is not much to tell them about it all.
Tonyâ€™s side of the family grew up in Walt Disney World, nearly all of them are DVC members, as we are, and also visit often. They are Disney fans as well, but none nearly to the extent of Tony.
Our friends think he is a little crazy, but thatâ€™s just Tony. He never seemed to worry about what others thought of his Disney obsession. He loves what he loves and is pretty proud of it!
9. Â Â Â What techniques have you developed through the years to help you better understand your spouse’s love of Disney?
I think that one of the most important things in life is to have a passion. I think it is wonderful that Disney brings Tony such happiness. He is the type of guy who has many true passions, Disney being, by far, the biggest.
I love my husband and am always happy to support him in following what he loves. With this all comes some compromise, both on his side and mine, but in the end what started as his passion has become one for the whole family. What better obsession could a wife hope for than one which brings the entire family such happiness and wonderful memories.
10. Â Â What advice would you give to spouses living with Disney-fanatics?
If you love your spouse, take the time to try and see what it is they love about Disney.
Seeing the happiness on Tonyâ€™s face as he sees the entrance to Walt Disney World when we arrive, each and every time after all of these visits, or watching him get all teary eyed while watching Wishes with one of the boys on his shoulders…these are things which make ME happy as well.
Seeing Tony happy makes me happy and in return we are having a wonderful life full of great memories and great friends. I think in this world it is rare for a family to be lucky enough to all be able to love the same things at the same time…Disney does this for my family, maybe it can do the same for yours.
Thanks so much to Charlene for such amazing answers! Â Great to hear how Disney magic is (and always has been) such a part of the Caggiano family!
So… we’ve talked with three spouses so far… Deanna Mongello,Â Chris Mahnken, and now Charlene Caggiano. Â Who’s next? Â Who would you like us to talk to? Â Any regulars on the WDW Radio Podcast that you’d like to hear from? Â Let us know in the comments below! Â Until next time…
Brian Vasil has been Disney-obsessed since his first visit to WDW in 1971 (he was only 3 months oldâ€¦and has visited 100+ times since then). Heâ€™s been known for leaving hidden Mickeys in the place settings at his wedding, always choosing the â€œDesertâ€ ending at Horizons, and weeping at the end of â€œWishesâ€ (it gets dustyâ€¦). He lives in Ft. Lauderdale with his wife Mindy and daughter Brianna.