When you live out of a suitcase like I tend to do, I have the honor and pleasure of meeting a ton of folks that love to travel as much as I do. I love staying in touch, chatting about travels, and supporting their careers. One such travel-writing friend wrote a book, 100 Things to Do in America Before You Die and it piqued my curiosity as Walt Disney World is included in it. I wanted the scoop as to exactly what’s included and why, so the best way was to start asking questions.
Mr. Locke and I met Bill Clevlen from Bill on the Road a few years ago and have had fun following his travels to here, there, and everywhere. His ambition has led him to radio gigs, the website, a podcast, and now a book. Me, being the Disney passionate gal that I am, had to know whether or not any Disney properties were included in his new book, 100 Things to Do in America Before You Die, and Mr. Clevlen was happy to elaborate on why WDW fireworks make the list and why we wholeheartedly agree with his choice.
1. Why did you add WDW fireworks on your book “100 Things To Do In America Before You Die”?
BC: Every experience in my book helps tell the story of what makes America the most unique country in the world. Walt Disney is important because he was such a great example of American ingenuity. Here’s a guy from a small town in Missouri that winds up being one of the most recognized names in the entire world because he had such passion and great ideas. As for fireworks – Americans love them. We spend billions each year on watching and shooting them off. For my money, nobody in the U.S. does it better than Walt Disney World.
2. Have you ever seen them personally? What makes them stick out in your mind?
BC: I have been to Disney World three times in my life. Once as a kid, once as a vacationing adult, and once as a journalist. There is something very special about standing in front of that castle and watching the fireworks erupt overhead. As an adult I think it’s even more fun because you appreciate what goes into the display. Not to mention, it’s great fun seeing how excited the kids get and it reminds you a bit of your youth. For me, what sticks out the most about Disney fireworks is that the experience appeals to all of your senses. Unlike when you just sit on the grass and watch your local Fourth of July fireworks – Disney’s presentation is so gigantic that it’s almost impossible to soak it all in it’s so overwhelming.
3. Do you have a fave WDW theme park? Favorite Disney fireworks show?
BC: I think my favorite theme park is still the Magic Kingdom because even though it’s probably geared more toward smaller children than some of the other parks – it’s awesome to feel like a kid again as you walk into the park. Although, I do have a high regard for Disneyland as well. I used to live in southern California and while in high school, I helped produce a video yearbook for the school’s cheerleaders. As a thank you, all 29 of them took me to Disneyland.
4. What inspired you to write your book?
BC: I write about travel across America because I absolutely love my country. As a nation, when you put aside politics and other distractions – it is absolutely fascinating to look back and see all of the different ways America has influenced the world. It’s also fascinating to see how we’ve taken the best of the best from other countries and made it part of our national fabric. It may sound funny, but I put together the book as a guide to someone that may have no concept of what America is. That seems highly unlikely that there’s anyone living on the planet that hasn’t heard of the U.S. But, what if someone had literally no idea? They could do these 100 things and they’d get it.
5. Where can we buy 100 Things to Do in America Before You Die?
BC: I would appreciate it if your readers bought “100 Things To Do In America Before You Die” through my website, billontheroad.com. I will be more than happy to sign it for them! The book is getting really great reviews. It makes a great Father’s Day gift or a gift for your favorite traveler. Plus there’s trivia and some great photos I’ve taken during my trips. One nice lady e-mailed me the other day to say she bought it and spent Mother’s Day with her family going through each page and talking about trips they’ve taken as a family over the years. She said “it was an afternoon I’ll never forget.” That was pretty cool to hear.