Events, features and things to do for families in New Hampshire
If you read the print edition of Parenting NH then you're probably familiar with the monthly Dad on Board column written by Bill Burke. Editor Melanie Hitchcock sat down with Bill Burke, author of a new book about making the best of your family’s next trip Disney World
By Melanie Hitchcock
Bill Burke is a dad, husband, author, columnist, hockey enthusiast, Rush fan and a junkie.
But no intervention is necessary; Burke is a self-described “Mousejunkie.” And he’s uniting Disney World fans with his new book Mousejunkies!: More Tips, Tales and Tricks for a Disney World Fix: All You Need to Know for a Perfect Vacation, due to be released this month. His new book is a follow-up to the original Mousejunkies guide published last year.
Burke of Sandown, has been writing the popular Dad on Board column for Parenting New Hampshire Magazine for the past few years. His favorite column subjects? His daughter, Katie, 8, and his wife Amy.
But outside of his family, Disney World is his passion. He’s been to the Magic Kingdom more than “30-something” times.
After his first trip to Disney World as a child, “I really fell in love with it,” he said.
When he later visited again with his wife, “It hit me like a hammer, that trip,” he said. “It exceeded all my expectations…it affected me, the shows, music make me happy.” And so it began.
After each trip, Burke would write a trip report “in the early days before blogs” and would post them to his own site. That’s when his wife suggested he write a book. He didn’t take the suggestion seriously, however, until his mother-in-law made the same suggestion.
“When your mother-in-law thinks it’s good….,” he said, laughing.
He decided to start writing the book after being laid off from a job in the publishing industry. “It was my dream to write a book,” he said.
While many first-time authors have to work for many years and endure several rejection letters before having a book published, Burke was lucky enough to have a publishing house scoop his book up quickly.
“It was the greatest non-family thing that could ever happen,” he said recalling the day he got the phone call from the publishing house. “My lifelong dream came true in one phone call.”
His first book was “received much better than I thought it would be.” So much so the publishing house asked him to do it again. The new version is significantly updated with more pages, he said.
He’s planning on taking Katie with him on a book tour, including radio and TV appearances and visits to bookstores and libraries, down the East Coast this summer, ending in Orlando.
Traveling with Katie is a priority. “I want to give that (experience) to her,” he said. Burke said he traveled “all over the place” with his parents when he was a kid.
When he’s not writing books or making the pilgrimage to Florida, the long-time newspaper man is a TV and a travel writer for the Boston Herald, which he describes as the “best job.” He often interviews celebrities most of us couldn’t even imagine talking to like actor John Stamos, whom he talked with on the phone before sitting down for this interview.
Burke and his daughter recently returned from a daddy/daughter trip to Disney, and Katie is following in his footsteps as a writer. She recently had her own travel log published on his site http://mousejunkies.com, a place for the “Disney-pendant,” where friends and fellow Mousejunkies converge to discuss the best ways to see and experience Disney World.
“She found some of my old journals and she wanted to try it,” he said.
Each year the family purchases annual passes to Disney World, so the only thing they have to worry about is booking a flight when he or the family has the opportunity to go. The family hasn’t traveled together anywhere else since 1998.
Burke joked that his wife, whom he’s been married to since 1995, is probably “going to want to try to go somewhere else” in the near future.
Melanie Hitchcock is the Editor of Parenting New Hampshire Magazine and is an adjunct professor in the communication arts department at UNH-Manchester.