• Hillary Van Way

Spotlight: Creator of Amy's Small World

Updated: Aug 19

Today, I'm putting the Disney Spotlight on Amy, a lifelong Disney fan and Disneyland local. She also just so happens to be the owner and creator of the amazing shop called Amy's Small World, where she sells bags that hold everything for a Disney vacation, from park snacks to Mickey ears! While Disney is Amy's first love, crafting is a close second, and she loves that her job combines these two passions. I have been following Amy on Instagram for a few years, and I bought a Winnie the Pooh Travel Bag Set when I started following her, and I use them for every single vacation I go on, not only Disney. I love that all of her bags are made with a different Disney-themed fabric. Make sure to check out her shop, Instagram, and all other social media! Let's learn a little bit more about Amy, her business, and her Disney favorites!

Instagram: @amyssmallworld

Facebook: Amy's Small World

Website: amyssmallworld.com

Etsy: Amy's Small World

YouTube: That Goninan Life


What is your favorite memory of Disneyland?

I have so many special Disneyland memories, including getting engaged in the animation building at DCA (Disney's California Adventure), but my favorite memory is my first date with my husband. We met while I was on vacation to go to an unofficial Disney fan convention in Washington. I'm from California, and Erik lived his whole life in Washington. We hit it off right away and developed a deep, but long-distance relationship after I came back from my vacation. He ended up asking me out on our first date to Disneyland, and he flew down to spend the weekend with me. It started out as a perfect Disneyland day: we had breakfast with Minnie at The Plaza before park opening, we were able to fly through all of Fantasyland with very short lines, and our faces hurt because we were smiling so much at each other. Eventually, we made our way over to DCA. California Screamin' (now called Incredicoaster) had a really short wait, so Erik wanted to go on it over and over again. I get motion sickness very easily, and I can maybe do that attraction once. But I wanted to go with the flow, so I continued to ride it. Well, that backfired, because I almost threw up everywhere! We ended up taking a break in the shade (it was so hot that day, and I was probably dehydrated, not helping the situation), and we had some important conversations, opening up to each other in a way that solidified our relationship. We then went on to have a ton of fun for the rest of the date, and he asked me to officially be his girlfriend. I ended up being really thankful for that little meltdown I had in our otherwise perfect first date because Erik really got to know the real me, and it showed me what a caring man he is.

What is your favorite resort to stay at on Disney property?

Because I am a Disneyland local, I have never stayed on property at Disneyland. I've stayed on property at Disney World once, and it was at the Polynesian Resort. It was amazing! I LOVE the ferry trasnportation. It feels like an attraction before you even get to the Magic Kingdom.

What is your Must-Do attraction that you have to do on every trip?

I don't have one for Disneyland because we go about once a week, but I do know that when we have our baby, the first ride we want to take him/her on is "it's a small world." For Disney World, I am obsessed with Frozen Ever After because Frozen is my favorite movie!

What is your favorite Disney snack?

It all depends on what time of day it is, how hot it is, and if there's a special occasion. But a standard Disneyland Churro is good at any time for any reason!

If you could take a picture with only one character on a Disney vacation, who would that character be?

Mickey!

If you had one restaurant recommendation, what would it be, and what would you recommend ordering?

On our last Disney World trip in January 2019, we had brunch at Raglan Road in Disney Springs, and the soup of the day was a beer cheese soup. Our waitress highly recommended this soup because it was so popular that it always sold out on days that they offered it. It changed our world!! It was so good! I don't even like beer, but it was one of the best things I have ever had, and I just hope that it's offered whenever we get to go back.

Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure? What is your favorite Disney World park?

Disneyland is my favorite because it has so much personal history for me and my family! In Disney World, Epcot, specifically World Showcase, is my favorite because of the amazing food and because I love the feeling of getting lost in other worlds.

Who do you love traveling to Disney with most?

My husband! We both can't wait to take our child with us and create new memories with our growing little family.

What is your favorite Disney movie?

Frozen is my favorite movie, by far. I saw it at just the right time in my life, and it spoke to me on a deeper level than I ever thought possible for a movie. Even though she has magical powers, Elsa is one of the most relatable fictional characters I have ever seen. I love that she, too, battles with fear, is an introvert, and tries so hard to do what she feels is right.

Who is your favorite Disney sidekick?

I love Jacques from Cinderella! He has such a kind heart.

What does your Disney shop sell?

My shop sells a lot of handmade items, but my most popular bags are clear travel bags with a touch of Disney magic! They are cute and practical for both Disney vacation life and home, especially for those that love to travel with Disney ears.

How did you get your business started?

My shop started when I was in a really dark place. I got laid off from my job as a community college ESL teacher, my husband and I moved back to California from Washington, and I was recovering from surgery and other health problems. We were so broke and living with my parents. I felt like a complete loser and failure. I was having a hard time with getting out of bed and finding my joy. Sewing and quilting were the only things keeping me going, but fabric costed money that we just didn't have. So, I decided to start an Etsy shop on July 31, 2016 with the hopes that I would be able to sell something to make enough money to buy fabric so that I could sew and have a reason to force myself out of bed. It started off really slow, but having the Etsy shop to focus my attention on really got me out of that dark place. Thankfully, I was able to get a teaching job that Fall at a prestigious university, but I kept my Etsy shop going. That Winter, I designed a bag that was mainly clear but had a bit of Disney fabric on top, and I fell in love with what I called the "project bag." It was such a good size, and I was using it for everything. I put them up in my shop, but no one cared about them. I really believed in it though, so I kept trying to take pictures to show people how useful it could be and posted on Instagram. It literally sat in my Etsy store for months with no one caring about it. One day, I decided to stick a pair of ears in the bag and posted it as an "ears bag" on Instagram, and it sold within seconds of posting! People wanted more and more! I'm so thankful that I didn't give up on that bag, because those clear travel bags are the backbone of my business. By Summer 2017, I was struggling for multiple reasons with my "dream teaching job," so my very supportive husband suggested that I take at least a semester off of teaching to try to run Amy's Small World full-time. We were back to struggling a bit financially, but it was worth it because I felt so excited about every order. Then, in February 2018, my husband got laid off. He wasn't happy at his job either, so we decided to try to make Amy's Small World both of our dreams! I started to teach him how to sew and put orders together, and I saw a happier husband! Now, we are both doing this as our full-time job! We are still living with my extremely generous parents, but we hope to one day be able to afford a place of our own and work together on Amy's Small World. We have realized that both of our true dreams are to be able to spend as much time together (and with our future children) as possible, and we believe that working from home is the best way to make that dream come true. And, if spending so much time together as a family means being broke for most of our lives, we believe it will all be worth it. Our business means so much more than I have even been able to describe in this story, and we work so hard to show how grateful we are to our customers. We just want to treat everyone who comes into contact with our shop the best we possibly can.

What is your favorite product you sell?

My favorite product is the Medium Bag, which was the original size for the "ear bags." I think it's just so extremely diverse in how you can use it! It also can easily fit into a backpack. We are constantly finding new ways that it helps make our Disney trips better. For example, on our last trip to Disney World, it was pouring down raining. Thankfully we had ponchos, but we didn't quite know what to do with them when we were indoors, especially at Table Service restaurants. Our ponchos were wet, and we wanted to take them off and put them in our backpacks, but we didn't want all the things in our backpacks to get wet. Thankfully, we happened to have our Medium Bag in the backpack, so we stuffed our wet ponchos in the bag, zipped it up, and put the bag back into our backpack. Everything stayed perfectly dry while we were eating, and when we were done, it was so easy to grab our ponchos and continue on our way. There are probably hundreds of stories like this for all my different styles of bags. Our goal is to design practical bags that you may not know that you need but will definitely make your Disney trip easier and more magical!

What are your social media handles?

Instagram: @amyssmallworld
Facebook: Amy's Small World
Website: amyssmallworld.com
Etsy: Amy's Small World
YouTube: That Goninan Life

To book your next Disney vacation, contact me here!

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