‘I can help somebody and do something I want to do at the same time’

Liz Gramlich says she began selling her plasma as a way to fulfill her goal of visiting Walt Disney World once a month for an entire year. (Photo: Liz Gramlich)

Liz Gramlich says she began selling her plasma as a way to fulfill her goal of visiting Walt Disney World once a month for an entire year. (Photo: Liz Gramlich)

Liz Gramlich’s New Year’s resolution is going to require a little bit of pixie dust and a lot of … plasma … to come to fruition.

The 28 year old kicked off 2022 with a unique goal: to visit a Disney park once a month throughout the year. But, what’s even more creative is the way Gramlich is funding her visits to see Mickey Mouse — selling her plasma for hundreds of dollars each month.

“The world has had a rough couple of years and we didn’t want to bring in another negative year,” Gramlich says of her decision to take monthly Disney trips. “We wanted to bring some positivity and magic to this year, so that was our goal.”

When Walt Disney World reopened after its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Gramlich, who works in sales, realized fights from her Philadelphia, Penn. home to Orlando, Fla. were more affordable than ever. She purchased an annual pass to the most magical place on Earth and began taking occasional trips to Florida, but it was a visit with her sister to Walt Disney World in January 2022 that set Gramlich’s plasma plan into motion.

“I said to her, ‘Why don’t we just make it a resolution to come once a month for the entire year?'” Gramlich tells Yahoo Life. “She immediately loved the idea.”

Gramlich (right) says the added bonus of her plasma donations is knowing she's helping others in her community. (Photo: Liz Gramlich)

Gramlich (right) says the added bonus of her plasma donations is knowing she’s helping others in her community. (Photo: Liz Gramlich)

With this lofty goal in mind, Gramlich and her sister, a teacher, began to look for ways to earn additional income to support their vacations.

“People don’t need to go to Disney every month,” Gramlich explains, “it’s just something fun my sister and I enjoy and we like to bond over it, so we figured why not?”

“I don’t make a bad income but I didn’t want my budget to be impacted by my trips,” she adds. “I was looking for a side job. My sister actually chose Instacart, but I found plasma donations after reading a post on a local Facebook page.”

The post was urging community members to donate, as nearby medical facilities were facing a shortage of much-needed plasma. Gramlich saw the perfect opportunity to utilize her time to make the extra income she was looking for while helping her community.

“I thought, ‘If I can help somebody and do something I want to do at the same time, that’s really cool,” says Gramlich, who has documented her monthly travels on Instagram and TikTok.

According to the International Plasma and Fractionation Association, plasma is a yellow liquid that suspends cell components in the blood. Plasma proteins help with everything from causing blood to clot to fighting bacteria and viruses. If an individual is lacking plasma proteins, it’s sometimes necessary for them to receive donated plasma from another human.

Plasma can be collected two ways: The liquid is either separated from blood cells in donated blood or recovered using a machine that removes plasma from the blood before returning the remaining cells to the donor’s body.

Gramlich, who tries to donate plasma twice a week, says the process has been fairly easy. And, while the frequency in which she donates varies, she typically makes around $750 each month for making plasma donations. In addition to lots of quality time with Cinderella and her friends, Gramlich says a major drive behind her donations is the knowledge that she’s making a difference in someone else’s life.

“It’s all about helping others,” she says, “so I’m not as concerned about the amount [I make], it’s just nice to have a little something extra.”

For others budgeting for their own vacation to Disney, Gramlich offers suggestions for saving on Disney travel, including purchasing an annual pass if you plan on making multiple trips to a Disney park as, in some cases, purchasing an annual pass can cost less than buying tickets for each visit. She also says to find a travel buddy, as expenses like hotel rooms, food and rideshare services become more affordable when the costs are split.

“If you have an annual pass, make sure to utilize the discount [Disney Parks offers to passholders] on food to help cut costs and don’t bring extra paid baggage on flights,” Gramlich adds.

Her biggest recommendation to first-time park goers? Consider planning your trip through travel agent who specializes in Disney planning.

“So much has changed in the parks,” she explains. “If you’re new to them or if you haven’t been before, get a travel agent. They’re no extra cost to you and they will help ensure you’re getting the best deals.”

Having visited Walt Disney World in January, February and March, Gramlich says she occasionally gets asked if she’s tired of spending so much time at a Disney park.

“I never run out of things to do
at Walt Disney World,” she says, adding that she’s already booked a trip for April. “There’s always something new — a new festival, a new thing to try or an added experience — I don’t think we’ll get bored of it anytime soon.”

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