5 Things We Taught Our Kids at Disney World
The Fam and I don’t consciously go on vacation to learn stuff. Anytime we travel though, there’s an opportunity to experience new things – a byproduct of which is usually learning something. Everyday life can be challenging. Spending the time and money to travel, for us, means getting away from the stress of the daily grind and enjoying each other’s company in a way we can rarely experience at home. This has been constant through the years and part of why we love to travel together.
1. Money is better spent on experiences – Even before this article hit social media, we whole-heartedly believed in this concept. We weren’t going to be the family with a new car every couple of years – we drive a vehicle, on average, about 10 years (or longer). The latest video games, a backyard pool or trampoline, dinners out every week, and expensive blue jeans were not in our budget. It was easier to pass on things knowing we’d have incredible new experiences in our future. We love Disney World and Disney Cruise Line. The excitement of a new possession diminishes over time, unlike the memories of our collective vacation experiences (and the excitement of planning more of them for the future).
2. Waiting is easier when you learn to make it entertaining – Call us crazy, but some of our best times have been in ride queues and on Disney transportation. We look for hidden Mickeys, quiz each other on Disney trivia, search for tiny, magical details or special Disney touches (like footprints, funny signs and posters, sight gags). We’ve learned to look up, look down, and just enjoy being in the moment. Together. At Walt Disney World. (We also taught good manners at every opportunity, like giving up your seat on a bus for someone else.)
3. Eating dinner together as a family is one of the best things in life – and at are house, a rather rare occurrence. We had super active kids! During the early years of family Disney vacations we realized that we loved having a sit-down meal together at the end of every day. We could relax, recap the days’ excitements and highlights, discuss what we were most looking forward to for the next day, and enjoy some awesome Disney food and service. If you asked, each of us would say that many of those meals are some of our most precious vacation memories.
4. Making friends with people from other countries and cultures is awesome – We were probably the most paranoid “stranger danger” parents on the planet, but we tried to demonstrate safe ways to interact with other guests and Cast Members while waiting in line, pin trading, sitting in a restaurant, or waiting for a parade or nighttime spectacular to start. A common love for Disney usually brought us together and we had the pleasure of visiting a while and exchanging thoughts and opinions about favorite rides, attractions, shows.
5. Facing and conquering fears is rewarding! – Megan was leery of heights and Joseph was mortally afraid of trying new foods. Both were very unsure about character interactions. When Megan learned to love the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Disney’s Hollywood Studios), we were there to cheer her on and see the pride and amazement she felt at overcoming her fear. Joseph learned to try, and in many cases love, all kinds of seafood, cheeses, and exotic flavors (like wild boar and buffalo). Both of them overcame their wariness about meeting Disney characters. This might not sound like a big deal, but believe me, it was. The ability to draw upon these experiences when faced with challenges in everyday life has been invaluable.
As you can imagine, there were many more things we all learned on our Disney vacations, but I’ll save those for another day. What’s the best thing you’ve learned (or taught) at Disney World?