Don’t Want To Visit Disney Parks? That’s Okay!

Recently I came across this article by a mom explaining why she and her husband wouldn’t be saving up to take their children to Disney World any time soon.  She made the following five points rationalizing that decision:

  1. “We don’t want our children to feel entitled to a Disney World vacation.”
  2. “We don’t want our children to view a trip to Disney World as the pinnacle event of their childhood.”
  3. “We don’t want to succumb to the pressures of a high consumerism culture.”
  4. “We don’t want to “keep up with the Joneses.”
  5. “We want our kids to explore the world more than Disney World.”

Don’t Want To Visit Disney Parks? That’s Okay!Disney Simba Magic Shot

Initially I had two thoughts:  First was (shallow, I know), “Fewer people in the parks, YAY!”.  After that, I had a deeper reaction…Why write the article at all?  If you, like me, took a few minutes to check out the many reader comments, this lady was highly criticized.  People got really ugly!  What made her put herself out there attracting such hateful words in the first place?  Unlike the article’s haters, I can understand how this mom might want other moms in the same boat to know they’re not alone in their desire to maybe not take their children on a Disney vacation now or ever.  If she’s genuinely afraid of inadvertently turning her children into entitled materialistic jerks, she needs to stick to her guns.  She knows her family best.Disney's Castaway Cay Walkway

As I’m safely on the other side of child rearing, I have a different perspective than many of the article’s harsh critics.  I didn’t feel judged by the author and I’m 100% positive a trip to Disney World was not the pinnacle event of our offspring’s childhoods.  They had amazing personal accomplishments that challenged them physically and mentally.  Things that required dedication and hard work that made them (and us) proud and developed strong character.  Things that had nothing to do with family vacations.  Vacations were for de-stressing, reconnecting, and having tons of fun.Disney Cruise Line in Alaska with Teens

Visit Disney Parks (if you want to)!

Now that Megan and Joseph are adults, I can tell you that vacationing at Walt Disney World did not turn them into materialistic victims of a “high consumerism culture”.  Their Disney vacations have made them hungry to keep exploring the world, experiencing new adventures, and facing challenges.  They also learned the value of saving and budgeting for travel.  AND they had fun, their parents had fun, and we have many happy family memories that will last forever.Disney's Hollywood Studios Meeting Muppets

Through the years, I never felt we were trying to “keep up with the Joneses” – most of our friends and neighbors were not Disney travelers.  We were the oddballs (until I found the Disney fan community, you guys are the BEST!).  We live very simply, grow our own veggies, drive the same vehicles for 10 years or more, and value hard work.

When the kids were growing up, we did without things like video games, a trampoline, a backyard pool, etc. in favor of saving money for travel.  Collectibles like Pokémon cards and Beanie Babies were sadly a firm “no” in our household.  Disney travel was our absolute favorite, so we let Disney show us the world via cultural experiences in Walt Disney World and on Disney Cruise Line visiting countries like Spain, France, Italy, Denmark, and Norway.  Also, we had enormous amounts of fun.Segway tour of CopenhagenDisney Magic South of France

I am completely excited for the article’s writer who will be spending her savings on a trip to Costa Rica with her family.  I admire their commitment to serving the less fortunate and know first hand the value of teaching children about other cultures and languages.  One thing that struck me about the article was the point the author makes about how going to Disney World may indicate someone would do so to “conform to societal pressure”.  Character meal with Genie

Is it true?  Do you guys take Disney vacations because of guilt?  Does the pressure (if it exists) make you think your kids will be maladjusted if you don’t take them to Disney World?  Will they have unresolved childhood issues?  Feel deprived and unloved?  I fell in love with Walt Disney World as a newlywed having never had the chance to visit as a child.  I turned out pretty well and never felt slighted by parents who chose to take me to Sea World (among other places) instead.  We started taking our children to Disney World simply because we ourselves love it there.Expedition Everest

If you think about it, societal pressure on Disney fans is often exceptionally strong.  We frequent Disney vacationers take a lot of flack from coworkers, family, and friends that do not understand what the draw is…How could we possibly want to return to Disney World or Disneyland?  Raise your hand if you’ve gotten the eye-roll accompanied by, “What? AGAIN?” on more than one occasion.Memory Maker Photo in Disney's Hollywood Studios

One last comment (because I can’t help myself) – The article’s author believes, “This culture is one that demands we spend money on this toy and that gadget and this “magical” trip. We don’t want to give into that pressure.”  I say, part of healthy childhood play should include plenty of time to pretend, play make-believe, and dream about being a veterinarian, a hero, a princess, a circus performer, a builder, a policeman, a dancer, a teacher, a banker, or even an Imagineer.  Indulging in these playtime fantasies in no way supports a materialistic, consumerism culture.  If you want to buy or make toys and costumes that support healthy play, don’t over think it.  You’ll be fine and so will your kids.

Now it’s your turn!  What say you?  Do you find Disney vacations detrimental to healthy childhood development?  Do you favor certain other types of travel?  If you’ve taken your children on a Disney vacation, was it the highlight of their entire childhood?  Did it make them feel entitled?  Are they spoiled or materialistic because of Disney travel?  Less apt to give to their community?  I’m biased and I’d really like to hear your side.

All The 2017 Disney (Non) Resolutions

Happy New Year!  I’m not gonna lie. I was kinda glad to see the last of 2016. It was a year of ups and downs in the way that riding a roller coaster over and over makes you want to finally get off.  Now here we are – fresh year, new opportunities and all that. If you’ve been here for the arrival of the past three years, then you know I’m not a fan of resolutions.  I absolutely believe in making a commitment to change, but only when you’re ready and you really mean it. Me, I make Disney plans for the beginning of each year and it’s time to line them out.

All The 2017 Disney (Non) Resolutions

It’s not without a bit of anxiety that I tell you what’s on tap for 2017…there are few solid trip plans which is so not like me. I love planning Disney vacations and usually have 24-months-worth all sewn up at any given time. That’s not the case at the moment, but as you’ll soon see, I’ve got good ideas!  Here’s what’s definitely in the future…

Make Disney Soup (again)!

Last time it was the spinach, sausage, and gnocchi soup from The Wave.  I’ve made it several times since I figured out how.  This time, I’m going for the Curried Butternut Squash Bisque from Jiko.  I’m probably going to have to forego the garnishes of duck confit and quince marmalade, but the velvety smooth deliciousness of this incredibly tasty soup can hold its own without the fancy add-ins. I’ve already practiced once this week and came super close!  Sadly, I didn’t measure anything. Next time I’ll make sure I know exactly what’s going in and how much of each ingredient is used so I can share the final recipe with you.

Run the Dark Side Challenge

I’ve been talking about it enough that you probably already know about this one.  What makes this short Disney World visit in April so special is that I’ll be running both races with Joseph (my favorite son) and both Nick and Dave (my co-hosts on The Disney Exchange) will be at Disney World then too!  Might be possible for us to finally have a podcast meet-up!  Based on our past luck with that, though, I won’t hold my breath.

See These Movies

There are a bunch of Disney movies coming out in 2017 that I’d like to see in a theater, but these are the ones I’m absolutely not going to miss and plan on seeing them as soon as they come out:

  • Beauty and the Beast (March 17th)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (May 5th)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7th)
  • Star Wars Ep. VIII (December 15th)

Obtain My Scuba Certification

This was a Christmas gift from Raymond who’s already certified and knows I love adventure, learning new things, and the ocean.  We’d arranged this as a gift for Joseph, who’s studying biology and loves tropical fish.  I was beyond excited when I opened the same present for me!  Now we’ll start studying our books and DVD ahead of the classes which should begin in late February.  Someday we’ll be able to search for both Nemo and Dory!

Book a Disney CruiseDisney Cruise Line

We’ve got a placeholder burning a hole in our pocket! On last February’s cruise on the Disney Dream, we put a down payment on a future cruise to take advantage of the onboard booking specials. Now we need to make a decision on when and where we’ll go.  I’d kind of like to try the Fantasy, which is the only Disney ship we haven’t yet sailed on.

Go on a Disney (under sea) Adventure

What good will that scuba certification be without putting it to good use on a Disney vacation?  Our first choice is to book a visit to Aulani with a stop at Disneyland on the way.  I know there are amazing diving opportunities in Hawaii.  The only thing holding us back right now is working out the timing and budget…keeping my fingers crossed!

Have you made your Disney plans for 2017?  What’s on your list?

Things People Do at Disney World That Bug Me.

I’m not normally a very detail-oriented person.  I don’t usually take much notice of stuff going on around me. Thanks to having had Megan and Joseph to raise, I can shut out just about anything when I need to (love you guys!). So, when I’m on vacation, it takes a lot to break into my consciousness and become noticed. I’m focusing so much on having fun and checking out Disney magic, looking for Hidden Mickeys, listening to background music, etc. I people-watch in the most casual way and rarely notice negatives about strangers. I consider this a good thing! Walt Disney World offers some of the best people-watching to be found anywhere. However, if you want to bug me at Disney World, there are a few sure-fire ways to make it onto my radar!

Things People Do at Disney World That Bug Me.Walt Disney World Summer Crowd

  1. Ignore Your Kids – I’m not talking about the run-of-the-mill ignoring bad behavior or whining, I’m talking about refusing to interact with you kids when they’re being good, are excited by the wonders of Disney World, and want to share it with you in the only way they can – by making excited exclamations and asking questions. Pay attention! They’re only young once! Put that cell phone, camera or tablet away connect with your offspring! While you’re doing that, please keep them from touching me (see #4).Tomorrowland-Crowds
  2. Completely Disregard Every Other Guest – You are not alone. We are all at Walt Disney World to have fun and yes, we all paid the price of admission, same as you. You alone have not earned the right to litter, walk, sit, or stand right in the middle of crowded locations, jump to the front of the line, or generally disrupt others with your drama, cheers, chants, or domestic disputes.  If you don’t play well with others, Disney World is not the ideal vacation destination for you.RM-Photographer-DHS
  3. Take Out a Cast Member – There’s a right way to complain about a problem. If you’ve had bad service, have been short-changed, overcharged, or been the victim of unusually bad circumstances, you should complain…the right way. What you should not do is lose your temper and vent your spleen on a Cast Member who neither caused your distress nor can do nothing to fix the situation. To lodge a legitimate complaint, see this. Otherwise, remember you chose to vacation with thousands upon thousands of other people and manage your anger!  You only end up making yourself a horrible spectacle to those around you.RM-Festival-Of-Fantasy-Mime-From-Tangled
  4. Enter My Space – I have a small personal bubble. If I know you and I like you, I’m comfortable with you standing close enough beside me for our arms to actually touch. But, when a large tank-top-wearing sweaty guy presses his hairy arm against me, I’m bugged. A lot. Or when a kid behind me in line touches the back of me in any way, I’m irritated. Why can’t this kids parents keep him from touching my butt? I don’t think allowing me to have, and remain alone in, my little area should be that big of a deal.RM-Mizner's-Lounge
  5. Smack When You Chew – I’m certain I have Misophonia (a.k.a. selective sound sensitivity syndrome). I didn’t know it was even a thing until recently, but I do know that for my entire life, certain sounds drive me absolutely crazy. Smacking your food, popping a gum-bubble with every chew, slurping a beverage…are you familiar with how irritating this can be? Are you a fellow Misophonia sufferer? I can almost not even be in the same room with a person consuming a bowl of cereal. I know it’s me, not you, but that doesn’t make me less creeped out by those sounds you’re making.

How about YOU?  What do people do that bugs you on a Disney vacation?


5 Types of Disney World Moms

Tomorrowland-CrowdsPeople-watching is one of the activities I enjoy most at Walt Disney World.  What a gathering place for the diversity that is the human population!  All ages of folks from all over the world – all in one place where I can surreptitiously study them at will.  A while back I talked about the different Disney Dads I see on vacation.  Today it’s time for me to share some observations about the other half of the parenting pair.

5 Types of Disney World Moms

Crafty Mom – This one’s easy to spot!  I like to imagine the Pinterest boards she’s accumulated prepping for the big family Disney trip.  This mom’s family has matching tee-shirts or a coordinated Disney Bounding theme going on.  Sometimes there are crafty visors, unique Earhats, homemade autograph books and little cloth backpacks.  This mom is amazing!  Her energy and attention to detail are enviable and those post-vacation scrapbooks will be absolutely fantastic!  Deep down inside, I want to be this mom, but don’t have the patience it takes to complete all the projects.  Or even one.Walt Disney World Summer Crowd

Super Mom – This is the mom who absolutely beams at her children’s happiness.  She might like Disney in her own way, but positively loves the joy it brings her offspring.  Super Mom eats on the run (usually leftovers from kids’ meals) and has mastered the art of multi-tasking.  She’s there to catch the ice cream drips, hand out snacks, carry a giant backpack of supplies, and answer 347,639 questions with the patience of a saint.  She derives fun from watching her kids have fun.  There to make sure her family is comfortable and having the time of their lives, she’s in her element when she’s doing things for others.   I don’t know how she does it, but Super Mom doesn’t even appear to sweat in the Florida heat.  (Now, that would be a super power I could use!)  My favorite Super Moms are the ones who are clearly adored and appreciated by their husband and children.RM-Fantasyland-Crowd

Sporty Mom – Sporty mom is fit and athletic.  She and her kids love runDisney events and Sporty Mom can be spotted by her attire – she’ll be wearing an event shirt from a past race.  Sporty mom enjoys the resorts with exercise rooms and running trails best because every day begins with a good workout.  This mom serves and eats healthy food at home, but will splurge on a Disney vacation, knowing exactly how many steps she’s taken and how many calories have been burned.Princess Half Fantasyland

Frazzled Mom – I always feel slightly sorry for this mom.  Perpetually worried and not having as much fun as she could, Frazzled Mom is busy doling out sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, and “don’t go to far” followed by “stay where I can see you”.  This mom in particular seems disconnected from the magic of Disney as if worry prevents active participation.  I’m the biggest advocate in the world for minding your children, so in the early years, I was Frazzled Mom and am here to tell you there’s a sweet spot to be found between being cautious enough and over-the-top paranoid.  This mom also tends to do too much scheduling because going with the flow isn’t in her DNA.Resting along Sunset Blvd in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Kid-at-Heart Mom – This mom is having the time of her life with her family.  She’s wearing her favorite character t-shirt and a full pin lanyard.  She’s eating a Citrus Swirl or a Churro or has some chocolate spots on her shirt from a Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar.  Kid-at-Heart Mom is as swept up in the Disney magic as her kids are and she can be overheard talking excitedly about Tower of Terror or Expedition Everest.  This mom knows how to relax and have fun while staying in the moment for her family.

Know a Disney mom?  Are you one?  Which type of Disney mom are you?