On Disney: Do I Really Have To?


Disney vacation

Please don’t throw your Mickey Mouse ears at me, but I’m about to say something crazy…I don’t want to go to Disney. There I said it. As soon as my daughter was born, people started asking me about Disney.  When was I going? Did my daughter want princess dresses yet? Who was her favorite character? What about her favorite Disney movie. No. No. No! I know it’s supposed to be all “Magical World of Disney” but it seems to be more like an exercise in heat exhaustion and insanity. Know what I mean?

Where’s the magic?

Each time I chat with a mom who has just returned from said Disney trip, she seems like she has taken years off her life. She inevitably begins with the phrase, “It was fun BUT… and follows it with a list of crazy events. Something like: But my kid puked on every ride… but my kid was terrified of all the characters so she screamed the entire day. But – do you see where I’m going with this? No thanks.

The Insane Planning

Planning a trip to Disney seems to warrant not only a travel agent, but an actual Disney planner. Really? Let’s not forget the 4,000 websites that have the “insider tips” so that you can double, triple coupon on Tuesday morning before 8:46 a.m. and save $5 and go on six extra rides before dawn. This is the stuff of nightmares for me. Those websites give me a headache!

Prepare to Spend

 Now that you saved thousands of dollars on your trip using that Disney planner and the 8,000 coupons, try your luck at the actual park. Your kid wants that Tinkerbell wand? That will be $80. Meal for your family of four? The price of a gourmet meal in NYC except this meal will likely exclude wine and only include chicken nuggets. Of course you cannot go for one day, you have to visit ALL the parks and go on ALL the rides, so you need those super extra fast passes to jump all the lines. Oh, that is gonna cost you plenty! Are you guys crazy?

The Heat Exhaustion

When it’s 90 degrees outside, I prefer to be under an umbrella or submerged in a body of water, not standing in a line with a screaming kid. Picture the pool of sweat collecting under the underwire of your bra as your child asks you how long you have to wait in line. Lucky enough to have an infant strapped to you as well? Add a layer of sweat and spit up to you and have yourself a little party. Is anyone else starting to pray for it to be over? I know I can go in January when nobody is there but who the hell has money for a trip of this magnitude after buying all that stuff for Christmas? Maybe I should have cut more coupons?

The Packing

Bring a stroller? Rent a stroller? Have a stroller delivered? Do I need SPF in an IV? What about the snacks​? Carry on, check the bag, gate check the stroller, bring the car seat, pack the car seat, bring a cover for the car seat? I already want to lose my mind. 

I hear you screaming at me. But we are making memories! They will always remember this trip! It’s magical! It’s a once in a lifetime trip! I hear you when you return from these insane trips $10,000 lighter and begging for a vacation from your vacation. My advice? I’m not saying I won’t ever go to Disney, but  it might be a little while. Okay maybe a long while. Think my daughter will still want to go when she’s 15? 

What are your thoughts on Disney? Will you be planning a trip soon?


  1. Disneyland in California!!!
    The weather is AMAZING and there is so much less walking required.
    Plus, cheaper hotels and restaurants are all right there.
    Bonus, the beach is 15 min away, not an hour like in Florida ?

  2. To each her own but seriously you can’t say what it’d be like if you haven’t been. I have done it with an infant and toddler and with two toddlers. Never had the issues you are talking about. My kids aren’t perfect you know your kids plan accordingly! And you can get wine or beer in many locations!

  3. We’re a Disney family, and I love with the irrational obsession of an ex-girlfriend that can’t let go. But I also get why other people aren’t Disney people. It’s totally ok for all of us to like different things and Disney does favor the planners. If you want to try to make the most of the gazillion-dollar trip it does pay to research. But honestly, I wish more people were like you… There would be shorter lines for me!

  4. We decided to buy annual passes and shake off the guilt about waiting in lines and feeling like we had to do everything in each park. By the time you go for a few days with park hopper passes, the cost is about the same. Now, we can run down for the weekend and just do the things we want to do. Our kids (14 and 2) don’t fuss about missing a ride because they’ll catch it the next time. Totally different experience from the “open to close – no matter what” daily ticket purchasers! And, we eat and hang out some off property. Orlando is a fun place with lots of culture once you get away from the theme parks!

  5. I’m with you. There are plenty of other places to vacation while the children are small. Maybe once they hit the 10-12 year old mark. I have friends that take babies and small toddlers and then come back and say they couldn’t do anything because the child was too small or said baby was attached to them. Oh and that whole they’ll remember this their whole life?!?! Really? Tell me everything you remember from when you were an infant or a toddler. Why not wait until they are actually old enough to remember.

  6. I grew up going to Disney. My husband and I went for our honeymoon. Our daughter’s first trip was when she was 3 months old. Our son was 5 months old. They are now 14 and 12 and it’s their favorite place. They have been pretty much every other year since they were born. While yes, it’s definitely more expensive than other vacations, and you will certainly walk a lot, many of the other concerns/complaints you mentioned aren’t really valid. You can take an infant on the majority of the rides at the Magic Kingdom, and to all the shows at all the parks. There are ways to cut costs, and the packing you mentioned is really no different than flying anywhere for vacation with kids. You need car seats and strollers. If you go during winter months, it’s not 90 degrees. We’ve actually needed fleece jackets in November. You don’t HAVE to use a Disney planner or travel agent. It definitely helps to plan out your trip – especially when it comes to dining reservations. But as someone who describes themselves as “type A” (which I am, too) you would probably want to plan things out no matter where you go. All I’m saying is this – whether Disney is your thing or not is totally fine. You do you. But to rant about something you’ve never experienced yourself isn’t quite fair, and it sends an exaggerated and negative message to others who may be considering this vacation for their own family.

  7. Amen. You are 100% on the mark! Disney is miserable with small children. The heat, whining, crying, scared, hungry, thirsty, tired! The list goes on and on. The pictures on the other hand looks like everyone just had an absolute blast. There should be a videotape of the at least 45 minute scene that took place while standing in line to get your kids with Mickey Mouse for that million dollar smile of happiness. What could be more fun than standing in line fast past or not and ne of the kids is now absolutely hysterical because they now do not want to get on the ride or better yet now your child has to go to the bathroom immediately.

    . My all-time favorite was when the kids would rather just stay at the pool at the hotel and not even go to the park after you have paid the million dollars to do everything.

    Definitely wait till your children are older for this grand experience !


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