I am sure to offend some die hard Disney fans. You know, the kind that started their magical wedding bliss by going on a Disney honeymoon, or worse, got engaged there. I’m not saying that’s bad. It’s just not us. I hate being a hater. But remember, this is me expressing myself, my own views and opinions, and if you are one of those people, you may want to turn back now.
Our idea of a vacation or honeymoon used to be relaxing on a beach somewhere, or even a cosmopolitan European city. Well, all that changes once you have children and find yourself at the Great Wolf Lodge for the seventh time, and yes, the dreaded obligatory Disney trip.
That was us this past July. Our kids had reached the ages where their first Disney trip was in order.
Let me first say, that we do all of this because we love them, and of course, want to fill their lives with magical memories.
There it is again, that word, magical. Hmm. I can think of a few words that start with an ‘M’ to describe Disney: How about maddening, miserable, money-pit…
Yes, we were able to get an incredible military discount.
As the ticket salesperson gave us our total, we must have looked surprised (surprised because it still cost a lot!), as she said, “I know, isn’t it an amazing discount…” Well, uh, yeah. sure.
This led us to ponder how any regular family can even afford to go to Disney. Ever.
We began our day as sweat beads immediately formed upon entrance into the great Orlando outdoors, otherwise known as humidity hell. Fact: No matter how optimistic or positive and wonderful you think you are, we are all out here sweating together.
Let’s talk about the heat. We are on the trip of their lives. After the hotel shuttle, walking, monorail scramble to the parks, more walking, and the lines to get in, and more walking…the first thing we hear before we have done a single activity, “Mommy, it’s soooo hot!” Yes it is, and get ready to sweat like you’ve never sweat before.
It is very difficult to explain to a four year old that “yes we are going to stand here in line for an hour in the hot sun to ride something that lasts maybe two minutes.” It is also hard to validate waiting in line to meet someone dressed as a princess. But we did that. Numerous times.
And that, we are going to exit the ride right into a Disney store packed full of trademark goodies that we will quickly maneuver ourselves around and out of immediately.
Another fact that deserves mentioning, you could not pay me to push a stroller or change diapers at Disney. However, I do love getting my toes run over by all of the other stroller pushers there (NOT!). And what about the gawkers, picture takers, and ‘stopping in the way’ people? At times I wanted to get out my mega phone and yell, “Coming through people! Move it, or lose it!” Maybe you could rent one for XX $$ per day along with your stroller.
Truth is, our kids would have been happy swimming in the hotel pool each day. Instead, we overloaded their brains park hopping back and forth in four days.
Is it all worth it in the end? Is it possible to redeem myself with the Disney lovers? Yes and no. The kids loved it. It’s all they talk about. To everyone. Remembering the awe and sparkle in their eyes. Yes.
The break down for us:
Magic Kingdom, our favorite = awesome, and awesomely crowded. And yes, I will admit that I love all of the nostalgia of the classic Disney characters.
Epcot= maybe two rides we loved. Only worth a couple of hours or half day. Sorry. Two former international flight attendants can totally do without the International pavilions.
Hollywood Studios= Surprisingly, we spent a lot of time here after being told it wasn’t that great.
Animal Kingdom= glorified zoo, and can totally, completely do without.
There was probably one stand-out activity per child that was very enjoyable and memorable for all of us, and they weren’t even rides. Seeing our daughter get chosen to play ‘the Beast’ and dance with Belle in the interactive play at Belles Enchanted Tales. And seeing our son train as a Jedi and battle Darth Vader with a light saber.
And of course the fireworks and light shows are pretty amazing.
Will we ever go back? Maybe. The husband says no. I say definitely not in July.