Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Why Your Kids Don't Need to go to Disney

Let me begin by saying that I LOVE Disney! We just returned from our first Disney trip as a family and I loved everything about it - the theme parks, the character meals, the parades, the fireworks, the smells, the sights, and everything in between.

I will also be the first to admit that Disney with four small children is HARD!

My wonderful husband downloaded some podcasts for us to listen to on our drive to Disney.  We listened to tips on everything from where to sit for fireworks to what restaurants we should try out.  One of my favorite topics included tips for taking small children to the theme parks. 

There was one topic, though, that really REALLY frustrated me.  The question was "When is the best time to take your kids to Disney?".  The hosts then went on to say that your kids are never too young to go to Disney.  In fact, withholding a Disney vacation from them would be like not hugging or kissing your child because they are too young to remember it.  Really??!  How can those two things even be compared.  The last time I checked, hugging and kissing your child does not cost thousands of dollars or inevitably leave them exhausted and prone for meltdowns...

Like this one...

Or the one that my oldest threw seconds before our picture with Jake because Jake happened to sign his brothers' autograph books before his....

As the podcast continued, the host discussed how he had maxed out his American Express card during a trip to Disney when his daughter was nine month's old so they could "make memories".  At this point, I physically cringed.  Maybe it's because I drank the Dave Ramsey kool-aid and the idea of putting anything on a credit card makes me squirm, but mostly it's the idea of setting a precedent of going into debt to make our children "happy".

As a society, we've accepted the idea that our children's happiness is the most important thing in our parenting lives.  More important than our financial security and our own personal happiness.  I'm of the opinion that our children are happiest with a safe, secure, and loving family.  They don't need expensive toys or elaborate vacations.  In fact, my boys' will still say that their favorite part of vacation was swimming every afternoon at the resort and shopping at the Lego store in Downtown Disney.  

So, should your kids go to Disney?  Sure!  IF you can afford it.  IF you feel that it's the right time for your family.  And IF you're ready to accept the inevitable meltdowns that come with visiting the happiest place on Earth with little ones!

Just leave your credit cards at home, please!  And remember that your kids may be just as happy swimming at the local pool and visiting a local toy store :)

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12 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this. We are on our first vacation now with 3 small kids (4yr, 2yr, 8mo) and it has been an "adventure":-) we have often talked about when would be a good time to go to Disney and I think we will wait for a few yrs before trying it! I can relate to the meltdowns without naps and the older brother getting upset about the younger brother getting his book signed. My 4yr thinks he has to be first with almost everything, lol.

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    1. Jaime - enjoy your vacation :) I will say that the good thing about going when they're young is that they're so dang cute! Plus, they're free before 3 ;) My 2-year-old is convinced that Mickey Mouse lives in Cinderella's castle. He may not remember anything from this trip, but WE certainly will!

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  2. Thanks for sharing this. We are on our first vacation now with 3 small kids (4yr, 2yr, 8mo) and it has been an "adventure":-) we have often talked about when would be a good time to go to Disney and I think we will wait for a few yrs before trying it! I can relate to the meltdowns without naps and the older brother getting upset about the younger brother getting his book signed. My 4yr thinks he has to be first with almost everything, lol.

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  3. Great blog! I enjoyed your writing but also your courage to take a different slant on Disney. I don't think I've ever read a blog about Disney that pointed out you could have as much fun bonding with your kids at home! Also, I am a huge fan of Dave Ramsey's too!!! :-)

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    1. We are HUGE fans of Dave Ramsey! And, I really do love Disney - just not the idea that you somehow love your kids less if you don't go...or the idea that it's okay to go into debt just so your kids can spend a week at Disney! Maybe we should get everyone to drink the Ramsey kool-aid! :)

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  4. FABULOUS post! Thank you so much for sharing the honest pictures of your kids! Ha! No one ever posts the meltdown pics but we all KNOW it happens! :-)

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    1. I could probably post a meltdown picture for every day of the week! Thankfully, they didn't last long :)

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  5. This is a really awesome post. We LOVE Disney and have season passes to Disneyland. However, I completely agree with everything you wrote. We pay cash for our passes (and anything we buy while we are there). We don't HAVE to take them. I can't believe how ludicrous that podcast was. I take my kids to Disney, because I love it, LOL, not because they need it or deserve it. :)

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    1. Allison, I'm with you! I love Disney myself (and so does my husband). I didn't post the name of the podcast because most of the comments that infuriated me were made by a guest. I have absolutely nothing against Disney, just with the idea that kids HAVE to go there or their parents don't love them! My kids spent an entire lunch feeding a duck! :)

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  6. My daughters go to a lot of amusement parks. I am a member or representative of some roller coaster clubs and have been on over 600 roller coasters in several different countries (mostly before children). Sometimes it is because I am reviewing the park or writing an article on the park and so I have complementary tickets. Sometimes it is because we have a season pass. When we go to local amusement parks, we wear regular everyday comfortable clothes, do not buy trinkets, and do not purchase meals at the park. We will go for 3 or 4 hours, then leave to take a nap or eat and then return for more if we are still interested. We go to Disneyland one time every year and just do the same. The tickets are more expensive than other parks and they never have complementary tickets for someone at my level but we can manage to go on about 12 to 20 rides in a 3 hours stretch and part of that is from studying queing theory as part of Traffic Engineering. (for example, there is never a long wait for the carousel because several people board at the same time). This might change when they get older and start watching television at their friend's houses. (We don't have regular television just dvds and downloads.) And yes, they will be just as interested with the generic hotel's swimming pool as they are on any attraction at Disneyland.

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  7. I love your post! What a wonderful attitude about the whole thing - and it's looks as though you had a great time - despite the tantrums of course! It's sad that people feel such pressure to have this tick list of things they must do to prove how much they love their children - Love doesn't come with price label!
    Confession time! my children have never been to an amusement park - ever! I can't bare them, don't like roller coasters, get twitchy surrounded by crowds of screaming children and can't get on with the over sell, merchandising that goes alongside them. I would challenge anyone to love their children more than me and I've never met 2 happier people (I say people they 22 & 17) Saying that I have a friend who works for a park and has sent us free tickets - so I guess I should go - eeeek! wish me luck!

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  8. Good stuff!! Thanks for sharing! Just stumbled across you on pinterest and had to comment :) I have several posts on Disney - and I touch on the subject of preparing the kids and their attitudes for a Disney trip (I've actually had some negative criticism from it). But I totally agree with your perspective on this! Great job! Disney on a Dime

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