My Love/Hate Relationship with Disney World


On the way home from the airport during our return from Disney World last week my 8-year-old imparted some wisdom. “I think Disney isn’t very truthful in their advertising,” Joshua shared.

Of course, we asked him to explain.

“Well, on the DVD they say it’s the most magical place on earth. But then you get there, and all the kids are whining and complaining…it’s hot, I’m tired. It’s not quite what I expected.”

Seriously, how many parents did we see at the end of their ever-lovin’ ropes? Wild gestures, red faces, raised voices, kids wailing.

If Austin asked me for a misting fan one more time I wasn’t prepared to take responsibility for what might ensue.

Now, I know I have many friends who are avid Disney fans. They go year after year, or even multiple times a year and love it. Somehow this kind of vacation works for them.

Let me preface the following by saying a few things. My mom graciously offered to share the expenses for this trip as a gift to us. We had been saving for quite some time and it would have been a few more years before we would have saved enough to go. What a blessing to go as a family this way, and we got her on an airplane at the age of 69 for the first time in her life. She maneuvered it all like a champ! The boys were the perfect ages: old enough to have a good level of independence, but still young enough to appreciate some of the wonder. The weather was gorgeous and the crowds were quite reasonable to navigate.

That being said, theme parks are just not my thing. I hate waiting (and I didn’t even have to wait much). Large crowds make me want to hyperventilate, and there were moments a sea of people surrounded me.  I get easily overwhelmed by lots of activity, and at times several things were going on at once. People would bark orders at me like I should know what I was supposed to do, which would only intensify my confusion. The food prices make me feel trapped and robbed. I feel disgust that multiple attractions dump me out in a store so I can exercise my ability to say no to my children over and over and over. Ultimately, I have a hard time enjoying indulgence when I know of so many who don’t even have their basic needs met. These experiences make the world seem so unfairly skewed. The idea of the next best thing around every corner (even on the bus back to the airport advertising other Disney excursions) creates tightness in my chest. Clearly, I’m broken and need to get over my silly self.

On the up-side, I will say I laughed the hardest I have in a long time on this trip (if you visit you must go to Turtle Talk with Crush at Epcot…hysterical). Watching the awe on my sons’ faces as they watched the fireworks was worth all of my angst. I felt inspired viewing the creativity of so many artistic minds. And, although Joshua’s comment at the end of the trip was somewhat accurate, I would say there certainly is a sense of magic that rises up at different times.


While grateful for this experience, I feel immense gratitude for my quiet life. Hearing only the clacking of the keys on the keyboard is a welcome respite. Crisp fall air and the array of changing leaves present better companions than palm trees and humidity in my opinion. My whole family agrees there’s just no place like home.

Don’t forget to check out my previous post, Love Me Just the Way That I Am. My Facebook page didn’t promote it to very many for some reason.

What is your opinion of theme parks? Love them, hate them, take them or leave them?

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