I have a confession. I love (may actually be obsessed with) all things Disney. Yes I am closing in on 50 years old and have 4 grown children. Yes there are a million fascinating, educational, cultural places in the world to visit and yes I would like to see them all BUT I know the feeling that a trip to Disney World brings into my life. I know, and crave it.
I have only been to Disney World in Florida (but would love to see other Disney properties).
Yes. Disney World is expensive….very much so. But all over the internet are blogs that say it costs $5k to $10k for a family of 4. REALLY??? SO not necessarily the case. If it was we would never be able to go. Yes the tickets are pricey, especially if you only visit for 1 or 2 days(the longer you stay the cheaper they are per day). However we went to a large amusement park last summer near our home (a supposedly cheaper alternative) and the 1 day ticket was only $35 cheaper per day….AND you could not bring in your own drinks or food, and some rides and activities cost extra! There was also a lot less to do, much less quality entertainment, not very clean. There was little to no theming and the grumpy or bored teenage workers left a lot to be desired in the customer service department.
Can you do “Disney on a Dime”? No you can’t. However, you can do it cheaply. You can stay very very affordably if you stay off site (and there are many perks to staying off site too!) There are many tips (such as earning Disney point on a Disney Chase card) that will help. As will websites devoted to deals and discounts.
But that is not what this post is about. THIS post is about the why. I hear that all of the time. “WHY would you want to go back?” “WHY would you want to go at all?!” “WHY don’t you do something else?” “WHY go there its so childish (or commercial or touristy or whatever)?” What on earth is so special about Disney anyway?
To me the number one reason is the feeling that the place illicites in me. I feel happy, giddy even. I feel child-like and amazed. I can step into this world and leave behind the stresses of the real world.
So here are a few of my whys:
- The Atmosphere. The all encompassing theming, the happy faces of the Cast Members(what Disney calls their employees), the smiles of the other guests, the music, the colors, the beauty of the grounds, the cleanliness, and the nostalgia. All of this works together to create a happy carefree feeling. The sights, sounds, smells pull you into the stories you know and love and that you could only experience from the outside up until now. I also find that since we have been there several times over the years that it is also filled with memories and when we returned this year after 4 years our adult children spent a lot of time reminiscing. “Remember when we got hot chocolate and sat right there to watch the Christmas parade?” Remember when I saw Buzz Lightyear right there and I was so excited?” “Remember how Mom was afraid of Tower of Terror and now its her favorite?” This shared family experience is wonderful!
- The Rides and Attractions. Really? The rides? Yes, really. While Disney has it’s share of simple, basic amusement park style rides (although themed SO much better), Disney does what other parks don’t….they include everyone. Most of the rides can be enjoyed by the little ones and the senior citizens and everyone in between. This makes visiting with your children a unique experience at each age. They have a few ‘thrill’ rides of course but so many more rides that are more an experience. The differences start while you are waiting in line…the theming and decor, music, comfort features(fans, misters, water fountains), and believe it or not the way they trick you into thinking you are ‘almost there’. Add in the CM’s who play the role the ride calls for to a T. It contributes so much to the overall experience. The creepy ‘servants’ at the Haunted Mansion, the very ‘punny’ river boat drivers on the Jungle Cruise, and all of the other CMs who give just the right touch to the ride they are working. The rides are FUN and….wait for it….many are educational! Of course there are also amazing shows of all kinds….and fireworks that will blow your mind.
- The Food. Disney definitely does not have typical theme park food. From quick service menus to luxurious fine dining. The offerings include the simple to the exotic and the sinfully rich to the healthy and light. You can choose to grab a quick bite on the go or you can have a multi course meal. You can enjoy an eating experience (such as eating in a ‘car’ at a sci-fi drive in for example) or you can dine with your favorite Disney Characters. Don’t even get me started on the foodie adventures offered at Epcot. YUM! There is even a festival once a year devoted to Food and Wine!
- The Variety. Disney offers many theme park/resort/adventure experiences across the globe. There are parks in multiple countries, each featuring a mix of favorites and new experiences. There are resorts around these parks as well as other vacation destinations. You can take a Disney Cruise or go explore the world with Adventures by Disney. Add to all that the fact that Disney holds true to Walt’s vision of innovation and change. The parks, attractions and other offerings all change and grow and this makes each visit fun and exciting. There is always something new to see and do.
Of course I can go on and on…I really could. I will resist the urge and just say don’t knock it until you try it. You can have a very posh all adult experience, a goofy (literally!) childlike wonder filled experience, or an educational and cultural experience. The choice is entirely yours.