Okay, okay. I get it now.
We’re just home from Disney and I’ll admit to being skeptical. Brian too. We put it off since we became parents 8 ½ years ago. We figured we’d go one time as a family so we were waiting for Linc to be old enough and for Marin not to be too old. As it turns out, that window opened in September 2019.
I wasn’t like I didn’t want to go on a trip. I love traveling with Brian and the kids, no matter where. I just expected the whole thing to be a hassle of fake fun instead of real fun. (Yeah, I don’t know what I mean either.) But, a bunch of complicated theme parks with a whole cottage industry of gear and guides? Meh.
There are a couple of reasons for my reluctance. The girls passed through the narrow princess-adoration phase a while back. They let it go when the Elsa-craze thankfully cooled. Linc has an intense phobia of eyeless people in costumes. And showing our age, both Brian and I get nauseous and headache-y after the slightest spinny ride. But because the experience seemed like a necessary “check the box” exercise, off we went.
Now looking back after four days in the four primary parks, I get it. I totally get it. Each park is beautiful in its own theme-y planned, built, and maintained way.
Just like we’d heard, every detail is covered. The vast cast cranks up a massive, delight-generating machine each day. As an admirer of exceptional organizational management, I appreciate the magic required to pull that off.
We learned there are dozens of ways to go to Disney. We didn’t have to wear matching shirts. We didn’t have to buy sequined mouse ears. We didn’t have to stay from park open to close. We didn’t have to wait in line to get princess autographs.
Thanks to Brian’s extensive research and planning, we did it in a way that was perfect for us. (In sharing this, I hope I don’t offend any diehards.)
First, we stayed off property. We all LOVED the house. It was humongous with 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a game room, pool, and an entire walk-in closet stocked with paper products. This choice let us have our own space, cook most of our meals, challenge each other to air hockey tournaments, and swim each afternoon. (Mysteriously, after an entire summer of refusing to put his face in the water, Linc up announced he was ready. With us an arm's length away, he took off his floaties and swam. Yippee!)
We did one park per day: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. To get the right mental picture here, imagine a 5-foot diameter hula-hoop. Imagine all 5 of us in the hoop. Now, using just voice commands, imagine us walking a very, very long way. Bottomline, Disney brought our family close- like literally. If you’re like me and like wearing flipflops while your kids are in rubber sneakers, plan on leaving your pedicure and most of the underlying toenails in Florida. Steel-toed boots may have been a smarter choice.
We didn’t do the character breakfasts or shop the boutiques. We focused on rides, snacks, and more rides. The parks set the bar high on virtual reality entertainment. The new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge or Pandora? The debate on which was better continues. Both are eye-popping, heart-stopping, full-sensory experiences, and completely worth the wait. Amazing.
Now that we’re back, I’m so glad that we went when we did. We won’t be the family going every year. There are too many other things to do. However, I totally get it now and could see us making a shorter trip back in a couple of years.