We Choose to Travel Everywhere, but Disney
We choose to travel everywhere, but Disney. I know that is a crazy statement, but let me explain. My hope is that I can convince you that your family should explore other travel options as well.
Let me start by saying we have been to Disney. I have been 3 times, once as a teenager, once as an adult without kids and once as a family, so I have experienced it from different stages in life. What I love about Disney is the customer service, the attention to detail, the proximity of the parks, and the magic that is the ultimate draw to Disney. There is a lot to like about it, especially the Dole Whip! I understand why a family would be drawn to Disney, but then again, I don’t! While there is nothing wrong with going to Disney, as it creates a thrilling experience for your little’s and memories that last a lifetime.
What I don’t understand is the family pilgrimage that takes place every year. I believe that you are missing out on what raising kids and traveling is all about. Have you ever heard the saying, “you only have 18 summers with your children before they are no longer living in your home under your roof”? I don’t know if I fully agree with it and as a mom I would like to think my kids will always come back home, it does make some sense. The time to teach them and show them the world around them is relatively short before they are free-thinking humans. It is imperative that we teach them to fly so when it is time to leave the nest, they can spread their wings and fly. I think that spending time exploring and seeing the world is so important to make a well-rounded person.
A few years after our family trip to Disney we asked our kids, would you prefer to go to Disney or would you prefer traveling elsewhere? We asked this question several times about different destinations. Each time the answer was unanimous, the other destination. So I started to ask why. My son responded in a way that got me thinking, he said it is just a theme park mom. He is right and I am thankful that if given the opportunity they chose to explore outside of their comfort zone, aka a family trip to Disney.
So let’s breakdown what I found out when I was talking to families who choose to go to Disney and the reasons behind their decision to vacation at Disney.
Disney is a great destination for everyone of all ages.
I think that may be overstated. Parents probably are excited to see the smiles on their children’s faces for the first hour, maybe two, but from my personal experience it gets old really fast. Disney is exhausting for everyone, especially kids. I am not sure if it is the heat, overstimulation, being on your feet walking for hours, too much sugar, or all of that combined.
The parks are clean and safe.
As far as cleanliness is concerned, I think that is relative. I have traveled to many countries around the world and have been impressed with how clean they are. In fact, Scandinavia has some of the cleanest cities in the world, probably cleaner than the city or town you call home.
Did you know that Disney has a police department? Well it does, crime happens, even at the most magical place on earth. The same types of crime that you hear about in Europe, such as petty theft, are common at Disney. My point is that no matter where you are you always have to be vigilant. This is the same whether you are at Disney or at an exotic destination.
Disney can inspire a love for travel and take you on a trip around the world.
Not even close! The 11 countries represented are Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, the USA, Japan, Morocco, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada. I can tell you that not one of the facades at Disney for any of these countries is like the actual country, minus the US. You miss the actual culture, the people, the language, the beauty, the heartbeat, of all these wonderful places. Until you have traveled to destinations outside of the United States you truly cannot get the travel bug and understand what wonderful things lay beyond our borders to explore.
You know what you are going to get.
EXACTLY MY POINT! Why would you want to go and do the same thing on every vacation? Don’t you want to get out and discover new places to love? It is so neat to be immersed in a place where you get to hear the language, smell the local fare, discover the culture by touring the museums. Disney is all based on make-believe themes so there is little to no learning that you are experiencing. That is unless you like living in fictional cartoon lands of make-believe.
The cost of a vacation elsewhere is too expensive.
The average Disney vacation for a family of 4 for flights, hotel, park passes, food, extra spending for a week is approximately $8,000. Do you know the amazing vacations that you can have for that kind of money?!?!? I have planned many week-long or more experience-rich vacations that have been a lot cheaper than $8,000. That kind of money goes a long way when customizing a personalized vacation.
In my opinion, there are better experiences out there that cost a lot less money. There are so many mind shaping experiences that your kids are not learning by going to the same places year after year. How about camping or learning how to downhill ski? Both of these activities are ones you can’t get done by taking another trip to Disney. But both these activities are adventures that broaden the imaginations of our little ones.
So with all of that said, we choose to travel everywhere, but Disney. We feel that it is up to us parents to give our kids a well-rounded childhood. There are other cultures, traditions, languages, new foods, and different places to explore. Traveling is a big part of opening their minds to the world outside of their own bubble. Giving them the gift of knowing there is so much more than their own backyard or favorite cartoon or movie, is important to raising well-rounded, people-centric productive adults that will one day make an impact on the world.