Maybe we haven’t all been there but, I do know a ton of you have asked me many times how I get James to spend so much time at Disney with us and if he genuinely loves it as much as we do!
The answer: He does, NOW.
Years ago, it was a feat any time he’d agree to spend the dough on renewing our Annual Passes for yet another 365 day term. I would secretly squirm and tingle inside when our renewal became official and we’d be granted another year of memory making at the happiest place on Earth! That was, before I knew better and before we started spending more time making memories the right way and less time shoving in as many things as possible into a single day! (Yes, there actually IS a right and wrong way to do Disney, whether you’re an APH or a first-time visitor!)
He used to be the guy that dreaded going to Disney, (even weekends that we’d stay on property)! He’d enjoy himself with the rest of us but, going into our first day, he’d be dragging out of the house dreading not only the money we’d be spending but, also the heat, the lines, and the thousands of strange people we’d have to encounter every hour!
As a Disney loving girl with littles who jump for joy any time we sing that sweet song, “We’re going to Disney World!” I came to realize that in order for us to start spending more time enjoying Disney collectively (Dad included), something needed to change! I totally understood his grief and the negative anticipation he had that led up to our Disney vacations so, I decided that I’d put some energy into finding out the best way to make it more enjoyable for all of us! (With secret hopes that paired with my success, he’d even want to spend more time at WDW than ever before!)
For 4 months leading up to our first Disney vacation after renewing our passes last year (coming back from a two year hiatus) I carefully planned and organized our trip. To my surprise: not only did my planning pay off by resulting in our best Disney trip to date but, before even stepping foot off of WDW property that weekend, James booked us another 4 day vacation at WDW for 5 months ahead! I couldn’t believe it! He was itching to come back and we hadn’t even left yet! To say that I cried, would be an understatement. I balled my eyes out with gratitude and excitement that finally he was enjoying our time at Disney as much as the boys and I had been for years past!
If you’re here, and if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably struggling with the same thing I did for years: Having a husband that makes you cringe every time you talk about Disney World. Maybe he rolls his eyes beside you, or makes a sarcastic comment about how “excited” he is to spend his kid’s college fund on a Mickey Bar, or maybe he simply doesn’t give you a reason but, just refuses to visit the parks. I’m here to tell you that you can *hopefully* change his mind and that maybe you’re just presenting it wrong. (Yes, I said it-maybe it’s on you!)
Example: Your husband LOVES spending Friday night date night without the kids walking quietly down the plumbing aisle at Lowe’s but, you absolutely despise it. The dirty floors, the lack of AC, the constant roar of someone calling for the paint department on the intercom-ALL OF IT, you hate it. BUT, would it be better for you if he planned out a date night that included things you love as well?! Like: 30 minutes in Lowe’s, THEN- dinner at a place that serves food that you enjoy but, don’t often get to eat, maybe a movie that you wouldn’t necessarily think you’d love but ends up being one of your new favs?!
You betcha (I know I would)!
Plan a Disney trip (even if it’s just a day) but, be thoughtful in your planning!
Fast Passes: Take the time to schedule fast passes that don’t make you waste time bouncing back and forth all over the park! Maybe, start in Tomorrowland and work your way around the loop to Adventureland! (Nothing is more miserable than a cranky husband who gets lost in the shuffle and becomes frustrated after the fourth time you’ve bounced between the back of the park to the front, and back)
Also, make sure to utilize the additional Fast Passes available to you after you have scanned in your first three!
Dining: If you’re planning on spending money on food in the park, make a reservation in advance and include a proper amount of time into your plans so that you aren’t rushing your meal just to catch another event in your day! Also, consider dining at a themed restaurant or somewhere that has food he’ll enjoy! (James loves non-traditional food selections so, bringing him to Tusker House in Animal Kingdom brought joy into his day because of their African flair!)
Accommodations: If you’re traveling with littles and usually cram into a standard value resort room, maybe take more time to plan your trip and save more to upgrade your room to a suite or Moderate/Deluxe resort! Your husband will most likely be happier in a larger room with more space to store all of your family luggage, snacks, pack n play, and Disney vacation purchases! (If there’s one major thing that urks James-it’s a cluttered hotel room and bumping into 12 things on the way to use the toilet in the middle of the night! I can deal but, he gets hot about it!)
Transportation: One HUGE thing that we changed in our WDW vacations is transportation! I don’t know anyone who enjoys having to unload their stroller, close it, juggle all of their extra stuff, while keeping hands on their littles, just to spend 20 minutes on a bus (after the initial waiting period which we’ve experiences from resorts to parks up to 45 minutes!) to get to another destination! Instead, consider driving yourself into the parks that don’t have easy transportation or transport that would take longer than driving yourself! If we’re staying at a Deluxe resort on the monorail line, we will always use the monorail system to go into Magic Kingdom and sometimes Epcot! When staying at the Boardwalk resorts, we also rely on the friendship boats since we don’t have to close our stroller! BUT, if we’re heading into the parks from any of the value resorts, we will always drive ourselves! The same goes for visiting a park that does not offer a monorail or friendship boat from our resort! James would much rather drive us into the parks (which I guess I had never considered before) so, that was one of our major game changers this past year!
Down Time: I’m a go until I drop, “do-er” kind of girl so, it’s always been in my nature to (air quotes) “make the most out of our visit” by being in the parks all day and all night from open to close. It took me a few years to realize that, DUH! – This isn’t how everyone else operates, especially not my husband. So for that first trip back from our time away, I decided to incorporate an equal amount of down-time into each day, as we had in the parks! IT WAS AWESOME. We would wake up each morning feeling refreshed and I had so much less stress knowing he wasn’t dreading another day in the parks because of exhaustion.
Alone Time: When all else fails, if your husband doesn’t want to visit the park one of the days during your vacation, maybe it’s best to let him chill out, relax, hit the pool, or grab a beer, while you take the kids for a few hours to let him recharge!
So, to put it simply-
Like your imaginary Lowe’s trip, you’re now able to bring more joy to your husband from something that used to mostly please you (and your littles)! Now, instead of a rushed, hot, chaotic Disney vacation that has you trekking 7+ miles in a day with a cranky fam jam, YOU can plan a vacation that starts with a simple day in the park and ends with your husband excited to come back again! WIN!
*If you don’t want to do all of the planning, let my girl Steph at Traveling Ears Vacation Planning take the weight off and strategically plan a trip that gives your family an AMAZING WDW experience that your whole family, including your Disney shaming husband, will remember for a lifetime! SUCH a great way to learn the in’s and out’s of planning a proper Disney vacation FOR FREE!! (YES, I said she will plan your Disney vacay 110% totally FREE.)