We’re currently in the brainstorming phase of planning our summer family vacation – it’s always a bit of a dance to figure out a location that works within our budget and peaks our interest. We have at least one weekend trip planned each month leading up to our ‘big’ vacation plus our Spring Break trip so we’re not working with unlimited funds. We were able to go to England and France last year – we’re hopeful we can swing something just as amazing this year but only if the good deal fairy sprinkles some dust in our direction. I’m not sure about you guys but whenever we engage in conversations with other parents about summer travel, it is always inevitable that Walt Disney World comes up at some point.
A trip to Disney World feels like both the ultimate parenting benchmark and the pinnacle family vacation. While we’ve spent three days at Disneyland a couple of years ago (and loved it), we have yet to jump into Disney World pool for a variety of reasons. We have many friends who have had truly wonderful vacations to the most magical place on earth (to be fair – we also have friends who sum up their Disney World experience with an eh). There has to be a valid reason why 52 million people visit interior Florida…
…so why haven’t we gone yet?
It’s expensive! With a simple Google search, you can find a plethora of information about planning a Disney World vacation with various budgets. Money.com broke down various Disney World vacations that rang in between $3500 and $10,000. As a family, we love to travel. Our children have seen over two-thirds of the United States and have stamped passports. But we do not have an unlimited vacation fund – we have IRAs, 529s, real estate investments, youth sports, and extra-curricular activities that all need money in their respective pots before cash is even placed into our vacation fund. Simply put – if we spent a lot of money on a Disney World vacation, we wouldn’t have the funds to travel anywhere else for the year.
For the record – we priced a trip to Disney World last year and with what we were quoted (including military discount) for 5 days at Disney World was higher than what we ended up spending on our 8-day trip to Europe – including airfare.
There has been a lot of talk about whether Disney is pricing out the middle class. For some families, Disney World is an annual trip. For others, it is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation that will be referenced for years. There are no shortage of articles and opinions about how Yes – I know there are tips and tricks to bring the cost of a Disney World vacation into a more reasonable range but that brings me to my next point…
The planning process is overwhelming! It’s impossible to ask a question in a Facebook group about Disney World without a handful of people offering their services as a Disney planner. Going to Disney World isn’t as simple as buying tickets and securing a hotel. There are FastPasses that need to be booked, dining reservations to be made, and I’m pretty sure a blood oath is required at some point. As someone who hasn’t experience Disney World since childhood – the process of planning a trip there in the 21st century is overwhelming. When we travel, we love to see where the day takes us based on recommendations of locals and people we meet along the way. A Disney World vacation is the complete opposite of how we travel so spending hours planning our days ahead of time feels quite foreign. Not wrong per se, but certainly different.
It’s in Orlando. There are few places I dislike more in the world than interior Florida – especially during the summer. I’m sure that we will go to Disney World at some point but I guarantee that it won’t be during June, July, or August. The fact that it is in Orlando is a major buzzkill for us. For that reason, planning another trip to Disneyland in California is much more appealing than dropping $5000 in a place with 99% humidity and no ocean. Sorry Orlando lovers – it just isn’t for us.
The crowds. Disney World is family-friendly, magical, clean, escape from the regular world so I can’t really begrudge people for wanting to go there. While there are peak and off-peak times to visit – there will always be crowds. One thing that Disney does great is make waiting in line as enjoyable as possible so while waiting 60+ minutes for a ride isn’t preferable, it is at least more enjoyable at Disney theme parks than other ones. But it is still crowded.
There are other places we want to go more. The cost combined with the fact that there are simple other places we’ve wanted to go more in the world are the two main reasons why we haven’t gone to Disney World yet. We feel that our trip to Disneyland ‘checked the box’ so-to-speak for our children so we don’t really feel the pressure to take them to Disney World anytime soon. We may not know where we are going this summer but it definitely won’t be Disney World. We haven’t ruled it out in the future but it just isn’t for us right now.
Have you gone to Disney World yet? Do you find it to be the best place on earth or completely overrated or somewhere in between?