Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Disney Mom's Lesson: Quality not Quantity

Over the last 24 years and 12 trips to Walt Disney World, my touring has evolved drastically. Before kids, I would drag my husband through the parks from sunup to sundown. We would be exhausted on returning home. We saw everything – every attraction, show, parade and sampled the food and drinks in all World Showcase Pavilions (not all in one day, of course). Even on my son’s first trip when he was 14 months and then again on his second and my daughters’ first trip, we went all day long with just short afternoon breaks for the kids to nap and use the pool. But something changed before our 2010 trip.

It all began when we received our copy of the 2010 Disney Vacation Planning video. We were watching it with the children, ages 5, 3 and 2 at the time. A clip came on about the tile murals in Cinderella’s Castle. My husband, who had now made 8 trips to Walt Disney World with me, asked, “Where are those? I’ve never seen that.” I was shocked and tried to convince him he had seen them, but he stood his ground. I realized right then that I had always plowed through the parks to get everything in and not once did we walk through the castle! How could that be? Both my daughters were huge fans of Cinderella and I never took the time to walk them through the castle on their first trip. And, how could I have dragged my husband around the parks so many times and never given him the opportunity to see what was in the castle? It was then, that it hit me. I thought I was getting everything in on trips to Disney, but it was quantity, not quality that I was actually getting.

Hayley loves the carousel
My entire idea of park touring changed on our March trip. Quality became the number one priority. Normally, when Magic Kingdom opened, we would make our way to Frontierland to ride Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. This time around, as we walked down Main Street, my 3 year old, with a big smile on her face, said, “I want to ride the Merry-Go-Round.” My two year old then chimed in with, “Horse-go-round, Horse-go-round!” And, for the first time in all my years of traveling to Walt Disney World, we walked straight through the castle and hopped on Cinderella’s Royal Carousel. My 3 year old beamed the entire time and, as soon as we got off, she asked to ride again, and we did. Splash Mountain was still waiting for us when we finally made it onto all the rides the kids wanted. It wasn’t a 5 minute wait as it may have been first thing in the morning, but it was worth the wait!

It took 12 trips, but I learned my lesson. This trip was so relaxed and just as fun, if not more, than other trips of speeding through the park to get everything done. I still wonder what my rush was all those years. This trip we “savored” every moment and took the time to really appreciate what Disney has to offer. I want my kids to love Disney because of the family moments we experience there, not the time we got to Splash Mountain and the wait was only 5 minutes. Now as a Disney mom, I know that we all get to experience what we want on each trip, but the things I love most are the ones that make my children smile ear to ear. In case you want to see what our trip was like, feel free to check out my montage at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSBG0n3EOIw ~ there are many pictures of three cute kids with big smiles!


DisneyBabies said...

I'm just now in that transition period.. Our first trip, my husband was too tired to do a 3rd day.. glad we had non-expiring passes! Our last trip was still pretty much darting from place to place.. but I so want to meander around Main Street and really explore the World Showcase. Not sure if I'll do that on my upcoming trip.. but someday in the near future ;-)

Natalie said...

Those are my tiles from the site!!! I love them and have wanted to use a photo of them to tile by bathroom. When that seemed ridiculous, I decided to line the header with it at Meet the Magic!

Beth Doda ~ disneymom2jhe said...

The worst part is, Natalie, I love those murals! How did I skip them all those trips? I did recognize them on your website, though I think they would be really cool in a bathroom! :-) I'd like to see that!

Bird said...

Aww! I teared up a bit, Beth! Thanks for sharing. I keep wanting to pack so much into this trip, but reading this helps me to remember to calm down and just go with what we have :-) It'll be great to savor the little moments that come our way.

Beth Doda ~ disneymom2jhe said...

I will say that even though we slowed way down, we all got to do the things we wanted. We rode the Carousel and Tomorrowland Speedway more times in this trip than all other trips combined. When the vacation ended, there was not one thing that my husband and I felt we had missed out on.