The Happiest Place on Earth is Stressing Me Out


Every kid’s dream 

At any given moment, on any given day, someone I know is posting photos on social media from Walt Disney World. I often feel like I’m in the very small minority of middle-aged women who don’t have a photo of their entire family wearing mouse ears or visiting “the happiest place on earth” as many call it. 

As a child, I REALLY wanted to go on a Disney vacation. For years, it was the one place I yearned to visit more than anywhere else. I was so jealous of friends I knew who had been there multiple times – some who went every year.

When I was about 10 years old, I begged my mom to buy me a Disney tour book, and when she did I read it from cover to cover. As I read the descriptions of each attraction I imagined my family visiting them. I dreamed and planned and thought about what it might be like to ride Space Mountain or to watch fireworks burst over the Magic Kingdom with my little brother. I wished, and I hoped, and I prayed that one day I’d get to go there. For whatever reason, my family never made that trip, and eventually, I gave up this dream.

To make the trip or not? 

As an adult and parent now, my feelings have changed. I’d love to give my children the gift of taking this trip but the idea of actually going there is seriously stressing me out. We would be traveling with three young children. I mean, this is the perfect opportunity to invite a grandparent or two to tag along, right?! The Disney trip just seems like a lot of work, today. Clearly, it’s a popular destination and families absolutely love it. If Facebook posts were honest, this isn’t some last-minute jaunt you can just book on a whim. There is a lot of planning and preparation. When asking around some had booked their trips over a YEAR in advance.

Disney’s Choices Galore 

There are seemingly endless hotels and resorts to choose from, each with different advantages. Some have themes, some are on-site at the parks. There are dining plans to consider, activities to book, and appointments to make. I’ve talked to people who have set their alarms extra early, on a day six months before their trip, just to make reservations at the various restaurants the park has to offer. I’m not even going to get into the whole Fast Pass thing because I don’t even understand what it is. So much of the entire process of planning a Disney trip feels foreign to me, and thinking about it gets me completely overwhelmed. It all just seems so…complicated. And expensive.

Sure, I know that there are people who can help with all of this – one of my very good friends is a Disney travel agent. But I worry that a trip to Disney just won’t be what I expect. After so much buildup, so much fuss…will the entire thing be a dud? Will I just end up waiting in long lines, in the hot sun, with three angry kids? I can easily imagine totally disappointing everyone when they don’t get to eat breakfast with Moana or dinner with Mickey because I slept through my alarm instead of logging on to book a reservation. It’s almost as if I’m afraid to go because I don’t want to let anyone down.

Lately, my son has asked if we will ever “go visit Disney’s castle.” As an almost-first-grader, he’s becoming more aware of what other kids he knows are doing, and whether he might be “missing out.” My daughters are only 3, so they aren’t quite as aware of Disney World as a concept, but I’m sure they’ll get there soon enough. And when that time comes, I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold out any longer.

Do you love Disney World?
What tips do you have for a stress-free trip?
If you’ve never been, do you plan to take your family one day?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.