Top 10 Reasons I Hated Disney World

disneyhate

NOTE: UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF POST TO CLARIFY THIS MOST CONTROVERSIAL POST

When seeking a vacation, I typically look for some variation of the following things:

  • The opportunity to have at least some time apart from my children
  • The chance to indulge in delicious cuisine, maybe even a few farm-to-table restaurants
  • Some outside-the-box fitness – scenic running or hiking trails or recreational adventure
  • Local culture, history, and regional quirkiness.

Obviously, I knew a trip to Disney World would offer the precise opposite of all these things.

So, admittedly I was a bit pessimistic about this “vacation.” But after plenty of advice from friends who LOVED Disney, I felt prepared, even a little excited. Maybe it would be “magical”? Maybe my children would love it so much I’d get caught up in the excitement? Maybe it wouldn’t be the seventh level of hell but some mystical ride into childlike bliss?

Nope.

And here are 10 reasons why it sucked:

  1. I ate so much garbage that my body was actually confused. I had a perpetual gnawing fear that eating nothing but empty calories and glorified cafeteria food for four and a half days would put all of our bodies into nutritional shock. And I was right. For $41 per person per day (just two meals), Disney offers a quick service meal plan resplendent in cafeteria-style crap peppered with the exact same bags of petrified produce doled out in my son’s public school lunch room.
    disney fruits
    The bag states they are “food pyramid approved.” Good to know!

    On a steady diet of mouse ear waffles, my 6-year-old was wired beyond anything I’ve ever witnessed. I tried to find healthy options, truly. The oatmeal reminded me of Oliver Twist-style gruel. The eggs were a puddle of mucus. The resort included two of these cafeteria-style “restaurants,” along with an overpriced “fine-dining” menu of only creole/Cajun-style food. Leaving the resort for dinner was impossible because after eight-hour days at the park, the last thing anyone wanted to do was get on another bus. Eventually, I just went balls out, filling up my souvenir mug with Diet Coke and eating enough French fries to deep fry my arteries.

  2. My kids lost their shit. The seven days I spent in a rented beach house with my children last summer were the most blissful days of my life. They were more well-behaved than I have ever seen them. We’ve gone through several long, hot days at Sesame Place without a meltdown. I don’t know if it was the sugar, the stimulation, the endless walking, or a combination of all these things. Regardless, they turned into animals.
  3. I got the distinct pleasure of rooming with my children. In reality, most vacations on a normal budget would require bunking up with your kids. But that doesn’t make it suck any less. It’s hard enough to sleep in the same house as these night-wakers, but getting all close and cuddly with grinding teeth, kicking legs, and the warm smell of piss doesn’t make the night hours any more restful.
  4. Despite planning and bringing our own ponchos, we still got caught in the rain at Magic Kingdom. This was no one’s fault but Mother Nature’s (and the guy who told us we don’t need to take the monorail to the character breakfast because it was only a five-minute walk). It was a 20-minute walk that began at the precise moment the skies opened up. You can imagine how that scene went down.
  5. The Mission: Space ride at Epcot almost killed me. This is purely my own fault. As someone who gets carsick in the backseat of a taxi, I was wary of the signs on most of the rides warning riders of potential motion sickness. But they were generally exaggerated. For example, ‘Soarin only went about five feet in the air and was delightful. But Mission: Space had some RED FLAGS I should have listened to. You have the option of ORANGE or the less intense GREEN version. I wanted to be a bad ass and ride the ORANGE with my 6-year-old. Upon entry, you receive a flyer with bold print exclaiming that if you have any doubt at all, GO GREEN. I ignored this. Then, we went into a small room where a video plays with Gary Sinise again advising you to disembark if you think ORANGE might be too much for you. The 8-year-old kid behind me assured me it would be rad. Then, we head into another small room where, again, Gary Sinise tells you this is your last chance. Opt out now or get on board. My son and I were placed along with two strangers side by side in a small, enclosed car complete with actual BARF BAGS. A bar comes down around you, which along with the force of gravity, prevents you from looking to the side. This thing took off with a bolt that left me breathless and then rocked and heaved with the force of God’s wrath. My stomach dropped out of my body and then punched me in the face. Since I couldn’t turn, I had no idea if my son was thrilled or terrified. So, I just held fast to his hand repeating, “Isn’t this awesome?” When I stumbled off the ride, an attendant handed me a cold towel. I then went and lost my lunch in the public bathroom, and I don’t think I’ve been right since. Lesson: Always listen to Gary Sinise.
  6. Epcot World Showcase is depressing. Look, it’s a lovely idea, creating quaint little archetypes of a dozen nations, full of music and miniaturized versions of national landmarks. In reality, it’s a bit sad. Each showcase sets up shops and stands selling knickknacks. Maracas made in China. Miniature Eiffel Towers made in China. Chinese Lanterns made in, well, you get the picture.

    The joy of Epcot
    The joy of Epcot

    In Germany, a line wrapped around the shop that sold nothing but Werther’s Original candies – the same exact ones my mom buys at CVS. The food carts sold sad approximations of cannolis and wiener schnitzel, all disguised as authentic by being hocked by actual nationals–one of whom (jokingly?) told me he was brought in illegally to pedal bratwurst.

  7. It’s an environmentalist’s nightmare. No one can say that Disney doesn’t keep the places clean. Unfortunately, we have some disagreements over the definition of clean. For instance, the assault of ammonia bleach feels more like a punch in the throat than “clean.” Each bathroom smelled like an orgy of Glade air fresheners. The intensity of the fragrance was actually worse than the familiar Philly rec center bathroom smell of old crotch. Also, despite never opening the variety of mouse-eared toiletries, they put new ones in our room daily. They multiplied like, well, mice. Look, I didn’t expect an ecological paradise. I just didn’t think Styrofoam was going to be a thing.
  8. Orlando kinda sucks. The main artery of International Drive is the home of every chain restaurant you thought had died out years ago. (Sizzler anyone?) And then there is Disney, where the employees of themed resorts dress like they’re part of some kind of polygamous circus cult while slopping up sludge in 100-degree heat. I just think many of these employee uniforms are a special kind of cruelty. Trying to recreate the New Orleans experience through cafeteria-style jambalaya and a manmade river just doesn’t “evoke the Antebellum era” for me.

    I had to spare the real people the indignity of photography but found these sketches online. These are the uniforms, which apparently won awards.
    I had to spare the real people the indignity of photography but found these sketches online. These are the uniforms, which apparently won awards.

    There is no “local culture.” There is “Disney culture,” which thousands of people love. Call me a scrooge, but I just don’t get it. I will belt out “Let It Go” louder than a preschooler and happily take pictures with a guy in a Goofy suit. But coming back to this place year after year? Disney honeymoons? Customized mouse ears? Families in matching custom vacation tees? Not for me.

  9. More bedazzled over-priced mouse crap than you can even imagine. If there is one thing I did right as a parent, it was instilling in my children that I will not be buying them souvenirs, trinkets, or anything that lights up and is sold from a vendor cart. I told them they would each be allowed one purchase: mouse ears. Fortunately, they each chose the basic, old-fashioned variety, which ran me $27 for the pair. Other parents didn’t fare so well. Balloons cost $20. Disney World will mold a turd into mouse ears, roll it in glitter, and sell it for $14.99. Of course, my children acquired complimentary Mardi Gras beads and what I like to call “plastic phthalate fish.” We let these items bunk up with us for five days and then blissfully left them behind.

    My children wore their ears exactly this long
  10. I don’t think my kids even liked it that much. I’ve seen my kids have way more fun playing with friends at the local park than sitting bug-eyed and nervous during Pirates of the Caribbean. We all agreed It’s a Small World was creepy and a little bit racist. The Winnie the Pooh ride was like an acid trip. On Magic Kingdom day, we left the hotel at 8:15 a.m. and arrived back at 3 p.m. and had somehow only gone on six rides. My 2-year-old shouts with glee every time she sees Mickey Mouse on a bus sign or TV screen but couldn’t care less when the costumes character came to our breakfast table.

OK, so it wasn’t all bad.

I think in general we did it right. We didn’t underplan or overplan. We followed all the “Mouse Saver” rules and Disney blogger tips. And did you notice that epic crowds and lines didn’t make my list? Getting to the parks early and using our Magic Pass allowed a relatively easy go of it. We only stood in one remarkably long line and made it go by fast by befriending the family behind us.

I thought Spaceship Earth was very cool, if a bit dated, I dug the Buzz Lightyear laser ride, and I liked the Great Hollywood Movie ride as I am a sucker for anything with a montage. The heated resort pool had a cool slide. I loved the frittata at the character breakfast buffet. And during a handful of moments, I saw true glimmers of joy: when the shaving cream “snow” sprinkled down at the Frozen sing-along, when my son gave Donald Duck a hand-drawn portrait complete with our home address, and when we ate ice cream and ice cream and more ice cream.

A happy moment

My kids will forget all the bad parts and place this trip wherever early childhood vacations live in children’s memories. But, most importantly, they never will be able to say we didn’t take them to Disney World.


UPDATE 1/8/16:

Wow. This post has actually pissed off more people than posts I have done about being miserable while pregnant or breastfeeding on medication.

I’ve gotten quite a bit of pushback, particularly on my social media. I’ve been called ill-informed, ignorant, negative, and, worst of all, unwilling to put my children’s desires first (though if you really read this you will see that my children had less fun at Disney than they do in my basement).

I’m told this post is traveling around Disney message boards as a “cautionary tale for the clueless” and Disney travel agents are messaging me enraged.

I am always open to civil discussion and debate, and I am always willing to admit where I may have been wrong and to defend where I believe I have been right. Here is a combination of the two:

Five Points To Clarify This Post:

  1. As I stated in this post, we DID do a TON of research prior to our trip. We booked with a travel agent. We read and bookmarked blog posts and tip sheets. We grilled our friends and family who have been to Disney. We booked our character breakfast and our fast passes months in advance. We did all of the due diligence that makes it feel a bit less like a vacation than like an overly-scheduled business conference.
  1. We chose the quick service dining plan and a mid-range resort because that is what our budget allowed. I suppose if money had been no object, staying at the Grand Floridian and enjoying the fine dining plan would have made for a very different experience. But it is simply not what the average family can afford. That said, Quick Service does not have to mean gross. We have gone on several mid-range cruises and enjoyed all of the buffet-style meals. We don’t expect organic gourmet meals – just fruit that doesn’t come prepackaged in a bag. And, yes, we brought some our own snacks but we still needed to eat meals. We did pay for two sit down meals, which were a small fortune and average quality. We also tried to make reservations for some of the recommended restaurants six months in advance and they were FULLY BOOKED.
  1. When I started this post with the items I typically seek in a vacation, I was stating them with the understanding that this vacation was not about those things and I fully understood that. Sure, if we REALLY wanted to find those things and pay extra for them we probably could. But we didn’t want to pay extra for childcare – we were taking this for what it was, and unfortunately, it was not our cup of tea.
  1. I also know how to admit when I was wrong, and it was unfair for me to categorize the whole of Orlando based on Disney World and International Drive. I would be irritated if someone based all of Philadelphia on the less desirable sections or a bad cheesesteak (which they do). While my husband has visited Orlando about 20 times for work and not seen anything to make him particularly fond of the city, we have not spent significant time exploring its finer points. So if you live in Orlando or are from Orlando, I do apologize. I’m sure there is much more than meets the eye of the casual traveler.
  1. There is a reason this post is called “10 Things I Hated About Disney” and not “10 Things YOU Will Hate About Disney.” Look, I love CrossFit so much it’s practically my religion. But I have read loads of hilarious posts about people who tried it and hated it. Sure, sometimes I will post and say something like, “Sorry this sucked for you – maybe you just didn’t have a very good trainer or the right coaching – but maybe it just wasn’t for you! That’s OK. I’ve tried yoga about 30 times and never liked it. To each their own. Enjoy your fitness journey anyway that makes you happy and healthy!” So if you’d like to point out things I may have missed or share your positive experiences at Disney World, I’m happy to hear them or have you share them with others who may be chatting on my networks.

Again, this is just a tale of my personal experience and I make sure to point out the good parts as well. Just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean you won’t. I’m not trying to deter you from going or intervene with Disney’s thriving travel business, nor do I think my little blog is going to make one iota of difference.

So if you want to rock out with your ears out, rock on! But as for us, we have lots of other travel ideas on our bucket list we are anxious to explore  🙂


  • Green Bean

    Thank God! I had a brief flicker this morning of wondering whether we should go to Disney World. Thank you for the reminder of just how horrible all of it is – and for the good laughs.

  • Sarah

    LOL! I still love going. However, go during the off season and leave the park for meals or when it get crowded.

  • Sarah Wagner

    Ahahaha!! I LOVE, love, love this post. My experience has been somewhat more moderate, but this, THIS: “Call me a scrooge, but I just don’t get it. I will belt out “Let It Go” louder than a preschooler and happily take pictures with a guy in a Goofy suit. But coming back to this place year after year? Disney honeymoons? Customized mouse ears? Families in matching custom vacation tees? Not for me.”

  • Lisa

    Disney is my happy place. I know environmentally and health wise it’s not great but I grew up going to Disneyland and spent part of my honeymoon at Disney World and can not wait until we finally go back to both. It’s been over 10 years and honestly that makes me very sad, it’s the longest i’ve been without going to Disney. Maybe it’s in part because of my love of the films, maybe it’s because of my childhood memories but I adore it.

    Sorry you didn’t have a magical trip. Honestly Disneyland is less overwhelming but I love both.

    P.S. My laptop desktop is a Walt Disney quote and there is a Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal next to me, ha!

  • paigewolf

    Hey, whatever floats your boat – I enjoy a mud-covered barbed wire Spartan Race. Sounds totally insane right? To each their own! Hope you can get back there soon! 🙂

  • paigewolf

    🙂

  • Lisa

    And that pretty much sounds like my idea of hell ha! Next time I’m invited to a race like that you can go for me and I’ll take your place at Disney. 😉

  • Haha.. I have been several times and I get the much need space from my kids. I only do 3-4 days never longer. I think it is like Vegas stay too long and you have to scrub it off of you,

  • I have been to Disney too many times. I have 3 kids that love it but I am really ok if I never go there again 🙂

  • BeingMommywithStyle

    It sounds like you didn’t research your trip very well. Many of the restaurants carry excellent choices for the more health concious, however you sound like you ate at the cheaper quick service (which is the equivalent of choosing McDonalds and then complaining about it) the entire trip. There are also places that carry fresh, non-bagged fruit all over the parks where they have smoothies or water stands.

    Also, if you wanted to get away from your kids so bad – they do have babysitting services that you can take advantage of that either come to your room or you can drop them off at the resort if you’re staying at one that has a Children’s Activity Center.

    It honestly sounds like your fatal flaws were not doing enough research and “going cheap” on things.

    For dining if you return, I would suggest Garden Grill, Teppan Edo, Coral Reef, Hollywood Brown Derby, California Grill, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Tusker House, etc… All of which will have that “real” food you were looking for. 😉

    You don’t try to save lots of money on food, if food truly matters to you. Every single foodie that has ever been to Disney knows that. Should be the same for health food conscious wise, why would you chose quick service and expect it to be anything other than quick service. Definitely recommend table service should you ever return.

  • Carrie

    I drive is not Orlando! Get yourself a map, and think outside the box. Sure, it’s great to treat the kids to one or two days of Disney, but you could have had all the requirements you needed for a vacation you coukd have enjoyed as well if you would have just put the time into planning it.

  • Condo Blues

    Here’s the thing. Not everyone wants to create D-Day plans and do graduate level research to vacation at an amusement park. Seriously. I have a friend who create SPREADSHEETS for her family’s Disney vacation! Gem are the days of going to Disney and just winging it and that sucks. Of course some research always helps no matter where you go, but even though some parks SAY they have places serving healthy food or for food allergy folks like myself, FINDING them can be difficult, next to impossible unless you don’t take the parks and their apps at their word and crest The Marshall Plan.

  • BeingMommywithStyle

    It’s really not that hard, only takes a few minutes on Google looking up what you’re trying to find or spending a few minutes on Disney’s own website. I do not travel there with a spreadsheet, I just have an idea in mind of what we want to do on our trip. I’m convinced the author of this piece didn’t do much of ANY research prior to going – because the top three points are all things they HAVE at Disney World.. and she has no clue at the time of writing it that there is in fact – farm to table restaurants at Disney World (Disney literally runs its own farm on site – you can tour it on the ride, “The Land”) – children’s activity centers, where you can drop your kids off for a few hours to go into the parks or go on a date night… and other recreational activities to do on property. Making the top three points irrefutably wrong – and the fourth is subjective, but of course there are other things to do in the Orlando area besides Disney.

    As far as “extra cost” goes… compared to what? Having the base dining plan? You’re not forced to have a dining plan at all, by the way. We pay out of pocket for all of our food and do a number of table service meals while we are there. There are also different level dining plans. Saying the “cheapest” option also has the “cheapest” food, is kind of intuitive – but saying you shouldn’t select a more expensive meal if food IS important to you (as the author seems to claim?), is like saying I could shop at Whole Foods but its too expensive so I am going to shop at WalMart instead, and then complain about the selection.

    I think the basic problem with this article in particular is that because there are so many points in it she assumes Disney doesn’t have (but it does) or says are too hard to find out about (I found the links below with less than 5 minutes on their website) – kind of indicates a lack in research, which of a writer… is surprising? That’s all. This is now being circulated in Disney groups as a cautionary tale of what happens when you literally go into a trip “blind” (i.e. – no planning/not looking at the website prior to going). That you will blatantly miss things that are right in front of you. Although I do have a Master’s degree, I don’t think that it gives me any competitive edge while browsing the Disney website. I research furniture before I buy it, expensive handbags, restaurants before I go – why wouldn’t I spend a few minutes on the Disney website before going on vacation?

    I’ll post the links in the next comment for anyone that IS looking for these opportunities and can’t see to find them on Disney’s website. (Although hint – it’s as easy as going to their website and either selecting “Dining” or “Things to Do” – and all of this information comes up.)

  • BeingMommywithStyle

    Children’s Activity Centers: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/recreation/childrens-activity-centers/

    Garden Grill, farm to table family style restaurant directly above ‘The Land’: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/epcot/garden-grill-restaurant/

    “The Land”, which I’m sure she would have enjoyed… had she known it was there: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/attractions/epcot/living-with-the-land/

    How to learn more about dining: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/#/reservations-accepted

    Other things to do:
    https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/recreation/

    You’re welcome. That took me less than 5 minutes.

  • paigewolf

    Hi there. Thank you for circulating my post and bringing me web traffic 😉 In all seriousness though, I am going to write an addendum to this post to address some of your points. We did a ton of research. We had a travel agent, a ton of Disney blogger friends, tip sheets, etc. I tried to make reservations at some restaurants over 6 months in advance and COULD NOT GET ONE. All of the things intro with stating what I typically seek in a vacation – sure, if we REALLY wanted to find those things and pay a ton extra for them we could. But we didnt want to pay for childcare – we got it. We knew what this was about. We were OK with that. We were prepared. Bottom line – it was not our cup of tea. And that’s why it’s called “10 things I hated about Disney” – not “10 things YOU will hate about Disney.” Look, I love Crossfit so much it’s practically my religion. But I have read loads of LOL posts about people who tried it and hated it. Sure, sometimes I will post and say something like, “Sorry this sucked for you – maybe you just didn’t have a very good trainer or the right coaching – but maybe it just wasnt for you! That’s OK. I’ve tried yoga about 30 times and never liked it. To each their own. Enjoy your fitness journey anyway that makes you happy! xo, Paige”

  • paigewolf

    FYI – I wrote an update to the post if you are interested in viewing. Thanks!

  • ted

    It’s very expensive. You must buy fast pass if you don’t like lines but fair enough. Upfront and over with. Yet cokes,water you name it (even if you sneak your own children will demand the same crap at x30 price with mickey mouse plastic container) . TRAP. I’m surprised I didn’t need to insert a $5 into the frame of a chair to have the seat extend outwards to me.

    You can plan it all you like, if you have children, know its in Disney’s plans to bleed you at every conceivable turn like a swarm of mosquitoes. It’s much like the childrens version of Vegas. Instead of getting letting you get drunk for free and enjoying a near free (and oh so much better when drunk) steak they just “magic” the kids and guilt you into if my child wants $20 water and another $20 for dip n dots it seems fair. A crying child in such a crowded place will cost me more in dignity.

    Kids are too easy to please to go through this much bleeding. I’d choose another trap spot if you must, or take them to somewhere you will enjoy also like a lake pay that $50 that would have gone to water and less than a pint of ice cream and go hey little Billy. Jet ski’s buddy! As for the princess, a Swan paddle boat. Far more magical and effective use of time and cash. Don’t forget Mom and Dad need the vacation so much more than the kids do. If the adults don’t enjoy themselves, the rest of the non vacation year is going to be that much less of a picnic as you distance yourself and hide behind uninspiring disinterested communications like because I said so (aka go away now hulk dad mad)

  • Amanda Bivens

    I just went to Disney for the first time ever with my three children. Two days– one each at Epcot and Magic Kingdom. I hated it. I don’t think the kids enjoyed it as much as the idea of it. Meeting the princesses was great for my 6yo daughter but my 8yo son was pretty bored because all he wanted to do was ride rides and my toddler couldn’t handle the heat. In fact, my daughter got heat sick and threw up and I almost fainted a few times. I’m not joking. Now we’re beach hopping. I will never go back to disney. So over priced. I Googled to see if anyone else hated disney as much as I did because everyone I know swears by it and goes several times a year. I know people who moved to Florida just to get season passes and go all the time. No thanks. Thanks for posting this. Misery loves company.

  • Suritta Y O’Hara

    THANK YOU!!!! My husband and I just took our 3 kids this past April and let’s just say, we didn’t feel the “Magic”. Hours in line for a 5 minute ride, hours in line for a signature. My kids didn’t even care for it, personally we enjoy Universal Studios much better!! We feel as if we can’t express our feelings about Disney though because it’s against some magical law and we may get stoned with fairy dust. Lol

  • Tammyk

    I for one agree with everything in this post, we just took out three kids after saving for 7 years to shell out the $10 000 Canadian to take the family to Disney. My kids melted down, were overtired and way overstimulated. The parks were hot, crowded with long lines for everything! We had some moments of joy sprinkled in to a lot of meltdowns. The smell of the cafeteria in our value resort made me nauseous by weeks end. People have a right to like or not like an experience. I get that Disney has a lot of fans, but for us, not the happiest place on earth!

  • CandiceS

    Ok listen I just googled “I hated Disney” and read this first. I’m leaving in 2 weeks and going for the first time. I like mountains and solitude and hikes…I’m so pessimistic about this trip. I want to feel the magic I hear about, but I can relate to everything you’ve said.

  • Kevin

    Just got back… Never go again.. Kids liked it.. Mom liked.. Dad not .. So many overweight people on scooters, personnel hygiene was horrible, herded like cattle… Waste of time and money… Some of these Disney freaks need to get a life..

  • Same123

    Just returned from a nightmare trip to WDW, and googled “Reasons I Hate Disney,” which led me to your blog. Loved it. Agree 1,000%

  • JoeCommentor

    Your writing leads one to believe you’ve never had an orgasm…

  • Paul W

    I think your travel agent sucked…they could have worked a bit harder to give you the vacation you wanted, even at Disney. That’s their job, after all. Certainly they should have been able to tell you where to find healthier food in your walks around the parks. As for your kids “losing their shit” as you put it, and also having to room with them, I think that would happen on any vacation you brought them to, no matter where it was. That’s not specifically a Disney problem.

    Sorry you couldn’t get your dining reservations, though…that’s kind of odd to me, unless you were going at a peak time of year. You didn’t cite the dates of your trip in your post, but some times of year are definitely harder to get reservations than others. Personally I’ve never had trouble, except with Be Our Guest, which I was able to get later anyway because I kept checking back periodically for cancellations. Of course,I always time my visits off-peak (October, second week of December, etc.) Did you go on a holiday weekend or something?

  • Michael Coone

    hahahaha! this whole article is shows the self entitlement of this lady. She’s shocked her kids are overstimulated at DISNEY! Holy SHit, what did you think was going to happen after you fed them crap all day?

    This broad is a real piece of work and to think someone actually married and had kids with her?

  • Gigi

    I agree with this post. My mother paid for me and my four kids to go twice to Disney World in the early 90’s. I hated it and we stayed in the expensive hotels. I go frequently to Hershey Park so it’s not that I don’t like amusement parks. I love Hershey Park. I don’t enjoy long lines and crowds so large thatone of my kids kept wandering away. I have one child who loves Disney Wirld and goes frequently. Like the writer of this post it’s not for me.

  • I’ve never been to Disney World with the kids. It frightens me with the whole traveling on a plane with them. Having said that, I have been to Disneyland with the kids. I was a guest of Disney when they did their mom summit the other day. I live in Los Angeles.

    We had a ton of fun over at Californialand most of the day. It’s less crowded and they have rides for all my kids. They also serve alcohol over there. Did my kids have meltdowns? Yes, likely because of the crowds. But we are all a bit sensory sensitive over here so crowds are always a problem.

    I do think Paige brings up something important. Disney has an opportunity here to improve on some things to better serve a family that has allergies OR wants healthier ingredients. I would LOVE to see Disneyland improve the quality of their food. Doing something like swapping out the artificial colors in food and candy to natural colors would just affect how hyperactive the children are that day. Offering organic milk at concessions for children would also be a lovely improvement. Offering an organic yogurt as well for the kids would be nice. And bringing in some organic nonGMO/organic snack companies, etc.

    I also just came back from Legoland in San Diego. It’s night and day with the food over there. Legoland is doing an AMAZING job! Not joking at all. They get their chickens through Mary’s Chicken and get antibiotic free chicken. They have TONS of organic and nonGMO verified snacks to choose from all over the park. You can get salads from a bar, smoothies, and all restaurants are themed differently. I’d LOVE to see Disney work on catching up to the health oriented things like Legoland has.

    In this new food economy, as big food brands are moving toward providing us with “free from” foods, so should Disneyland move towards a similar feat. But also, understanding that Disney is a very profitable company, this is ALSO a way they can give back to their consumers…by providing us a healthier meal. The prices have gone up significantly. This would be a better value for their money.

    One thing to also note that is very important–Disney has actually pioneered a couple of healthy initiatives already in the media and advertising world. They restrict fast food marketing to children on the Disney Channel and I LOVE that because it means that I am more comfortable putting the kids in front of Disney than the Cartoon Network. This basically boils down to no McDonald & Burger King commercials. I think they also have additional requirements on the food that is advertised, which I don’t remember the details about but love the step forward.

  • Delana

    I loved this post about Disney. I feel those of us who do not care for Disney are shunned as people who did it wrong. I do not plan to take my boys since it is crazy expensive and we would prefer to go to another country for that kinda money. On a side note yoga is amazing and Cross fit sucks!!!! Kidding :), looking forward to your blog.

  • Yes, you do pay about the same going to Disneyland as you would going to Europe with the kids. OMG.

  • KatiK

    Oh my goodness…I knew by the time I got to the second paragraph you were going to get a lot of backlash! I have friends who are Disney FANATICS! (We live in California so we do Disneyland.) The thing that saved us from having the worst vacation ever by going to Disneyland? Waiting til our kids were old enough to 1. Not need naps anymore 2. Well beyond diapers/pull ups/accidents in their pants 3. Past the melt down age 4. Mature enough to handle the word “no” 5. Could ride rides that we liked, not just the Dumbo and princess rides 6. Old enough to have the stamina to go long hours…..in other words we waited til they were about 9 years old. And we had a blast. (We aren’t Disney fanatics. My husband could go the rest of his life and never go again. But the kids and I love it.) I had friends who thought we were freaks for not having taken our kids to Disneyland until that age, even their friends would shriek, “YOU HAVENT BEEN TO DISNEYLAND?!!) But it was worth the wait. Im not suggesting one has to wait til their kids are 9, it just worked out that way. But I see familes with strollers and the ages of what your daughters age seems to be and just think, well, are you crazy?! Aack! Ive always thought it was way too much over stimulation for kids those ages (pretty much 6 and below if you ask me) so we were glad we waited. But boy, you poor thing probably had no idea the out and out rage of the crazy Disney people, my good friends included!

  • Krystle

    I read your article and thought HALLELUJAH! Someone besides me, who didn’t enjoy herself at DW! WAY overrated in my opinion. Our kids had a good time, despite the miles and miles of walking, crammed buses, the long waits to see a character in person, the hours spent in long lines, the endless amounts of french fries. My teenager actually said “if I never eat a french fry or drink coke again…I won’t be sad.” The meal plan was a complete WASTE of money in my opinion. There were a lot of perks to the trip…My fit bit practically blew up, I didn’t get sunburned and I went to the beach for the last 3 days of my trip! Our sons got 1 souvenir also. The amount of kids having melt downs for crap that won’t even interest them in 1 week was super annoying.

    I applaud you for voicing my thoughts exactly! Cheers to those who would rather go there OVER AND OVER AND OVER again, when the world is a huge and magical place full of different places to explore….because they stay out of my way!

  • Rachel King

    10 reasons I loved this post….

    Just kidding, but on a serious note this was entertaining. We live in the cult of the child so I get why all the rage is headed your way but if parents were honest they have all thought the same thing. They just don’t have the balls to admit it.

  • Lulu

    BEST BLOG EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great job for speaking up to these brainwashed trendy idiots!

  • JoeCommentor

    Donor juice and a baster…

  • Dana

    I love it! I haven’t had the Disney nightmare yet, we lead our child away from commercialism as often as we can – i.e. state parks and hiking vs. Disney, clothes without Disney movie or superhero logos….stuff like that. I totally understand where you’re coming from, your attitude, and think the post was quite amusing. Of course, I’m laughing harder at all the haters.

  • JohnnyC63

    You are not the person we want at Disney when we go there. You did it to yourself. I’ve been to Disney since the time it opened in 1971 and it is all about being smart and you appear to have missed that ship when traveling to theme parks. First of all don’t eat crap all day, don’t go in the summer or spring break. Not much of any of this had anything to do with Disney being at fault and it isn’t perfect by any means but they try to give everyone a good experience for your visit. You can find fault with anything if you look for it. I worked there as well they want the cast member to cater to the guest and will enforce that over and over. You hated it because you wanted to. Too bad you spoiled it for your kids and wasted all the money, time and effort.

  • Claire

    Yeah I couldn’t figure out why so many people brought suitcases of food to Florida. After talking to my family and reading this it makes sense lol

  • OTBG

    For the most part, I would say our personalities and social lives are polar opposites… it is clear that we would never hang out or have the same circle of friends. I find you (based on what I have read) to be uppity, whiny, self-aggrandizing and up-tight.
    Now with that formality out of the way, on to the positives. I do live in Orlando and do have Disney Season passes. It is not my favorite place in the world, but my kids love it and it is an easy trip for us on a random afternoon after school if we are so inclined. For my money, I enjoy Universal better…once my kids are old/tall enough to ride the better rides, we will likely give up our Disney season passes and get Universal ones instead.
    I’d like to address a couple of things you mentioned. First, your classification of Orlando based on your observance of Disney and I-drive. You did update your post and admitted your fault there… for which I applaud. But to go one step further, Orlando has a great and emerging food scene… one of the best in the country. (http://www.wheretraveler.com/orlando/why-orlandos-culinary-scene-making-headlines) just not on i-drive. (we locals really try to avoid that area). Also, we have an amazing amount of art and culture that you seemed to find so lacking… including one of the best performance arts centers in the country. (http://www.orlandoedc.com/Live-Play-Visit/Arts-Culture.aspx)
    I’m going to address 3 of your complaints in this next section. Food at Disney, time away from kids and outdoor activities/exercise. All three of those issues could have been solved by one solution: Fort Wilderness. If you are unfamiliar with Ft. Wilderness, it is a campground on Disney Property. You can either camp in a tent, bring RV or stay in cabin. My wife would never “camp” in the traditional sense, much to my chagrin, so a perfect compromise is the log cabins. These cabins have a bedroom for the kids, Murphy bed in living room for adults, FULL kitchen, are spacious and quiet. ( I really do not like staying at the hotels on property as you hear noises and banging walls, etc all hours of day/night). So, these cabins, having a full kitchen, mean you can make whatever food you like, eat your organic tofu to your heart’s content. Never do the meal plan at Disney… it is over priced and quite frankly, as you found out, the food is not that good. We typically make breakfast in the cabin as well as lunch which we pack and bring with us to the parks. Dinner may be back at cabin or at one of the better restaurants that we like. and for exercise/outdoor activities, there is plenty of hiking in the woods, water-sports, horse-back riding, canoeing, kayaking, etc. I believe there may even be an outdoor fitness circuit there. Back to the “away from kids” thing… On this we agree. As mentioned, the cabins have a separate bedroom for the kids. So in the evening, once the kids are in bed, the wife and I can have some privacy in the main living area. If you want to go out somewhere with your spouse, they even offer baby-sitting services that are quite reasonable.
    The best part is, these cabins typically cost the same or less than many of the resort rooms. Even less if you factor in removing the daily meal plan.

    I could go on and on, but for me your post just came off as irritating and judgmental. You may be the sweetest person in the world, but I can only go by what I read. Most of your problems could have been solved rather easily. you say you did research, but apparently not the right kind. You say you used a travel agent…either not a good one, or your did not fully relay your wants and needs.

  • K

    This post is amazing. I agree with every point you made… We took our two year old this June and he hated every second. We had never been so happy to get back on the plane and say bye to “Mickey Mouse’s house”. But to each their own…. Some people love Disney, some people don’t. No reason to have haters hating on here.

  • Babysimba13

    Disney is not everyone’s cup of tea. I respect your opinions even if I find them to be a polar opposite of mine. To each their own.

    I will say good for you for sharing your opinions…a lot more than many others out there do. If they don’t like it they didn’t have to read the whole thing!

  • Tara Baker

    I don’t think you needed to clarify further to anyone. Anyone who was upset with what you wrote can just stuff it. The whole point of having a blog is having a place to write about your thoughts and experiences not to cater to the masses. Good for you for telling it like it was for you. I actually enjoyed hearing the truth of a poor experience because I like to know every version of experiences not just the cheery ones. Without seeing how a situation can go bad, you can’t try to prepare for it. I’d rather go to DW knowing there are flaws and knowing what to try to avoid, than to go in with rose colored glasses and be completely let down about things that could’ve been avoided. Thanks to you, I know to prepare to go during cooler weather and to bring a poncho just in case. Thanks to you I know that if I want to have better food then I need to either carry it myself or save up more money to afford better options. Thanks to you I know that I will probably need to get a suite and not just 2 queens in my room so my kids can have a break from us and vice versa at the end of the day. Don’t let the judgemental and unkind make you feel that your post wasn’t rightfully written. No one forced them to read it and no one forced them to get on their behind the screen high horses and treat you so rudely. You don’t deserve any of it. Keep doing what you do. That is all.

  • This is exactly why I have zero interest in Disney. With 7 kids, I would be a wreck stressing about one running off.

    And with the millions of people that go to Disney each year, why is it that you have never heard of a child being abducted inside their hallowed gates?

    Not because it doesn’t happen but because Disney pays off the parents to keep silent so as to not tarnish their reputation as the most magical place in the world. I would rather spend the money on a European vacation with my kids.

  • Dannie

    Completely agree! I love outside of Orlando and Disney sucks! It’s expensive and not fun!

  • Rindy Reeder

    I’m a big Disney lover and I understood everything you said. It was all understandable that you had that experience or that you and your kids didn’t love it. However, misconstruing It’s A Small World as racist and even using the term “racist” for such a sweet & unifying and happy little ride depicting all of the cultures, languages, and corners of the globe, its a beyond disgusting thing to say. If you don’t like it, or think it’s annoying or creepy, fine. But racism is a very real and serious thing causing pain and violence all over our earth. To use that word to describe a family ride who’s theme song was written by the great Sherman brothers as a prayer for peace on earth, is deplorable. When the Small World attraction in Anaheim opened Walt Disney flew in children from different countries all over the world and the each brought a vial of water from their own country and each child poured it into the waters that carry the boats. All the little children beautiful sang the Small World song together and it’s such a beautiful thing that I cried when I watched the footage. Please reconsider the use of the world racism in your post because that attraction is in actuality the opposite of racism.

  • mnbska

    I found this to be an exceptionally well written personal critique of the trip. I never got the sense that you were speaking for everyone, just yourself. Further, the details you provide aren’t really arguable. Expensive food, expensive souvenirs, overstimulated kids… nobody can argue these things aren’t inherent in the experience. How you react to them is a personal thing and nobody should be arguing against that either.

    I have never been to Disney and I will never willingly go. Everything I’ve read (from both sides) only reinforces my choice. If someone handed me plane tickets and $1500 I’d try it. But I’m not putting a dime of my money into something I am pretty sure I won’t like. After all, by the time you can afford a Disney trip, you ought to be pretty certain about what you like and don’t like.

  • mnbska

    Another reaction I had: Last November we returned from Kauai, and about the same time some extended family got back from Disney. We talked about our experiences, and every incredibly authentic Pacific jungle island experience was met with an anecdote about an imitation experience in Disney. We hiked in volcanic canyons, stepping over giant roots up to our knees… they walked down a artificial jungle path at Disney and stepped over rock-shaped speakers piping in jungle noises. We ate lilikoi fruit from trees adjacent to an 800ft waterfall… they ate lilikoi syrup snow cones next to a chlorine pool. We drank water from fresh coconuts, $1 each… they couldn’t afford the packaged coconut water at $6.

    We’re BEGGING them to take an African safari with us in a couple years. Their response, equally as enthusiastic, was “you can see [captive zoo] giraffes from the Animal Kingdom Lodge!!” We will never get them to see the real thing, and they’ll never get us into that artificial world called Disney. Just two different types.

  • Paige Wolf

    Thank you for your comment!

  • Laure

    I loved this post, and googled ” do other people hate Disney” , because I thought I might be strange. We got back today and I am still in shock that we spent the money we did on Disney!!! It will be years before we return , or I will bribe and beg my kids to choose somewhere else!
    Thank you, I enjoyed this post!

  • MA_Libertarian

    WDW is what you make of it. I would never eat any quick service food there. I would never wait in line for a ride (I use only Fast Passes and avoid the parks otherwise). To be transparent, I am the owner of a Disney Vacation Club timeshare and this is what is enjoyable:

    1. The time shares are true condos. Kids get their own rooms (and bathrooms), you get yours. There is a kitchen and dining room as well. If you go to the Caribbean, you can’t get that type of accommodations…
    2. All the good restaurants are at the top hotels like the Grand Floridian. Some of the best restaurants I have ever eaten at include bluezoo, Capa, California Grill, Yachtsman Steakhouse, and Flying Fish. However, these recommendations are not cheap and as dinners can be 2 to 3 hour dining events, your kids need to be older to enjoy them. With younger kids, pick Coral Reef and similar restaurants that have quicker table turns so you’re in and out within an hour.
    3. The golf at WDW is phenomenal. Yes, I go play golf there. If you’re into golf, they are fantastic courses and very relaxing.
    4. If you are at the deluxe resorts or DVC resorts, the resorts are actually resorts in themselves. Moderate and cheaper resorts are more just hotel rooms on Disney property and really aren’t well suited for a relaxing vacation. Just my take, but the kids at the deluxe resorts seem much better behaved and controlled then at the non-deluxe resorts.
    5. My kids are teenagers so they go over to the park themselves and ride Space Mountain 20 times in a row and absolutely love it. My wife and I usually are at the pool reading some books and having drinks. It is a much different vacation than when our kids were the age of your kids…

    If I had to go, wait in line, eat quick service food like you did, I would never go again. I’ll stay with the filet mignon and lobster tail at the signature dining restaurants instead… And again, the golf is unbelievable…

    Just my two cents.

  • kls6768

    I agree with you actually. I also got sick after that ride and I also made myself sick with the crap food (which was never all that GOOD even). I found the whole experience in general rather lackluster and the things I enjoyed I could’ve spent less to do a whole lot closer to home, where, may I add the food is great.

  • kls6768

    I actually agree with you. I got sick on the same ride. The food also made me sick and was pretty blah to boot. I can get really GOOD food where I live so that might be my bias…overall I would have had more fun and spent less money doing a lot of other things. The kids had fun though.

  • kls6768

    Ditto.

  • kls6768

    And the “ethic food”…don’t get me started. I live in a city that has actual ethnic food with actual flavor.

  • Dina G

    I love this post bc not for nothing but ITS ALL SO VERY TRUE!!

  • Joseph Muldoon

    Disney is strictly for kids. Adults will like it only by virtue of the joy it brings their kids or because they have a deep psychological/emotional connection to the place based on their own childhood visits (which is kind of creepy).

    Anyone over the age of 16 visiting this place for the first time will be mystified as to why it’s so popular.

    Some of the most popular features of this place to true fans include:
    * Waiting on long lines to get autographs from teenagers dressed in character costumes.
    *Incredibly cheesy parades of more teenagers dressed in character costumes.
    *Rides which are overwhelmingly of the sort that might have been interesting in 1960.

    Strictly for kids or adults creepily brainwashed into having warm feelings for a corporate machine in their youth.

  • Gary Mathews

    I hate Disney, I have been twice and for what it costs to stay there and do the “Disney” experience I could have traveled the world three times over!

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  • Ellie Mullinax

    I’m so glad someone agrees with me! I know I’m a bit late, but I’ve never liked Disney world. My mother used to take me every year growing up, she just tried to take me there again and of course I politely refused. Going there the first time is nice, when you pay tons of money, but even then it wasn’t really worth it. Every building was a store except for the rides, and there’s maybe one or two rides for a region (region meaning tommorow-land, fantasy land, etc.) other than the scary roller coasters! It comes to a point where there is just nothing to do but walk around all day and maybe visit a character. Even then a good chunk of the cast members don’t stay in character unless you are a little kid.

  • Peter Fay

    I’ve pretty much lost faith in Disney as a business. I’ll go see their movies in theaters without a problem, but I will never set foot in their theme parks again. Heck, I didn’t even step inside the Disney Store Times Square as I stood before it debating whether or not to do so.

    Then again, being unemployable and having no income doesn’t help either.

  • Suzanne

    I used to work there and I agree with most of what you wrote here. Too $$, too many lines, people, mouse eared items, too hot. My kids even got sick of going. Disney is fun in Jan-Mar and that is it!!! don’t bother to go at Christmas, summertime, spring break, etc. Plus, you have to plan your trip way in advance… i.e. fast passes, dinner reservations, etc. you can’t just show up like in the old days. The last time my son and I went was 3 weekends before Thanksgiving and the only ride under an hour was for the train. There are so many other amusement parks to see. Try LEGOLAND for the little ones!! not far from Disney. Cheaper, shorter lines, affordable food, etc.

  • Suzanne

    Plus, there are a lot of folks out there who eat, sleep, and breathe all things Disney so they will never give it to you straight. They don’t mind the lines, $$$, crowds, etc. It’s sort of cult-ish. Don’t get me wrong, Disney can be fun and I do love Disney movies but some folks really get carried away.

  • Suzanne

    Try working for them. It’s really bad. Their Imagineers are a wonderfully creative group but the rest of the behind the scenes business is horrible. Other companies would run circles around them but of course, you’d never hear of it. I think Walt would be spinning in his grave if he saw his company today.

  • Suzanne

    totally agree with you. LEGOLAND is awesome!! Disneyland is better than WDW as well.

  • Justin

    I agree with you 100%. One and done for our family. You forgot to mention that the people are crazy, knocking you over in line, no regard for your kids etc.

  • Mary cross

    I love this post. Laughed out loud while reading it. That being said I actually love Disney. Took my three kids in the early 2000’s and we all just went this past August. They took boyfriends and girlfriends this time and drank around the world at Epcot. We had a great time.

  • Chad Chaplin

    Disney sucks. Screaming brats, huge lines, terrible heat and humidity, annoying characters, everything overpriced, and all in the crap hole Orlando. Not to mention that your local amusement park has rides just as good without the price or all the other crap. And you are in FLA USA, yet nowhere near a beach or anything but tourist trap crap.
    That being said, the OP sounds like quite a whiner. If you didn’t understand the hell hole you were going to, that is your own fault.

  • Yoyo Armstrong

    Thank you for validating my Disney World experience. I agree on all your points! Paid $72 in a cafeteria style restaurant for four of us to eat some of the worst food we’ve ever had. My experience, like many here, leaves me really wondering about friends who adore it and go repeatedly.

  • Pablo Martin Podhorzer

    I would not do the African safari thing. Better go to South East Asia, but don´t even go close to the popular areas that have been invaded by the Chinese tours (called locally “the Locusts”). So go to Railey, but maybe not Koh Phi Phi.

  • Pablo Martin Podhorzer

    Enjoy while you can. Now, when the masses come to take your head don´t complain, after all, the masses will get their shot at being “libertarian” with you.

  • Pablo Martin Podhorzer

    Well, if you go to DW more than one time (maybe even once) you can´t call anybody else on their intelligence.

  • mnbska

    So what would you recommend for a family comfortable with anything, but lily white and with a 8 year old boy? He’s adventurous and gregarious but I feel vulnerable with a young boy and wife in SE asia, not knowing suspicious signs/activity.

  • Pablo Martin Podhorzer

    Thailand is really safe. Malaysia and Laos too. Meaning: I can put this motorbike here without a chain and nobody will touch it safe.

    Tourist areas are full of tourists, the most commercialized areas (Patong Beach in Phuket is the common example) is where I don´t feel quite right and have some of that seedy nightlife that you and your family should not see, but the rest is quite amazing, and you can choose islands and towns akin to any requirement you can have.

    This year I “tailored” a tour for my father and I brought him to: Bangkok – Penang – Langkawi (really nice for families) – Koh Lipe (very commercialized and expensive “for SEA”, but still the nature stands) – Trang islands (the “gourmet” of the area) – Koh Lanta (Swedish destination) – Krabi area (go to Railey!) – Phang Nga Bay (do it) and later on some Angkor temples in Cambodia. My favourite island though is on the East close to Cambodia. Thailand is tourist heaven.

    Langkawi is truly family friendly, not party oriented, and has some themed-park attractions. I heard that Singapur has lots of this. Flights between spots are (very) cheap (from 3 USD not a typo to 70 USD), AirAsia is a great low cost carrier.

    A double room with swimming pool in a nice place can be found for as little as 40 USD.

    The best resource in the planet for South East Asia is Travelfish:

    https://www.travelfish.org/

  • Pablo Martin Podhorzer

    Ask me if you have any doubts or questions about towns or neighborhoods, I did my rounds in this area.

  • mnbska

    Hey this is great!!! Thanks for all the tips. It’s really hard to dive into a place using all the official guidebooks because they all say the same things. Nice to get a firsthand account. Sounds ideal for me, my job gets really big in the summer. Thanks again

  • Pierre Simmons

    100% agree with you. I’m dreading my upcoming SECOND trip with inlaws. Disney is an overpriced tourist trap for people who like feeling like cattle. Zero culture. Awful food. Sweaty crowds, tired kids and lines. AWFUL. It’s along the lines of football and beer. Waste of time and money it is NOT a vacation.

  • Pierre Simmons

    Omg yes the personal hygiene is atrocious!

  • Pablo Martin Podhorzer

    You´re welcomed. Note that scams do exist in South East Asia, but are easily avoidable, and everything is so cheap (some things even for locals, like eating on the street) that solutions to any problem are easily located. They have all the levels of comfort: I take public transportation (sometimes “tourist” transport from/to islands) but other people will take taxis or even private posh tours.

  • Paul Bisognano

    most of this stuff on this post you can’t blame on Disney. The biggest mistake u made was that you took your kids while they were to young. Your kids will enjoy it more when they are older. I also believe its unfair to blame all the stuff on Disney. Its not their fault your kids lost their stuff. its not fair you asked a random person if u need to take a monorail to the character breakfast. Its also not Disney fault that you guys ate to much garbage. Its not Disney fault you went on a ride that you couldn’t handle. You went on that ride by choice! So don’t be so quick to blame Disney most of desisons you made are your fault!

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  • mnbska

    I love and hate having great food in my city. Like world-class. On the one hand I am free from having to try expensive restaurants on vacation, because the local cheap stuff is new to me. On the other hand, I’m ruined for “nice” places because even at a Grand Hyatt the restaurant rarely matches what’s available in several restaurants in my city for less.

  • Michael Schwers

    Public criticism of the Disney conglomerate is much like criticizing the Church of Scientology. You’ll be demonized, shouted down, labeled a malcontent, and even anti-social. The internet has unfortunately created a micro community of Pollyannas and helicopter parents who feel everyone should not only think as they do; they make it their mission to convince you that you are flawed and any opinion to the contrary of what is deemed as “normal” is tantamount to treason and sedition. Disney is supposed to be the place where dreams come true. I have my own dream about retiring to a beautiful home in Charleston, South Carolina. But if I keep giving my money to Disney to only make my children temporarily happy, where does that leave me?

    I appreciate your candor and willingness to speak out. I wish more people would do the same.

  • Jill Schoenherr

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t understand the overpriced obsession at WDW. I agree with just about everything you stated as I JUST DON’T GET IT! We returned from a 10 day vacation the first week of April as to which we spent 6 days in the park with our 5 year old daughter. It was a vacation for her, which I went into it knowing. But between the crowds, other peoples screaming/crying and overly tired children, ride wait times, small walk ways (at MK mostly), I just don’t get the obsession that people have with it. And it took me a week to recover when we got back! We too, just like you researched for about 7 months. I read 3 Disney books bigger than the bible between October until the day we walked out the door. I have friends who are Disney fanactics and took some of their advice (and ignored some too). But for $6k, I’d rather spend my vacation time elsewhere, where we can relax, enjoy each others company, swim in the ocean, pool and have a decent meal without feeling like we have to rush through it to get to our next FP before it expires. I don’t want to listen to other people’s screaming children when I paid an arm and a leg, I just want to have a relaxing, enjoyable time with my family. My biggest complaint was feeling as though there was so much that was “scheduled” between FP and meals I constantly felt like I was looking at the app to make sure we got to our next destination on time. My daughter enjoyed it and has talked about a couple of her experiences since we’ve returned, but she has specifically requested to have our next vacation be a beach vacation or to go back to Hilton Head. I have a friend who is doing her 3 Disney experience in 10 months in June. I truly hope she has fun, but it’s just not my cup of tea!

  • Jennifer Harper

    I’m starting to plan our first trip to Disney and I thought this post was great! We have some of the same reservations about the culture and environment (and environmental impact) of Disney. I’ve watched some vlogs on YouTube — so I actually recognized one of your critics — and realized that there’s just a major personality difference between us and those for whom it is a big thing. After watching those vlogs and listening to Podcasts to help me plan, it is easy to expect things to go perfectly and for everyone to be in a good mood because they usually don’t include meltdowns in their trip reports. So, thank you for the reality check – and for the reminder that crappy food=crappy mood.

  • OBAMABLOWS

    Food is over priced, not very good….everyone told us via Napoli had best pizza…lol…my 6yr old was a pepperoni lover…since eating there never touched again over a year later…, the rides give out way to many fast passes which make scheduling useless. Parking especially at MK is a disaster…people are rude at every turn…tons of foreigners who don’t understand American customs make it almost unbearable to navigate…

    I’m here now in May 2017 and it’s packed worse than thanksgiving or last June thru first of July…

    Best tip I can give is stay offsite, bring your own food, and drinks…don’t buy snything on Disney…target has same type stuff …the hotels on Disney are tiny and overpriced…which makes dealing with above even worse

  • my gmail account

    Personally I thought you went a bit too easy on Disney. We took my daughter early in all things Disney, which amounted to Magic Kingdom then, Circa 1974. It’s taken me this long to go back and it’s my last trip there. We took advantage of the Florida residents’ promotion and I absolutely hated it. Between the double-wide strollers blocking your every move, the traffic jam of mobility scooters that are driven by “Get out of my way!” well-fed seasoned citizens (That I think many (Not all) rent there because they’re too fat to walk and want head of the line privileges. Crowded, hot, terrible food which was overpriced, fake everything, people walking 6 abreast with no regard for others and no intention of giving you a path. Glad I went again so that I know what I’ve missed over the last 40+ years. Don’t even get me started on I-4 traffic. On my “Get out of town!” trip, I took sr 417, willing to pay the tolls to escape. Gridlock there too.

    Now for what I liked… Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Soarin’, Mission Space (Orange) and Great Hollywood Movie ride. Three days in Disney hell was enough!

  • Carla

    I get deluxe dining every time I go and once you visit the all of the table service restaurants, you begin to see a pattern and to be quite honest, the food is not equal to the amount you pay. Disney’s best is simply okay.

  • Carla

    It’s about time someone pointed this out. Firstly, Disney is pricey ($160/day) and children are fickle.

  • Heidi Embrey

    It’s changed so much. Maybe you shouldn’t go back and keep your good memory as your last one..seriously..

  • Bryan Miles

    What’s really funny about this post is that these are THE EXACT conversations I hear between parents in around the WDW Resort ALL THE TIME. You’re just saying what millions are thinking about the place. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows all the time there.

  • Scott Hall

    I literally just got back from WDW yesterday. And I’ve been to every place you named in your comment. The garden grill breakfast is disgusting.The eggs(if they are really eggs) are runny and not properly cooked even after asking them to be made well done. The sausage is awful also, it tastes better from the freezer section at the grocery store. Cinderellas Royal table was over $300 for 4 people with 1 being a kid. The food was just OK with very small portion sizes. We did have fun but after day 4 of our trip my 5 year old asked to go home. I had to upset him by telling him we still have 3 days left plus a 15 hour drive back home. We went for my sons 5th Birthday. I paid close to $300 for a star wars themed birthday party delivered to the room. That was disappointing the most seeing as all he got was a stupid lanyard, a cheap light saber that doesn’t even light up, and a few other small other small stupid things. Disney is way to expensive and we did plan this was our 3rd year.

  • Megan Michael

    I always knew Disney World is not for me, but this really just solidified it! Like you, there are things I hope to get out of a vacation that Disney World is just not going to have. We don’t have kids, so you would think people would leave us alone about going to Disney. NOT SO. Everyone wants you to go to Disney. I’m basically like that about the state of Colorado. If I hear someone hasn’t been to Colorado, I am like, “OMG YOU HAVE TO GO TO COLORADO!!!” And then I start making their itinerary right then and there. 🙂 Well I am glad you now know it is not for you and you will never have to wonder. Have you ever gone to Knoebel’s in Elysburg PA? We love it there!!!! So charming, fun, shaded, CHEAP… it’s just magical. I grew up going there and my husband and I now just go ourselves for fun!

  • infamouscrimes

    Ugh I hate moms and the stupid things they do. Get a real hobby.

  • Dorothy Sherman

    I liked reading your gripes. Re: environmental stuff, I get your point but Animal Kingdom was basically founded to promote environmental stewardship magicguides.com/animal-kingdom-secrets as was Living With the Land. So they are not all bad on that front. But still, they could use some improvement.

  • Al Mancuso

    Bravo! My sentiments exactly. It’s just so overpriced and over-hyped it makes me sick. I have relatives that go there several times a year. I just don’t get it.

  • MotoAtheist

    Forget all the idiots who enjoy crappy vacations!!! If a vacation to Disney World requires 3 months of planning, a travel agent, organization down to the nit pickiest of details… well… that’s not a vacation, it’s a temporary job! Vacations are supposed to be relaxing and only planned for the general scope of each day. Disney world is overrated, overcrowded, expensive garbage, plan and simple.

    Kids will forget that place within a week unless the parents keep reminding them because they spent so much taking them, they can’t handle the idea their kids forgot all about it already. The place isn’t for adults no matter how many try to say it is.

    The food being crap doesn’t surprised me. The place is an overcrowded nightmare and people get shitty when they have to wait for anything because they would rather be in line for the rides. Most people want to eat and run and don’t care if it’s good or not. You can blame the park for allowing too many visitors every day, just like very other theme park… overcrowded. Crowds make for angry and annoyed people, which ruins any potential fun.

    Open your wallet and keep your mouth shut, that’s how most theme parks operate. Spend, spend, spend till your broke and then get out so another wallet can come in and be drained. Fun, fun, fun….. NOT!

  • aw

    Jesus. Thank you. I just returned from a week at WDW and googled this wondering if I was the only one. It was hot, crowded, overpriced, artificial, weorxly ki da cturally embarrassing, and frankly kind of boring and dated. I just don’t get the obsession with it. Maube that increased my expectations too much? It was just ok. I see no reason why I would ever go back. And this is really mean bit afyer going I think Wall-e really might have been making fun of the scooter army at WDW. It is really meta.

  • D Davis

    I’m currently at Disney for the first time. I don’t have children and I’m under 40. I walked around for the past week wondering why people make such a big deal. Different strokes for different folks. Disney is not for me. I have to find a way to tell this to my Disney loving husband.

  • Neal Pritchett

    It is amazing to me that anyone goes here more than once. Long, long lines, and everywhere you go the hard sell – gift shops, snack shops, souvenir shops, Disney themed shops – usually placed right where there is a long slow line. But then again, there are long slow lines everywhere. Everything here is designed, purposefully designed, to squeeze the last dollar out of every visitor. It’s easy to understand why a committee of crass jaded moneygrubbing pitchmen might design such a place, it is difficult to understand why anyone in their right mind would visit. To top it all off, none of it is real. There is not a single genuine thing in this whole place except the cash registers. For this kind of tourist campiness, I vastly prefer the Wisconsin Dells. The lines are shorter, the food is better, there is far more variety, and it is a tenth the price. My last trip to the Grand Canyon was far more rewarding, lasted longer, was a genuine experience where I learned a few things, cost about a quarter of my Disney experience, and the kids(complete with their junior ranger badges from the ranger led hikes they went on)still talk excitedly about the place. We camped, we hiked, we wandered, and we could easily have spent a month there. Disney is in the forefront of everything that is bad about the tourist industry.

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