Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What would Walt think?

Disney’s Magic Kingdom is missing its key element; magic. We’re in Orlando to visit with my brother and his family but also to enjoy the parks especially Disney’s parks. We took our five and seven year old boys to Magic Kingdom yesterday and encountered everything but magic. We encountered crowds, overpriced everything, heat, long lines and rides that were not worth the wait. Our boys stomped their feet after four hours of being there and riding two rides declaring that it was time to leave. My oldest said “what’s so magical about this place anyway Uncle Ziad’s place has more magic than this junkyard”.

I wonder what Walt Disney would think if he heard a seven year old declare that Magic Kingdom was a junkyard. Is that what happens when we lose sight of the vision and try to accommodate everyone instead? I remember visiting Magic Kingdom several times before and it truly was magical. The first time I walked those grounds I was 15 and I was in awe of everything I saw. My husband joked yesterday that there were so many lines that we were in line to get to a line. The entire park was lines; lines to get from one place to the other, lines to get food, lines to get on rides, lines to get off rides, lines, lines and lines. I believe that park would have been capped at half the amount of people that were there yesterday. Would it not be acceptable to turn away a few thousand people to preserve that magic of Disney that once was?

I try to always have a positive twist on life. I’m going to say that it was the belief that they are sharing the “magic” with everyone and not greed that prevents Disney’s management from putting a limit on the amount of people allowed in the park at once. Everywhere I turned yesterday some parent was frustrated with their child threatening them that they are going to leave at once if the kid didn’t shape up. I thought about how many times I did that but how come I never followed through with my threats? It’s simple really I was going to stay there until I got my money’s worth. After all we spent $315 just to walk in the door. Easily it’s a $500 day for a family of four so by gosh the kids are going to love it. I had to stop and think about that and realize that my kids had a much better time at the Easter egg hunt my sister-in-law put together and building a 15 piece Lego boat that was in their Easter basket. Why is it that I wanted to force magic on them that was really not there? My boys are happiest swimming, playing tennis and throwing footballs. What made me think that they would be missing anything if they didn’t go to Disney?

My husband was totally against going to Disney all along. I had to admit to him that after the terrible experience yesterday that he was totally right. He asked me how those words tasted coming out of my mouth to which I replied “like sour vinegar”. I’m just kidding! I’ve admitted that he was right before at least once.

Disney may be a magical experience for some but for us it was “sac, sac, sacrifice” as my seven year old put it. The answer for most kids is that they love simplicity. It’s only when we want to impose our thoughts on them that they start rebelling and acting up. Wait isn’t that the way all humans are? The take home message for me is to simplify and enjoy the small things which bring the most happiness anyway.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You may leave a comment below, email me to or find me on Facebook by becoming a fan of

Going outside to play water balloons and bubbles with my boys. I’ll bet there won’t be any foot stomping today!


  1. I love this Mary! I have never been to Disney and Andy and I don't really have any intention if taking the boys anytime in the foreseeable future. We choose instead to vacation in Door County, hiking, playing on the beach, riding our bikes...or to visit those we miss and love in Colorado! We hope to take them to magical places such as Yellowstone, the Badlands, Arches and remember the magical places that we have been, such as the Apostle Islands last summer. So much is lost in the vacation spots "designed" to be magical for our children. True magic is found in nature for us and within us!! Stanlee

  2. Sorry it was a let down, Mary. We took our 3 daughters ONCE, and it actually was a nice time. However, we heeded friend's advice and went during Fall break, when the crowds were supposed to be much smaller (they were, I don't remember waiting in line more than 5 minutes, and most of the rides had no wait!)and the weather was not as hot!!
    I, like your husband, was not excited to go, as I am not a "commercial" person who follows the crowd. I prefer nature (beach, mountains, Grandpa's farm, etc.) I was pleasantly suprised by the whole experience!! However, I think once is enough!
    I must say, though, my girls favorite part of the trip was going back to our rented condo and visiting the 3 pools which stayed open until 12:00 at night, and of course, boogie boarding at Coco Beach...

  3. Hi Mary!

    Sorry to hear the Disney experience wasn't fun! We are hoping to take our boys in the near-ish future. Chris and I went twice in October and the lines were not at all bad and the weather was gorgeous. So, just incase you reconsider going again.. think Fall:)

  4. oh that is quite disappointing! I ve always wanted to go, and i was thinking of doing the family trip all the way from Lebanon! Now, I will think twice! But you are right! I have learned very quickly that kids enjoy the simple things. Most Lebanese parents are always forcing activities on their kids to the point they are making the kids's lives just as busy as theirs. They always ask me:' what do you for your kids'? Howcome they are not enrolled in Ballet, piano, gymnastics, painting....I figured once they are ready they will choose what they like and focus on it!

  5. I find that simplicity is always best for my kids and it's always best for me. It may have been a stroke of bad luck in the sense that the lines were extremely long and totally unbearable but that brings it back to the point of maybe Disney should turn away a few thousand people and their money so as to ensure a magical experience for everyone that walks through their doors.