One by one, I've watched my friends succumb. Two holdouts gave up over winter break. This spring, always a dangerous time with the
tantalizing week off from school, I saw three more casualties on Facebook. A good friend is making plans to give in next
December. I simply can't bear it, even
though the signs have been there for years. I guess I thought there would be more resistance. I didn't know they would all go, and I'd be
the last one standing. However, I am
How naive I was to think that Disney was an optional
vacation! In light of the evidence that
every single one of my friends has done Disney World, Disneyland or a Disney
cruise, I'm starting to think that it's one of the biggest misconceptions of my
motherhood. Silly me, I thought some of
us might sit Disney out—just like some families will forgo camping trips in
Yellowstone or fall foliage jaunts on the Eastern Seaboard.
I know I'm not the only parent who has reservations about
the Disney enterprise. All of my friends
who eventually succumbed to its siren song had once decried the small fortune it
costs to spend a day at the Magic Kingdom. I priced four tickets for my family to spend the day at the
Magic Kingdom and the grand total was $434.54. That does not include getting to Florida, or food and lodging once we get
there. And let's face it, most families
spend more than one day there. Are you
even allowed to go for a single day?
No one wants to hear their anti-Disney friend enumerate a dozen reasons why the Disney compulsion should be examined and deconstructed by discerning parents who are willing to say NO to the pressure to meet Mickey Mouse on his own turf.
Even if I could stomach the cost of entering the park, I
would still have to resolve a host of other problematic issues—not the least
of which is steeling myself and my children for the onslaught of commercialism
that will assault us at every turn. I've
heard that marquis rides exit into a gift shop, which is only slightly less
stressful than exiting through a live slaughterhouse. And remember when we all wrung our hands
about princesses and the pablum philosophy embedded in Disney's happily-ever-after promises?
How did everyone beat me out of the thicket of social issues and make their way
to Disney without me?
Even parents who swore up and down that they would never ever "do Disney" for high-minded reasons
have since posted pictures of themselves and their broods in front of the
iconic castle. Back at home, I "like"
their pictures on social media, because I actually like my friends, but I'm
simultaneously wishing Zuckerberg would install a button that says, "Hey, I
thought we had a deal about doing Disney, but now you're there, so
To my close friends, I approach the topic with as much
finesse as a high school goth chick pissed off that her BFF decided to join the
cheerleading squad. "Um, hey, I thought
we were, like, not going down the Disney road." Most of them assured me that they "had" to go because their in-laws paid
or work took them to Orlando, so they thought, "why not?" I drop the subject at that point because no
one wants to hear their anti-Disney friend enumerate a dozen reasons why the
Disney compulsion should be examined and deconstructed by discerning parents
who are willing to say NO to the pressure to meet Mickey Mouse on his
Comedian Jim Gaffigan sums up his Disney experience in his
book "Dad Is Fat," writing that "Disney is not a vacation," because there's too
much pressure to have the time of your life. He describes the "strained faces" of the parents at the park, who "all
seem to have this 'This was an enormous mistake' expression." But year and year, families make the trek
because "Disney is a perfect example of one of those things you do just for your children." While Disney
may be the "happiest place on earth" to a little kid, "it's just too much
stimulation. The rides, the characters,
the parade, the ice cream, and the candy every 10 feet. They can't handle it. They turn into monsters. I want … everything!"
Thank you, Mr. Gaffigan, for confirming my fears about a
trip to Disney. I know myself and my
kids. We get grumpy overwhelmed taking
in a birthday party at a local bouncy house party that lasts roughly 1.75 hours. How are we supposed to survive, emotionally
and financially, for hours at Disney World?
For now, I'm just saying no. Or "not yet," at least—my kids are only 5 and 4, so there's plenty of time for me to get off my soapbox. Until then I'm on the hunt for any other family that is holding