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5 Reasons I Hate Disney Parks

By September 28, 2015September 11th, 201810 Comments

Disney Evil Queen at theme parkIt’s impossible to escape the force of nature that is the Disney brand, and some may ask, why would you want to? It’s magical, dammit. I spent a few summer vacations as a child basking in the gloriousness that is Disney World, and I daresay that when my nuggets are a little bit older (and I don’t have to skip out on riding rides to sit with a stroller) then my family will go as well. There is something dream like and wonderful about the entire experience. However, it will surely make me unpopular, but there are some solid reasons that I can’t stand Disney.

1. Disney is expensive

First and foremost, Disney isn’t your everyday amusement park, it’s an experience—and not a cheap one at that. For most parks, the biggest cost you will probably incur is the tickets themselves, but for Disney, there’s a long lineup of expenses that seem to grow every year as the experience continues to top itself. Who wants to stay at the Hilton when you can sell a kidney and stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and wake up to the sight of giraffes from your balcony? Would the fairy tale experience be complete without a spa day for little girls at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique? I’m not ashamed to say that I want to do all the cool things with my kids, but my paycheck simply won’t allow it. How can I possibly go home without doing a character breakfast with Mickey and Minnie?!

There are some slick ways that you can make your Disney vacation affordable, but most of us want to do it all. And with the money you throw down for the ultimate Disney trip, you could’ve taken the kids to Europe. (There’s a Disneyland in Paris, don’t worry.)

2. Disney is crowded

Disney is a busy place. According to Travel + Leisure, four the 20 most visited attractions in the world are Disney parks. This means that there are a ton of people there on any given day. You may catch a break while visiting the Florida properties in January and February, but for the majority of the parks and the majority of the year, visitors flock to see the Mouse. So expect to wait in some crazy long lines and don’t even think about eating on the fly. If you want to eat at some of the fabulous Disney restaurants, make your reservations 180 days in advance when they open up, otherwise it’s got to be PB&J’s for your crew—which is actually a really great way to save a few bucks!

3. Disney is overwhelming

Once again, Disney is an experience, and you don’t want to miss out. Parades, light shows, special events—there’s always something fabulous going on at these parks. As much fun as this can be, I personally find it to be a tad overwhelming. To make the most of your day, you’ve got to stick to a schedule. In fact, lots of people hire tour guides to direct them in which rides to rides, places to visit, and ultimately how to move about the parks so they can make the most of their days. While Disney parks are certainly places to have magical experiences, they aren’t exactly great locations for laid back ones.

4. Disney lacks discovery

Vacation means something different for everyone. My little brood is made up of explorers. The big, fabulous rides at Disney parks are an incredible amount of fun, but they don’t leave much space for exercise or discovery. We like to hike, swim and learn when our trips allow it. My kids take part in snowshoeing, visiting museums, whitewater rafting, finding creatures and everything in between. These kinds of organic experiences just aren’t something you will get from the living piece of imagination that is Disney.

5. Disney is….

I can’t even think of a fifth reason. Disney parks are awesome, and every child—and adult—deserves to experience that magic at some point. The best way to do that, however, is to put some serious thought into your budget, plan on going when you can beat the crowds, don’t over schedule your experience, and maybe look some some other local activities to bring the destination alive for your family.

But that’s just me though. What’s your take on Disney parks?


Shauna Armitage

Author Shauna Armitage

Shauna Armitage is a military spouse, mother of four, lover of Coca-Cola, and host of the Startup Renegades podcast, a raw conversation with powerhouse founders building amazing businesses. While Shauna is a marketer by trade, she is a traveler by choice and loves to explore the world with her family in tow. Connect with her on Instagram @shaunajarmitage

More posts by Shauna Armitage

Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • avgjoemoney says:

    I’m a big Disney fan, but not in the way most people are. I love watching the business process of a company that large acting as a well-oiled machine to bring “magic” to people’s day. I’ve had so many great experiences at Disney that it’s not difficult for me to see why people love the brand so much. I come back to work inspired to make my own brand better, to focus on details, and to make sure my employees are bringing the “magic” to our experience at SB.

    Great post. Not what I expected! I totally agree with every point and your conclusion: do your homework before you go.

    My advice? Don’t try to see everything. Take a nap halfway through the day. Give your kids an allowance so that they can buy a souvenir but I’m not inundated with “Can I have….” over and over…..

  • Deborah says:

    I loved to take my kids to Disneyland when they were young, and now that they are in their early 20’s,we love to go for a great meal and nostalgia! However, you really have to plan around days that aren’t too crowded, because it’s absolutely miserable when you feel like a cow being herded through the park!

    • Shauna Armitage says:

      Right? There’s lots to consider if you want to make the most of your Disney experience these days. When do you think are the best times to go to avoid crowds?

  • I like Disney as an investment in my stock portfolio. Please, all you saps keep going and spending your hard earned cash while I build a new deck for my second pool. “Little nuggets?”. I honestly puked in my mouth a bit when I read that in your description of yourself.

  • Blue Valkyrie says:

    I’ve been to Disney World twice. The first time I was 15, and I was just enraptured. Two years later when I went again (as a jaded and world weary 17-year-old), I thought it was no better than your average Six Flags. I’m an adrenaline junky through and through, so I of course enjoyed the Aerosmith coaster, the Twilight Zone elevator ride, and Space Mountain, but I didn’t think it was worth the trip to Florida. But you can’t help but be impressed by the finely-tuned machine that is Disney. I thought it was almost unnerving how much time, money, and attention to detail was spent on creating “Disney Magic”.

    I get very uncomfortable being in the middle of a large, thick crowd, and of course in Disney World there’s no escaping that. Being in the hot sun, being on your feet all day long, being sick from traveling and eating bad food… it’s just not all it’s cracked up to be. I’m glad I went, just to have been able to have gone, but I don’t think I’d like to go again until perhaps I have kids of my own and might take them. I just can’t say I enjoyed it that much the second time around. I think the fact that I’m more of a Quentin Tarantino fan than a Disney fan may have also had something to do with it.

  • Eric says:

    Disneyland… Where you spend hours in line with other people’s children. No thank you.

    • Haha! Sorry you feel that way. If you do it right you can avoid a lot of that nonsense. I just was there last weekend, got on all the rides and didn’t wait more than 20 minutes.

    • Disney can definitely be a lot to handle! I have fond memories as a id, but I’ve really enjoyed it as an adult more I think. Maybe it’s because I can wander the parks with a margarita now??

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