Parents: Are you a Disney hater?

Are you a Disney Hater? Do you refuse to take your kids to Disney World, Disney Land or even EuroDisney? Do you hate Disney movies, toys and paraphernalia?

We have several friends with kids that are very anti-Disney, especially the theme parks. You would think their kids were asking their parents to be put on the racks in a torture chamber not ride in honey pots around Pooh’s storybook or fly across the sky with Peter Pan.

The same parents always groan on Facebook when we post photos from our Disney adventures. I have never pressed any of our friends about why they refuse to take their kids to the theme park, but I can make several guesses.

I think maybe they are worried about the commercialism and marketing aimed at their kids. There is no doubt they will be inundated with things their kids will want but we just say no. We bought three stuff animals and two shirts I think on the last trip and that was it.

I guess they also think it’s expensive but all theme parks are expensive — even local ones like Six Flags. One friend reluctantly took their child to Disney and then to Universal. The parent was unbelievably negative about Disney but loved Universal. I think it goes beyond just plain expense; it seems to be a particular aversion to Disney.

I guess it could also be the crowds and the lines but again most theme parks have those, and they can be avoided with a little planning.

I guess I just think the benefits of the Disney outweigh the negatives. The kids have a fantastic time there. They are happy. Everything is aimed at them. It’s all for them. It is magical and they have many wonderful memories of going as I do from childhood.

So all you Disney haters out there, enlighten me. Help me understand what your issues are specifically with the theme parks. How or why are they worse than other theme parks? Why is it a (moral?) struggle to take your children there and indulge in the Disney fantasy for a few days?

Also tell us if you were a Disney hater and went with your kids, how do you feel now? Did it reinforce your hate or could you see the magic?

125 comments Add your comment

dixie pixie

July 19th, 2010
4:25 pm

I worked for The Disney Store for several years. My ex loved WDW, so we went frequently. Not so much now, but I still know a few tricks to spending less money and still having fun. Little things like. . .if you don’t care about the parade, that is the time to ride the main attractions–everyone else is watching the parade! I kept a journal of ideas about the various ways to spend less money and have loads of fun and would be happy to share. TWG has my email address if it is needed. . .


July 19th, 2010
4:45 pm

I have been to WDW once and wasn’t that thrilled with it..Will I go back and take our two little ones? Heck yeah, if they want to go..Try anything (just about) once..

@penguimom..You will have a great time in DC..If you don’t already know, get in touch with your congressman to get tickets for touring the White House and a couple more places..Plus in otder to see a lot of the things there, you’ll have to be there like at 7 in the morning..Enjoy it..


July 19th, 2010
4:46 pm

I do think every child should have a chance to go to Disney at least once, if it is an option.

I do not hate Disneyworld. it is just not something I am willing to do every few years…or even ever again.

This falls into the same spectrum as camping ( for me). LOTS of folks love it but I like clean sheets, my own potty and a comfortable bed without any surprise guests. Yes, I camped with my family
( growing up) for many years. Also a road trip from Chicago to LA…northern states first and southern swing on the way home.

I think ( as Blonde Honey) there are so many other wonderful and memorable things you can do as a family. Snorkeling, Grand Canyon, Desert and seeing a Rainforest or Glacier are not the same as riding the Teapots…to me.


July 19th, 2010
4:49 pm

Tiger, I’m with you. We traveled as much as we could when our now-17-year-old was growing up. Disney holds more unpleasant memories than any other trip for him. I just asked him what his favorite vacation memories were. The best one was Costa Rica—surfing, watching an active volcano at night, zip-lining through the rain forest at 45 mph, white water rafting, and staying in huts fashioned after indigenous pre-Colombian shelters. Yellowstone is in the top 10, where we went backpacking and fly fishing. Another would be the countryside of Italy—eating fresh mozzarella for lunch after watching the campesina make it, watching the sun set over the cliffs of Sorrento while watching an Italian wedding feast on the terrace of our hotel. The real world is so much better than the Matrix, er, amusement parks. Disney is hot, crowded, expensive, and fake. ugh


July 19th, 2010
4:58 pm

HHHMMM…wonder if those who LOVE Disney have done some of the things JoDee shared…sounds like a lot of fun to me. FYI…kids will tell you they would rather go to Disney but they do not know the other wonderful options. Adults who never venture out do not know them either. I have been to some of the most interesting places, completely on accident. I have met some fascinating people too! As I mentioned before, my daughter DID NOT want me to take her along to Alaska….SHE LOVED IT!


July 19th, 2010
5:03 pm

@T – ahhh, yes, Cedar Point. My son is 13 next year and I have already told him that CP will be one of our summer trips. America’s Roller Coast. I went to WDW with my parents and sister every other year from age 9 through 17. I was able to watch it grow year over year from one park into the collection that it is now. My parents now snow-bird near Orlando and my son has been over to WDW once or twice, but because we normally visit during Spring Break when it is busy we generally stay away from the parks and just hit the beaches. I think this year I might take him in October just to see WDW and Universal. Our main family trip this summer was a week in Toronto (well, a couple of days in Niagara Falls and then Toronto). HHoF, CN Tower, Blue Jays, CJs Skatepark and wandering the harbour area of the City….no amusement park needed.


July 19th, 2010
5:05 pm

Went to Disneyland several times as a kid (we lived in Las Vegas and it was a cheap ‘vacation’ – or the closest thing we ever got to a vacation when I was a kid anyway). When we moved to Florida when I was in middle school my parents took us for a couple of days to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot but it was horribly crowded so we got little enjoyment out of it and I think that spoiled it for me (if I didn’t enjoy it when I was 13, is it really going to be more fun as an adult??)

My son is 15 and has never been to DisneyWorld. We took a trip out to Cali when he was 9 and we took him to Disneyland and my parents have taken him to Universal and Sea World but amusement parks aren’t real high on our list of vacation spots. I will say that Disneyland was much nicer with the fastpass system in that we didn’t spend lots of time in line but even then my son wasn’t impressed with he rides. So I guess it’s not that we dislike Disney, we just aren’t impressed with it. It’s an experience that is fine once or twice but I do have a terrible time understanding people who go back year after year and never go anywhere else. I have heard that Animal Kingdom is great tho and wouldn’t mind checking that out one day but likely it would be on a trip to Florida to see our friends and wouldn’t be the reason we took the trip.

Again, we don’t plan vacations around amusement parks but our favorite one that isn’t too far away is Wild Adventures in Valdosta. We used to live down there so we’ve seen it grow from a petting zoo to a full-grown amusement park. It also helps that we are usually down to see family and friends and they don’t mind hanging out at the park with us. To me it’s like a miniature Busch Gardens. They have animals, a great kids’ area, several coasters and even a small water park. Plus when they do concerts, they’re included with your ticket price unless you want to be up close. The lines aren’t like SixFlags though it has been 2 summers since we’ve gone during peak season but overall, it’s a great value (I think it’s about $35-40 for a ticket but that gets you 2 days at the park- you pay the first day and can come back any additional day in the next 5 days I think). When my son was younger and we visited more often, we would often just get annual passes. They’re about the same as 6Flags but they’re open year-round, not just during the summer.


July 19th, 2010
5:09 pm

I happen to love Disney. We do not go every year but have been several times and plan to go back next year. Every time I have been has been a different experience, and our children have enjoyed it in different ways every time. Planning is important and knowing what will appeal to your family is crucial. Disney puts on a “show” down to the tiniest detail and for us that is fun and fascinating. From the moment you enter the property, you are part of an elaborate production – sure it is fake – but that is what makes it so much fun.


July 19th, 2010
5:11 pm

@ Dar…oh yes the tower in Toronto with the glass floor…that really gave me the heebie jeebies but it was such a neat place. We also went to a bat cave while there and my daughter was all excited to talk to her teacher about echo location!

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

July 19th, 2010
5:28 pm

@Jodee, Dar….we’re cut from the same mold. It’s not “a small world after all”… Disney just wants people to believe that AND that you can see enough replicas of it at Disney to pass for the real thing in the name of convenience. It’s acutally a very, very big world and I want to show my kid as much of it as I can and instill a spirit of wanting to see more of it when he’s on his own.

TnT's Mom

July 19th, 2010
5:32 pm

We went in ‘087. my boys were 9 and 13. I think that is the perfect age. The were not tired, were able to ride all the rides. They absolutely enjoyed themselves. yes we stayed on property,. we camped at the campground. It was the cleanest, nicest campground we have been to. Having our camper, allowed us ot save lots of money on food. we ate breakfast before heading out each morning, ate a light lunch in the parks, then a snack dinner when we finally returned to the camper.

Disney is not for everyone, but if you want to go, go at least once. We stayed four days and hit Animal kingdom, epcot, magic kingdom, blizzard beach and even spent some time at downtown disney. We felt like we did and saw what we wanted. But, we definately did not see it all. If you go with a plan and dont’ dry to do it all in just a few days, I would say a week would be best if you want to do it all, but why wear yourself out.

so whatever, if you don’t want to go, fine, If you do fine. Just leave each other alone. I have no desire to go snow skiing so don’t bash me because of that and I wont ask anyone why they wont’ go to the beach or to disney.


July 19th, 2010
5:33 pm

“If you don’t already know, get in touch with your congressman to get tickets for touring the White House and a couple more places..”

Good tip, Becky, but definitely limit that to the White House, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and maybe a staff/intern-led Capitol tour. (Really, though, the docent tours from the Capitol Visitor’s Center are better and more accurate — interns sometimes make stuff up as they go and also learn a lot of bad info when trained that was probably made up by previous interns. The red coat docents are well-trained and must adhere to much higher standards when giving tours.) Some offices will offer to set up itineraries with special Congressional Tours all over town, but it’s often a disaster. You get doublebooked at the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court and then have to get to the Kennedy Center in 10 minutes (can’t be done). Don’t tell Congress, but pretty much none of the special Congressional tours in town are special. Various sites set one tour each day for Congressional guests, but they get the same tour everyone else gets throughout the day, but with less scheduling flexibility. The government sites just do it to keep Congress happy (they control the budget). Most of the Cong. offices have it figured out and only set up WH tours (you have to go through Congress for that one), but some keep trying to act like they’re going all out for their constituents while really making their trips far more difficult than necessary.


July 19th, 2010
5:34 pm

Personally, I don’t what the big deal is with Disney. If I am going to pick a park it would be Universal studios – ISlands of Adventure… I love both those parks… But thats only if I have to pick one… I too hate standing in an endless line and smelling all the wonderful smells that you get in the summer with people visting from overseas… No thank you…


July 19th, 2010
5:34 pm

Amen Tiger, JoDee, Dar; I always strived to do just that, instill the spirit of adventure in my boys. I believe I have done that; when my 23 year old graduates from Sub Officer School in October, while he is on liberty he and a friend are backpacking across Europe for three weeks :)


July 19th, 2010
5:44 pm

@Tiger: “It’s acutally a very, very big world and I want to show my kid as much of it as I can and instill a spirit of wanting to see more of it when he’s on his own.”

Amen to that! I’m bemused/proud/envious that my kids’ passports are far more interesting than mine were at that age, due to school trips and other programs. My daughter’s passport alone includes England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Romania and the Ukraine, as well as Canada and several ports in the Caribbean. I had been to Canada and spent three hours in Mexico when I was 18! She just showed me a photography/filmmaking semester abroad the Queen Mary 2 — 103 days and 35 cities around the world on all continents. I LOVE that she thinks that something like that is possible and fun! The world is a huge place, full of interesting people, places and things. My “bucket list” has about 300 things on it :-)

@MJG: We’re off to SF and southern Oregon in a couple of weeks — the Shakespeare festival in Ashland, Crater Lake, etc. We hope to hit the coast, too, but it’s a big state!

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

July 19th, 2010
5:58 pm

@DB, Blondehoney, Dar, MJG, and JoDee…thanks for being around today…for a while there I thought I was the odd man out!


July 19th, 2010
7:07 pm

My daughter and I are off to Boston tomorrow. Sorry Wayne but she just wanted us to do a Mom and Girl trip. Did not want us to meet anyone from the blog while there :0 I am glad I have points to cash in…the hotel is $300 per night….love those free stays but it takes a lot of paid stays to get there!

DB. let’s touch base after you get back…I love SF too! We loved shore Acres!

[...] to find out what was driving all this anger towards Disney and asked it’s readers “Are you A Disney Hater?” Results are on both sides of the aisle. There are some legitimate concerns that Disney might [...]


July 20th, 2010
8:24 am

I find Tiger’s comments intriguing because they suggest that it’s impossible to be interested in culture AND ‘comic books’ (I happen to think those are culture too, but hey).

I grew up in London, England with Greek parents and had visited practically every country in mainland Europe by the time I was 10. My parents still drive through Europe to Greece every year, and sometimes I join them. Now that i’m 30, the last few holidays I’ve gone on were to Rome, Barcelona, the West Highlands of Scotland… and Walt Disney World. I’ve been to WDW about 10 times since I was four, and I would go every year if I could, because it entertains me. I love the rides, the attention to detail, the (almost) guaranteed great weather, the way everyone there is grinning broadly at being able to act like an overexcited kid all day. And I don’t have children yet (she’s due in a few weeks. ;)).

Somehow my parents managed to bring up a culture-appreciating, museum-visiting, Philosophy grad, book-reading, writer-by-profession daughter who both visits beautiful and interesting cities around the world AND appreciates great animated films and a couple of weeks enjoying a theme park. I was never allowed excessive treats (I have one stuffed animal and a pair of mouse ears), either, so it wasn’t about the commercialism.

My husband thought he’d hate Disney because of the queues, heat, people and sales pitches, until I talked him into taking our honeymoon there. Now he’s wondering when we can afford the next trip.

I say mix it up. It doesn’t have to be ALL Disney, and it doesn’t have to be NO Disney. If it doesn’t work for you and your family, don’t go; I just don’t see the reason to hate. I got some seriously snooty attitude from some people when they found out where we were going on honeymoon, but I just pitied them for being so impolite and narrow-minded!

Lady Strange

July 20th, 2010
8:44 am

I have never been to Disney. I plan to take my son though when he is older (maybe 4 or 5). I have always wanted to go so it will be an experience for both of us. I hate lines and crowds too so we will most likely go in the off season. Not something we will do every year but at least once and if my son wants to do it again then we will see when we can go back.


July 20th, 2010
9:04 am

@penguimom..Also while you are in DC, go to the pier where they sell fresh seafood (if it appeals to you)..We took the little ones when they were 5 and they loved it..There is also a all you can eat seafood place there that y’all might like..It’s fairly expensive, but for us it was worth it..

Visit Georgetown..You can see the steps where the Exorist was filmed..It’s a really nice place to see..If you are driving, maybe you could go into VA. and see some of the caverns or tour MT. Vernon..No matter what you do, I think you’ll have a great time..


July 20th, 2010
9:52 am

1. I became a Disney theme park fan only when I was an adult. So I was never “indoctrinated” into it as a child.

2. Many of the complaints against Disney theme parks are not unique to Disney theme parks. When it is hot and humid at WDW, it is also hot and humid throughout the rest of Florida. Do you complain about that when you’re on the Florida beach as well? So this is more of a complaint of Florida weather rather than WDW theme parks.

3. The complaints on crowds are also not Disney-specific. In fact, Disney has better crowd controls that most theme parks. If you hate crowds, then you have issues not just with Disney theme parks. Your “hate” isn’t specific to them.

4. Both #2 and #3 can be avoided with better planning. Go to WDW in early February or early December. You’d be surprised how pleasant the weather is and how short the lines are. If you can’t go during that time because the kids are in school, then BINGO! You’ve hit the main reason why these places are so busy during those times. But don’t simply make the general conclusions that they are busy and hot ALL THE TIME! They are not.

5. There are TONS of websites and blogs on the ‘net on how to do WDW cheaply. Like any other vacation, you have to plan and do a little bit of homework before you go. Figure out where to stay cheaply (you can stay in a standard room, on Disney property, for less than 100/night!), and eat quality food for less. If you complaint that they are too expensive, you haven’t done your homework. Do anything, not just Disney theme parks, without planning and you’ll pay through your nose, because you just didn’t know any better.

6. I didn’t grow up in the US and have traveled to many parts of the world. I’m not short on seeing different things. I certainly am not here to recommend that people go to Disney theme parks exclusively in lieu of other places. But it is also unfair to criticize the theme park for what it is.

7. WDW has more educational and learning experiences than most other theme parks, if that is what people are also looking for. Walk through Innoventions at Epcot and spend some time there. For a theme park, they didn’t have to do this. It takes time, effort, money, and manpower for something that isn’t what guests at their parks expect. Yet, they continue to do it, and often, opening new “attractions” within this complex.

8. Disney theme parks are full of minute details that, as an adult, I can truly appreciate. We laugh when we walk “in the sewer” in Liberty Square, and why there are no washrooms anywhere in that land because there are no indoor-plumbing during that era. The original carvings and stories at the Animal Kingdom Lodge never cease to amaze us. There are tons of other details beyond this that, as an adult, you appreciate the theme parks even more, and keep discovering new ones with subsequent visits. Disney theme parks may appear to be aimed towards kids, but they were constructed for adults (the Dumbo ride sits two adults comfortably). All these reasons are Disney theme park-specifics, not just some generic praises that can also be lumped with other places. You’d be hard-pressed to find another theme park that pays THAT much close attention not only to the training of their cast members (employees), but also to the construction of the theme parks and attractions.



July 20th, 2010
11:55 am

zapperz, well said! Every point you make is absolutely spot-on, particularly with regard to cost. I spend less on a 1-week vacation to Walt Disney World staying on-property in a “Deluxe”-level resort, than on a weekend trip to New York City. You mentioned that you can stay in a standard-level room on property for under $100/night. Let me expand that to say that you can stay in such a room for under $75 a night, which is what I spent on a discounted room at a Greensboro, NC Residence Inn last week.

I am one of those who vacation there several times per year. The reason I can afford to do so is because I know how to save money on the trip to make it affordable, including park tickets and meals. I also travel to Europe and Asia. No, I am not wealthy. As the adage goes, knowledge is power.

Anyone who thinks Disney World is only for kids is missing the picture. Go there without your kids, and you’ll have a whole different experience. Good on you for pointing out the attention to detail that is lacking everywhere else. Take a long, leisurely stroll on Main Street USA and you’ll be blown away by the detailed touches.

If you just dislike Disney on principle, more power to you, and I’m glad I won’t have to stand next to you in a queue.

Long lines? There are ways to avoid that, and no, it does not always involve FastPass.

Crowds? Also can be avoided if you know when to go, down to planning which day you spend at which park.

Overpriced souvenirs? Not a Disney-specific problem. However, there are many places on property that offer quality merchandise in the $3 to $10 range. You can also get more expensive authentic souvenirs at a deep discount if you know where to go. Personally, I don’t buy souvenirs, neither for myself nor my children. I tell them “no.”

Weather? Sorry, you’re on your own there.

Judge if you will, but I love the Mouse!

Mark W

July 20th, 2010
12:11 pm

I’m not a parent so I’m outside the target audience of this blog… 24 year old single male but I found this blog post linked from “The Disney Blog” so I guess that lets you know where I’m coming from. Just wanted to respond to what some people have said…

@Terry Malloy “Plus, the whole deal was founded by an anti-semitic jerk.”

Not true. There is zero credible evidence that Walt Disney was anti-semitic. This claim comes solely from a poorly-researched if not outright deceptive book entitled “Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince.” The work has very little credibility as it has been widely denounced by other historians and biographers, and also contains the now-thoroughly-debunked claim that Walt Disney’s body was put in cryogenic storage. Sadly, due to late night TV shows and adult cartoons using the book’s contents for comedic fodder, the book’s claims are now widely accepted as true. They’re not.

@everyone else but especially Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

Disney isn’t perfect. At all. I love Disney and I’ll readily admit that. But when it comes to “how did they do that?” special effects, immersive themed design, and customer service, 9 times out of 10 Disney is the best of the best. Disney isn’t intended to be a substitute for all of the things that it imitates. Despite what Tiger says, I don’t think that Disney wants you to believe that. (Although, many of the full service World Showcase restaurants are staffed by excellent chefs, not “italian foreign exchange students” as Tiger says. You DEFINITELY can have a world-class dining experience at Walt Disney World if you’re willing to pay for it.) Furthermore, yes Disney is a business that is motivated by more than altruism and they can be quite expensive. But guess what? The airline that takes you to Australia is a business. Touring in Switzerland generally isn’t very cheap. The restaurant that you eat at in Rome is motivated by more than just altruism. That’s how tourism (and the world) works. I don’t see how Disney deserves being singled out for it.

Secondly, I’d like to second Alex that you can love Disney AND the rest of the world. I’ve been very fortunate to have had the chance to do quite a bit of traveling. I’ve been to every state in the U.S. and most of the U.S. Nat’l Parks. I’ve traveled throughout Canada, the Caribbean, the UK, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Japan, and Hong Kong. I’ve loved all of those places. I love experiencing new cultures, seeing new sights, observing new art, and learning new things. And guess what? A lot of my favorite memories are from Disney vacations, and if hard-pressed, I’d probably say that if I had to choose my favorite vacation destination, it’d be Walt Disney World.

Now, granted, Disney isn’t for everyone. But I would submit that a lot of people hate Disney because they approach it the wrong way. First of all, going to Orlando in the summer is hot; REALLY REALLY hot. Summer is the worst time to go to Walt Disney World for a whole lot of reasons. If you do it, take advantage of longer park hours by sleeping in, going to the pool during the day, and hitting the parks mainly in the late afternoon/night. No matter when you go, you need to pace yourself and not approach it as an “Orlando Commando” who has to see/do everything. The Walt Disney World property is twice the size of Manhattan. It is IMPOSSIBLE to see/do everything even if you had two weeks there. You need to choose what’s most important to you, plan on doing that, and leave time for sponanaeity and relaxation (just like you would on any sightseeing vacation). If a line is too long, DON’T WAIT IN IT! Get a Fastpass or come back at another time when it’s less crowded. I never wait more than a half hour (usually no more than 15-20 mins.) for any attraction. And above all, relax and treat it like a vacation. Even if you’re not “on an attraction,” the immersive, incredibly detailed themed environments themselves are attractions. Allow yourself to relax, slow down, and take it all in.

Mark W

July 20th, 2010
1:56 pm

One other quick thing to add since it was brought up by an earlier commenter and there is a lot of misinformation about this… The “Gay Days” events that happen at Disneyland and Walt Disney World are not sanctioned, sponsored, or endorsed by The Walt Disney Company. They are organized and promoted by an outside organization. Disney doesn’t promote the event, but they also can’t turn someone away just for being affiliated with it (not that they would want to). Disney probably doesn’t like all the controversy associated with the events (though that’s tapered off quite a bit in recent years) but I’m sure they don’t mind the additional business.

If you’re there during Gay Days, know that those who are there for the event identify themselves by wearing a red shirt. Plan your wardrobe accordingly to avoid any, ahem, “potentially unwanted attention.” I don’t know if this is still the case, but it used to be Disney policy that if an unknowing guest wore a red shirt into the park that day and complained, Disney customer service would comp them a non-red t-shirt.


July 20th, 2010
2:55 pm

I normally take two vacations a year, one to WDW and one somewhere else. I went to Puerto Rico this spring and will go to WDW this fall. WDW will be about 500$ dollars cheaper per person.
WDW is one of the cheapest vacations out there. To rent a house at the Jersey Shore in the summer you are looking at about 2500$ a week. To rent one outside of WDW is about 1000$ a week.

Theme park tickets are dirt cheap if you stay 5-7 days. The price is about 45$ a day. So that’s 45$ for entertainment from 8AM to about 11PM depending on time of the year. Where else will you get that kind of value. Even if you figure in 20$ a day per person for food, that’s still a good value.

I went to Hershey park last weeked. Ticket for the day was about 45$. Very few family attractions and no night time entertainment. We spent about 5 hours there. Plus we spent about 20$ on crappy food.

WDW is the premeir familty destination in the world. That doesn’t happen by accident or by ripping people off. There is a reason it is the top vacation destination. The people that I know that don’t care for Disney are for the most part, very cynical, and just about everything in life.


July 20th, 2010
3:40 pm

i am 16 and i am a Disney addict and it hurts to hear when people have such great hatred towards tohe one thing a actually like i don not like most things but the one company that i can trust is Disney of course there are somethings that need to change but what company doesnt have things like that i do want to work at the Disney studio in the near future

Open your eyes

July 20th, 2010
4:38 pm

I’m a 30 year old father of 2 boys with a passion for architecture, history, attention to detail, and value. That’s why I feel WDW makes each of my vacation dollars go so far.

I feel the people who least enjoy WDW share one thing in common – they keep forgetting they are in a THEME park, not an amusement park. There is a big difference. Six Flags (I worked there for 5 years) has random, disconnected attractions scattered about like somebody in the corner office couldn’t decide if they were running a water park, carnival or petting zoo. They had to have it all, so they do it very, very poorly.

For example, at 6 Flags you SHOULD be upset when you wait 45+ minutes in a roller coaster line that traces its way back and forth under a dirty, boring metal shack on hot, sticky asphalt. You SHOULD be upset when you are loaded into the vehicle by a rude 17 year old pot-head who has his iPod headphones dangling around his neck. You SHOULD be upset when your ride is finished in under 90 seconds and you are dumped unceremoniously back onto the hot, sticky asphalt with a sore and bruised back. Then you start to wonder, why was that called the Viper? I didn’t see any snakes?

At a (Disney) Theme park, you are immersed in a consistent and rich story. A Disney attraction starts in the queue. If you take a moment to look around, you will notice that every artifact in the queue is there for a reason – NOTHING is by chance. EVERY element enhances the story and builds anticipation for the attraction. For example, Expedition Everest. It’s not a roller coaster, as so many people think. By the time you have worked your way through the queue, you ACTUALLY BELIEVE you are boarding a train at the base of the Himalayas in Nepal in search of the illusive Yeti. And those artifacts you are looking at? They are ACTUALLY from that area of the world.

So, open your eyes, and experience each queue for what it can be – a self guided tour of artifacts, or paintings, or even a museum of sorts. Turn your time in line into an opportunity to explore that authentically themed subject matter. This all comes free with your park admission ticket. So, to the people who complain about value, I argue that it IS there. Do you need value shoved down your throat? I bet you are the same people who rush to the Empire State Building observation deck upon your arrival in NYC. There are things to be enjoyed passively if you take the initiative.

(And to those who need more examples of passive enjoyment/education;
In the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, note that the shutters are hanging crooked. That’s because at the time of the American Revolution, metal shutter hinges were melted down to make musket balls, and replaced with leather straps. As the leather aged, it sagged making the shutters hang crooked.

In the Norway Pavilion of EPCOT, look on the roofs of the buildings. That is real living moss, just like the ancient Nords used to cover their roofs.

In Disney’s Hollywood Studios, go look at the big dinosaur that acts as an ice cream stand. It’s not tacky or random at all. That’s an example of a type of architecture called California Crazy that was popular in California during Hollywood’s golden age. It’s a reference to Gertie the dinosaur, a 1914 silver screen star, and a milestone in animation history. But all you probably noticed was the price of a Mickey Head ice cream, right?)

Oh, and a side note, the Magic Kingdom has no black top in it. None. Walt saw a women’s heals sink into black top in Disneyland in the 1950s and didn’t want to be like the “rest” of the parks. Imagineers came up with a clever fix for our comfort and enjoyment so to @Anne who said, “All that standing around in lines on hot blacktop. No thank you!,” I say you’re welcome!


July 20th, 2010
6:22 pm

i am an unrepentant Disney fan. have been to disneyworld about 13 times my wife myself and my dad are going to Orlando for seventeen days in October and its costing us a total of 2,000 euros for flights and a condo. our son and daughter are going to new York in September for 5 days and its costing them 1,900 so Orlando wins hands down for value for money. i wouldn’t stay on Disney because its outrageously expensive although if i ever do win the lottery i would love to spend a night at the contemporary. why do we go back so much, simply because it allows me a 47 year old to be 10 all over again and again. one of the great things about living in ireland i can visit the rest of europe at the weekends for all the culture i want. so i get the best of both worlds

Christie c[

July 20th, 2010
7:54 pm

Enter your comments here


July 20th, 2010
7:56 pm

Sorry, my 2 year-old son managed to post that comment (or lack thereof) by rolling his giraffe over the keyboard.


July 20th, 2010
8:26 pm

I love DisneyWorld. There are so many things to do there that have nothing to do with the parks. Ever taken a fishing tour there? Rode the horses at the campground? Played golf or tennis? Rented a bike to ride at the campground? Taken a walk at the boardwalk? Don’t get me wrong, I love the parks too, but we spend just as much time away from the parks doing fun things as we spend in the parks.

As for the souvenir cost, it is as expensive or as cheap as you decide for it to be.

Old School

July 20th, 2010
8:41 pm

I’ve never been a fan of contrived entertainment especially when it costs a small fortune just to pass through the gates. I’ve chaperoned a few band trips to DisneyWorld. I mostly people-watched and the things I saw parents do was pretty disgusting. Evidently, because of the cost, some think they must cram as much into the day as possible (much like some approaches to all you can eat buffets) and the littlest kids get dragged and jerked around until it seems to border on child abuse. (By the way, the Aid Stations are probably the best spot in the park! You see all kinds of folks with the most interesting problems come in. . . like the lady with the tip of her tongue snatched off when she froze it to a frozen treat and yanked it loose!)

Give me hiking trails, Brookgreen Gardens, the beach in November, or some other slow paced adventure where I can chat with my family and breathe in life!


July 20th, 2010
9:29 pm

I hate Disney because they pander to gays

There's a reason Epcot has a bar

July 20th, 2010
9:36 pm

If you don’t mind staying outside the park, you can book a nice hotel room on Priceline or Hotwire for as little as $30. And these aren’t on the other side of Florida, they are on US 192, less than two miles from the parks. Disney, as a corporation, is a marketing genius, but so are Wal-Mart and Chick-Fil-A.


July 20th, 2010
9:36 pm

We’ve taken our kids (some of them now adults) to a Disney property (Disneyland until last year, then Disney World) about once every five or six years and have thoroughly enjoyed it. We’ve done other types of travel too — and while I can’t see making Disney an annual adventure, as a special destination once in a while it has been a lot of fun.

We actually thought that Disney World last year was a pretty good value; there’s a wide variety of parks, Disney’s “low-end” hotels are quite comfortable, transportation in the park system is free, and options are available to keep food costs in check. Other than food, we spent very little beyond our hotel/admission package. We went in February, so it wasn’t terribly hot and the lines were seldom long.

I say, take the kids to national parks, historical sites, the beaches and (if you can afford it) foreign countries. But don’t deny them this bit of Americana that makes for great family memories.


July 20th, 2010
9:40 pm

If you go to Disney, you have to have the right mind-set first:

1) It is NOT a vacation; it is a trip. You are completely exhausted afterwards.
2) If you go for more than one day, leave the park during the heat of the day, go back to your hotel room, and take a nap!
3) It’s going to be hot.
4) There will be long lines, but you can by-pass some of these with the fast pass option.
5) You can take food in with you.

We also have opted to wait until our boys are older so that we don’t have to spend time in the small kids’ section, nor will we have to deal with whiny little ones. We have taken the boys to Disney for one day before – we did a tour-the-timeshare deal and got two free tickets. We stopped on our way to the beach.

joe taxpayer

July 20th, 2010
9:46 pm

I love WDW. Its fun and the kids love it also. Its not for everyone. We also spent a week in Seaside Fla. and there is commericaliztion there too. I am glad its expensive, could you believe the lines if it were cheap. I am so glad that we are blessed to live in a land with so many choices. I bet some Disney haters just can not stand seeing people have a good time doing something that they disapprove of.

[...] Are you a Disney hater?Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Are you a Disney Hater? Do you refuse to take your kids to Disney World, Disney Land or even EuroDisney? Do you hate Disney movies, toys and paraphernalia? … [...]


July 20th, 2010
11:02 pm

I was so happy to go to Disney World this year! When I shared this joy on Facebook one of my friends started berating me for loving it so much, something about corporate greed, that it was against her moral standing to ever go to Disney, etc. It frankly put a damper on my excitement for that one day. But I thought she was a hypocrite because for someone who is supposedly against big corporations like that she said she would on the other hand have no problems going to Universal Studios. So corporate greed aside it just came as a matter of personal preference to me. When I called her on it and asked to explain the difference between the two really she never replied. Score! Oh and I thoroughly LOVED my Disney vacation!


July 20th, 2010
11:04 pm

Throw me in the “hater” camp.

Never could stand that mouse, even to this day.

Visited once…best thing was the fireworks show.

Don’t like theme parks in general, so it logically follows that I would not like the “grandest” one.

I think the biggest reason I dislike it is similar to why I don’t like cruises…I’d rather create my own adventures as opposed to having them delivered to me. I’m not a fan of all-inclusive anything. My sister, on the other hand, loves that kind of stuff and has taken her kids to Disney World several times and they’ve had great times. For them, it’s so much easier because it is all-inclusive…to each his own.

As others have said, I’d much rather spend my time and money exploring the real world. Glad I went once…no need to go again.

Baldemar Huerta

July 20th, 2010
11:09 pm

Disney. Culture for the “Fred Whitebread” set.

Wendy D

July 20th, 2010
11:20 pm

Several of my siblings have gone to Disney repeatedly, both before and after they had kids. They love it. But me????? I was never interested and never would be. Yuck. Around 10 yrs. ago I had to go to Orlando several times for a professional convention and the hotel was inside Disneyworld. Even being there, not even going to the park, was just too much. I really do NOT see the appeal — heat, tons of tourists, people in costumes, long lines. The only thing I think would be cool is Epcot.

Yes, folks, I’m the kind of person who vacations in England in February. And LOVES it.


July 20th, 2010
11:30 pm

We took my daughter to the Magic Kingdom and MGM when she was 4. The entire time she asked “When are we going to the beach?” At the age of 7 we took her to Sea World and Kennedy Space Center and she loved it. We offered to take her to another Disney Park and she adamantly refused. Supposedly, 7 yr olds are too old for Disney. Again, she wanted to go to the beach. A few years ago we went to the big island of Hawaii and Oahu. The experiences of Disney cannot compare to those of Hawaii. We spent $1500.00 for the 3 of us to stay at a resort on the big island,food,rental car, and excursions. I never hear about the trip to Magic Kingdom(we did in same yr). However, I am still hearing about Hawaii. We try to spend our money on vacations where we experience new things, have fun, and hopefully get the opportunity to learn something new.


July 20th, 2010
11:56 pm

HATE??? Because someone does not go over board about your vacation photos you assume they HATE Disney ? Could it be that they don’t want to see your photos. Maybe, they are jealous or saddened that they can’t afford to take their kids to WDW. The ticket and hotel pricing have gotten to the point that many families from lower and middle class just can’t afford it.

We are fans of WDW. In the 90’s we took our kids 2 to 3 times a year. We purchased annual passes. We hardly go now. The prices are just way too high. Disney has lost the magic in my opinion. Disney has gotten it down to a science on how to get the most money out of you while you are held captive in their parks. They force feed you everything Disney. ABC, ESPN, Lifetime, Soap Channel, etc. Heck, you stay at one of their resorts they black out all cable channels not owned by Disney with the exception of local NBC, CBS and Fox. I am sure people don’t like that feeling. I know I don’t. The fact is I no longer feel like I receive the entertainment dollars I was did. I believe Disney is “Declining by Degrees” they are no longer having the street shows, live bands, horses, maintenance is declining, trash is all around. These are things that people notice. We went in June for a few days and we ate at the park 4 times. 2 were good meals and met our expectations. 2 did not and were horrible. One was the Rose and Crown that was supposed to represent the UK. The food and service was horrible. I met the manager and the Chef. Found out it was frozen fish and frozen fries and Disney owned/managed it. They make you believe it was all British fare…..not true. In China, we had a great meal. Not owned or managed by Disney. Disney is just riding on their image of the past and current management is killing a Great American Icon.

Jubal Harshaw

July 21st, 2010
12:05 am

I worked for and at Disneyland during the late 70’s and early 80’s. The company was good, the unions stunk, the people that came to the park…well they were people. The Disney ‘universe’ was destroyed by the practices of Michael Eisner. Under Walt, the park was a wonderful place. Under Eisner, well, the man fired 94% of the permanent employees, hiring them back as part time so he wouldn’t have to pay benefits. The bottom line ruled. Safety for the rides…well, preventative maintenance was a lot more expensive than insurance payments and occasional death or injury. You decide. Quality toys and products made in the USA traded for crap made in China. Guests maimed or killed because the costs of training and having a permanent supervisor were ‘excessive.’ Like I said. You decide. Used to be known as the “Magic Kingdom.” Now the employees call it the “Tragic Kingdom.” And that’s without getting into what Eisner did to Pixar, or the studio teams before that.

Annie Clark

July 21st, 2010
12:50 am

Used to camp on some of the land that later would become WDW. Watched from a few towns away, as it was built. Went down the road w/out of town relatives & visited The Kingdom on their tab. Went to Senior Night in High School (Disney in a full length dress, THERE’s an experience!) went some other time with a bunch of folks & got pinched on the ass by Tigger- I just figgered it was somebody I knew inside there, trying to say “Hello”. Then I started finding out about how the State of Florida basically gave Disney sovereign rights. How the EPA couldn’t get straight answers out of them. How rapes happen, but sheriffs deputies aren’t allowed to investigate- Disney security’s got it, Thanks anyway. Read Carl Hiaasin’s “Team Rodent” and a few books about the “branding” of children still in the crib…decided I never really need to go back again. I remember standing in the heat, in line, and getting the greatest reactions, as a scornful teen, when I said loudly: “Are we REALLY sure there’s not just a cattle car lined up behind the ride entrance?” YEAH! (Lord, teens are such jerks- even when they’re right!) It’s a small, plastic, fantastic world. When I hear that friends are going down, I beg them to take AT LEAST one day to see real Florida- before it’s all gone. Go to Ocala National Park, or anywhere that Nature is still 50% or more in charge. One shouldn’t go to Disney only & say they’ve been to Florida, cause it just ain’t true.


July 21st, 2010
1:22 am

I never much cared for theme parks when I was a kid. I do remember liking Epcot. But I could have taken or left Disney. In the end, I didn’t like how my parents drug me and my sister around so we could see absolutely everything at Disney, I didn’t like the other kids, I didn’t like the concessions, I didn’t like the rides, I didn’t like the lines. I didn’t hate the place. I simply did not like the place. As a teen, I refused to go to theme parks or amusement parks and haven’t been to one in 15 years.

I found the state and national parks better than the packaging and commercialism and materialism. I preferred hiking trails and that sort of thing. I still prefer it today and refuse any visits to Six Flags, even if it’s a free pass.

The word hate is too strong. I don’t hate the theme and amusement parks. I simply don’t like them for their crass commercialism, pre-packaged “fun” nature, the cost (if I went, I’d feel ripped off by the concessions. I have a natural diet and last I understood, the places won’t let you bring your own food, instead forcing you to chow on their highly preserved “food”), and most of all, the kind of people who go to these establishments. I don’t like rabidly materialistic people.

Give me nature. Let me paddle. Let me hike. I will visit the battlefields where men spilled blood and the monuments to American achievement and learn something new about the USA.

You can have your plastic world.


July 21st, 2010
1:26 am

My kids watched Disney movies, but we always read the original book that the movie was based on. (Walt Disney never met a book that he didn’t think that he could change for the better–but he came up far short of the mark on most.)

My kids, now in their 20s, never really enjoyed theme parks well enough to warrant the time and expense of going to Disney. I figured when they were kids that I’d rather stuff their heads with something other than fluff (my apologies to Pooh), so we went to museums and other cultural sites with plenty of “scope for the imagination”.


July 21st, 2010
2:22 am

I went to Disney when I was a kid and loved it (ok, except for the lines, and the waiting. . .90 minutes for a boatride!) At the time, Epcot had been nothing but a bunch of razed acreage. However, after reading and hearing how Walt basically screwed Florida to aquire this ‘magic kingdom’, not to mention that he was a racist cheapskate who took credit for other artists in his employ. . .well, I’m a bit jaded about ‘the mouse’ these days.

And Jimdogg. . .you do realize that the loudest gay-bashers are just in denial about themselves, don’t you?