Disney Curmudgeon (Dis·ney cur·mudg·eon): noun. 1. A person who possesses a strong dislike or disinterest of all things Disney.
I know my fair share of Disney Curmudgeons. In fact, I live with one. My husband, Michael, doesn’t share my obsession and love of everything Disney. He is a great sport (He dressed up as Smee and Mickey Mouse for me, so he must be!) and there are some aspects of Walt Disney World he really does enjoy. However, whenever I bring up a future Disney trip, his eyes say, “Really? again!?,” but his mouth smiles and says, “We can see about that honey.”
Although it may be in my nature to throw the book (and by book, I mean the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World) at him and spend hours explaining why Disney World is the best place ever, it would result in a negative outcome on both sides. Instead, working with him and catering a little more to his needs can reduce the stress and make our vacation much more enjoyable.
Disclaimer: These are mere suggestions. Feel free to pick and choose the ones that apply to your situation. Also, if you DO choose to throw the book at your Disney Curmudgeon, the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World has a section all about this under, “Special Tips for Special People.”
Understand their hobbies
When planning your trip, think about their hobbies. From there, enter activities into the itinerary that they would enjoy. Does your Disney Curmudgeon (or DC, for short) like to golf? Arrange a few rounds at one of Disney’s golf courses. Does she appreciate healthy eating and agriculture? Book the Behind the Seeds tour, which goes behind the scenes of the Living with the Land attraction at Epcot. Does he love being on the water? Rent a boat or go parasailing on Bay Lake! Think outside of the box when it comes to selecting your experiences. Help your DC see that the Walt Disney Company is not defined by its theme parks (which are incredible), but by a diverse world full of endless possibilities.
Let them take part in the planning
Since TouringPlans brought you to this article, I’m assuming you’re a manic planner when it comes to organizing your Disney vacation. Try handing over the reins (or at least one rein) and let your DC take part in the planning. As I write this, I just agreed to let Michael plan one whole day for our future trip next year. Can I turn off controlling-trip-planning-Angela? I better start practicing now! Start with one aspect (such as dining or finding a hotel) so as not to overwhelm him or her. Give them options and be patient. As I mentioned above, show them features that cater to their hobbies and interests. For example, Michael loves cars, so we made an appointment at the Exotic Driving Experience. He had a blast driving in a lamborghini and still talks about the experience to this day. Getting your lovable DC involved in the trip planning may adjust their expectations and allow them to look forward to your Disney vacation.
Stay somewhere quiet
When selecting a hotel on or off Disney property, choose a quiet resort. When I make room reservations, I pick a resort where we can enjoy some peace and quiet after a busy day. There are several to choose from on site, but Michael’s favorite is Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter. We enjoy walking through the beautiful courtyards and listening to the soothing jazz music as we relax by the pool. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Because Disney World is such a wonderful and popular vacation destination, crowds and lines inevitably accompany you on a trip to the parks. However, there are weeks throughout the year when park attendance is lower than usual. If your schedule allows, try to plan your vacation around those times. We try to visit in late January/early February between runDisney events when I know there won’t be a peak in crowd levels. Once on your vacation, limit how much time you spend at the parks. I’m a true believer in a mid day siesta. After a morning at the parks, my family heads back to the hotel for some down time before hitting it hard the rest of the night. It breaks up the day and gives you time to rejuvenate!
If your Disney Curmudgeon is an introvert like my Michael, then exploring a large park with thousands of people is not only exhausting, but very frustrating. If he knows our first day in Florida will be spent at the parks, he will most likely go in with less than positive expectations. Your first day of vacation, spend limited or no time at the four major parks. Try Downtown Disney, a nice meal at one of the resorts or even a trip to a water park. Keep it Disney-related so your DC gets use to that magical Disney atmosphere, but doesn’t get overwhelmed. Another tip (if you have the time) is to stagger park visits throughout your stay. Spend a few hours at the parks on day 1 and an entire day on day 2. Again, this will give him or her time to adjust to the atmosphere and surroundings.
Spend some time off Disney property
Let me just say, it’s not easy for me to come to Florida and not spend every last minute on Disney property. However, I will be the first to admit that there is plenty I’m missing out on. There are so many different attractions to experience in Florida: Kennedy Space Center, Sea World, Gatorland, a day at the beach. Breaking up your vacation with a day off property may be just the thing to press the reset button and turn that Negative Nancy (Or Ned) into a Positive Patty.
Take a time out
After days of constantly being around people, your DC may be down right exhausted. I’ve realized that when I notice Michael getting crabby, it’s because he needs alone time. I’ll send him to the ESPN Club to watch the latest game or let him nap or read alone in the room. Sometimes we’ll sit by the pool and enjoy a drink and leisurely swim. Although I love the parks, I will say that it’s nice to just sit and exist some times. Broken record Angela will again repeat: Siestas are the best thing ever.
Travel to a park-free Disney destination
A trip to the Disney parks might be just too much for your Disney Curmudgeon to handle, but there are plenty of other ways to get your Disney fill. Go on a Disney Cruise. Visit a Disney-owned property like Hilton Head or Aulani. Experience an Adventures by Disney tour. There are many other Disney vacation destinations to sink your teeth into that involve no time in the parks.
Cut them a break
This is the hardest one for me. I so badly want Michael to be having as much fun as I am. I’ve been known to annoy him to death during our trip by constantly asking him, “Are you having fun? Isn’t this fun honey? Isn’t this so great?” The fact remains that no matter how hard I try, I have to accept that he’s never going love Disney as much as I do just like I will never love football the way he does.
Epiphany: THAT’S PERFECTLY OKAY!
Our differences are what make us interesting. So while I rock my Disney side, you Disney Curmudgeons rock whatever side you choose!
Do you know a Disney Curmudgeon? What tips do you have for traveling with them? Let me know in the comments!