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What To Do When Your Significant Other Isn’t Into Disney

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Originally published February 14, 2018.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends. We asked you last week if you and your significant other see eye to eye on Disney. And Julia has the tally here. The natural follow-up is what if you’re one of the people whose travel partner doesn’t want to go to Walt Disney World?

This topic brought up some lively conversation on our blogger Slack.

First, there was the issue of the title, which was originally “Ways to Cope with your Non-Disney Significant Other.”

We had some feelings about that, starting with this one that I’ll keep anonymous:

From TouringPlans Slack: one writer said, "I can only dream of the ration of crap I would receive if I publicly described my wife's relative lack of enthusiasm for Disney as something I had to "cope" with. Hard pass."
Identity hidden to protect the innocent.

Followed by:

This how we really talk behind the scenes.

Then Rikki won the internet:

And Joe got the Stanley Kubrick prize:

We finally landed on:

And then the crickets started chirping.

In a weak moment, I said I’d take it. So here goes!

Here are some things to try:

Not go. There’s nothing wrong with not taking the trip if half of a couple doesn’t want to. Try another destination. Try a staycation. Ask yourself, is Expedition Everest the hill I want to die on?

Go alone. Sometimes I like to spend quality time with the person whose company I enjoy most. A solo vacation can be amazing: no one to keep track of but yourself, doing only the things you want to do. If this is an option, you should try it at least once.

Go with a friend. A Disney vacation can be a great time to catch up on the other relationships in your life. And you may be able to split some costs.

Cut back on how often you go. Maybe your partner is getting tired of Disney. A good compromise would be take turns choosing your vacation plans.

Mix things up. Do you only go to the theme parks? Try some of the other offerings like the outdoor recreation at Fort Wilderness, the Disney spas, or golf. Do you always stay in the same Disney resort? Try another one – there are more than 20 onsite and countless offsite hotels for your enjoyment.

Skip the characters–at least sometimes. Your partner may not have the same love affair that you do with a certain mouse. Not every meal can, or should, be a character meal. There’s so many amazing meals to try without character interactions.

Add in some other area attractions. Universal and Sea World have amazing intense roller coasters. Kennedy Space Center appeals to adults and kids alike. Go to the beach. Taken on some of the cultural opportunities in the Orlando area.

Have a plan. You know what isn’t fun? Walking through the park gates, turning to your partner and asking “what do you want to do?” Get your FastPasses when your window opens. Know what you want to see and make a touring plan. If you can minimize your waits in line, you’ll be a vacation superhero.

Include your partner in the planning. If everyone has some say in what you do from day to day, you’re more likely to keep everyone happy.

Or not. The first rule of Disney is don’t talk about Disney.

I do this for a living and still find the endless minutia of theme parks tiresome from time to time. So if you’re taking a trip and you see eyerolls when you talk about reservation windows or dining plan credits or park rumors, just stop. Don’t wear out the vacation before it even happens. You do you, but don’t expect that anyone else cares about it. Some people will be happy enough just being along for the ride.

Be flexible. There’s nothing wrong with bailing on a plan if someone isn’t enjoying it. If you’re in the parks and it’s not fun, take a break. Enjoy a pool. Have a meal. It’s a vacation, not a contract.

This is not your vacation. ©Disney

Chloroform. Bribes. Battle of Wills. War of the Roses. Maybe not all ideas are good ideas after all.

We wish you many happy vacations with your significant other no matter where you go.

Got any good stories to share about traveling with the Disney-reluctant? Share them in the comments.

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Laurel Stewart

Laurel is a former software engineer and current student. She likes pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and Big Thunder Mountain.

17 thoughts on “What To Do When Your Significant Other Isn’t Into Disney

  • Great article, thanks, Laurel.

    I’ve traveled to Disney over yrs with my mom, children, boyfriends, friends, husband, solo, now grown children & grands.

    All of sudden, I’ve run out of travel companions b/c my adult children have decided to travel elsewhere, usually with me but still. So glad I saw your article today b/c I was just thinking about which friends I could bring or smooze) along this year. Hmm. Unfortunately most of them (we’re all seniors now) are on a tight budget. But I’ll find 2 or 3, or go solo. You’ve reninspired me!

  • I’m fortunate to have a Disneyland annual pass and visit fairly frequently, despite living out-of-state. Ironically, this luxury is afforded to me because my boyfriend lives within driving distance of Anaheim. He is unquestionably super great and “puts up with” going to Disneyland with me. When I go with him, we usually only go for the day, so he’s not in misery for days on end—again, a luxury of living nearby. After going with him a few times, I learned the things he likes and doesn’t love, as well as the things he came to simply be comfortable with. Now when we go, I suck it up and agree to arrive after rope drop (so painful), I make ADRs at the places he likes to eat (I don’t have to eat Plaza Inn fried chicken for every meal) and I accept that it’s OK to leave before park closing and (GASP) skip fireworks/WoC/Fantasmic. He’s also good with walking around or sitting or doing Animation Academy while I do FP/MP or single rider on rides he cares not to go on. So as long as he’s OK with going with me now and again, I appreciate that and tailor our days to the things he likes. If I need a full-on experience with endless rides on Space Mountain and character meets, or want to stay for multiple days, I go with other people such as, erm, my kids.

  • I’ve always said there should be a Disney dating site just in case the first marriage doesn’t work out. Like the movie Must Love Cats but instead, Must Love Disney!

  • Commenters had some great suggestions!

    I’m the kind of Disney fan who reads the Touring Plans blog; my husband is the kind of Disney fan who reads the occasional article I forward from the Touring Plans blog. ha!

    Years ago I participated in a Disney chat with a fairly small group of regulars. One member of the group would routinely complain about her non-Disney spouse. Long story short, they ended up getting divorced and she married someone from the chat group. !

  • I have a different problem….my wife and I are equally obsessed with Disney (well maybe me a little more). I’d like to spend some time solo or just me and our son (not necessarily the whole trip, just an afternoon would be great) but she feels its a family trip and we should be together most if not all of the time! How do I get some me time?

    • Treat your wife to a spa afternoon while you go to a park!

  • So we alternate who gets to choose the vacation, and but try to make sure the other person would enjoy it was well.

    He chose South America (Chile and Argentina) but I got to do activities on the trip that interested me.

    I chose Disney our last vacation, but planned it with more sleeping in and more flexibility in order to make it more fun for him.

  • Have been twice with my SO – this trip I learned to ‘let it go’ a bit. Basically, I accepted that he didn’t want to see all the characters, and that the joy and adrenaline of being at Disney did not work for him, so the amount of sleep and length of time he wanted to be in the parks was not the same as me 🙂 We still did all of the dining reservations I had, pretty much did eat together for every meal, but I also spent time in the parks alone & I loved it – even though I didn’t think I would. I got to do whatever I wanted, without worrying if he was having a good time. I admit to feeling a little weird when I was asked how many in my party and it was 1 – but I actually met a few other people that were there alone because their S.O.s were not as into it and came to the realization that there were others that shared my obsession – I mean love of – characters & pin trading. 🙂
    He enjoyed it more & so did I. There aren’t a lot of other kinds of vacations that I want to do – if it is not Disney – I would just as soon have a ‘stay-cation’. Which is pretty much what we do other times.

  • Please write more posts that include behind the scenes conversations. It was very funny and interesting to see behind the Touring Plans curtain!!

    • I plan to. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • First trip with kids, my husband spent the first day with me and the kids doing every character and ride without complaint, but day 2 he went to the Space Center while we went to the parks. Day 3-5, kids and I went to park early and stayed late, but he would meet us in the park for lunch thru dinner. The kids and I got our Disney fix, dad got his relaxing vacay, and we all got enough family time.
    But since then kids and I have been 2x without him, and it’s totally okay. He enjoys the house to himself and we do our thing, without feeling guilty that dad is miserable waiting to meet Elsa. Next month kids and I are going with my best friend and her kid, and I am sure it will be even better since they are Disney Addicts too!

  • Love this!! Agree that mixing it up is good, and I especially think looking at your touring style + make a good plan could be key. When we run into folks not super into Disney then we explain what we do (maybe 1/2 is rides, at most!) they usually light up with interest. There’s so much to do and enjoy without having a “theme park” experience!

  • Disneyland person here. I usually go by myself but lately I’ve been planning at least one non Disney thing per trip. After all there are tons of things to do in Southern California, on my last trip I spent a day at Knotts Berry Farm and half a day at the Santa Ana Zoo. On my upcoming trip I’m going with a friend who is as into Disney as I am but we’re still going to get in some other attractions.

  • I have a timeshare that predates my relationship. My parents and sister have all relocated to the Orlando area, so we go at least twice a year for family visiting. We generally plan for two, or rarely three, days at the parks. I grabbed 10-day never-expire tickets the week before Disney stopped selling them, so the last few years, we’ve stuck with going to Disney. I think we have two or three days left on the tickets; once they’re used up, we will likely plan another Universal visit (we’ve been vacationing on the cheap the last few trips). I don’t do SeaWorld; I don’t like their behavior towards their animals, and I find the park rather boring. We might drive down to Busch Gardens at some point, too. We always plan a beach day (we prefer to drive down to Clearwater), and often a shopping day at the outlet malls.

  • Oh my goodness, laughed out loud at the “The first rule of Disney is don’t talk about Disney.” section. No significant other, but the whole thing perfectly described myself and my boys – have now made mental note not to go on and on about every little detail even if it is only 11 days until I can make reservations for Disney dining…


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