We all know those parents. The ones who define their lives by some activity. We know families who are boat people. We know sports parents. We know horse riding parents. We also know church parents. These are people whose lives — and the lives of their children — tend to revolve around a a specific activity. Lately, we’ve become Disney people.
I suppose it was inevitable that we would one day pledge allegiance to the Mouse. We live in Florida, our kids are Disney-aged and our best friends convinced us of the fun of making bi-monthly sojourns to the Happiest Place on Earth. But you must understand that neither my wife nor I ever envisioned ourselves as Disney-types. In fact, I used to eschew Disney altogether, believing that they were hellbent on world domination.
Boy, was I wrong. Or maybe I was right and now they’re using my money to assist their plans.
Whatever. If there’s a place where my wife and kids and I can indulge our Star Wars fantasies, ride kick-ass roller coasters and smile from ear to ear, it’s worth it.
This post is not an endorsement for you to pick up your family and drive to Disney. This is a post discussing how we find these types of experiences during the ages and stages of our children’s lives and how they become meaningful and important for a family.
My grandfather used to say that if you don’t have traditions in your family, create some. I’ve written about that in the past. For us, Disney is now one of those traditions and it’s important because every family needs those places and activities to look forward to and to give order and connectivity to our lives. Each member of our family derives a certain pleasure from a Disney trip. Our youngest, 4, loves to meet his favorite characters. Our oldest, 6, lives to ride “Tower of Terror” or other exciting coasters. My wife loves the shows and shopping and I love to see the most important people in my life experiencing happiness.
And having other families that also love the Disney vibe helps. We visit together, giving the parents a chance to bond and the kids a chance to create lifelong memories with good and cherished friends.
If your thing is ice skating or baking, knitting or fishing, I’m sure that it brings joy and a sense of purpose to you and your kids, and probably at a much more reasonable cost than Disney, I might add. And that’s how we feel. This is an activity that we all enjoy and look forward to and planning and reliving our getaways has become almost as much fun as being there.
This Disney thing is probably a temporary deal. Someday our kids will grow up and will probably feel like Disney is for babies or little kids. They’ll be attracted to more teen-esque pursuits. And if they get into music or sports, motocross or gymnastics, we’ll become those parents. Because that’s what parents do.