The Do's and Don'ts of Traveling to Walt Disney World with a Muggleby Margie Binder, contributing writer
What's a Disney geek to do? We love our husbands, our wives... but we also love our Happy Place. Maybe you allowed "must willingly go to Walt Disney World with a smile every year" to be unchecked and married that person, anyway. We want to share our favorite vacation destination with our beloved without causing a rift, so here are some do's and don'ts for traveling to the Walt Disney World with that special "muggle"* in your life.
Consider these do's:
Do introduce the idea early
Introduce the concept of visiting Walt Disney World earlier in the marriage, and find out how often (or how many times) a trip to Walt Disney World can be done
The answer might be zero, but more likely, you will get an agreement of at least a trip or two. This commitment can change, but better to have an understanding early on than a battle every year.
Do plan other vacations
Plan other vacations with your spouse's needs in mind. Has there been a golf vacation on the wish list? Maybe a desire to visit a favorite relative 2,000 miles away? Figure out a way to make these things happen—with a smile—and you will have a more supportive partner for your Disney dreams.
Do plan specifically for your partner
Plan activities or meals specifically for your partner. This could be a favorite type of restaurant, a special activity with just one child, or a recreational activity outside the parks such as golf, horseback riding, or fishing. If you are traveling with children, use one of the childcare options available in Walt Disney World and plan a quiet date night.
Do offer to provide some alone time
The hyper-stimulating environment of Walt Disney World can exhaust the most ardent fan, but it can put a muggle over the edge. If you have not scheduled in alone or quiet time, watch for signs of Disney fatigue—cranky, tired, whiny—and encourage your muggle to spend the afternoon at the pool or to go take a nap, guilt-free.
Do leave your muggle home at times
Consider traveling to Walt Disney World on your own, or with one or more of your children. I have done this for the past five years with our three kids (12, 10, and 9) and it has been wonderful for everyone. I get my Disney fix, the trips are less expensive and easier to plan, the traveling child loves the one-on-one attention, and my husband is happy because he knows I am happy (and he probably gets to put in some guy time while we're away).
And then there are some don'ts:
Don't use guilt to motivate
Consciously or unconsciously, if you are telling your spouse, "If you loved me, you would be happy to go to Walt Disney World," you will guarantee a tension-filled trip and a foundation of resentment.
Don't run your spouse ragged
Accept that this will be a different trip than if you were traveling with someone who loves to get up early, ooh and aah at all the right moments, bask in the glow of all things Mickey, and happily collapse at the end of the day excited about doing it all over again in the morning. It's not going to happen, so plan accordingly by slowing down the pace, or making sure your spouse has time to slow down and relax.
Don't leave yourself out of the fun
While you make grand plans with everyone's needs and wants in mind, don't forget about yourself. Your spouse is not likely to enjoy the parks with your children while you go shopping, but you can certainly hang out at the pool, playground, or room for an hour or two so you can recharge. Just don't spring it on him. Give your spouse fair warning that you'd like a little time to yourself. If the bulk of the trip is planned with your family in mind, your brief excursion will most likely be supported.
Don't try to change your muggle
Try to avoid harboring a preconceived notion that your spouse will learn to love Walt Disney World. If it happens, great, but planning a trip with the hope that your work will be appreciated and the light bulb will go on in your spouse is not realistic. Plan the trip for the smiles it will bring to you and your loved ones, not because you secretly hope your spouse will come home ready to plan the next one.
Don't forget to be thankful
Sharing a trip to Walt Disney World with your loved ones is a great joy and often a dream come true. Ideally everyone in the family is on board with your love of Disney, but if not, don't despair. Use these do's and don'ts to communicate and compromise and your spouse may have more fun than he expects. Your primary objective should be the long term health of your marriage, not the short term fun of a vacation.
Perhaps the most important, I saved for last—start with gratitude. Gratitude that you have the means and opportunity to travel to one of the great destinations in the world and gratitude for all the non-Disney attributes you love about your spouse. And when you return home, express gratitude to your spouse for going outside his comfort zone and sharing the experience with you. Who knows? The next trip might not be as far away as you think.
[*Muggle – A word in the world of Harry Potter to describe an ordinary human, a "muggle" in this case can mean someone who doesn't believe in the magic.]