My step-son and his family just returned from a short visit to Walt Disney World and reports that he didn't have fun. I wasn't present for the conversation, so I have to take my husband's word for it, but a small part of me isn't surprised. I get it. Disney isn't for everyone. I've found there are four types of people living in their own camps. The first camp consists of those who've never been to a Disney park and are eager to criticize the parks and fans. The second camp are those who used to live in the first camp, but were dragged kicking and screaming and wept at the first sight of Cinderella's or Sleeping Beauty's castle (my husband lives here). The third camp is where the Disneyphiles live. They love Disney by osmosis. That's my camp. I love love love Disney. The fourth camp houses the saddest of the lot; those who've been to Disney and didn't get the fever, resulting in a rotten time.
I'm convinced the fourth camp wouldn't have fun at Las Vegas or New Orleans during Mardi Gras either. They hate crowds. They hate waiting. They want instant gratification and let's face it, you have to be patient to enjoy Disney.
I also believe to have a good time, especially when you haven't been several times before, it takes research. Our first family trip was not my first, but I still bought books, read blogs, visited the Disney website, joined communities that shared tips and experiences and I took notes. By notes, I mean I filled a notebook with must-dos, want to dos if time allowed, would be nice but not crucial dos, etc. Everybody going on the trip had one thing they wanted to do and we managed to do all those things. But if you're going to Disney for the first time and you think you can just wing it, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed.
My step-son had three days at WDW. They spent a day at Animal Kingdom mostly for the little kid stuff. Our granddaughter is nearly 18 months old, not exactly old enough to appreciate meeting princesses or standing in endless lines. That said, I suggested they spend time in Animal Kingdom to visit the play areas and to see monkeys. They spent a day at Magic Kingdom and split the third day between Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
I am a huge Epcot fan. It's my favorite park outside of the California parks. My husband tells me that his son thought Epcot sucked. I hear this all the time. I don't get it, but I can surmise that most people who don't like Epcot don't appreciate learning and expanding horizons, which is Epcot's objective. My step-son doesn't fit the profile, but he does require immediate gratification and Epcot is more of a slow burn kind of place if you haven't gone on Test Track or Soarin'. Since my step-son was busy pushing a stroller and standing in line meeting princesses in World Showcase, I can see why Epcot was a snoozer for him. Had he done his homework, he would've found the Three Caballaros ride in Mexico and the Nemo ride in The Living Seas, both of which my granddaughter would've enjoyed. If she was a little older, she would've hummed the Imagination song all day. I vow one day I'll take her myself. We can hum together.
Since we're going to WDW in December, maybe there's a chance we can talk my step-son into joining us. It's a stretch, but a girl can dream. I think if they're around true Disney lovers, they'll catch the infection.