Here’s the scene: you’re standing around the
water cooler keurig and you’re either recapping one of your recent trips to WDW or one of your coworkers is talking about possibly going. He’s considering it – his wife wants to, but they’re not sure. It’s expensive. The kids are young (here come the seeds of doubt).
All too often they come to this conclusion – “We’ll go when the kids are older and they can remember it.” <insert me with a death grip on the coffee mug trying to remain calm> This is the reasoning of a person who’s trying to get the biggest ROI from they’re vacation. I can understand where they’re coming from. A trip to WDW is a large investment. Our time away from work is precious. How can we get the biggest bang for our buck?
We place an emotional value on our memories. Deductive reasoning takes them down this path – any vacation that’s memorable, must have been worth the money spent to make those memories. But Disney World is for kids, right? I might enjoy it. My wife might enjoy it. But if my kids forget the trip, does that mean the money and time spent on the trip was a waste? I’ll just wait until I know they’ll remember it.
KNOW THIS: You are not buying your children’s memories. A trip to Walt Disney World is for YOUR memories.
If we used this logic in our everyday lives we wouldn’t celebrate our children’s first birthday. Why give them a giant cake to smash their hands into and destroy? They won’t remember it right? We celebrate those moments for our own memories, not theirs. A trip to Disney World is no different.
Some of my family’s favorite memories from our Disney trips came at times our children were too young to remember the moment. Those moments wouldn’t have happened if they were older. A 3 year old is going consume the world around them differently than an 8 year old. A 3 year old’s reactions to certain things can be moments you would never have had otherwise if they were older.
Case in point: we were dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table for my daughter’s 5th birthday. My 18 month old is sitting in a booster at the end of the table. He hated wearing shoes at that age. All week he kept kicking them off. Cinderella approaches our table for her photo opp and notices his shoe on the floor. She picked it up, handed it to my wife and said, “Oh, your little prince has lost his shoe.” My wife responded to her, not as a princess, but just as a kind person. “Thanks. It keeps coming off.” Cinderella’s response was perfectly in character. “I understand. It’s happened to me before as well.”
Her delivery was so smooth and so natural it took us a moment to catch what she said. It was awesome. It was because we had a 18 month who didn’t like wearing shoes that we are able to enjoy that memory. Sure we could have waited until he was 10 and we were guaranteed he would have memories of the trip. But honestly, if he’s kicking his shoes off at 10 because he doesn’t like wearing them – we have more to worry about than justifying the ROI of a family vacation.
I make an attempt to explain this to people on the fence and sometimes they understand and sometimes they don’t. And for those that don’t, and who also happen to invite my 2 year old to their 2 year old’s birthday party, I hear this little Donald Duck in my head telling me not to spend money on a birthday present, because they’re not going to remember it, right?
Just kidding. I’m not that mean.