My family and I love all things Disney. We love the movies, we love the characters, we love Disney Plus, and we love the parks.
When our oldest son was sick, we took a much-needed family holiday on a Disney Cruise Line for our Make-A-Wish trip. It was a practically perfect vacation. Growing up, my husband and I have fond memories of traveling to Disneyland and Disneyworld with our families when we were little.
But we are doing things a little differently with our kids. Moving forward, we plan to take our kids to the Disney park of their choosing one at a time.
There will be no more whole family Disney vacations for our crew. Ever.
My husband and I are going to take turns taking one kid at a time to a Disney park sometime in their middle school years.
As a matter of fact, my husband and oldest daughter just got back from their trip to Disneyworld and their experience only helped to cement our decision to continue this one-on-one tradition.
Why We’re Skipping Disney With the Entire Family
Here are the five reasons we decided to skip the whole family Disney trip in favor of our one-on-one plan.
1. Disney is expensive!
So expensive, right? Going one-on-one doesn’t change this harsh reality of a Disney trip, but it does help with budgeting. It proved much easier for us to put together the cash needed to take one child and one adult on a Disney adventure than it would have been to save up for the entire crew to go. Also, we’ll have a little bit of time to save up again before our next trip. This way we can provide our big family with delightful Disney memories without breaking the bank or going into debt.
My oldest maximized her vacation spending potential by requesting money in place of gifts for her birthday and Christmas this year. Tip – buy Disney gift cards at Target with your RedCard. That way you get a 5% discount and your kids don’t have to lug around a bunch of cash.
2. We want to get our money’s worth.
Because of the incredible expense, most people who visit the parks want to do it all. But that can be hard to do when you have to schedule around siblings who still need to nap and when accommodating the excessive time delays that occur while managing tiny humans.
My husband and teen daughter powered through their experience uninterrupted by requests to fill sippy cups or the need for constant potty breaks. They didn’t have to keep track of a stroller or slow down to wait for a tired toddler. Nope, they were go, go, go morning, noon, and night!
3. Our kids have big age gaps and varied travel needs.
We have 4 kids and they are pretty spread out. Our children’s ages range from teenagers to toddlers. If we went to the parks together there would be a lot of dividing and conquering. I’d be riding the teacups with the little ones while my husband waits in line for Space Mountain with the older kids. We wouldn’t be sharing every moment as a family and my husband and I would be working pretty hard to keep everyone fed, hydrated, and safe. Fun might not be our highest priority.
4. We covet one-on-one time with our kids.
We love our big family and we don’t regret our decision to have a lot of kids – most of the time. Still, we look forward to the precious solo moments we get with each of our children. Of course, these moments don’t have to happen at a Disney park, but how fun that sometimes they can take place on the top of Expedition Everest.
Our kids like one-on-one time too, and we hope that their Disney trips will be a time for us to connect during the early teen years, a time when connection as parents and children is more difficult but so important.
5. Going one-on-one allows us to customize the experience for each of our children.
My oldest is into StarWars and fantasy. She and her dad focused their Disney trip on these passions. They made lightsabers, rode Flight of Passage multiple times, and spent extra time at Hollywood Studios. They planned the perfect trip for them. In a few years, when I get to take my younger daughter on her Disney vacation, I think it’s safe to say that we will do things very differently, as her loves lean toward fashion and animals.
Time will tell what the boys are interested in when they are teens, but going one-on-one allows us to spend our time at the places they want to see and to ride the rides that connect with their individual preferences.
Finally, I highly recommend using somebody to help you plan your Disney trip, whether or not you decide to go one at a time. We used Jake Franczyk with Dream Builder Vacations and credit his guidance with the success of our most recent trip.