Traveling to Disney With a Partner
Who Just Doesn't Get It
by Whitney Yruela
The DIS Unplugged Podcast
Whitney Yruela talks about Traveling to Disney With a Partner
Discuss | RSS Feed | Add to iTunes | Podcast Main
Most people who have a passion for Disney have run into someone who just can't seem to share their enthusiasm, and when this person is your spouse, planning a trip to the parks can present a problem. I myself am married to a Disney stick-in-the-mud, but I have learned a few tips and tricks when it comes to planning and executing a Disney park outing. With a little creativity, it is possible to get your grinch to have some fun at Disney!
The first obstacle you will face is convincing your partner that another trip to Disney will actually be fun. This is always a tough sell. Disney isn't cheap and may not be your partner's idea of a great way to spend hard-earned money and the few days of vacation that they have. When your Disney vacation suggestion is met with the same look that you would have received if you had suggested flying to Antarctica to club seals, you know it will be a tough road ahead. This is where creativity and planning come into play.
If your partner is a foodie, likes golf, Star Wars, gardening or animals, or even if they consider themselves to be a beer aficionado, there are great activities to lure them to Disney with a grin, if not a smile. I really believe that if you look for it, you can find something to please anyone, even for those with the most discriminating tastes. For example, my husband never used to believe there was appealing food at Disney. He had a preconceived notion that it was all fair food - turkey legs, pretzels, cotton candy and the like. After introducing him to a few restaurants within Disney property, he now enjoys them, and this is one of the draws I use to convince him to make a trip to the parks.
If you are looking for a similar lure, take a look at some of the Disney special events like the Food & Wine Festival, Flower & Garden Festival, Star Wars weekends and the behind the scenes tours, just to name a few. You may find something special that appeals to that significant other. When you do find a corresponding interest, plan your trip around that. It may even be that a particular hotel interests them, in which case you could plan to spend more time at the resort.
Also, try not to go park commando on a Disney novice - this will likely frighten them. A lot. A typed itinerary complete with time stamps is what I'm referring to as "commando," but don't fret, dinner reservations won't label you a park commando. A laid back attitude to scheduling works well for my stick-in-the-mud. By planning your trip down to the minute, if your partner sees something he or she wants to explore or ride, they won't have the opportunity for fear of upsetting the schedule. It also tends to turn into a chore for them. Besides, if they find something they enjoy and want to do again, your trip planning next time around is that much easier. What I have learned is that a half-day can still be fun and eventful. My husband can't stand to be in the park from open to close, so part of my bargaining plan is to mention to him that we won't stay the whole day. You don't need to jam all the rides and attractions into one day for it to be special.
My husband does not like character interaction at all. This includes character meals and meet and greets. The fear that they may have to interact with the characters can put off a select group of people, so keep that in mind. When you run across something your partner can't seem to enjoy, try to steer clear of those rides or activities. For the longest time I tried to figure out why my husband disliked the fireworks displays at the end of the night. Finally, I figured it out. The massive crowds all leaving at the same time was very uncomfortable for him. So now we find a secondary spot to view the fireworks, which is nearer to the park exit.
To give you an idea of a non-Disney lover's likes at the parks, I have listed a few of my husband's favorites that I use to convince him to head on over to Disney World (listed in order of ease of persuasion):
Epcot - By far the easiest park to get him to. Drinks around the World Showcase works every single time - he loves this! He also loves the pizza at Via Napoli, so that helps too. The Food & Wine Festival, and even the Flower & Garden Festival, always draw him in.
Hollywood Studios - I have found that this park is pretty easy to get a non-Disney lover to enjoy. You have the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Toy Story and Star Tours, all of which my husband enjoys. Toy Story is his favorite here, likely because the ride is interactive and allows you to score points. Plus, if you look hard enough, you can actually find good food here, something I never thought existed at this park but recently found. [Hint: Grilled Vegetable Sandwich at the Backlot Express doesn't sound delicious, but it is!]
Magic Kingdom - There is really only one secret weapon I use for Magic Kingdom: corn dog nuggets at Casey's Corner. My husband loves these and I remind him of them whenever I want to visit the Magic Kingdom. This is actually the only thing he really likes at the Magic Kingdom, so I use this sparingly. If he's really hungry, this will work. He also likes Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (once again a ride where you earn points like a video game, which is a recurring theme here along with Toy Story), but that isn't a big enough draw to really get him to want to go. He also dislikes the parking setup for Magic Kingdom, which requires you to park at the Transportation and Ticket Center and then take a tram to Magic Kingdom. I usually promise a trip to Epcot after a quick jaunt to Magic Kingdom (complete with corn dog nuggets, of course). I am excited about the new Be Our Guest Restaurant because it will be the first time a restaurant in Magic Kingdom will serve beer and wine with dinner service. This will be draw for my husband and we will definitely check it out. Two of his major complaints about the Magic Kingdom have been the lack of an appealing table service restaurant, along with the park being dry. I am hoping that this new restaurant will satisfy on both counts.
Animal Kingdom - Once again, I tempt him with food. This park used to be a double-whammy because he loves the Yak and Yeti Restaurant and Disney used to serve the same Casey's corn dog nuggets here. There used to be a kiosk between Asia and Africa that served them. The nuggets were removed about a year ago and replaced with chicken wings, so that was a huge disappointment for us. We have yet to try the chicken wings out of protest. Both the table and counter service versions of the Yak and Yeti appeal to us and the selection of beers here is probably one of the best in Animal Kingdom. This is also the only park I can get him to enjoy a show, Flights of Wonder, as he is a bird lover.
The hardest obstacle to overcome when planning a Disney trip with someone who doesn't share your passion, whether it is for a day or week trip, is pinpointing and eliminating the reason for their apprehension and replacing it with something they can look forward to. It's not a simple task and actually one that I still have to overcome each we visit Disney. Planning trips to Disney as a group is a great way to make your outing into a social event and get your partner to come along, especially if there is another person in the group he/she can relate to that may not be as Disney-inclined as the rest. A Disney grinch won't tell you when they are actually having a good time at the parks, but I have discovered that on a few occasions, just a few, my husband has actually enjoyed himself and had a lot of fun (whether or not he will admit it). After all, who you go to Disney with is as important as what you do when you're there.
- Blog - Preview: “Saving Mr. Banks”
- Beaches and Cream will begin accepting reservations December 18 - This small soda fountain restaurant serves burgers, sandwiches and their signature ice cream desserts.
- Limited Time Magic: Secret Santa Week - Visit the Town Square Christmas Tree on Main Street and see Duffy in his Christmas outfit. Other Disney characters will be located around the park. Get a special decorated keepsake card from each one as a souvenir.
- Limited Time Magic: Tour the Magic Kingdom with Phil Holmes - 25 lucky guests will get to tour the park with current Vice President Phil Holmes.
- Blog - Best Places to View EPCOT’s Illuminations: Reflections of Earth
- VIDEO: Holiday Storytellers - The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs - New to Holidays Around The World 2013 at Epcot in 2013 are the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs. The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs play multiple sets each day filled with Christmas songs done the Canadian way on the Mill Stage.
- Blog - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Jonathan Groff from FROZEN
- Guests at All Star Resorts will no longer receive Key to the World cards - As of 12/2/13, guests at All Star Sports Resort will no longer receive a Key to the World card. All information for the resort and parks will be on the Magic Band you receive when you check in. This will begin at All Star Music on 12/4/13 and at All Star Movies on 12/6/13. This system is already in place at Pop Century.
- VIDEO: it's a small world Holiday Full POV Ride-Through - The happiest cruise that ever sailed gets even merrier for the holidays. it's a small world, the 1964 World's Fair attraction that came to Disneyland in 1966, gets a full overlay for the holiday season including decorations and a new soundtrack!
- Atlanta Braves spring training tickets now on sale - The Atlanta Braves return to ESPN Wide World of Sports for their annual spring training. Tickets are first come/first served and the games take place at Champion Stadium.
- Blog - Give Kids the World Village and Giving Tuesday December 3, 2013
- VIDEO: Gran Fiesta Tour POV Ride-Through - Donald Duck disappears on his way to a Three Caballeros performance in Mexico City and his friends, José Carioca and Panchito Pistoles, set out to search for him.
- Blog - Brewing Now: Joffrey’s Disney Parks Collection of Coffees
- Blog - A Brit’s Perspective – Visiting the UK in Orlando
- Specialty food and drink offered for holidays at Epcot - New this holiday season, each country will be serving a specialty food and drink.
- New bus loop at Magic Kingdom open - In addition to regular single stops, there are several double stops that will accommodate two regular buses or one of the new articulated buses.
- Limited Time Magic: Donate a Duffy the Disney Bear to Toys for Tots - Visit the Once Upon a Toy store or the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney and with every $5 purchase, Disney will donate a Duffy the Disney Bear toy to Toys for Tots.
- Limited Time Magic: Jolly Year of the Ear - Celebrate the season in style with Santa Mickey and Minnie Santa ear hats - only available for a short time at the Emporium at Magic Kingdom.
- Times and dates for Epcot holiday storytellers - Each country has its own special theme that highlights its culture. Storytellers will delight you with tales of their heritage and how the holidays are celebrated in their homeland.
- VIDEO: "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen in Celebrate the Magic - This holiday season, "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen is featured in Celebrate the Magic, the nighttime projection show on Cinderella Castle.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Main Street Plaza - Cinderella Castle - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Main Street Plaza - Cinderella Castle November 11, 2013 - Night
- Blog - Happy Thanksgiving from the Magic Kingdom!
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Main Street U.S.A. Bridge - Main Street U.S.A. - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Main Street U.S.A. Bridge - Main Street U.S.A., November 11, 2013 - Night
- Blog - Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom: Turnstile-Free!
- New holiday entertainment for the Canada pavilion at Epcot - Follow the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs on a musical tour to discover the country's holiday customs.
- Blog - Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights 101
- Royal Caribbean is offering a $200 Onboard Credit and 50% Reduced Deposit! - The offer is only available for booking on December 2, 3 and 4, 2013.
- Disney Vacation Club members offered event at Splitsville Luxury Lanes - On December 2 and 9 from 5-6:45pm, the experience will include bowling, shoe rental, a shared appetizer, an entree (or kids' meal), a signature beverage and a special DVC gift.
- Several rehabs added for early 2014 - The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Festival of the Lion King, Kali River Rapids, and the Studio Backlot Tour have all been added to the rehab list.
- Aulani named Best for Families by Fodor's Travel - Aulani was recently named "Best for Families" by Fodor's Travel in their "Top 10 Hawaiian Resorts for 2013" list.
- Blog - Review: “Frozen”
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Main Street Train Station - Main Street U.S.A. - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Main Street Train Station - Main Street U.S.A., November 11, 2013 - Night
- Limited Time Magic: Thanksgiving Treats Available - Special treats will be available at various locations in the theme parks.
- New Year's Eve dining info for Swan and Dolphin Hotels - The restaurants of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin will be offering special New Year's Eve menus.
- Walt Disney World Annual Passholders can save up to 37% at select hotels - Discount is valid for travel between 1/4/14-3/18/14, 3/14/14-3/29/14, 1/19/14-3/13/14 and 3/30/14-4/12/14.
- Blog - Why I’m excited to take my baby on a Disney Cruise!
- Limited Time Magic: Jingle Cruise poster giveaway - Celebrate the Jingle Cruise at Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park with a complimentary mini poster while supplies last.
- Several rehabs scheduled for the Magic Kingdom - Among the closings are The Plaza Restaurant, Pinocchio Village Haus, Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover, Barnstormer, and the Liberty Square Riverboat.
- Blog - Disney’s Newest Animated Feature “Frozen” Flurries Into Theme Parks On Both Coasts
- The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special to return? - Rumors are that the popular holiday version of The Comedy Warehouse will be returning to Hollywood Studios this year.
- Blog - EXCLUSIVE: Nikon becomes the Official Camera of Walt Disney World and Disneyland
- VIDEO: Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 2013 - What happens when you combine one 30,000 pound, 65 foot tree, one 40 foot star, 5500 twinkling lights, 430 feet of garland, 325 ornaments, 275 feet of strung popcorn, 400 flickering candles, 135 candy canes, 100 gingerbread cookies and the Disney Characters? Why, you have the perfect recipe for Christmas at the Magic Kingdom!
- Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Photography - Creative photos from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
- Christmas dining options for Walt Disney World - All restaurants on property will be open as normal, but some are serving special Christmas menus.
- Thanksgiving dining options at Walt Disney World - All restaurants on property will be open as normal, but some are serving special Thanksgiving menus.
- New looks available for the holidays at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique - Now through 1/3/14, little girls can choose from a Frozen Package or a Holiday Minnie Package.
- Santa Claus comes to Downtown Disney - At the Marketplace, you'll find Santa Claus waiting to greet you at his chalet in front of the World of Disney store.
- VIDEO: Josh Gad - Voice of Olaf in "Frozen" - Interview - Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf in "Frozen" and "World of Color - Winter Dreams" and Tony Award nominee for "The Book of Mormon", takes a few minutes to talk about how important it was to work on a Disney film that led to a theme park experience and the music behind it all.
- All guests at Pop Century will now use MagicBands - As of 11/14/13, guests at Pop Century will no longer receive a Key to the World card. All information for the resort and parks will be on the Magic Band you receive when you check in.
- Cheap Trick and Trisha Yearwood cancel SeaWorld performances
- Joan Jett tells SeaWorld to stop using her song
- Disney produces animated "it's a small world" web series
- Heart is the third musical group to cancel SeaWorld performance
- Willie Nelson backs out of SeaWorld Orlando's Bands, Brew & BBQ event
- Disney obtains distrbution rights to future Indiana Jones films
- Family sues Disney when woman dies from complications after a fall
- Disney's PhotoPass+ changing to Memory Maker
- WestJet debuts Sorcerer Mickey plane
- Seaworld Orlando's Shamu show closes for 3 months