We are all spending an enormous amount with our loved ones as we continue to self-isolate across the world. This time has brought with it so many challenges and stresses, but as my wife and I began wading our way through this new reality, I was immediately brought back to some lessons I've learned while traveling with her to Walt Disney World.
Whether your relationship is fairly new, or you are hearing wedding bells in the near future, visiting Disney World before you get married holds a number of advantages and learning opportunities on top of the already exciting atmosphere.
Here are the top seven reasons couples should visit Walt Disney World before they get married.
1. You discover the other person's preference for planning
Heading to Walt Disney World takes planning. Whether you’re booking advanced dinner reservations, FastPasses, or what type of resort to stay at, the need to plan is built into coming down to Walt Disney World. Not everyone’s a planner, however, and that’s okay!
Within the first couple of days after booking, you will see which of you embraces the need to plan and who might need a bit of coaxing to share an opinion or some of the workload in setting out your plans. You may have already gotten a handle for who takes the reins of planning, whether it’s who secures restaurant reservations or who wings it. That being said, there’s nothing like the increased level of detail a trip to Disney requires to bring out the hero planner in each of us or find out which side of a partnership is happy to take a back seat.
2. You can determine your ability to deal with stress together
Have you ever been caught in a thunderstorm unable to leave your precious shelter in Epcot even though you have an advanced dining reservation at the California Grill that you cannot miss but are unable to leave? Yeah, this type of situation happens all the time at Walt Disney World in one way or another. It’s stressful. It builds tension between you and your partner and is nearly impossible to avoid.
These sorts of situations do not happen every day in real life, but when they do, you need to know how your partner will react. Do you or they become combative? Is there a mutual freak out where no solution is found? Or, are you two so in sync that you either work out a plan immediately or laugh it off and enjoy the time together? There’s no right or wrong answer from learning these lessons about your spouse-to-be. You simply learn how the two of you react and how you can work through those differences in times of stress.
3. It forces you to compromise
Do you go out for dinner? Do you try that new restaurant down the road or do you go for your standard pizza place? Do you get a cat or a dog, or settle for a really nice cactus? These are everyday questions that partners discuss or actively avoid. Traveling to the House of Mouse forces you to come to a compromise of some sort.
From the rides you want to FastPasses to the desserts you want to share (or not share!) and the days your partner just can’t do another day of kids running around and parades clogging up the parks, there is a tremendous amount of compromise built into a Disney trip. Either of you could push your wishes on one another, but with so many decisions to be made before and after, there are only so many times the other person will settle with saying, “Whatever you want, dear.”
Compromise is not something that comes naturally to everyone. A trip to Disney helps you practice and learn more about one another’s motives and choices like nothing else I’ve experienced.
4. You get to see what your other half’s priorities are away from your routine
Does your partner avoid park close for a chance at having a private drink with you back in the room? Do they head straight for the gift shop instead of running to your first FastPass? You may already know your partner’s tendencies out in the world, but seeing what they are out in the parks and away from your day-to-day routine brings out all sorts of new information.
That routine helps create a foundation for what you know about your soon-to-be-spouse, but traveling to Disney opens up a new environment to see how you both interact with it. This is a wonderful experience to have if you haven’t really traveled with your future husband or wife.
For example, my wife and I had dated, traveled, and lived together for the better part of a decade before we got married, but our first Disney trip opened up our eyes to how food-centric my wife’s travels could be and how I am looking for experiences as opposed to eating or shopping. It would echo many of our personal preferences down the road that neither of us really saw before.
5. You have time to talk
Life is busy at the best of times. It is chaotic and messy. Work, friends, and family pull you in every which way making it difficult to find time to settle down and talk. This is even before you have kids! A Walt Disney World trip brings people together to actually talk. Talk over meals. Talk in lines for rides, lines for buses, lines for monorails...you get the idea.
This time to talk is so often overlooked because of our routines. We get to know our partner through that routine, but they are more than that. Having a chance to explore new topics around traveling, eating, people watching throughout the parks, and everything in between is precious time you can’t bank on happening all the time once married and family life takes over.
6. You develop an understanding of mutual budgeting
According to a recent study, more than 36% of American married couples say money causes the most stress in their relationship. That’s a lot of strife and tension that often stems from simply not talking about money. A trip to Walt Disney World is an investment. Even if you are not sharing financial resources yet, you will be and budgeting for a trip to Disney, and sticking to it while on property is a first for many couples.
You have the chance to budget together, compromise on choices, and generally work together on setting those all-important financial boundaries. For example, will you push for a small amount for souvenirs or will your partner recommend taking that money and put it into a nicer dining experience? These budget decisions are microcosms of thousands of budget choices you will have to make together over the course of your marriage, so why not use your trip to Disney as some practice.
7. You build memories that will last
Life will throw you a number of stressful situations. It’s unpredictable and as life gets more complicated and expensive filled with mortgage payments, kids, daycare costs, and less alone time with your husband or wife to be, it’s important to look back on fond memories to get you through those tough times.
Building memories together is more than simply having a good time together. The memories bring you closer together over time. They give you a foundation to reflect on your past as a couple and plan for the future. Remember, Walt Disney World was not created to be a place just for families with children. It is a place to escape to and experience at any age and as a couple nearing marriage, it holds so many opportunities to be gained.
Did you and your spouse go Disney before getting married? Was it as fun and filled with learning experiences as mine was? I’d love to know!