If you’re hanging around this site, chances are you’re a mega Disney fan. Weirdly, though, not everyone is. Crazy, right? Even weirder, sometimes those people end up on a Disney vacation with you. Maybe it’s a too-cool teenager, a grumpy father-in-law or a penny-pinching aunt. In any case, there are a few steps one can take to keep Eeyore’s black cloud from putting a damper on your vacation. Here are my top tips for vacationing with a reluctant Disney traveler.
Don’t Go Overboard with Pre-Trip Planning
If Aunt Gertrude is already griping about the cost of everything from bottles of water to hotels, she’s probably not going to be into planning meals. “It costs WHAT to eat with Mickey?!?!” Approach once or twice for opinions and gauge the response. Sometimes, especially for those reluctant teens, knowing that they’ll get to do something they want (hello Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster and California Screamin’), they may not be so over the vacation. On the other hand, the amount of planning that can be involved in a Disney vacation may turn an already on-the-fence traveler off completely.
Don’t Force Fun
While the pre-trip excitement, especially when the countdown gets down to single digits, can often turn those frowns upside down, some Grumpies are steadfast. Once you arrive, make sure everyone knows plans are optional. If your moody brother isn’t into waking up early for rope drop, meet him later. If a character meal isn’t grandma’s idea of fun, show her to the closest counter service and go your separate ways for lunch. Give your reluctant fan the lay of the land and the plan for the day, and let them decide when and how often they’ll join the party.
Get Park Wise: Diners can be dropped from dining reservations without penalty. The cancellation fee only applies when the entire party is a no-show. Take care when booking pre-paid meals, though, such as Cinderella’s Royal Table.
While it’s de rigueur for the planner to make sure everyone is having a picture-perfect good time, some people just aren’t Disney people, and that’s OK. Don’t spend your vacation hoping they see Disney the way you do. If you do, you’ll cheat yourself out a fun trip. Maybe they’ll come around and enjoy the vacation in spite of themselves. Maybe they won’t. Encourage participation but accept a “No, thank you” and continue with your vacation. There is no sense in making everyone’s trip a downer because you keep feeling rejected and they are feel annoyed and pestered. Just know who will be staying home next time.
Have you ever vacationed with a Grumpy Disney traveler? How did you handle it?