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Kids these days and Disney World

Walt Disney World: Are kids these days becoming immune to Disney magic?

From Derek Morse
Posted January 7, 2011 at 4:45 PM
Over the past several years, I've been able to go on a couple family trips to the Magic Kingdom with some younger cousins that were visiting from up north, ranging in ages from 7-12, at different times. To say I was excited was an understatement. I had been to Disney many times, but these were going to be young children seeing it for the very first time. I had pictures in my head of there eyes lighting up in wonder and a smile on there face all day long, much like I was on my first visit when I was 6 years old...I could not have been more wrong. One of them cried and pouted all day because she was scared of EVERY ride...she wouldn't even go on its a small world becuase there was "water, and she is scared of water"...she literally went on maybe one ride all day. A couple years later, I went with two other younger cousins and one of them complained about how "boring" Disney World was and the other seemed indifferent to everything. They were happier playing in the arcade at the resort than being at the parks. All they wanted to do was go back to the hotel and watch TV and play in the arcade.

When my wife and I make trips these days, we can't help but notice all the crying children and yelling parents, and kids acting like they are in the most miserable place on earth...and that is early in the day!! So my question is: are kids these days just immune to Disney magic? In a world of high speed internet, cell phones, and video games, are kids just not interested in taking time and really enjoying the magic that is Walt Disney World? I'm 30 years old and my wife and I visit the parks frequently and I feel like a kid again every time. I can still vividly remember my first visit 24 years ago, and how in awe I was of everything...it just makes me sad that kids these days can't seem to appreciate it anymore. Does anyone have any recent stories of a kid just being overwhelmed by the Disney magic to restore my faith?? I think this could make for an interesting discussion...


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From damond harris
Posted January 7, 2011 at 6:04 PM
Oh man this sounds very different to me... Kids not interested in Disney? That's a shock. I mean being a 14 year old boy I can understand the second two cousins being bored. I'm not because I grew up at Disney, but older kids normally want excitement and adrenaline in there rides. Disney barely has the adrenaline rides a lot of kids want.

As for the younger girl, I really don't know. She might just have hydrophobia (fear of water). Or maybe another phobia ( you wouldn't believe some of the crazy phobias there are.

As for your faith in Disney, I have loads of story of kids in love with Disney. My 3 year old sister went with me and she loved it. She even cried when we left. And on facebook, a lot of my friends went to Disney and posted a butt load of photos of them having fun.

From Adam Nodjomian
Posted January 7, 2011 at 7:39 PM
I think the main reason that kids are miserable these days is that there are more attractions. Parents want to get the most out of their $2000+ vacation and will thus drive themselves and their kids to insanity. This makes unahppy parents=unhappy kids=unhappy parents (it's a continuous cycle). Kids that aren't used to days that last from 7am (or earlier) til 10pm (or later) without a nap and combined with miles of walking per day stretched out for a whole week will naturally be unhappy.

When I visted as a kid, my parents allowed my brother and I to have some say in what we did, also when I t came time for a more "big kid/adult" ride, our parents would switch off riding while the other did something to keep us kids occupied. This worked especially well with fastpasses. We also didn't stay in the parks late unless we had had a nap at some point. Parents need to be positive too or else the Disney "magic" will be few and far between.

In respect to the magic, I am also a teenager who absolutely loves Disney World. The feeling provided by walking down Main Street with that idyllic castle gleaming at the end of that long street is like no other feeling I know. I always feel so happy every time I go and I'm always sad to leave. Even the most dysfunctional family has to feel that magic at least once in their trip. whether it be during the fireworks at Magic Kingdom or something even simpler, seeing the kids asleep at the hotel nestled in their Disney-themed sheets.

I hope to take my 11 year old cousin to Disney World this summer. He has never been, my uncle's never been, and my aunt went way back in 1979 with her high school and she doesn't remember much about, plus it's changed a ton obviously since she visted. I too have visions of sorts of my cousin walking down main street or experiencing the Tower of Terror for the first time or enjoying the thrill of Soarin'. I know him pretty well so I think he will love, I really hope he does.

Personally, I just enjoy the magic of WDW and I try not to let those miserable people bother me. In fact, thos people provide free entertainment in my opinion, and only add to the many memories of your trip. I can't tell you how many times I've people watched while waiting in line for something. It's always fun (excpet of course if theirs a crying baby or a really annoying/whiny kid).

The "magic" will always be there for as long as WDW existseven if it's not as noticeable as it used to be.

From James Rao
Posted January 7, 2011 at 11:38 PM
I have three kids (13, 10, 7) and we have taken three Disney World vacations during their lifetime. They absolutely adore those trips, they talk about Disney all the time, and (just like Daddy) they often ridicule other parks (sorry, Worlds of Fun) for a lack of immersion and theming. I honestly believe they "get it" - they understand the difference between Disney and pretty much every other theme park company in the business (what we generally call "Disney Magic").

On a side note: our last DW trip was just a half a year ago in May 2010. On the first day of that trip, while we were standing in line waiting to get into DHS, my then 12-year old pulled me aside and whispered: "It is hard not to cry. I just can't believe we are finally here. Thanks, Dad," and gave me a hug. It was probably the single best moment of my ten day visit.

The wonder is still present in my family... and I hope it never leaves.

From Thomas Caselli
Posted January 11, 2011 at 2:27 PM
One person was talking about the crying children and the yelling parents. Even though Walt Disney World is an amazing place, it can be very overwhelming if you are there for the first time or are trying to do to much. I have been there many times and have done alot many of those times. The time we went 4 or 5 years ago was different though. We stayed 4 nights in the Caribbean Beach Resort and 4 nights in the Coronado Springs Resort. We only went to one water park and one theme park. The rest of the time was spent at our hotels swimming and such. It was one of the most relaxing vacations I have ever been on. Just because there is alot to do doesn't mean that people have to do it all, all the time. Sometimes it is nice just to do some of it.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted January 11, 2011 at 9:17 PM
I think its all relative of what the kids are into. I really think parents help/stop the problem for thinking that Disney is dumb. I will admit that, of all the WDW parks, MK is probably the one made for younger kids.

I find Magic Kingdom alot better during EMH without the kids and night. I adore going on Space Mountain at midnight with a rousing trip around the Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, and Pirates. Also, nothing tops Astro Orbitor at 1am.

As for crying children, there are many reasons why you see this happen. Kids are sometimes afraid of stuff and thats that. Sometimes they are caused by the parents overreacting and sometimes its the same reason why they are afraid of Santa: they just are.

However, most of the crying and yelling has to do with the hot weather, long lines, long days, missed naptimes, and general misbehavior.

DHS, AK, and especially EPCOT are much more geared towards older kids! I will look for a youtube clip of a commerical they made just for this issue! While dated, notice what and where they family went!

From Anthony Murphy
Posted January 11, 2011 at 9:42 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47KR3HT-kIc&feature=more_related

Still looking, but this one works too!

From Anthony Murphy
Posted January 11, 2011 at 9:44 PM
FOUND IT!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXcc26lDWig&feature=related

From Samantha McCrae
Posted January 12, 2011 at 5:25 AM
I am 18 and have been to Disney 5 times, and i'll tell you that everytime I go, I get a lump in my throat. I LOVE it, i'm almost crying just thinking about it. It is the greatest place on earth and when you are there, you can literally feel the Disney Magic :)
I agree with most of the above comments, kid's get cranky and tired and bored more easily than ever in this generation, and parents need to learn to take it slow and involve them much more.
Personally, I don't know how anyone, whether it be a kid or adult could not find Disney magical! I hope that when my 11 and 6 year old cousins finally get the chance to go to Florida, that I can tag along and see their faces as they enter Magic Kingdom, cause i'm sure it will be priceless. :)

From Roxanne Price
Posted January 12, 2011 at 8:55 AM
If you watch a family, especially one with small children, for a whole day, there's going to be moments of unhappiness. But generally, these are transient. A child does something childish, a parent snaps at the child, the child pouts/cries/etc, but fifteen minutes later, everything is fine. If you're at Disney, this typical family is now happily on a ride or talking to Mickey. For so many of these sightings of unhappy kids and families, you're only seeing a few minutes out of a day. But it's a normal part of raising a child - even on vacation. As for jaded pre-teens, many go through a stage like this (I did 25 yrs ago) and within a few years they're looking for magic again. Younger ones may not be used to crowds or the amount of stimulation.

From Colton McLaughlin
Posted January 12, 2011 at 9:48 AM
The first time I went to MK, when I was seven, I felt very indifferent towards it. I remember having a great time and being afraid of many of the rides, but I still had fun. I actually remember being afraid of Peter Pan's Flight but the day before, I was riding Tower of Terror like it was nothing. My point is, when kids are young, they tend to be afraid of irrational things and they don't understand how great the Disney parks are. I went again when I was twelve, and I really loved going to the Disney Parks for the theming and the overall atmosphere.

In my opinion, if you're going to bring kids to Disney, wait until they're nine or ten. This way they can enjoy it, and the fussing would be minimal. Hope that helps.

From Mabel Araya
Posted January 12, 2011 at 10:26 AM
I believe the parents have a lot to do, as some other people were saying. If they organize the trip, and if they feel excited about it, the children will be able to have a great experience. As for teenagers, some of them might have a bad attitude, but not all of them. My siblings, ages 14,18 and 19 will be going to WDW in a couple of weeks, and they are so excited, they talk about it every day! They are already looking on the web for new attractions and planning their visit!! We have all been to WDW many times, and we never get tired of it!!!

From Meow Mix
Posted January 12, 2011 at 1:26 PM
Great discussion. And I agree, from the point of view of my child-free marriage, we seem to be having much more fun at theme parks than the stroller pushers. We visit them with a certain detached irony. We know they're not glamorous and don't broaden any horizons. But the kitsch and the illusions are fun. I'm not sure this kind of entertainment has much staying-power with the next generation. Judging by the cheesy stage shows and the insipid food on offer, theme parks haven't really earned the interest of upcoming generations.

From James Rao
Posted January 13, 2011 at 4:31 AM
Insipid food? Disney? Sure, their hot dogs blow (bring back the all-beef dawg, Disney!), but compared to most of the theme park "chains", Disney's food offerings are exceptional. Besides, most kids like McDonalds...what do they know about flavor, really?

From Joshua Counsil
Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:40 AM
It's not just kids. I have an aunt and uncle that went last summer for the first time. The crowds were huge and wait times were long. My aunt and uncle slept in each day and didn't do any planning, so they were overwhelmed when they got there and had a bad time.

Hot, muggy weather, huge crowds, long lines, packed restaurants... Now, take that experience and add kids. Kids are spontaneous. They don't enjoy following itineraries. They want to do what they want, when they want to. Try explaining to a kid that you can't ride Pirates of the Caribbean now because you have to get to Splash Mountain first due to wait times. Adding to the problem is what seems to be a general decrease in parental discipline as time goes on and BOOM, you've got a bunch of children throwing fits in a theme park.

From Mabel Araya
Posted January 15, 2011 at 9:40 AM
Thats exactly what I meant by trip planning. We usually attend to theme parks during low season, never on US Summer time. That might be a different story.

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