By:  Dawn Gunther

It’s hard for us Disney Fans to imagine that there are people out there that don’t like Disney. We all know that a Disney vacation promises to be full of entertainment, excitement, and adventure and they ALWAYS deliver. With commercials that boast about memories that will last a lifetime: who could not love going to the “Happiest Place On Earth”?

IMG_0156    Sadly, there are people out there who don’t share in our love for big eared; big hearted family fun. Some folks just don’t get “it”. I know about this first hand and struggle with this issue when planning our family vacations. My husband doesn’t get my Disney obsession, which I can completely understand. I don’t fully get his fishing obsession either, especially since it’s catch and release. To me that is equivalent to shopping all day long and coming home empty handed, which would never be my case. To not be able to enjoy a Disney Park is another issue entirely and requires some strategic planning. I have managed to bring Hubby to Walt Disney World and Disneyland with great success. There are several key factors that one must consider when attempting to require a non-Disney lover to visit the parks. Visiting during the off-season is even more important since crowds will only help to prove any Disney disliker’s point.  Seeing crowds and waiting in long lines is a sure fire way to ensure they will never return. Remember, your goal is to succeed in EVERYONE having a MAGICAL vacation and not a miserable one.

First, consider what are your partner’s likes? Do they like golf, fishing, boating, fine dining or maybe just hanging out by the pool? Well as you know, being a seasoned Disney Fan, Disney has something for everyone. Taking this into consideration, I took it upon myself to book a private Bass Fishing trip for my husband and son with Disney Tours. They fished early one morning on Seven Sea Lagoon while my younger son and I did some much needed souvenir shopping. This allowed me to fulfill my shopping needs without boring my Hubby.  My husband and son enjoyed the fruitful fishing experience and were able to create their own special memories outside the park. A win-win for all!

Second, on vacation, your non-Mickey loving friend may actually want to sleep in. Like most hard working people, sleeping in definesIMG_0119 the word “vacation”.  “What do you mean we need to get there before the park opens”: is what you will probably hear if you so much as attempt this rope-drop ritual. If you can’t waver from your instinctive desire to be the first one in the park, then I suggest doing this once during a week long vacation. If you do decide to instill this military-like schedule, you will have a very unhappy soldier unless you leave mid-day for a little R&R. Heed my warning, allowing a non-Disney loving friend to leave mid-day has a high probability they won’t return the same day. Sleeping in isn’t all–bad so let them sleep. If you are an early riser, this gives you time to enjoy your resort while they are catching some much-needed shut-eye. When you do get to the park, your entire family will be refreshed all the way until the nighttime parades and fireworks. Not so bad!

Third, bribe them with food. Who doesn’t love good food? My Hubby is a foodie so this was easy. Be sure to book at least one Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) a day. I’ve been known to even do two ADRs a day depending on the length of our vacation and ages of the family members traveling with us. My sister calls my fast-walk my “Disney Walk”. Remember, not everyone wants to move at your pace. A nice break in a cool, air-conditioned restaurant may be more MAGICAL to your guest than you know. Remember, if you don’t see everything the first time (which you won’t), it’s a great excuse to return. Research the restaurants at the parks and select according to what your partner would like. Make sure you talk-up the restaurants you’ve selected before your trip as well as each day while on your vacation. This will hopefully encourage your non-like minded vacationer to get excited about their day ahead. Save the high dollar meals(California Grill) and special meals (Ohana) toward the end of the trip. You want to keep their excitement and anticipation up for the entire trip. Be creative!

DSCN0194    Lastly, schedule an off day. Yes, I said OFF DAY. This is the hardest for me. I’m a busy body and if I know that Disney is a stone’s throw away, it feels almost illegal to not be there.  When planning your vacation, ask your patient partner what they may want to do on vacation. If it’s in Florida maybe an exciting airboat tour of the Everglades would do the trick. If it’s in California maybe a day trip to iconic Hollywood and Beverly Hills for some sightseeing. Keep in mind that it’s quite possible your guest may just want a day off, doing nothing at all. If this is the case, use this day for your self with their permission of course. Disney offers some great tours. I’ve been to the park and experienced a tour by myself and had a great time. Don’t let some ones disinterest detract from your dreams. Be brave!

In an ideal world my Hubby would be mutually addicted to Disney and we would lie in bed at night discussing Disney trivia, upcoming changes to the parks and when we would be going AGAIN. (possibly wearing our ears) We would try to one-up each other and see who heard the Disney gossip first.  I’m fortunate that we have 3 boys whom I’ve been able to brainwash at an early age. Luckily, my sister Norma and three boys, Cameron, Ian and Landon are more than happy to accompany me on my numerous visits to the House Of The Mouse. I still hold out hope that my husband, Dave, will adopt a “can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” attitude. Until then, I will embrace our differences and consider him my lesser half. Everyone knows that the better half is the Disney Lover!

Dawn Guntherdawn gunther 77077-3476a

As a wife and mother of three boys, I am the only Princess in the house.
I’m a Radiographer, Mammographer, and Realtor. My love for Disney started from birth and was not easily avoided; growing up in Winter Park, Florida in the early 70’s. Disney was everywhere and that’s just how I like it still today. Now residing in Texas, I dream of the day I can get back home and live in the magic!