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Thread: Existential angst as a WDW fan?

  1. #1
    he's right
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    Existential angst as a WDW fan?

    I'm torn on this one. I've been spending a lot of time re-examining all kinds of decisions that I ordinarily make without thinking, and vacation destination is one of those decisions.

    Reading the past few front-page updates, the Resort sounds miserable. Lines become longer than I'm generally willing to tolerate by 60-90 minutes after opening, nearly park-wide, and you need to pre-schedule so much of your vacation that it is starting to lose some of its unexpected-surprise fun. The hotels continue to have saccharine "service" with ridiculous prices for the quality of the rooms. Food quality is iffy, and values/prices are out of line even for someone like me who doesn't think twice about dropping real money on dinner from time to time. I've not been in over a year, and I don't know that I miss it. I'm a lot less interested in some facets of the WDW vacation experience than I used to be. (I don't expect I will ever Drink Around the World again, for example.) And, been-there-done-that is probably a part of all of this too.

    On the other hand, someone who is very close to me went a few weeks ago, and had a grand time. The week provided them a respite from a difficult set of circumstances, and they genuinely appreciated it. Maybe the same would be true for my next visit? There's a good chance I will go next March when both of my kids and I are all on the same "spring" break schedule. But, there's also a good chance that I'd rather do other things for a little while to get my vacation mojo back.

    So, who knows?

    I recognize that asking "Is it time to take a break from WDW?" on this board is like going to a NASCAR fan site and asking "Should I still spend my weekends watching folks drive fast and turn left?" but still. Interested in hearing others' thoughts.

    (For the record: I enjoy watching folks drive fast and turn left, and have hit one of the Michigan races each of the last two years. But, that's in a track-side suite with access to a pit box, and that's absolutely the right way to do this...)

  2. #2
    josh's date at akershus stevenmilz's Avatar
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    I hate to admin that our family is starting to feel the same way. The excitement of going to WDW just isn't what it has been. We live in NW FL and have been passholders since 2010 or 2011 (can't recall which). Just for giggles, yesterday I made a spreadsheet of all our visits since our first one-day MK trip back in Nov 2009. We've been to The World 37 times over the past eight-ish years and have spend a total of 177 days in a Disney park (that averages around 22 per year, including 2011 where we spent the equivalent of an entire month - 31 days - visiting a park). Compare that to the measly 13 days we spent at WDW in 2017. We don't even have a trip planned right now despite the fact we have active APs. Our family would rather go on a DCL cruise than go to WDW. We've been on a 7-night in 2016, a 10-night in 2017 and we're going on the 11-night this summer. That said, those prices are skyrocketing too so even DCL might eventually not be financially worth the enjoyment we get. Add in the fact that my kids (ages 9 and 11) need to start going places other than Disney (e.g. DC, Williamsburg, etc). We're actually going to Atlanta for a few days over spring break next week versus WDW/Orlando. I don't think we'll completely nix visits to WDW but I'm actually thinking we might not renew our passes this year. I know, blasphemy!

    BTW, I've been a NASCAR fan for a long, long time (Jul 1987 when Dale Earnhardt Sr won the first race I ever went to at Pocono). Over the years I would go out of my way to watch the race every week no matter what was going on, even during college where I had to carry my TV down to the lounge where there was a cable hookup. These days I'll DVR the race and fast-forward through a lot of it, watching in about 90 minutes. The allure of NASCAR isn't what it used to be for me either, especially since Jr retired last year. My dad and I still go to the Brickyard every year (we've been to every one). Looking forward to the switch to September this year (hopefully cooler).
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  3. #3
    Senior Member beachta1's Avatar
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    I could see how one would feel that way... but I think a lot of it goes into how you plan to vacation and if you think it will feel and look the same each time. This trip was our first with a baby and it was really the first time I didn't have more structure. Part of that made me nervous but I needed to go with the flow with a baby. We spent more time at the resort swimming, didn't cover as much ground as usual and had an amazing time.

    No vacation is without stress or frustration, well-planned or not.

    I hope you find the Disney magic again!
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  4. #4
    the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts for him DopeyRunr's Avatar
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    We took about an 18 month break, which ended with a little mini-trip in January. We're REALLY excited for 10 days in July, which will kick off an annual pass. We plan on some new experiences (Club-level stay, Wildlife Trek) in addition to more fully exploring the lands (Pandora, Toy Story Land) and restaurants that are new to us.

    Beyond allowing for some novelty to creep back into the picture, that break freed up the time and financial resources to spend almost three weeks in London and Paris.

    I think after these annual passes (which will end in July 2019, shortly before Star Wars land opens), we'll take a year off and maybe do a (non-Disney) cruise to some Caribbean and Central American countries. Or possibly some travel inside the continental US to areas we'd love to see (New Orleans is high on that list).

    So, to Brian's point, we got some of our WDW mojo back and really enjoyed our non-WDW travel during our break. If time and financial resources for vacation travel are limited, I'd strongly recommend it.
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  5. #5
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    For us, I think it helps that we go to other places in between our trips to Orlando, and we try to have the annual beach week in the mix as well, as our true relaxing vacation versus go-go-go. It helps that WDW has had a few new things lately, so that next time we return, there will be something we haven't already done. Because, yes, it does start to lose it's magic (for me anyway) when it's too hot, too crowded, too often, too anything that isn't a positive. And as my kids have aged, the magic has "changed" too. Positives and negatives, I guess.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ChrisScott's Avatar
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    I have very similar thoughts. I think I caught the WDW bug at a zenith for visitor experience--we had those low crowds during the recession, nice enticements to stay on property, and my kids were the perfect ages. I am excited about all the upcoming additions, for sure. If I had to zone in on what causes some angst, then, what comes to mind is really very specific: Disney throttling capacity. And it's not just having to wait longer than I'd like; it's the attitude toward guests that the strategy suggests. It seems we're all pixels being run through an algorithm. I imagine a chart with one upward sloping line labeled "revenue" and one downward sloping line labeled "guest tolerance for crowds and waits" with Disney constantly tweaking service levels to hit where they cross. It's as if overzealous Econ 101 students have been given more seats at the table lately--same source of the continuing market segmentation (e.g. add-ons to get everyone on their utility curves or whatever) we're seeing more and more of.

    We'll be back in January and have a terrific time, I'm sure, but we're going to the beach for the kids' spring break. :-)

  7. #7
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    We haven't gone nearly as much as any of y'all - this year will only be our third since 2015, and that was the first time I'd been since 1998. We love going and there isn't any other place like it. Which is where I know WDW has us over a barrel and that can be bothersome. Several times since we booked this year's trip, I've waffled about how much money it all is and there are other things we "should" be spending it on. It doesn't help that I have a spreadsheet that shows how much less we spent in 2015 for a deluxe resort room vs. what we'll pay for our moderate (room on the high-end of moderate scale) this year. Or that Toy Story Land won't be open like we'd hoped (that's my fault for thinking Disney would follow "protocol") or their apparent recent manipulation of labor disputes or that they do seem to be trying to price out typical families (which they have every right to do in a supply/demand driven economy and I have no right to feel entitled to their vacation product). My husband wants to go again in 2020 with extended family and possibly multiple times but I may push for a year or two after that because we also want to introduce the girls to other places.

    On the flip side, every time we go it's a new experience because we haven't nearly done it all. So I think that I can understand that if you've frequented a lot you may just be burned out. Taking a break until WDW has enough new to offer or until it's been long enough that things seem new again is probably a good idea. Everything in moderation, right?

  8. #8
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    We've only been twice, but I can only handle a WDW trip if I KNOW for certain that it is not going to be my only vacation of the year.

    I find WDW fun, but certainly not relaxing.

    My one true love that I must visit at least once every year is the beach. If I could only have one week of vacation per year, that is always what I am going to choose, hands down.

    Luckily, we have been able to swing 3-4 trips per year recently, and when WDW is only one of a few different trips through the year I can easily enjoy it. I guess it takes the pressure off making sure the trip goes perfectly and that everyone in the family is happy all of the time when we are there.

    We also do WDW (and our other trips) as inexpensively as possible. At WDW that means staying in a condo off site, eating some meals at home, and not purchasing any extra tickets like after hours or special party events. We also do almost exclusively QS meals, and often share them, because being honest.... I've never been super wowed over any of the table service options I've seen for the price they want for them. (We obviously aren't on dining plan being off site, so looking at out of pocket cost is an easy way for me to say no thanks to most of those meals.)

    The crowds can be a buzzkill sometimes, but I take it in stride and if we have to miss something because we can't stand the crowds, we don't feel like it's the end of the world. We will go back another time and try to see it then.

    If WDW were the only trip I got in a year I would feel differently about it.

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  9. #9
    Senior Member pixarprincess's Avatar
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    I think it is totally ok to take a break for a while. We've started feeling this way about Disneyland (we live 20 minutes away). We don't intend to renew our passes when they expire in July (which makes me a little sad. We have so so many happy memories there). And, I am having a little fomo about missing star wars opening, pixar pier etc... But Disneyland is always going to be there. And going lately has just been crowded, expensive and unpleasant. I think its normal to want to do something else for a bit. And if you start missing it you can always book another trip.

  10. #10
    Senior Member runDisneygirl's Avatar
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    Yes, take a break. And don't feel guilty about it. I'm currently in the middle of an unintended break, with no foreseeable end. And I'm totally Ok with it.

    I went 5 times as a kid, and then since 1998, I started going again about every 2-3 years until I started runDisney. Then it got out of hand. I went too much, and it started to cost too much. It got to a point on a marathon trip that I didn't know what else to do in MK at 3pm. I was done. Did everything I really wanted to and started to question why I was there. Again. So I ride Pirates, and there I sit on the boat with nothing but my thoughts, wondering why I spent so much money to ride this ride for the 84th time, and yes, there's that hairy leg again. ( sorry to Josh, I can't imagine how he feels about such things!)

    Don't get me wrong though, I do enjoy being there with the kids. I've had my fair share of solo trips, and those were nice but I don't see me doing it again any time soon. It's more worth it with the kids. Seeing their excitement is worthwhile. And I would like to get them back there before the oldest graduates HS in two years! But with recent prices increases in every aspect, it gets harder and harder to justify the cost. Especially when there is a great big world out there for them to experience and enjoy!

    I didn't intend to be taking a break from WDW right now. I planned to run a race or two each year until I completed all the runDisney races. I was supposed to run last month and again at DL in May. But, ya know, life. Kids are expensive, especially the sports that mine have happened to choose to play/participate. I had to make a grown up decision to make sure our money goes where it "needs" to go, not where I "want" it to go. They ended up cancelling the DL races anyway, so that turned out to be a good decision.

    So here I am, with no WDW trip on the radar, and no clue when I'll be back again. At first it made me sad. But now? I sit back and watch all the complaints about the crowds, the anxiety of getting new ride FPs, the good and bad restaurant reviews, and oh my the annoyance of construction..... and just the general blah blah blah.... it all doesn't matter anymore. I'm happy for those who get to go, and I enjoy reading about some of the trip reports from time to time. But personally? it's kind of nice to not really care what's going on in the World for a little while. A new restaurant, you say? Meh. Not going, don't care. You get the idea! I don't want to say it's like a weight off your shoulders, but it kind of is. I know I'll get back again some day. But in the meantime, there's a great big world out there to explore instead! (and it's probably way less expensive too!)
    Tanya

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  11. #11
    wishes he had a pink frolicing llama under his tagline George's Avatar
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    We've been doing our 2x/year trips (Spring and Fall) for about seven years now. We get APs and get three trips out of them, planning our third trip before the Pass expires. Every time our pass expires we've said we'll skip the next trip, to give us time to catch up on DVC points, if nothing else. Haven't done that yet. But after April's trip this year, we'll seriously consider skipping our fall trip. After all, we haven't been to Kauai in a couple of years.

    As far as it getting "stale" for us, sure, it does a bit. We find ourselves going through the motions more often. We still have fun, but the spontaneity is greatly diminished. Some of the ennui has to do with the frustration over ever-increasing prices and having to plan our favorite activities/attractions because of the Disney's move towards making everyone plan.
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  12. #12
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    I think it's only natural and healthy to take a break. We haven't been to WDW for 31/2 years for a number of reasons...distance, expense and the desire to take other trips. In those 3.5 years, I have often jumped onto this site just to keep tabs on what's going on. Most of the time I'm terribly jealous of Josh's pictures and how often most forum members get to go to WDW. Oftentimes, though, I have thought "Ugh, that seems like alot of work, glad I'm not dealing with that!"

    We are going down for spring break this year and we are very excited in spite of the cost and crowds. All of the information that I have learned on this site will make our vacation as magical as it can be. Yes, I'm a bit discouraged by the crowds and the reports of diminished capacity and ride downtime, but I'd rather know about those things ahead of time and be prepared than to be blindsided. Will our trip be perfect? No way, but it will be magical nonetheless.

    I think I can maintain my excitement for WDW because we haven't been there in a while and because we have been able to show our kids so many cool things on other trips in the meantime.

    Sooo, Brian Noble, yes you can and should take a break from WDW vacations. However, I hope you do not take a break from this WDW forum because you are one of the folks whose replies always seem to make the most sense and provide the most information!

  13. #13
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    It sounds like your ready for a break.

    I've been thinking the same thing lately. We've been 1-2 times a year for 8 years now. And they are longer trips 10 days or so. Always the same time of year too.

    I think what has stopped us from getting bored is DD has grown up during the process. So, the things we do have changed. We aren't doing the same things with a 10 year old we did with a 3 year old. But the past couple of years it is the same thing, not much of a difference in what she wants to do at 8 and 10. I am looking forward to some of the new stuff coming out, hopefully that will keep things fresh.

    I have been trying to convince my family to try some other places, but they both still really want Disney. And I do love it and have fun. And I usually remember in a couple of years DD won't be interested in Disney anymore, and we will have plently of time for those other trips then.
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  14. #14
    living life to its fullest 3Caballeros's Avatar
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    Our personal cure for this Disney angst is to have a Disney vacation, but without the parks, every now and again. We, as anyone who read my trip report will know, camp in our RV and have enjoyed our 'no-parks-Disney vacations' so much that we are planning one for this December. With the exception of one MVMCP, we will be enjoying all WDW has to offer, sans the parks. For me, Disney provides us with "getting away from it all" unlike any other place can. Yes, I love our yearly beach trips but, inevitably, DH ends up on the phone with work or on the computer to fix some crisis that only he can address (I wonder if that is really true, by the way). HOWEVER, when we're at Disney, I think he feels he paid a lot of $ for the experience and isn't going to waste it by working. He basically turns his phone off at Disney unless we are going in 2 different directions and need to stay in touch.
    I know most people probably stopped reading after I mentioned not going into the parks but... it truly is so very relaxing to not be at rope drop every morning, stay out all evening, get to bed late and fight the park crowds all day long. Oh, don't get me wrong, we love the parks as much as the next 'easywdw' reader. It's just so nice to be immersed in all the Disney (restaurants, resorts, Disney Springs, etc.) without being exhausted my entire vacation. Plus, without the expense of purchasing park tix, we have a lot more $ to eat where we want and have more to spend than if we plunked down an enormous bit of our budget on tickets.

  15. #15
    Senior Member pixarprincess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3Caballeros View Post
    Our personal cure for this Disney angst is to have a Disney vacation, but without the parks, every now and again. We, as anyone who read my trip report will know, camp in our RV and have enjoyed our 'no-parks-Disney vacations' so much that we are planning one for this December. With the exception of one MVMCP, we will be enjoying all WDW has to offer, sans the parks. For me, Disney provides us with "getting away from it all" unlike any other place can. Yes, I love our yearly beach trips but, inevitably, DH ends up on the phone with work or on the computer to fix some crisis that only he can address (I wonder if that is really true, by the way). HOWEVER, when we're at Disney, I think he feels he paid a lot of $ for the experience and isn't going to waste it by working. He basically turns his phone off at Disney unless we are going in 2 different directions and need to stay in touch.
    I know most people probably stopped reading after I mentioned not going into the parks but... it truly is so very relaxing to not be at rope drop every morning, stay out all evening, get to bed late and fight the park crowds all day long. Oh, don't get me wrong, we love the parks as much as the next 'easywdw' reader. It's just so nice to be immersed in all the Disney (restaurants, resorts, Disney Springs, etc.) without being exhausted my entire vacation. Plus, without the expense of purchasing park tix, we have a lot more $ to eat where we want and have more to spend than if we plunked down an enormous bit of our budget on tickets.

    I feel you on the detaching from work. We cruise when this becomes a must. We are incapable of leaving work behind in any real capacity, so the only time it happens is when the phone literally doesntt work unless we call and pay extra for it to. We all need those breaks. We too sometimes do disney with very little park time. (mostly in correlation to a work trade show) and we still have a fantastic time.

  16. #16
    Senior Member nolarookie's Avatar
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    I feel your pain. We had been going a lot, 2-3 times a year. Once the kids were both tall enough and brave enough for the rides at Universal, we tried it out. I think I liked it the most since I’m the one who plans (and the reservation maker—who actually parts with the cash). The utter lack of necessary planning was a bit of a relief with other Orlando attractions. While we like Universal, we likely won’t go there as much as WDW.

    The cost for incidentals tends to bother me at WDW. Ticket prices don’t really bother me as much as comparatively quite high hotel prices and $16 hamburgers and $5 bottles of water. Of course we economize to make the most of our vacation budget, but that is once again, something that requires extra planning. I don’t mind paying for something that is “worth it”—but you’re not getting a good hamburger in the World for $16.

    That said, my family loves it, it is instant entertainment upon arrival, and it’s a great trip for us to take during Mardi Gras break. It think it’s like anything else, I try to find the good and enjoy it. I try to enjoy WDW for what it is and enjoy my family as much as possible while there without real world pressures of work/school/activities weighing on us. Even if that means driving around the Orlando area to find a decent burger.
    Brandi

  17. #17
    Senior Member cdmurphy727's Avatar
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    First, I'm glad I'm not the only one.

    Second, I think what I'm about to say is blasphemous or something like that, but here goes...I've always loved the planning aspect of a WDW vacation. Because I'm a planner by nature and the detailed structure fit well with my personality. The go-go-go touring style worked well for our family. We loved Disney (still do really). But then we went to Universal...and it was relaxing and fun and so much less stress than any Disney trip. I'm not saying Universal is better than Disney so don't think I've completely lost my mind or anything. It was just the experience of a more relaxing vacation while still being able to do everything we wanted and not wait in lines was eye-opening for me. When we took our trip to disney in January I didn't enjoy it as much as I had in the past. It just didn't have the same magic for me that it always had before. We still had a great trip. But I'm not in a hurry to go back.

    For me, a lot of that was because of the crowds. Not that the park was super crowded (although based on Josh's posts of the last week of January - which was the week we were there - it was more crowded than typical for that time of year) but just that my personal tolerance for crowds of people is lower than it used to be. My anxiety was a problem the whole trip. Standing in lines crammed in with a bunch of other cranky tourists pushed me past my limits. And I feel like Disney has taken away a lot of the touring advantages we used to gain by planning our trips well in advance. Add in the amount of money we spent for the pleasure of anxiety filled line standing...it just isn't somehting I want to rush back to.

    My daughter still loves it. And so we will go back. But it likely won't be until at least a year after Star Wars land opens, maybe longer.

  18. #18
    Senior Member mgarbowski's Avatar
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    I'm definitely on this train, though I haven't quite arrived yet at the station Brian is at yet. I'm not at all pleased with what FP+ has done to touring, making all standby lines longer, making pre-planning hyper-necessary, and I never wanted to plan this much, while Disney has then cut back on schedule publishing, and managing capacity during lower crowds (Chris's point about how this just shows a certain level of contempt Disney has for us), and, and, and....

    But I still have a great time, though it requires lowered expectations.
    But my family seems less bothered than I am (maybe because I do all the planning).
    And the changes have pushed us to try things we've never done, and spend more time on characters.
    And all the things everyone has said already.

    Really, the only positive I see from all the changes Disney has made starting with FPP is finding this site and the virtual friends I have found here. But on the whole I wish I never heard of a crowd schedule or touring plan.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    We've been going 2-5 times a year for the last 10 years and we are looking at cutting back and doing doing some different family vacations. Part of that is our kids are finally getting old enough to appreciate other destinations. Part of it is the balance is gone. I feel like the CMs just aren't as helpful or friendly. The guests are stressed, the CMs are stressed. The costs keep going up, waits are up, and quality is down. Sometimes I'm asking myself "how stupid does Disney think we are?" And I especially don't like paying for upcharge options and still feeling like everything is a hassle. Sometimes I feel like short of a VIP tour guide there isn't a hassle-free option anymore. Even my brother's family felt some of the magic wasn't there this last trip and had some not-so-fun cast interactions.

    It feels so odd not to have a fall trip planed, but we will likely skip it this year. We still have 2 trips this spring and will likely go next year, but we may go a full year (gasp) before heading back. And we will let my kids' APs expire.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Nia's Avatar
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    We don't go as regularly. Last trip was October 2016 and was awesome. Low waits, perfect weather, great experience. We Did LA, Disneyland California and San Diego 2017 and again - awesome time. We are more interested in going back to Sand Diego than Disney

    This year WDW again but will be taking few years break after. Not 100% sure yet but very likely. We also take other breaks - beach, city breaks in Europe (where we live), weekends away down the country. It's expensive vacation and we feel ready for break too. I just can't justify 10/12000 euro per year for 2 week vacation to place I have already been few times. Plus recent reports don't sound as much fun but trying not to worry too much about it

    I am looking forward for Avatar land and Toy Story, but will likely be back after Star Wars land is open - unless we score some really good deal.

    I am not sure if the pre planning is big deal as I do less of it now, and I enjoy it in way. If I had choice old fast pass vs new I would choose old, but it's not that big of a downer

  21. #21
    Senior Member Nia's Avatar
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    re long waits, we are ok with only doing the fp attractions and leaving to chill out around the pool. We dont try to do it all anymore. Sometimes reading too much on Disney forums can build up negativity too, that's how I felt last time. I felt wow, it is still awesome to be here!

    I can't imagine what it is to only go to Disney vacations all the time and I don't even view it as break from Disney - just exploring other things! Go for it, try something new!

  22. #22
    he's right
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    To address a few points folks have made:

    For at least the past dozen years, we've taken three weeks of vacation a year, with two weeks/year not at Disney. As a family, we've been to Paris, Hawaii, Sedona/Grand Canyon, DC, the Smokies, the Dells, Williamsburg, HHI, OBX, etc. We've also probably spent at least as many days in non-Disney amusement/water parks than Disney ones over the years. So, this isn't a case of "shake it up a bit and don't do Disney al the time," nor is it an issue with the time generally.

    The money isn't an issue either. We are blessed with being in a situation in which our means exceed our wants. That's largely because we don't want much: we aren't have-to-renovate-the-house people, and the late-80s vibe our house has had since we've moved into it makes that clear. We drive cars into the ground. We've lived in the house we are in for 14 years, and arguably still haven't completely furnished it. Both kids are getting the in-state tuition discount at Michigan, which saves me about $1/4M over the other options they were considering, collectively. (Thanks again to Berkeley for not admitting my daughter. As an alumnus, that would have been tricky.) And as I mentioned, I don't mind spending Disney-level money on meals and hotels, and do so often. It's not so much that Disney meals and hotels are expensive as it is they are poor values for the money.

    Finally, we've long ago embraced the "Vacation Kingdom" model of visiting the Resort. We spend a lot of time at the pools, hanging around the resorts, enjoying time on the lakes, walking along the pathways, sitting on the rocking chairs people-watching, etc. I'm even a founders' club member of the Bay Lake Society.

    So, the time and the money are not issues in and of themselves, Disney is far from the only thing we do, and we are already more relaxed about how this all works.

    I just don't know why I keep doing it.

    As I alluded to above, I'm in the midst of re-examining pretty much every facet of my life. And for most of those things, I've either figured out why I want to keep doing what I've been doing, or I've figured out what I'd rather do instead. For some reason, WDW is still in the not-sure-why but not-giving-it-up pile.

  23. #23
    the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts for him DopeyRunr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bnoble View Post
    I'm in the midst of re-examining pretty much every facet of my life.
    Are you sure you're not just coming here to justify your intent to purchase a sports car and abandon your family for a trophy wife? ;)
    Follow me on Twitter at: @DopeyRunr
    Blogging about running for fun at Disney and elsewhere with Team Shenanigans.

  24. #24
    he's right
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    I know you are trying to be funny here, but I am in the midst of a separation, not living at home, and likely headed for divorce.

    So thanks for that.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Nia's Avatar
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    bnoble, I am sorry you are going through hard time. I hope you manage to figure it out.

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