A Disney World Vacation: Can You Put A Price On Buying Memories?


why take kids to Disney world

Your Disney vacation is going to cost you a ton of money, but can you really put a price on the memories you make there with your children? I tell every new mother the same thing, “Time goes by heart-breakingly fast, so you better take a lot of pictures.”  And I follow it up with this, “The only piece of advice I will offer you? Take that baby to Disney.” They most-often don’t, of course, usually choosing to wait until Jr. is headed for pre-school. “Babies don’t remember vacations. Those trips cost a fortune. I want to take Jr.  when he is old enough to remember everything.”

Point taken. I took my babies to Disney, and they don’t remember a minute of it. I took a lot of pictures, though, so I have the memories. Time does indeed go by fast, and in a short five more years, all my children will have flown the coop off into the real world, where I won’t make their breakfast and wash their clothes. They are still excited about Disney vacations at this point, those trips that cost a fortune. I probably could have pre-paid for one year of college for what I have paid in Disney tickets and hotel rooms over the last 14 years.

What I am buying now is not just a vacation, which I can easily put a price on. What I am buying is memories for my children, memories I hope will lead them back to me in adulthood, and those memories, you cannot put a price on.

6 Cheap Ways to Keep the Disney Magic Going After Your Vacation

why Children love Walt Disney World

I witnessed a proposal at the Magic Kingdom last summer, sitting quietly beside my three kids as we waited for the Magic, Memories, and You! show. I remember wondering if the Disney memories I give my children now will affect their lives as adults. I want our happy times at Disney when they were kids to bring them back to me as adults for more of the same.

30 minutes after the proposal, my 7th grader verbally started planning where he would propose to his wife. He has always talked about having a family of his own, and he declared Cinderella Castle was a fabulous spot to pop the question. I told him I would always have a camera ready to capture the moment if he would have me along on his special trip. He hugged me and said, “Of course you’ll be there. Where else would you be?” Oh, if life were only as simple as seen through the eyes of a ten-year-old.

Disney has given my youngest child something to talk about with me for years, planning trips and chatting about the snacks we’ll share. We talk about our plans for my retirement in Orlando, and how he wants to get a job as a dentist and work there. He thinks we can live in the same neighborhood. If he can just find the right girl who will allow him to bring his mother on vacation, I’ll be set up. I’ll miss our Disney talks as he grows older and starts planning dates with cooty-infested girls and practicing his trumpet without me, but I hope the seed is planted.

Come back and visit me, buddy, when you are 34 and have your own children. I’ll hold their hands and walk them through the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House.

 Do You Have a Favorite Disney Child, and Would You Admit It?

Making memories with family at Disney World

My middle child, a 9th grader and high school school drummer, reacted to the proposal by reiterating,”Ugh. I am never getting married. Can we go ride Space Mountain now?”  This child has been saying he wanted no part of marriage or kids since he was four, which I have to admit, tears greatly at my heart. I have been married for 22.5 years, and I have three kids, a mortgage, and two dogs. You don’t get much more family oriented than that. Middle child not getting married is going to mess up my plans for playing with his children, my grand-children, in the sand in front of the Polynesian Resort.

But then, this is not my life, it is his.

So I don’t tell middle child that he might one day bring a girlfriend or a family to Disney, but I do wonder if watching all the families there will shape his choices as an adult. I just simply say,”I bet Space Mountain will still look like this when you have to help me out of my wheelchair to ride it.”

Come back to Disney with me, oh-kid-O-mine, because the songs will still be the same in the Tiki Room when my hair is all gray, and we’ll sit in the back and sing real loud, just like we used to before you got your own cell phone.

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Do teens love Disney World?

My teen-age daughter, 11th grade high schooler this year, stood up from the Magic, Memories and You! show and announced,”If I don’t get proposed to in front of Cinderella Castle, then the whole deal may just be off.” I laughed and said,”I guess I should have a talk with the boy then, once you are 28, and he can afford a ring. You have to meet him first. Don’t rush it.” I have to tell myself not to worry. She will find the right guy one day, and she will be stunning in a wedding dress, and I will be totally broke if she plans the wedding I anticipate she will plan. I don’t even mention you can get married at Disney to this one; I just keep it in the back of my mind. And maybe I roll some quarters and hide them in a sock drawer for the wedding deposit.

Come back to me when I am old and gray, my first baby, my precious girl, and bring that boy with the ring with you. I will be there with a camera and a front row seat in front of Cinderella Castle, Kleenex in my pocket and joy in my heart.

Like to see the whole story of the proposal?

The Absolute Most Amazing Thing I Ever Photographed at Disney World? It was a …

proposal at Disney World

It’s just a crazy time we live in these days. My goodness, the world was supposed to end days ago (this was originally written in December of 2012, you know the whole Mayan calendar thing?) yet here I am, planning my next Orlando vacation. I hope I live long enough to see my kids married and happy. I have no reason to think I will be any place other than attending two weddings and watching two sets of grandkids. Ok, three sets if middle child changes his mind. But in a day and age where people get shot in movie theaters, and little children die in school classrooms, nothing seems very certain anymore.

I sometimes ponder the inevitable, because I won’t always be here to vacation with my kids.

Have I done all I can to make my children the best people they can be?

Did I talk to them enough?

Will they remember our late nights sharing cupcakes in the Contemporary Resort, and walking the dog around our block while planning the perfect Disney spot to share a snack?

Will they remember enough to come back and hang out with me when I will be called “Granny” and not “Mommy?” I took them to Disney, and one night, we sat and watched a proposal together. For today, I’ll just have to hope that memory stays with them as a reminder that I was there, and that I tried my best as their mom.

10 Things They Forgot to Mention About Walt Disney World Vacations

where to propose at Disney World

Life Lessons With a Disney Twist: Teach Kids to Be Appreciative

For better or worse, in sickness and in health, I took them to Disney and we made some memories. What they do with those memories remains to be seen. I’ll forget what I paid for the tickets, but they won’t forget me crying through “Wishes.”  I’ll forget the price of the hotel, but they won’t forget riding the monorail at two a.m. that one summer night, just us by ourselves, my arms around them, humming “When You Wish Upon A Star.”

Hotel and ticket numbers come and go, but you can’t put a price on memories with your family.

Thanks for stopping by. Time goes by fast, so go hug your kids…

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Erin, our Cheapskate Princess travel agent

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  1. Mel says:

    I follow you on Facebook and the blogosphere but yet somehow in the process of writing my own piece about growing up Disney I found this in a google search. This post is just beautiful. I hope you share it with your babies when they are old enough to realize what a special mama they have. xoxox

    • Amanda says:

      Hey Mel! In scrolling down to answer you, I realized I had edited this post 25 times along with saving the photos. I always thought it was one of my best written pieces, yet it remains mostly unread. I guess it’s my little secret. And I made all my kids sit down and read it, and then we discussed the next WDW cupcake we’ll share. I am blessed- they are good kids. 7 years and they’ll all be off somewhere besides my couch. Thanks for stopping by, no matter how you wound up here. Hugs! ~A.

      • Berry says:

        Amanda, thank you for writing this. I was in tears by the end because we are so alike in so many ways. I cry during Wishes, I cry when I say goodbye to Main Street at the end of a vacation and I have”‘post-disney-depression” like you do. This story could almost exactly apply to my family, except for no one in my house plays an instrument (besides myself) and it’s my middle child who is the most passionate about planning our Disney trips. But the heart of this story is the reason I love that magical place so much, it’s where we make our favorite family memories too. And I don’t regret taking my youngest while she was still in diapers and has no memory of it herself, because I remember it and her big sisters remember it. You’re absolutely right, I only remember the good times from our trips,and not how much they cost. And as our family has grown into more expensive tickets and meal-plans (we now have a family of 4 adults and 1 child instead of 2 and 3) and our trip bill is literally $1000 more than it was 7 years ago, I still consider it money well spent. The memories are priceless, so really, we’re getting a good deal! 🙂

        • Amanda says:

          Gosh, don’t they grow up so fast, and aren’t we lucky to have those Disney memories?! I’ve mentioned retiring in 2 cities, Hattiesburg and Orlando, and while that won’t be here before I know it, it will be here soon enough. I open my classroom door every day with a Disney keychain and ponder the future. Thanks for reading!! ~A.

  2. Paige says:

    I love this article! It brings tears to my eyes. I’ve been going to Disney just about every year since I was 2. Took a break for a little while when I first got married and had kids of my own and now we’re back at it full force! My husband had never been until he met me, which totally blows my mind! How do you grow up and not go to Disney??? That’s just unheard of!
    We leave in 63 days for our annual Disney trip and cannot wait!!! I thought I was the only silly person out there who cries when I get there and cries when I leave and definitely have long Disney depressions upon return to the real world! We just got back from our first Disney cruise about 3 weeks ago and I think return home depression was even worse from that! It was a “dream” total pun intended!
    Thank you for your articles, I love reading them!
    BTW, my husband and I graduated from Southern Miss in Hattiesburg. that’s home for us but I think I might have to choose Mickey over MS for retirement!

  3. Silvia says:

    This made the tears well up in my eyes! We are going on our first trip to WDW in August. I’m so excited! Unfortunately, we were not able to go when our children were younger–our daughter is turning 15 this year and our son 13. My daughter decided long ago that she would rather get a Disney vacation than a Quinceañera. Not being much of a party animal myself, I seconded the idea right away! I hope the memories we make will stay with my children long after they are grown. I get a knot in my throat just thinking that those days are not so far away now. Thanks for this beautiful post.

  4. Jan Fry says:

    loved this post ! I , too, have taken many trips to WDW with my own kids, (who are now grown), and now my grandkids. And, yes, it’s just as much fun to go with the grandkids!( Better in some ways, you don’t have to be the sole provider! LOL)!! It’s SUCH a JOY to watch the little ones have the same reactions as my children did many years ago when we were watching fireworks behind the Castle…. We are going in 3 weeks to celebrate my youngest grandchild’s FIRST birthday. She won’t remember it , but we will! GranJan will have her camera ready (that’s ME!) and I’ll be there making memories for our sweet baby girl. And with lots of pictures, I’ll be in my scrapbook room looking at photos/sighing and remembering. And making them a memory book so they won’t forget. How fun to see my oldest son (now 41) and his brother (40) and look through their Disney scrapbook back in 1975! And subsequent trips (and more children) over the next years. (yeah, I have a lot of Disney scrapbooks made! HAHA)…… And, I even hate writing these words, AFTER THE TRIP IS OVER, my oldest grand-daughter will be bringing me some change for our DISNEY CRUISE JAR I keep on our island 24/7. that’s the big trip I want to take with all my 5 children/their spouses /my hubs and all 8 grandkids! let the savings begin!

  5. Mrs.AM Thank you for a great year maybe I will see you when I’m walking through the hall one day I will always say hey. I will miss you hope you have a great life.And you did a great job on your website.

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks Carson, both for the comment and being a great student! I will be around…come by and say hi!

  6. Robin says:

    I have read A LOT of your articles as we plan for our 1st family Disney trip (for next April) and I am glad I found this one! It brought tears to my eyes as I imagine the conversations we will have as we stroll down main street, the giggles as we fly on Dumbo, and the smiles as we meet princesses and Mickey& Friends. I AM SO EXCITED and cannot wait to make these memories with my 2 kiddos (they will be 9 & 7, turning 10 and 8 when we go in April 2015). Thank you for sharing your amazing tips, and thank you for writing this story. It speaks to my Mama heart and all that I desire for my babies!

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