What do you do when your non-Disney fan refuses to go with you on vacation? Do you choose another destination, leave them at home, or drag them kicking and screaming?
When they refuse to go on a Disney vacation, many times it stems from having a negative preconception about what a Disney vacation is like.
Disney still gets the reputation of being “just for kids” or “just for girls.” But, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Disney destinations are designed for everyone to enjoy.
Regardless of their reason for not wanting to visit The Most Magical Place on Earth, if you want them to vacation with you, you have your work cut out for you.
Choose the right Hotel or Resort
I’ve emphasized the importance of choosing the right Resort for your family on many occasions. But, when you’re trying to convince a non-Disney fan to travel with you, this is more important than ever.
Where you stay likely won’t be the reason they join you on your magical trip. But, combined with other factors, where you stay might make a difference.
Staying Off Property
You don’t hear me say this often, but there are many great reasons to stay off property. If you have a large family or points to redeem at a hotel chain nearby, staying off Disney property could be the thing that starts to grab their attention.
Disney Springs area hotels are great. While you’re technically on Disney property, these hotels aren’t owned by Disney. You don’t get to use your MagicBand to open your hotel door. And there aren’t going to be whimsical Disney touches in each room.
But, you’re still close to the magic. And since they’re Good Neighbor Hotels, you’re able to put together a Disney Package, get transportation to the Parks, and receive many perks that Guests staying at a Disney Resort gets. Unfortunately, Disney’s Magical Express is not one of these perks.
Staying at a Disney Resort
If you want to stay at a Disney Resort, the right choice may be one that doesn’t scream “I’m at Disney.”
This probably means eliminating Value Resorts. The giant sculptures of Disney characters give these Resorts a fun and very “Disney-like” atmosphere. Because my family does spend a lot of time in the Parks, we do stay at Value Resort most often.
But, non-Disney fans aren’t going to see these Resorts the same way we do.
The Moderate Resorts or the Deluxe Resorts are that happy medium. They all have Disney touches, but, on a much subtler scale.
If the budget is tight, consider booking during Disney’s famous Free Dining Promotion. It’s easier for us to justify spending a little bit more on a Resort when we know that all of our meals and snacks are taken care of.
These Resorts are also more likely to have the amenities that they will appreciate, like fancier pools, spas, signature dining experiences, adult only bars, and more… You’ll also find larger rooms, which is also helpful if you have strollers and/or ECVs with you.
Choose the right Resort and that non-Disney loving family member may actually feel like they’re somewhere other than Walt Disney World.
Appeal To Their Interests
Everyone talks about doing the Parks from “Rope Drop to Fireworks.” But, there are plenty of things to do at Disney besides waiting in hot, sweaty lines all day.
When thinking about what your non-Disney fan is interested in, you’re more than likely going to find it outside of the Parks.
Look Outside of the Parks
If they like fishing, go on a Guided Fishing Excursion. If they enjoy being on the water, rent a boat. Or maybe they’d enjoy a ride in an Amphicar, in Disney Springs.
Do they like to golf? Walt Disney World has full sized golf courses to keep them busy during the day. Families looking to spend a little time together may also enjoy a round of foot golf.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that will be special to them.
My husband has worked in restaurants ever since he was a teenager. So, one thing he enjoys is seeing how other restaurants run. Most people don’t know, but Animal Kingdom Lodge does a completely free tour of Jiko and Boma.
For approximately 30 minutes, Cast Members walk you through the restaurants, discuss the decor, and give you a few items to sample. You’re not going to learn any behind-the-scenes secrets. But, if you’re with someone who enjoys restaurants, or you want to learn more about Animal Kingdom Lodge and African culture, it’s worth a visit.
Don’t Overplan Your Trip
This is advice that I give anyone planning a Walt Disney World trip. But, it’s especially important to remember when you’re traveling with someone who doesn’t want to be there in the first place.
The last thing you want to do is make your non-Disney fan wish he/she didn’t come. And if the heat and the crowds don’t do it, detailed schedules will.
Unless you’re willing to pay extra for Special Event tickets, when lines for attractions generally aren’t going to be an issue, I do recommend having with some plans in mind. Make a mental list of priorities. What attractions are a must? What restaurant can’t you miss?
But, be willing to abandon your plans if everyone starts getting tired, sweaty, and miserable.
Show Them It’s Not All About The Parks
The biggest piece of advice I can give is to relax. Of course, a big part of a Walt Disney World vacation is the Parks. But, it doesn’t have to be the only part of your vacation.
Maybe this means booking a spa day or a signature dining reservation after spending the day lounging by the pool.
It’s easy to forget that Walt Disney World can be an amazingly relaxing place when the Parks are so close.
But, by planning some downtime, you’re showing your non-Disney fan what a Disney vacation really is.
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