Do the Memories of Disney Vacations Shape the Lives of Our Children?

By Amanda from Disney’s Cheapskate

I witnessed a proposal at the Magic Kingdom in early June, sitting quietly beside my three teen/pre-teen age children waiting for the Magic, Memories, and You! show to begin.  It reminded me that love is precious, life is sometimes short, and I pondered if the Disney memories I give my children now will affect their lives as adults?

Within 30 minutes of the proposal, my youngest son and soon-to-be 5th grader verbally started planning where he would propose to his wife. He has always talked about having a family of his own, and he thought the 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 an eleven-year-old.

Disney has given this child something to talk about with me for years, planning trips, chatting about 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 mom on vacation, I’ll be set up. I will miss our Disney planning 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.

My middle child and soon to be 7th grader reacted to the proposal by reiterating,”I am never getting married. Can we ride Space Mountain now?” This son has been saying he wanted no part of marriage or kids of his own since he was four, which I have to admit, tears at my heart. I have been married for 20 years, and I have three kids, a mortgage, and a dog. It doesn’t get any more family oriented than that. Him 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 this child he might one day bring a girlfriend or family to Disney, but I do wonder if watching all the families there will shape how he sees adulthood. 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.”

My teen-age daughter, starting 9th grade high school 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.

If only I can live long enough to see my kids married and happy. I have no life-threatening illnesses. 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 gunned down in the street for telling cars to slow down, I sometimes ponder the inevitable…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 aboard monorails and walking the dog around the block while planning the perfect Disney place to share a snack? 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.

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.

Like to see the whole story of the proposal?

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

Time goes by fast, so go hug your kids…

Amanda, Cheapskate Princess Extraordinaire


Come see us at Disney’s Cheapskate Princess on Facebook and Cheapskate Princess on Pinterest.

18 comments for “Do the Memories of Disney Vacations Shape the Lives of Our Children?

  1. Christina R.
    9 August, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    This is beautiful and beautifully written. I think I’ve read it about 5 times today! I don’t have kids yet, though I wish I did. When I was your middle-schooler’s age, I didn’t think I wanted kids, ever. I’m the oldest of 4 and had no desire whatsoever to consider marriage either, until I met my now husband. (For what it’s worth, we became friends when I was in 7th grade, too.) And even then, I didn’t want to have kids until I saw him with his nieces while we were still dating. That was all it took. A switch went off, something changed, and now we’re going to start trying to create a family of our own next year after I run the Princess Half Marathon in WDW. I always think my life is wonderful and as good as it’s going to get, but when I realize that one day I will share Disney memories with my children as well, and my children’s children, I know the best is yet ahead and motherhood will be the best thing that’ll ever happen to me, the universe willing. Thank you again for this wonderful post!

    • 9 August, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      Thank you so much for stopping by to leave this comment. Some days the things we write that took a lot of effort go unread, and I’m glad this one didn’t. Good luck with your family plans, and enjoy time with your husband until then!

      • Christina R.
        9 August, 2012 at 4:25 pm

        I’m not sure if you can tell or not, but this article has been making the rounds on Facebook today. I saw it in no less than 4 places so far, completely unrelated to each other, some of which have thousands of “likes” on them. Maybe people are just shy? 🙂

        • 9 August, 2012 at 4:32 pm

          No, I can’t tell. I better put my new blog address on it, in that case!! (Read the proposal article- I joke it’s the best thing I ever wrote, and that was the day I peaked!) And by the way, I have an old teacher that reminded me when I was 17, I said I never wanted to get married or have kids. 20 years of marriage and three kids later, I tell people you just never know what life will bring!
          Disney hugs,

  2. 10 August, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    What a lovely article. My 2 year old already talks non stop about her trip to DLP and can’t wait to visit WDW, I hope one day to be present at her wedding in the GF Pavillion 🙂 beautifully written

    • 18 September, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      I miss comments here sometimes. Thanks so much for stopping by, and I really appreciate your thoughts!

  3. 12 August, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    I would have loved to have been proposed to at the Magic Kingdom, but the man I married didn’t understand my love of Disney. He never liked amusement parks and for the longest time I couldn’t make him understand no matter what words I used that Disney wasn’t “just” an amusement park. Then one fateful day my family had a reunion in Florida, not far from the parks. I told him if I was that close, I was going. He grumbled and muttered, but tagged along. I will forever remember his question as we left that night and got into the car to drive back to our hotel…. “So, we’re coming back tomorrow open to close again right?”

    • 12 August, 2012 at 10:18 pm

      That’s it girl!! I think that’s what they made vow renewals for too…Thanks for reading!

  4. Misty
    14 August, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    This made me cry. I am going to save it so I can reread it several times.

    • 14 August, 2012 at 10:38 pm

      Thanks so much for your comments – makes writing worthwhile! Disney hugs…

  5. Jeff
    15 August, 2012 at 12:04 am

    I’m not a Disney Mom but I’m sure you don’t mind Disney Dads reading and replying. I came across this artical on my wife’s Disney travel agent page. It was a great artical, we also have three kids and LOVE Disney. I would be very surprised if all three didn’t have Disney as a part of their engagement, wedding, or honeymoon. We have so many wonderful memories there and like you… I pray that I live long enough in this crazy world to see them grow, get married and have kids that we can spoil with Disney. Thanks for making me go through so many memories and plan so many more.


    • 23 August, 2012 at 11:50 pm

      We certainly appreciate dads reading too. It is indeed a crazy world. Good luck to both of us. Thaks again for stopping by.

  6. 22 August, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    I loved this article! Brought tears to my eyes! My 3 girls are in grades 5, 7, and 9, and they all love Disney as much as I do! They joke around and say they are going to have a triple wedding at the Wedding Pavilion at the Grand Floridian. I do hope at least one of them decides to have a Disney wedding 🙂

    • 18 September, 2012 at 6:40 pm

      Good Lord, a tripple Disney wedding!! I hope you are clipping some coupons, and thanks for stopping by to comment.

  7. 28 August, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Wow, what a moving article, thank you for sharing so eloquently your feelings about Disney. As a child who grew up going on family vacations to Disney, I can say with a resounding, “YES!” the Disney trips do shape our childhood memories. I can remember planning and discussing and analyzing our Disney plans with my mom, and now nothing delights me more than to share that with my own daughters. In fact, we just had our first trip with the girls this summer (ages 3 and 4) and it was nothing less than magical. My sister and niece were there, as well as my mom and dad, and like my fellow Disney super-fans, we are already planning our next trip. In fact, we were reviewing our favorite rides the other day, and my four year proclaimed “Next time, I am going on all the rides we didn’t go on, and all the rides we did already go on”! That’s my girl!!! I am hoping the girls will look forward to our Disney trips for years to come and will be as excited as I was to plan with my mother.

    • 18 September, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      What a fabulous way to spend time with family- planning the next vacation. Thanks so much for stopping by, and enjoy those girls!

  8. Mariah
    18 September, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    As a teenager who recently had her mother pass away, I took a lot of issue with this article. Seriously, don’t wonder about death if you’re not close to it. My mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor summer 2011, went on a Disney trip with us while in relapse this past January, and she passed away this June. She enjoyed every minute of that trip, and if she was wondering if she wasn’t going to be there for the next one, she never let on.
    Obviously, this is just a personal issue I have. Nothing in the article was inappropriate or offensive except on a personal level. I guess, my point being, you should enjoy life and your Disney trips and bond with your kids rather than wonder what will happen when you’re not there anymore. We still talk about all the cool stuff our Mom did with us from our very first trip back in ’98.

    Just thought I’d shed a different light as someone with a different background.

    • 18 September, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      I am so sorry for your loss, and thanks for stopping by with your perspective. I teach 140 high school studente every day, and I agree, people your age rarely ponder their mortality. Being twice your age and attending more and more funerals, having three teens of my own, I frequently stop to ponder my mortality and the life I lead. By the startistics, my life is half over, while yours is somewhat beginning. I am glad your mom made the trip with you in ’98, and I send many Disney hugs to you and yours.

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