Our family took a recent trip to Disney World and to be honest, I forgot to implement a lot of the mindfulness tips I truly believe in and have worked time and time again for us on other outings. It wasn’t a lack of awareness but rather a lack of reminders and a PLAN. It’s a common cliche you hear often; Disney is overwhelming and STRESSFUL. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
I vow to do a better job on our next trip, assuming we have one. I will be sure to read and re-read the tips that will make it a more mindfully memorable trip for all of us.
Nothing has been more magical for my kids than going to Disney World. I recognize the irony of a mindfulness advocate taking their kids to one of the most consumerism-driven places on the planet, but hear me out. Disney breathes magic into all of us. It just does, for better or for worse, and with a world that’s filled with constant toxic chatter, this “magic’ is a much needed reprieve from the fear and doubt swirling around us at all times.
This brief escape is especially meaningful for children who naturally do not over analyze the scripted sales pitches or the over priced Butterbeer. I believe a mindful person CAN journey through a successful Disney trip with ease and finesse, but it’s best to have a few tips stashed away for those chaotic moments you will undoubtedly have. Here are some top suggestions:
- PLAN. I know there are planners and there are those who like to play things by ear, but Disney isn’t set up well for those people. They have an amazing system in place to make your own itinerary through fast passes and reservations for almost everything. Take advantage of these tools to the best of your ability. It not only saves time and frustration, but you’re surely paying for it so why not use their perks!
- BUDGET. Budget it, then forget it. Most everyone is on a vacation budget and it’s important to stick to your financial plan as best you can. But nothing can squash a mindful moment like stressing about money and worrying you are going over budget. Budget out your trip based on what you can afford and aim to stick to it, but have some compassion for yourself if you slip up and spend too much on a certain item or experience. Forgive yourself and move on. Stay in the moment and don’t over analyze your mistake or fret about the future or it can end up dampening your vacation. It will do no good to ruminate too much over budget goals.
- REGROUP. Have a daily family meeting about the importance of staying present and focusing on gratefulness while in Disney. Kids can get ornery real quick when they are tired, hungry, thirsty or anxious so round the troops together for a daily reminder. Stay mindful of how lucky you are to be able to swing this Disney trip at all and give thanks to the complex ins and outs that go into each and every ride, show, restaurant, and character you interact with. It’s all so fascinating when you really think about it and are mindful about all of the moving parts.
- KINDNESS FIRST. This is crucial for a smooth Disney trip. The good news is Disney helps with this goal tremendously with some of the kindest staff I’ve ever encountered. They are friendly and helpful and just down right lovable. Disney as a company, while not perfect, prioritizes friendliness and customer service. Some may say this is a means to an end, but I like to believe it’s actually a value they believe in and it helps to make the world a better place. It’s a major part of the reason the vast majority of customers walk away calling it ‘the most magical place on earth’. Staff said hi to us regularly and smiles were passed out constantly for free!
- DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. This should be a sticker everyone wears on their forehead! Ok, maybe not, but my point is when conflict does arise, or a problem needs solving, ask yourself if this really matters and if getting angry will help the situation at all. In most cases, the answer will be no. So you are left with two choices; let it go, or problem solve with grace and cooperation.
- STAY WELL FUELED. This is probably the most important tip since it’s a requirement to help fulfill 1-5 tips. Get plenty of sleep, keep blood sugar levels stable (carry snacks – we love apple sauce pouches), stay hydrated, don’t over do it, and stay present as much as you possibly can. Basic human needs must be filled before the higher level functioning can be implemented effectively. I advocate strongly for the mid-day rest for all ages. Whether it’s a nap or just time to settle quietly for an hour, the time to recharge helps you get the most out of the day overall. It can make all the difference – trust me on this!
This list is a great reminder to go over daily with your Disney cohorts as constant reminders to get the most out of your trip. With that said, if anger, tears, anxiety or frustration takes over any one guest at any time, stay present. Let the mood take its course and move on. The sooner the emotions can settle, the sooner your crew can get back to experiencing all of the magic Disney has to offer. Happy Minding and GOOD LUCK!