What’s most important about your family’s trip to Disneyland?

Let me just tell you right now: whatever you think it is, it isn’t.  The most important thing isn’t meeting Anna and Elsa (not worth it, in my opinion) or using your Magic Morning to beat the crowds in Fantasyland (definitely worth it, especially for Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Peter Pan’s Flight) or how many times you go on California Screamin’.

What’s most important is the time you spend together.

This is why my family puts such a big importance on vacations.  It’s why we have chosen to forego a bigger house and why my wife and I both work extra hours and more jobs.  The greatest gift I can give my children isn’t a big check after I die. The greatest gift I can give them is a lifetime ofmemories, shared moments that we can never get back and never recreate.  So vacations matter because it’s how I give my children the gift of what matters most: time.  It’s the one thing that no matter how I try to save it, I can’t.  Already, in the time it has taken to write this paragraph, my children are older and one step farther away from my home.

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The Disneyland Dad is dedicated to helping your family make the most of your time and experience at Disneyland.  It’s why Disneyland was created, after all–because Walt wanted to make a place where moms and dads and their kids could spend time and create memories together.

We spend so much time apart: at work, at school, at this thing or that.  Giving each other the gift or your time is the best thing you can do, which is why I believe vacations matter.  Because they get you away from the everyday world, away from being apart, and if you’re lucky, standing in a long queue at Disneyland playing Heads Up on your iPhone.  It’s that easy.
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Yes, vacations can be hard to save up for.   You may feel the need to justify to someone why you spent the money on it.  It’s not easy to save up for a vacation, because there is always something that is important that you need to do or pay for or replace.  But carpet always needs to be cleaned, clothes always need to be replaced, and things always seem more important than a vacation.

But here’s the hard truth: you only have a limited number of days and hours and minutes to create memories with your kids.  Which one is going to be more worth it it in the end?

You’ll never have another first trip to Disneyland, or first visit to Yosemite, or whatever it is your family decides to do for vacation.  You’ll always have carpet or a car or a pressing engagement or whatever that other thing was.  Which do you think your kids will cherish more after you’re gone?

I will never forget when my oldest daughter met Belle after story time and they twirled together. I’ll never forget that moment when my youngest son stopped being afraid of the characters, and the patience Dale took with him to finally get that fist bump right.

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I’ll never forget when my youngest daughter missed the cutoff for the height requirement on Indiana Jones but the cast member gave her her choice of any attraction in the park instead, making her feel ten feet tall.  And I’ll never forget when my oldest son and his best friends laughed, joked, and pinkie swore with Mulan.  It may seem like a frivolous or expensive thing to spend money on.  But I wouldn’t ask for any penny I’ve ever spent at Disneyland back, because for every dollar, I have at least ten more memories like the ones I’ve just mentioned.  With my kids, with my best friends, with my wife.

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So, whenever you ask yourself, is this trip worth it, remember the tips I’ve shared.  But most importantly, remember that time matters.  And one day you’ll have moments when your family says, “Remember the time…?”

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