A couple years ago, my family and I went on a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL, normally nicknamed “The Happiest Place On Earth.” Much to my surprise, my first trip to Disney World was not entirely happy.
Family members have always told me that I am just wired differently, and that it is virtually impossible to not enjoy a nice trip to Disney World. I beg to differ.
This has been a hot take I have told my friends and family for years, who all look at me like I have three heads. Of course there were bright spots in my trip to Disney, but overall, I didn’t entirely enjoy myself.
As grateful as I am for my family taking me on the trip, I found the entire experience of going to all the parks pretty stressful. The internet is littered with “must-see” parts of each park, and running from one park to another on a crowded bus was the exact opposite of what I would’ve wanted.
Granted, there were a lot of highlights to my trip; I enjoyed a few of the sights I got to see, and had fun on a few of the easier rides. In my adult life, I love to ride rollercoasters and seek thrills, but the two hour wait times are brutal for the average kid who just wants to check the boxes on each ride.
The crazy part is that I grew up watching Disney movies and consuming all the content in that realm; Cars is one of my favorite movies of all time.
The tough part is, however, when you grow up a bit more and then go to Disney World, you get a brief boost of serotonin from the nostalgia that each area brings, until you realize you might’ve already grown out of that phase. When I went to the Toy Story area, it was cool to be immersed in the world for a little while, but the amazingness of it quickly wore off; you can only pretend to be a kid for so long, as sad as that might sound.
Another part that subtracted from my experience was trying different rides that are just plain uncomfortable. Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom comes to mind, where you’re basically tossed into a dark room with flashing light bulbs and expected to keep a smile on your face for the camera at the end of the roller coaster track.
Another one that I did not enjoy was Test Track in Epcot. I remember it like it was yesterday; the cart that you are in makes a bunch of anxiety-inducing last second turns that steer you away from simulated danger. The final turn picks up the speed unbelievably quickly, which left me feeling super queasy after this one.
Additionally, the resorts in Disney are average at best. I’ve stayed at nicer hotels in my life, and found that they were all very busy and crowded in the summertime. As a person who only wants to relax on vacation, there didn’t seem to be any moments where I could actually relax.
I think if I went back as the college-educated adult I am now, I would get a kick out of the cultural area of Epcot, now that I have a greater appreciation for different customs.
This article may seem like I’m begging for you to feel bad for me, but it’s water under the bridge; of course, I’m sure I will develop a greater appreciation for it with time, and I hope that I can someday return so I can reassess my opinions. The reasons why I think Disney World is overrated are just from my personal experience, but I am sure that it is truly the “happiest place in the world” for a vast amount of people out there.