Important Life Lessons Kids Can Learn from a Disney Vacation

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Disney World vacations are very expensive, very memorable, and they can be an excellent opportunity to teach your child life lessons before, during, and after the vacation. Here’s two simple, yet very important, life lessons I have tried hard to instill in my own children, and they can work wonders for yours too.

Save Your Money.

Money…you can’t go on vacation without it.  If I’m paying for the vacation, I can’t possibly buy my children everything they want. Even worse, if I did, I would be providing a false sense of reality. As adults, we know we don’t get everything we want in life. There’s always a nicer hotel room, a more expensive meal, a bigger gold bracelet waiting at the end of our Disney dream list. Vacations are expensive, and it takes a lot of money to fund your Disney dreams.  But do kids know this? Does your child really understand that your Disney vacation will cost a lot of money, and that without a money tree, that money has to come from somewhere?

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My kids can’t have it all, but they can do their part by paying for most of their own souvenirs. I know a lot of families spring last-minute surprise vacations on their kids. This makes for great Disney TV commercials, with happy little tykes opening pizza boxes with ‘We’re going to Disney!” messages drawn in Sharpie marker. But you can’t save for what you don’t know about. I have to save money to go on vacation, so my kids can save money to buy the goodies they want. My children know the exact date we leave for our next trip They know, to the penny, how much money they have, because it’s posted on our refrigerator door every day. If they buy an expensive toy two weeks before we make it to Orlando, they know I won’t swoop in to buy their souvenirs, no matter how much they beg. They know they have a choice, and I’m always subtly hinting for them to save, save, save their money. Everything, and I mean eve.ry.thing, looks good in those Disney gift shops. Save, save, save, because Sugar Daddy’s pockets are only so deep.

Encourage your child to start saving money for your vacation months before you leave. This opens up great dinner conversation opportunities, and they’ll be glad they had money to spend once they hit those gift shops., the Disney store, Disney Visa, Disney Monorail, saving for Disney, saving for vacation, what kids want on vacationPull up the and let your child see how much Disney merchandise costs online. This will give them a realistic sense of how much Disney items cost (a lot) and how much money they will need to take with them (a lot). Now is the time to tell your child if you plan to pay for any souvenirs.

I usually give each of my three kids $20, and past that point, it’s up to them. Christmas $$, birthday $$, chore $$- I hope they’ve saved it.

In our fast food world of overwhelming credit card debt, the ability to save money for items you really want is a valuable life skill.

Be appreciative.

We pulled up to a cheap hotel in Orlando several years ago to groans and cries from my kids, “This is a dump!”  While I was not planning to spend a lot of time in the hotel room, I still didn’t take this hotel mutiny well. “You’re on vacation, and lots of people are not. Just be glad you’re here.”  It goes beyond how some people are not going on vacation now, because some people have never been on vacation to Disney. And some will never…

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I teach 250 different high school students each year, and when I ask them just who has been to Disney, very few hands raise. And it’s not my imagination that there’s a look of envy toward those who have. When I ask my pre-middle school age sons how many of their friends mention going to Disney, the answer through the years has been a small handful. Teach your kids to appreciate where you stay, the food you eat, the view you have, even if it’s not really the one you wanted deep down. We can’t all stay in Deluxe Resorts, eating characters meals twice a day, toting our Dooney & Bourke Mickey handbags over for our reservation at Le Cellier. Some of us had better be glad we made it to Disney at all.

Encourage your child to appreciate the Disney magic for what it is, an amazing opportunity that not every child gets. The fine art of appreciation starts at home, way before the Magical Express pulls up to the resort doors. Talk with your kids about how they can’t have it all, and that sometimes, they have to settle for less. Teach them how to be grateful for what they have. Just by saying, “We’re so lucky to be here. We’re so lucky to be able to do this” is a great way to show your kids you appreciate what you have. Teach them by example. The ability to appreciate what we have before us, as opposed to constantly wishing for more, is a valuable life skill.

Save your money. Appreciate what you have.

Life lessons with a Disney spin.

Thanks for coming along for a photographical ride, and we’ll see you while spending our hard- earned money in the gift shops!

Love Disney World photography? For a virtual Disney vacation in pictures, join Mouze Kateerz on Facebook and Mouze Kateerz on Pinterest.

Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys is ready to help you plan your next magical vacation. Please visit them at Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys or 404-414-6198.



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