As a designer, I'm apparently not supposed to love Disney as much as I do. I get looks when it is revealed that I find Disney World one of the most astonishing places, that I collect Disney memorabilia, and cry every time I watch pretty much any Pixar film. Since Jason and I are going down to Disney to celebrate our anniversary (and everything else that managed to happen in our lives since I bought the tickets) and go to Star Wars weekend for the first time, I figured this would be an appropriate time to explain myself.
Me dancing absurdly in the lobby of the Polynesian on our first trip to Disney together in 2007. That's my sister in law. Hi Sarah.
I really admire Disney for their ingenuity. Each time we visit the park, it's a new hunt to see what has changed, what details are new, and what creative designs or processes they have managed to implement. There is something really amazing about creating this perfectly crafted mass of land on a swamp in Florida. We visit each hotel to see the design, eat at the restaurants to admire their theming, and in general, just try and pick up on the creativity. It's really in invigorating to us as designers to think of the processes and thought that went behind it all.
Being all adorable like on my honeymoon.
Back when I was in school, some of the designers that worked on one of the Disney resort hotels came to speak to one of our industrial design classes. I remember being a bit embarrassed of my classmates fairly rude reactions to the people (after all, they work for Disney, and even if you aren't a fan, there is no reason to be snarky, sophomore in design college in Ohio). The people around me seemed to attack the fact that the country the hotel was themed about wasn't perfect and 'people were starving there and where is that aspect in this hotel.' To me, I enjoyed that they actually bought authentic goods from the country and created an atmosphere that glamorized instead of humiliate the area. Celebrating the positives is what Disney is all about to me. It's not an authentic experience - visiting Japan in Epcot isn't a replacement for visiting Japan in any way. But it's a brilliant way to introduce culture and learning into an experience for a child (or even people that may otherwise never be introduced to these things) that I completely respect. Plus, I'm sorry, but I really enjoy being able to drink sake and walk a few feet and get a pretzel. And ride rides.
Visiting Disneyland in California back in 2007. Note, I still wear that coat on the blog.
I quite frankly enjoy animation too. I love the character design of Disney. I enjoy watching the films as an adult because it still makes me smile, and sometimes that child-like simplicity is needed.
Another point and shoot snap from our first trip to Disney. I used to have a thing for big plastic beat necklaces.
A lot of people argue Disney is too expensive. It is pricey, I won't lie, but you get what you pay for. The people are paid alright (I've had friends who worked there as janitors and what not), they have to hire tons and tons of people to keep the park in the pristine order it is in. I find it worth it, and indeed, they can have you pay that because so many people think like me and do pay it. We do have efforts to save while we visit though! Here's our personal tips of saving in Disney parks.
-Don't go on the meal plan. Instead, split meals. Jason and I split all of our meals on our honeymoon. The portions are large enough to be able to do this.
-Eat one large meal a day, then snack. We usually get a small snack in the afternoon at one of the quick places, then a larger meal that we split in the evening.
-Look for deals and discounts. We have a Disney Visa that we earn points on to use as money at the parks. We also get a discount at stores because of this, and when we signed up, a gift card to use (which came in handy on the honeymoon.)
-Don't stay at a Disney resort. I love them, but it's a great way to save money. I would consider staying somewhere closer to the city of Orlando and not in the area and driving in. Even consider looking up a homeshare or something if you are comfortable with that kind of thing.
-Try just visiting Downtown Disney. For a lot of my posts, we just visited Downtown Disney! Once we tried out Disney Quest, an interactive theme park. It was pretty fun and about half the price of the parks.
I get it's not for everyone, but it's something we love. And we're REALLY excited to go to Star Wars weekend! Be prepared for lots of photos when we get back!