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The Magic is Missing at the Most Magical Place on Earth

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Why is the Magic Missing at Walt Disney World?

I think that no matter how hard the good folks behind the magic work, it will never be enough for some. The magic is sometimes missing from Walt Disney World, not because of Disney but because of those that visit the most magical place on earth.

I recently spent a week at Walt Disney World. Before arriving I made a conscious decision to leave my laptop at home and to stay off all electronics for the week. I wanted to concentrate on spending family time with no interruptions. I wanted to re-experience Walt Disney World through the eyes of my grandson.

I did post a small handful of pictures (less than 10) of my grandson on Facebook and Instagram for my family and friends to see he was having a good time, but other than that – I kept my phone in my pocket and my attention on my family.

Since I wasn’t looking at my screen, I had the opportunity to see so many other things around me and here is some of what I noticed.

The Angry/Frustrated/Stressed Parent

On our first day at the Magic Kingdom we were waiting in line at Guest Services. There was a family in front of us in line. Mom, Dad, son (around age 4) and daughter (around age 2). Both children were crying in their strollers. When the parents went up to the window they removed both children from the strollers and sat them on the ledge at the window.

Both children continued to cry. I can only assume they weren’t getting the response they wanted from the Cast Member when suddenly the Mom lifted the son BY HIS HAIR off of the ledge and dropped him to the ground. He was screaming. She then lifted him BY HIS HAIR and threw him in the stroller.

Stop and consider for a minute how stressed or angry or frustrated one would have to be to move a child around BY THE HAIR. I’ll admit, the image stayed with me for days.

The Entitled Parent

These are the ones that are rude to other visitors and to Cast Members. They push their way into line. They have no respect for anyone around them. They think they can just squeeze you out of your parade viewing spot or shove their way in front of you while you stand and watch a show. What are they teaching their children?

I actually watched a father scream at a Cast Member, swearing,  because she told him he had to get to the end of the line. He thought he would just walk by all the others in line and get to the front of the line.

On several occasions I heard “I’m paying thousands of dollars for this vacation!” Guess what pal? So is everyone else!

The Instagram Parent

This is the most distressing to me. Not only are they not happy and enjoying their visit, they aren’t allowing their children and travel companions to enjoy their trip either.

I watched a young couple with an approximately 3 year old little girl dressed beautifully in a princess dress, hair done, makeup perfect. The mother moved the child from spot to spot – picture after picture – trying to get the PERFECT PICTURE! OMG, the child was so frustrated, the husband was so frustrated. The mother commented she needed to get a picture that Disney would ask her to use from her Instagram and one that people would be envious of!

So you brought your child to Walt Disney World to get a picture for Instagram not for your child to have a wonderful and memorable experience. Not to experience the magic. And when you have a crappy time, you’ll blame Disney.

Sometimes really nice pictures happen purely by accident! Did I want an Instagram worthy picture – No! I just wanted a cute picture of my grandson and I got one by accident.

Did you know that behind every GREAT Instagram photo is a spouse or boyfriend or friend that has taken many, many photos for you to get that one PERFECT AND GREAT INSTAGRAM photo? There’s an entire site dedicated to the Boyfriends of Instagram. Many of those GREAT Instagram photos have also been heavily edited.

The On their phone all day parent

Everywhere you turn – everywhere you sit – everywhere you look – there are parents with their faces in their phone not at all paying attention to their children. Missing so many wonderful and exciting moments.

Children yelling for their parents attention. Parents not paying attention at all because they are scrolling through their phones throughout their meal, throughout a ride on an attraction, while waiting in line.

Photo Credit – Matthews Printers

Along with this comes the parents on their phone at the dinner table with tablets propped up in front of each of the kids – while Winnie the Pooh is going from table to table greeting everyone. Sadly I watched a family miss an entire interaction with Pooh that includes great photo opportunities.

Put your phone away challenge

If you want to keep your phone out all day, keep it at the ready for pictures of those moments that can’t be planned. Make a conscious decision to put your electronics on hold and be in the moment and be ready to enjoy those moments with your children.

Those magical and special moments happen without notice  – without planning – and you don’t want to miss them. Children are children for a very short time and the excitement they feel can be contagious. Those precious moments can’t be replaced.


Wednesday 27th of February 2019

Wow. Everything you wrote is so so true. Let’s enjoying the moment everyone, especially cause we are all paying top box to vacation at the happiest place on earth! Happy Disney everyone ❤️

Janice Brady

Thursday 28th of February 2019

Happy Disney!


Wednesday 27th of February 2019

My biggest frustration are the "We paid a ton of money and we are going to get our money's worth" parents. They push their kids WAY past their limits on sleep and food, and then get mad when their kids have a melt down. If your kids fall asleep on the bus at 8:00 am on the way to the parks, it is time to go back to your room and rest. And the families feeding their crying kids dinner at 10:00 at night.......sigh.

Janice Brady

Thursday 28th of February 2019

LOL! Right! If your child is still tired first thing in the morning, you definitely should re-think your itinerary!


Wednesday 27th of February 2019

Well, I've been following you for a long time - and I couldn't agree with you more. I am frankly disgusted with these parents and their kids screaming. I told one mother at 11P getting the bus back to the hotel that perhaps she needed to go on an adults only trip because she wasn't paying any attention to her child screaming. Several people around me applauded. When I think of all my magical memories that I've had since 1973, I cry each time I'm there....just because it isn't magic for me anymore. Thank you for your blog!

Janice Brady

Wednesday 27th of February 2019

Thank you so much! I was so disappointed watching the number of parents that were missing so much by paying more attention to social media and their phones than they were paying to their children.

Donna L.

Wednesday 27th of February 2019

Why on earth would anyone pay thousands for a Disney vacation, then spend all their time on those blasted phones?? We were at WDW last week, and several times someone with all their attention on their cell phone walked right into one of the members of our party. They miss so much magic, and they put a dent in other's good times. It just seems like a massive waste...

Janice Brady

Wednesday 27th of February 2019

Doesn't seem a waste? I was so amazed by the number of people that never paid attention to their surroundings or their children.