Why we said No to Disney World


fantasyland disney world

It all started 10 years ago. You have a child and you think about all the places you want to take them. All the things you want to do. Fantasyland Disney World enters your mind. Then you begin to realize no matter how much you want to take your children everywhere. You really can’t afford everything. You can’t give everything in the present moment. You have to be able to say “No” now so you can say yes in the future.

It has been a constant battle to say “No” to  Fantasyland Disney World. I mean I love Disney and my husband and I have gone many times when we were dating. I had gone as a child and I wanted to take our children. We just haven’t been able to do so. I was recently on the other end of a conversation where two moms were talking about all the fun they have had at Disney. Where they stayed and what they did while they were there. I was puzzled, since one of the parents doesn’t have two nickels to rub together. Where they found the funds to go to Disney several times? We have checked rates, made plans, and then decided we just couldn’t do Disney. We would love to take our children to Disney or the 100 other places they want to visit. We would love to buy them the 1 million toys they have asked for. We have the money to take our children to Disney. We only owe on our house because we know all the frugal ways to save and get out of debt. In fact over the last ten years we have invested almost $100,000 into our children that doesn’t account for private school, food, clothing, birthday parties, trips, medical, dental, toys, and sports. We said no to Disney and to the other places for one simple reason.

We said, “Yes” to college. We have had to tell our children “No” to so many of the things our friends have said. “Yes” to because we couldn’t afford to do both. We had a plan to pay off all of their prepaid college funds prior to them entering kindergarten and we have just sent off the last payment for the amount of a BMW today. We have in fact achieve which you can read about here what I would call financial success. We said “NO” to new cars, a new house, expensive vacations, dinner out more than once a week, all new clothes, “blowing our tax refunds”. We gave up those one week trips that may be a great memory for that moment in time to give our children what they will need in the future. We wanted to give them the greatest gift their education.

I will say education is the one thing that you can not lose and it will be the one thing that we believe will help our child over any other material item that we can provide them. It is our gift to our children. It was the reason this site Madame Deals  was started. It is the reason this site will continue because we are now done with our three children’s college funds but we will now say “NO” to others things because we are planning for our retirement because one day we will have a nice condo in Hawaii while all of our friends are still working to pay for all of the “stuff” they have. We say “No” to our children all the time and do you know what? They value money and they value what they have. They understand you can’t have everything and you can’t always have what your friends have.

We do intend to go to Disney this year if we have enough saved to do so. It just wasn’t a priority because it is a trip and it isn’t life changing. We have said, “No” and we will continue to say “No” because teaching your children about saving for the future is an important goal.  Showing your children that you value education and that having the newest and latest and greatest isn’t as important as having a savings account. I believe in our society we are alway worried about what is the next best thing and in reality it is right in front of you.

What have you done to plan for your child or children’s future? The better question is what can you start doing today? The 52 week saving plans is a great place to start. You can print out the printable and make a difference. If you use the plan that can be the amount you spend on your child next year teach them how to budget. It is our job as parents to teach our children how to be financially solvent. 52 week savings plan <—– You can also teach children how to save money with our tips in this post get kids to save money.

You see “Fantasyland Disney World” is any place or anything that is just icing on the cake.

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  1. You’re right – having money for college is a top priority! After my husband and I both “paid our way” thru college and graduated with tons of student loans, we decided to invest in our children’s college education starting when they were babies so that they could hopefully attend college without it being a huge financial burden to either us or them. Planning is everything and SAVING will help you reach your goals!

  2. Disney and saving for your child’s education don’t have to be mutually exclusive. For my family, we know that the “magic” of Disney will not last forever. We have made plans (financial and actual) to visit as many times as we can while our kids are young enough to think there isn’t a better place in the world. Is it my ideal vacation? Nope. But the way my family’s faces light up when they see that castle in the distance warms my heart more than extra money in my bank account ever could. We are careful with our money on all fronts but Disney, IMO, is worth every ridiculously overpriced dollar.

    And there are some awesome sites out there that can help with budget friendly travel ideas. One of my favorite tricks to never buying those cheap light up toys in the evenings is simply coming prepared with dollar store glow bracelets and necklaces. Also, you do not have to purchase park tickets for a child under 3 (HUGE savings).

    I totally understand your points about but my only piece of advice as an avid Disney traveler is don’t miss that “magical” Disney window. As soon as they start worrying that Dumbo is a “baby” ride, you’ve probably missed it. Not to say Disney isn’t awesome for older kids…. Just different.

  3. While I admire and respect your financial goals, your plan isn’t for everyone. My husband and I both love to travel and we’ve passed that love onto our children without going into debt. My children have been to Disney World, New York City, Niagara Falls, Romania, on a cruise, and to other numerous places in North America. I’m thankful that they will have great memories of a childhood well-traveled. All of the above was done while I was a stay-at-home mom.

    My children have college accounts (although they can’t currently buy a BMW with their balances), my husband and I have retirement accounts, and we have a good-sized savings account. We do this by living frugally. I rarely buy anything without a coupon and we forgo all of the fancy tech gadgets and material stuff that so many of our friends buy. I joke that if anyone breaks into our home, they will be sorely disappointed. We still have the older, bigger televisions and can still watch VCR tapes. Our laptops are older, our furniture is years old, and the only new appliance that we own is a one-year old microwave that we bought on Black Friday (our old microwave was at least 12 years old).

    My point is that a family can still enjoy the good things in life without depriving themselves or going into debt. I know of people who put off traveling or other dreams until after retirement, however those dreams never came to fruition due to death or poor health. I don’t want to look back at my life with regrets of the things that I didn’t do because I put them off for another day. At this point in my (still young) life, I can honestly say that I have no regrets. Every dollar that I’ve spent on traveling with my children was worth it. 🙂

  4. Very good points! We are just starting college funds which we are behind the ball on probably, but we are trying to do both. The thing is though you can still have good, fun vacations that are more affordable too. I agree, I scratch my head sometimes wonder how some are going on this big trips but then everyday have no money. Doesn’t make sense!

  5. I understand what you are talking about savings, it is very important, not to mention we should not be wasteful. Having said that making memories is on the top of my list. They won’t remember the stuff you bought for them, but the memories will last a life time. I’ve also learned that if you pay 100% for their education they will not understand or appreciate the value. Between scholarships and what we paid and the jobs my children had they graduated college without any debt. I now have grandchildren and we have begun making memories with them and they talk about the memories everytime we see them. We know we are leaving our children and grandchildren a piece of us.

    • We did it so our children wouldn’t have to worry about paying or how they were going to pay. We believe that education is the single best gift you can give. That doesn’t mean we have taken everything from our children. It does however mean any decision over $500 we really thought about it. We saved over $100,000 in 9 years and are now debt free in the college department … next goal to pay off our house. Trust me my kids are not lacking the important things and they will go to Disney once we have the money saved up

  6. Memories trump everything. I think there are great points here and I agree with many, especially frugal living. But, if I died today, my kids will cling to the memories they have of mini-trips, day to day living, day trips, camping out in the living room, AND fabulous vacations when we had the money to take one- not so sure the paid for college would tug their heart strings quite as much.

    • I think knowing my children can study to be anything they want and provide for themselves and their future is a huge filled with love moment. I think trips and vacations are important and we took small trips but our focus was all three kids with paid college before they reached the age of 6 and we did that 🙂 So now we can look to do other things.

  7. Several years ago we paid CASH to go to Disney through my Stockpiling. It was the best trip that we ever took as a family and right now we are saving for a trip to Hawaii. Travel is very important to us.

    • Let me know when you go to Hawaii I used to live there. I also have friends there with connections. We have taken several family trips just not one that cost 3-5k.

  8. Oh, wow. I am so so sad for your kids… And for you and your husband!!

    What a heartbreak to have the attitude that its better to deprive yourself today (missing opportunities that you’ll never have again –because your kids grow up, and grow OUT of a magical phase) in order to save for a “future” that isn’t promised. We are only promised TODAY…

  9. I have to agree with Disney mom here… from mom to mom and from someone who has watched a good friends daughter die of cancer, please don’t skip out on making memories with your kids. I know there are many ways to make memories with your kids, and they don’t have to be expensive trips by any means. I totally get that. But tomorrow isn’t promised. My good friend who’s daughter died, the memories are all they have. Little ones are full of wonder and curiosity… It is the best feeling in the world to see your children experience Disney and enjoy the magic. One day, they won’t want to be with you and they won’t think Disney is “cool”. I feel sad that you are so focused on saving for their future, that you may miss out on making some wonderful memories with your children. We have saved for Disney and paid in cash for both of our two trips. We don’t have a ton of extra money laying around, but we saved for it and I will cherish the memories we made both times for the rest of my life.
    Also, as a side not, I was pretty appalled at your comment “since one of the parents doesn’t have two nickels to rub together.”… I think thats a bold statement for you to make. I assume you don’t know anything about their income and who paid for their trip. Perhaps the grandparents paid for it or maybe they saved for years just to make that trip happen for their kids. Just a thought.

  10. I have been thinking about your post…and I continue to pity you and your family. I wanted to add some specific thoughts about what you have written.

    You stated, “I believe in our society we are alway worried about what is the next best thing and in reality it is right in front of you.” That is ironic, seeing as how you are clear that your main concern is paying for something that may or may not even happen in more than a decade into the future. What is “right in front of you” are your beloved young children, eager to seek magic and eager to be with you. Blink, and those children will have no interest in magic, or in spending time with you!

    You boasted that, “We have in fact achieve which you can read about here what I would call financial success.” Congratulations to you! However, I am curious: What would you call “parenting success”? What was the reason you decided to have children, to start a family…? My family’s trips to Disney World helped me realized what “parenting success” is to me: Living every moment to the fullest, finding magic everywhere I look, seeing the world through my children’s eyes, embracing wonder and joy –and sharing it with as many people as possible. (Let me be clear, I mustn’t be AT Disney World to achieve that definition of success, but the magic of Disney World is fully responsible for my epiphany of realizing what that means to me.)

    Your false contention, “[A trip to Disney World] isn’t life changing.” The first time I took my children to Disney World absolutely changed my life…and so has every trip since then. It is life changing to experience that magic and wonder with my children. It is possibly even more life-changing to watch and help others experiencing that same magic: wheelchair-bound children, grinning from ear to ear, obvious cancer patients crying tears of joy, scheming ways to enhance magic for the strangers we see throughout our trip, and realizing that people come from all over the world and all are enjoying the same thing as my family. I am not sure any other activity I have done with my family is anywhere near as life-changing as our trips to Disney World.

    With your attitude towards Disney World, I sincerely hope then if you do ever go that you enlist the help of an authorized Disney Planner otherwise, I am certain your trip will live up to your expectation of being merely “a great memory for that moment in time.” With your outlook, it’s pretty obvious you are in dire need of the life-changing attribute of taking young children to Disney World!

    I understand your philosophy of “We have said, “No” and we will continue to say “No” because teaching your children about saving for the future is an important goal.” I imagine if one of your loved ones suffered a terrible disease or life-threatening accident then your mentality might be different. I proudly teach my children, “Make the absolute most of each and every day, enjoy every moment, because we never know which one will be our last!” (This is a beautiful tale http://www.lifeprinciples.net/SuccessatLife.html about “success”)

    By the way, fantasyland is one of the six themed areas of the Magic Kingdom, which is one of the 4 parks at the Disney World Resort.

  11. My children had no desire to go to college. Yet, they’re both very successful. Imagine that.

    I wouldn’t trade our Disney memories FOR ANYTHING and they are very personal reasons why.

  12. That’s a great article! I love reading new perspectives. I tend to “play” more with my kids than plan for their education LOL Although their education is important; I tend to lean toward the thinking that, because my husband and I both have undergraduate degrees and are pursuing our graduate degrees; our children will, most likely, follow that same path,, so we focus on making memories and building lasting relationships 😀 Thanks for the great article.

  13. Disney mom said basically everything I wanted to say, but I still wanted to say something. You never even know if your kids will be here tomorrow, next week or next year…. Let them have fun. Why deprive them of something just to secure a future that may not even happen? Poor kids. I went to Disney plenty of times and still got a great college education. Live in the now, in the present. Tomorrow is never promised. Last but not least, if education is so important to you, why does your post have so many grammatical errors? Practice what you preach….

  14. Well, I have to defend you with you two nickles to rub together. My husband and I make our children’s education a priority. We have 2 children in a private elementary and one in a private high school. We do not buy anything new , we coupon, and watch every penny ti afford to send them to wonderful schools, , but I know other families, one actually on welfare that has new everything and buys their children brand new clothes, goes out of state for vacations and spends a TON of money on toys! Honestly, it’s hard to watch sometimes and doesn’t seem fair. But I remind myself that the education my children are getting will pay off for the rest of their lives! They are also learning how to be frugal and wise with their money.

  15. First of all, “Boo” to the person who pointed out grammatical errors in the original post. Rude, very rude.

    Second, I think you wrote with clarity and conviction and even though I don’t agree with totally paying for your kids’ college education, I respect the fact that you and your husband are taking steps to do what is important to you and your family.

    I believe in helping your kids with their education but I also feel that it is good to require them to take on some of the responsibility. Getting good grades in high school, doing community service, excelling in a sport would go a long way in helping them get scholarships or financial aid. I really believe that kids who have some responsibility in paying for their college education may appreciate it more than if it is just handed to them. It also sets them up for understanding that anything ‘big’ you want in life takes hard work……your first car, your first house, etc. Maybe you could strive for a balance between NO Disney World / Land and total payment for college to a trip to the Magic Kingdom while it CAN be life changing to your kids and letting them shoulder some of the responsibility for college tuition. At 60 years of age I still remember the magic of Disney World and how wonderful it was to go with my family. Maybe you could use a little of that college money and enjoy what will probably be a wonderful, memory making trip with your kids and let them take on some of the responsibility of their education when the time comes.

  16. I understand your stance that education is the most important gift you can give your children. I think it’s great your have the discipline to put away your money every month and that you have accomplished so much already. To me, it sounds like there are expectations tied up in your saving for your kid’s college funds. But what if your kids end up not wanting to go to college? What if they have other plans? Will you be disappointed that they didn’t fulfill your plans for them? I suppose you could save the money for something else. But, placing such a high value on education seems like it could be dangerous. It’s not that I don’t value education, both my kids have college savings accounts. Education is one important thing in life, but it’s not always the only important thing.

    For me, I need to remember that the opportunity for making memories while my children are young will be gone far too soon. It’s important to find a good balance between saving for the future and also valuing the younger years while you still have them.

  17. I have gone to Disney twice. I can not imagine how it could change anyone’s life. I missed that part. What was the life changing event? We we talking about the amusement park in Florida, right?

    • I think people believe taking your child to a theme park is very important. The life changing event for us was we just paid off our third and final child’s college and he isn’t even in kindergarten. We did that by not going places that we couldn’t afford.

  18. Honestly some posts on here made me laugh. to think that you can only make memories with your children by going to Disney is absurd. To think your kids are “missing out” if you don’t take them to Disney is shocking to me. Not everyone can afford, or even wants to go to Disney. I was a kid and I DID go to Disney. Are they my fondest memories? By far NO. I hardly remember it and I was 7. I do remember lots of things though from my childhood. I remember my parents playing with me. I remember going to the park. I remember going to the zoo. I remember camping. I remember doll museums. I remember fireworks. It was all cheap, and it was all meaningful. Most of it was free. It’s whatever you put into it. I really think that some of you should reevaluate your priorities. Are you playing with your children, or are you banking on Mickey to provide your children’s memories? Are you planning for the future or are you living for today with no thought of the future? Neither of my parents went to college, either btw, and I did, but paid my way through. Yes, we only have today promised, but God tells us to plan for the future and to be wise with what He has given us. We should enjoy our money from Him, but also be wise. If it’s Disney for your family, so be it. If it’s not, then go with it. I think that BY NO MEANS are you deprived if you don’t get to visit the mouse or meet a princess.

  19. I came across this post and I can see both sides of the fence per say. I am a Disney Addict, and we have taken the route of spending and doing trips rather than saving for the future – but in part we were taking advantage of the times where one child would still be free due to age. Anyways, I remember an article that I read when I was in my early 20’s which has made a big impact on the way I feel about this issue, so I thought I would share. I think I actually read it in a Costco Magazine under the financial pages. The article was pointing out that you can always apply for loans when your children reach the college age, but you can’t apply for loans for retirement – so if you have to choose to save for one, always pick retirement. My husband and I have both accepted this and have been saving for retirement since our 20’s, and so far we are doing great. I know that my kids will have to pay their own way for school, but I did and it meant more to me than being handed to me because I knew that I wanted to be there and not because it was expected or required of me.
    We love Disney and have been to the parks may times over the years, but even we are getting to the point where we have to slow it down so that we can do other things that are wonderful memory makers as well. Spending money on trips doesn’t have to include the stuff – but the experiences are also education that can’t be learned in the classroom. I would actually argue that most life lessons that stick with you are not learned in the classroom, so just don’t forget to remember that. Also, one of the most truthful things that everyone has mentioned is that we are indeed not promised tomorrow. So, even though its great to plan for the future, don’t forget to take detours. Someone said once that life happens when you are making plans. Just don’t forget to enjoy that life – and sometimes a Disney detour is a really great bonding experience.
    And just as a side note – for me as an adult lugging around an 18 month old, a week at Disney World was by far the best vacation I had ever been on. I cried when we left. LOL. Now, if there is greater than Disney World, then I can’t wait for what more the world has to offer.

  20. Many years ago, we lived in San Diego, and went to Disneyland too many times, prior to and with children. Disney Parks are awesome!!! However, 2 summers ago we visited family in Southern California and decided to do Disney again, since our 2 oldest could appreciate it. Even though we were still in debt we chose to do Disney, like the rest of our trip, with cash. The reality of the cost of those memories, and we thought we did it pretty cheap, was very humbling, we could have payed that toward debt. We plan to go to Disney World now that we live on the east coast, but will wait until we are debt free and have the cash to make the most of those memories (and our youngest is old enough to appreciate it), by going all out. I think it’s ridiculous for people to be feeling sorry for your kids. If your child dies tomorrow, I’m pretty sure you won’t be regretting not doing Disney, you’ll be flooded with the memories of the life you did give them. If you die tomorrow, your children won’t be so distraught because you never took them to Disney. While I don’t agree with paying their education in full (we only plan for part and assist in other ways like housing and food if they stay local), I get where you are coming from and completely agree. Your priorities are not mainstream and that angers people. Why? I have no clue.

    P.S. I went to Disneyland for the first time as a Senior in High School, it was still magical. If you don’t do something often and praise the heck out of it, your children will be enthralled when they do finally go 🙂

  21. And if your kids don’t want to go to college? What if they get a scholarship? Why do parents have to pay for school? As a college grad who worked through I have never understand this. Kiss the magic of those beaitiful moments of youth and wonder behind so your kid can prove herself with a number. Yikes. I’m glad this is only your opinion. I take offense at the parts where spending money on your family trips is considered frivolous. Ridiculous. Not to mention you can do disney several dozen times in place of a college savings plan. At least.

  22. Interesting read. Your kids are very very lucky to have college paid for. We went to Disneyland and disneyworld and both times I regretted going. Such a waste of our money and time. I’m not sure what people love about Disney parks…I missed it both times. My daughter would rather go on a fishing trip than to stand in line for three hours for a two minute ride. Good for you for doing what you think is right and good. Like the above poster, I also see food stamp families around me but the best of everything and it is difficult to watch.

  23. We did Disney last year, all paid in cash, and it was the most magical vacation with our son. I love that you are so involved and intent on saving for your children’s education and we are too, both have college funds we contribute to monthly, but don’t disregard the need to take time and make magical moments with your family….and that doesn’t have to be Disney…it can be anywhere. I’m in vacation at the lake now for example spending much less in comparison to our Disney trip last year, but we’re enjoying our young children and making memories. And that’s what I think they’ll appreciate more than anything else when they get older…good family memories. Just my two cents.

  24. I found this post while surfing through the hundreds of “how to stay on a budget while on vacation” posts on the web.

    I have 2 things I’d like to share. My husband and I make it work on one income and a toddler, 2 dogs and 5 cats. I won’t even mention the livestock we care for. We may not own a home or do the ten million things all these other budget bloggers talk about but I have figured out how to make it work for our family. I even figured out how to budget a trip to Disney without breaking the bank.

    Not only am I able to save enough money this year for a Christmas trip to Disney for 2 weeks but the money saved will cover all expenses including boarding for the 2 dogs, cat sitter (who will tend the livestock too) and allow us to stay in the resort hotel even though we don’t have too. My secret is simple and can be deemed unfair by many. I am a former Disney employee and we live less than 2 hours from the resort. I may not have worked at the park in the last 12 years but I still have enough connections that I can share the insider’s view with my family. Since I worked at the park I know what attractions are worth getting a fastpass for and which to wait in line for. Also what food is at what restaurant and if reservations need to be made before hand. Yes, you can get this info off other’s blogs but I don’t need to research this.

    Plus living so close to the resort we have the advantage of buying “locals” annual passes for less than the 14 day passes. This also allows us to go back to the resort when out of town family visits and want to go.

    But enough about my advantage. There are lots of families that use the savings method we are using to get their dream Disney vacation. Saving as little as $25 a week can add up fast and allow your children the magic that is their childhood. They are only children for a short time before they become teenagers and drive their parents up the wall with worry and trouble.

    Don’t get me wrong we live on a shoestring but we were smart and have our daughter’s college paid for and in the bank. We have one car even if it has payments we make double payments every month. All our bills are paid in full as soon as they come in including my medical bills. We pay cash for everything from groceries to bills and even our rent. Being frugal is one thing but taking away the magic and fantasy from your children while they are young is mean and will make them resent you. You think they understand the value of money but when they grow up they will go into debt to gain back what you ripped from their childhood. I have seen it happen. My SIL has done this as has the rest of my husband’s family.

  25. I think a lot of comments have been very nice and sugar coated it for you.. but coming from a Sociological and Psych perspective– You clearly wrote this article to convince yourself you were doing the right thing, and to collect on your applause for the sacrifices you have made. So first off, Congratulations, You are a parent that has made sacrifices. Woo Hoo. If you need a pat on the back every time you make sacrifices, you’ll need a neck brace (and someone willing to pat your back until the day you die. Good luck with finding that fairytale validation.) Secondly, It’s good to know you are so aware of materialism and the affects it has on children– I suppose a lifetime of this enlightenment is the driving force behind your dreams, no, your “expectations” of a condo in Hawaii during retirement. If material possessions motivate you, and your glory comes from your sad friends with mortgages, and Disneyland is nothing more than a material expense, while st the college system is a guaranteed path to infinite success and happiness…. Well, then.. by all means.. I can totally see why you have a blog here, showing everyone how it is done.. in a tarty little condescending fashion. Congrats. You belong with the other 60,000 boring retirees in Hawaii. You are Normal. You fit the mold. You did it. High Five. I bet your kids will thank you some day for choosing College and Your Condo over the Disneyland Experience (Note: Experiences are NOT material possessions– Experiences are irreplaceable and PRICELESS.)

  26. This article could laterally be titled, “Why Kids Grow Up Hating Life”.

    I don’t think anyone ever explained it to you… There is No Rainbow at the end of Life… There isn’t an awards ceremony.. There isn’t a fountain of youth.. There is dirt. You can expect death and to be burned or buried– that is all we KNOW. So while you are planning for the future all the time, constantly caught up in CONTROL ISSUES, You are missing the prime beauty in life— The Journey.
    You can plan all you want, but what a pity for you to get to the end and realize only 5% of your plans worked out. Meanwhile.. your friends with mortgages.. They have Hundreds Of Thousands of memories of watching their children grow and learn.. and making mistakes, often times learning life’s greatest lessons that have never been taught in college. These parents routinely end up as “The Wise Ones”. These parents are the parents of your child’s friends.. These parents will be where your kid wants to visit on break.. These are the parents your child will wish he had.. These are the parents that understood, Life Is A Journey.. Not A Destination.

  27. So I was reading many of the comments on here, and I have to agree and disagree. I am 26 years old and, no, I do not have children. My husband and I are planning a trip to Disney this October with another married couple. I have never been. He has been once. I CANNOT wait! I LOVE and have always loved Disney and want to experience it at least once. To those who don’t get it: It isn’t about the rides and such. I think it is about the magic that goes along with Disney. Who knowns? Maybe I will be disappointed. Anywho…Just because my parents did not bring me (they couldn’t afford it since they sent me to private school from 2-8th grade as well as a private daycare/preschool/kindergarden and chose to buy a house in a safer neighborhood with a big yard and a dog), I absolutely do not and would never hate them for it! Nor do I hate life. They took me to Portugal when I was 7 (there are very few memories besides castles, the beach, amazing chicken, and learning how to catch fish with a net and ox) and we went on countless day trips. Trips help make memories, especially in today’s fast-paced world. Now to the college part. My husband and I worked (often more than one job) while getting degrees. When I went back to school for my second degree, I was working full-time and planning a wedding for 300 guests. After 6 years of college, I have maybe $11,000 in school loans (I just graduated in 2013). Why? My parents couldn’t afford to pay for my college tuition/fees but they were able to teach me the value of a dollar. I paid 5 years of college OUT OF POCKET. That taught me more than any college course would. I work with people who have children my age and older who sometimes regret paying for their children’s college. Why? Because it amounted to endless years of college with nothing to show for it, failing grades over and over again, and degrees that do not translate into a career. Many of these parents have told me they feel like their kids just went to college because they had to and partied.
    I am not saying one way is better than the other. I am just sharing my experience of both not going to Disney as a kid and not having a “college fund” did not make me a horrible person. It made me a hard worker and appreciative of what my parents were able to do for me, give me, and teach me.

    • I think you are very lucky to have only $11,000 in debt. I graduated with 20,000k after Grad school. It took me 4 years to pay it off on a salary of 26,000. I was a teacher so unfortunately I wasn’t paid what I was worth. (Teacher deserve to make a lot more than they do for what they do.) We are not paying for Grad School for our children. The experts say college will cost somewhere in the vicinity of 200,000 when my children go. I have three kids so paying 600,000 isn’t an option with our current salaries. We did however save up almost $100,000 over the last 12 years.. yes before the oldest was born to pay for prepaid college. It think everyone has different priorities. We are saving for Disney now. The post really wasn’t about “Disney” so much as it was about planning for your child’s present and future. We value education over 1 billion toys. We say “No” a lot so we can say yes to things that are more practical. enjoy your trip it sounds like you deserve it!

  28. I read your blog occasionally and follow you on Pinterest (where I found this link). My husband and I both want to go to Disney in the future (we have a 17 month old and are expecting again in November)- I went when I was 5 and remember some of it and he went when he was in grade school or middle school. However, I have to agree that other things are more important now for our finances. We took Dave Ramsey’s FPU class and are in the process of trying to change our financial legacy (currently we owe on a motorcycle [that will be paid off as soon as our F150 sells], our mortgage, and medical bills that haven’t been billed yet- I had a procedure done last week). Dreaming of the day when we can say our mortgage is paid off, our kids have money in their college accounts, and we have retirement money (in 2.5 years we have put several thousand dollars into an IRA, paid off our F150, paid off 2 credit cards [& closed the accounts], and paid off all medical bills that have been billed to us so far- the most expensive being when I delivered our daughter). Thank you for reminding me to say no to the things that friends and family members may be doing so we can help our future. We love taking trips and doing things but try to be wise and frugal. Maybe when the kiddos are older we can take them to Disney when they can remember it better then too.

    • I agree be strong… I know it is hard to be wise with your money. The stress of not having to worry about the things we buy since we buy only what we can afford is gone. I am grateful that we could give our kids what they need now and in the future and one day they can go to Disney since we are saving for that now that their education has been taken care of.. Congrats on your journey!

  29. I’m stunned at how many people MISSED THE POINT of this post. She didn’t say she was never taking her family to Disneyland, she said they were saving up for it, & that it was not their top financial priority. Great job for actually evaluating your family’s values & priorities, setting your goals, creating your plan, & STICKING TO IT to achieve FINANCIAL FREEDOM. I have been amazed seeing people I know take trips they couldn’t afford for the sake of making “magical memories”. One friend took her kids to Disneyland the month before her house was foreclosed on. Any “magical memories” they have will forever be linked to losing their home. It is our job, as parents, to teach our children how to be responsible adults. Financial responsibility is one of the key behaviors that our children learn by watching us. GREAT JOB, MOM!

  30. Coming into this late, and while I think it’s AWESOME to have saved for your kids college before they even reached Kindergarten, I have to say that’s not for me. While Disneymom is batshit crazy in regards to the life altering properties of Disneyworld, I have to stick with the “give them a childhood” moms on this one.

    My husband and I are absolutely NOT paying for college. I mean, we aren’t totally heartless, we’ll gladly pay for 2 years at community college, but their junior and senior years are on them. If they want to learn a trade, then good for them, they get to graduate without debt (assuming their trade is a 2 year program), and if they feel they need they “full college experience” of four years at university they can have the money due to them and then do their damndest to achieve scholarships and work through school.

    I had parents like you, scrimped and saved and paid my entire way through 2 years at university that I flunked out of, and then another 3 semesters at community college that I dropped out of, and it wasn’t until they made me foot the bill that I actually stuck with something and made it my priority.
    My husband has a similar story, but his circumstances were far more tragic than my boredom and love of travel over education.

    I would hate to deny my child the “magic” of meeting mickey mouse for the first time (and deny myself the absolutely pleasure of seeing the look on his face, because lets face it, Disney with littles is entirely selfish) only to watch him piss away hundreds of thousands of my hard earned dollars 13 years later.

    It all comes down to whether or not you believe that adulthood begins at 18 or 22-23, IMO. For me, adulthood begins at 18 and I’ll gladly HELP you, but I won’t finance your life.

  31. Good Morning!
    I stumbled across your blog from pinterest. First, CONGRATULATIONS! You are awesome for investing in your children and family by saving money. Isn’t it a great feeling knowing you are so much closer to a debt free/worry free financial life? And what a gift to give to your sweet children. I applaud you dedication to your choice!!
    Secondly, I also want to encourage you in your decision to save hefore going to Disney, if in fact your family does decide to go. My family did choose to go, after I healed from a very traumatic injury. It was something We all enjoyed looking forward to and it gave us a great incentive to SAVE our extra cash in order to pay up front. What a great time we ha together. That being said, if we hadn’t been able to save up and go on a disney vaca, I think we would gave been AOK. 🙂
    Disney was “magical” and wonderful memories were made. However, we make memories together as a family every chance we get. Whether it is backyard bonfires, or building treehouses, sledding, or just a visit to the library. It doesnt cost money to make memories. I was raised on a very modest income when I was small, and I had no clue e we were “broke as a joke!” My parents made every day an adventure and I woke up every morning excited about what the day held for my family. Disney didn’t build that, a strong family and a foundation of Christ in our home did.
    I suppose its easy to point a finger, on either side of this discussion. I can see both sides. It is obvious you are extremely dedicated to raising your family with loads of love. Bravo, and continue the course!!