Picture yourself on vacation.  Now picture yourself on a vacation at Walt Disney World.  Are you the dad who’s engaged and enjoying the trip, or are you the dad pushing the stroller and carrying all the shopping bags who’s just along for the ride? If you are Dad #1, chances are you have been to Walt Disney World before, have done your research, or have a wonderful travel agent (like Ears of Experience) who has helped you plan your trip. If you are Dad #2, don’t worry most of us were in your shoes at one point.  I am here to show you why Dad #1 is always happy to visit Walt Disney World.

Let’s be honest, traditionally one of the biggest duties of being a father is to be a provider for your family.  We provide food, shelter, clothing, and opportunities.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to visit Walt Disney World more than once, if at all, so when you go ENJOY IT!!!  Let your child’s happiness rub off on you and cherish moments in this opportunity you provided for them.  It truly is a magical experience.  Now with that being said, it’s ok to be selfish.  After all, it’s your vacation too!

There are so many reasons why I love Walt Disney World and some of those happen without even stepping foot inside a theme park.  I like doing typical “guy” things, so why not do them with Disney’s touch? Did you know Walt Disney World has 4 world-class, 18-hole golf courses?  They also have mini golf for those of us who yell “fore” a little more often then we care to admit.  Not a golfer? How about enjoying some other outdoor activities, such as fishing dockside at Port Orleans Riverside or one of Walt Disney World’s elite fishing excursions?  Kayaks and motorized boats are available for rent at multiple locations throughout property as well.  I always enjoy making time for a campfire and s’mores before bedtime.

I’m a sports guy, so I appreciate being able to keep up with all my sports teams at the ESPN Zone over on Disney’s BoardWalk.  I can even catch a spring training game or the Pro Bowl festivities at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex.  I’ve always been on some kind of team.  Naturally, I am extremely competitive in nature, and that does not simply go away once I step foot on Disney property. I love smoking my family in a round of bowling at Splitsville in Disney Springs.  Stiffer competition comes in the form of some of Disney’s more popular attractions.  Test Track allows me to design my own car, put it through a rigorous road course, and see how it stacks up against other players.  I also love to try and beat the high scores on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and Toy Story Mania!  I always fall short, but I’m still the best shot in the family, for now anyway.  My favorite form of competition, however, comes when my son and I see who can find the most “Hidden Mickeys”.  He usually wins because I allow him to make some up. Try finding the “Hidden Donald” next time you visit.  Hint hint, it’s in the Haunted Mansion.

I mentioned earlier about being the dad carrying all the shopping bags.  I hate to break it to you, but when you visit Disney Springs, you are likely going to be stuck carrying the bags.  Good news is though, you can do so while visiting one of the many bars found there. You can find just about any beer or adult beverage you could want in Disney Springs.  It is one of the coolest bar scenes I have ever walked through.  Adult beverages can also be found in the theme parks, like the Smokey Bones (Bourbon-n-Bacon) shake at Animal Kingdom or a nice cold beer with your meal at Jungle Navigation Co Ltd Skipper Canteen in Magic Kingdom.

They say the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  Disney must have listened to that age-old saying.  I’m pretty sure I gain 10 lbs by the end of every visit.  They have anything and everything to satisfy any appetite or taste.  You can even try the “grey stuff”, and yes, it is indeed delicious!  It’s so hard to choose between the buffets, family-style meals, or eating while watching sharks swim by.  All-you-can-eat meat carving stations?  Yes, please! For me, no vacation is complete without a trip to Boma, Liberty Tree Tavern, Gaston’s, or Garden Grill.  For those that really know me, they will tell you that I’m a sucker for desserts, so the various dessert parties at Walt Disney World are right up my alley.  I wear my Thanksgiving pants to those events. EPCOT’s International Food and Wine Festival is an event not to be missed.  Experiencing it at least once is definitely bucket-list worthy.

Let’s jump into the theme parks.  From the minute I tap the Mickey on my MagicBand to the Mickey on the turnstile, I become immersed in all of the extravagant Imagineering and advancements in technology surrounding me.  I am one of those guys who like to take things apart so that I can see how they are made.  I love seeing how things work and am awestruck when visiting Walt Disney World. The attention to detail they put into designing their lands and parks is second to none and transports you to magical lands of the past, present, and future. I mean, where else can you stand under floating islands of stone like you can in Pandora?  As a kid I was fascinated with space and animals.  At Walt Disney World I can fly a space shuttle on Mission: SPACE, swim with sharks in the deep ocean, or go on an African Safari, all without leaving the state of Florida.  Every time I visit Walt Disney World, my mind is blown at how it was all created and the vision they continue to have planning for the future.

I was fortunate enough to have grown up going to amusement parks frequently, and I quickly fell in love with roller coasters.  All the time I hear people say that Walt Disney World is just for kids. Clearly those people have never felt an adrenaline rush at Walt Disney World.  How can a place with coasters like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest, and Big Thunder Mountain be just for kids? I haven’t even mentioned the thrill rides like Soarin’, Flight of Passage, Tower of Terror, or Splash Mountain, as well as Test Track. All of these rides get my heart going a little bit faster and kick my adrenaline level up a notch.  There’s a reason why you see lengthy wait times for these rides; they are worth it!

When I first started writing this, I found it difficult choosing my ultimate favorite thing about visiting Walt Disney World.  I am extremely intrigued by the design and magic that surrounds the whole idea that is the Walt Disney World Resort, and the food, rides, and service are really hard to top.   However, I really think the thing I enjoy about it most is that I can be whoever I want.  I can be a pirate or a knight in shining armor.  I can be a king to my daughter or Prince Charming to my wife. I can be a Jedi Knight with my padawan or join the dark side and the First Order.  Soon, I can even be a Guardian of the Galaxy.  But the best thing I can be is a hero in my kid’s eyes, which I am just for taking them to Walt Disney World, and at the end of the day that’s all a dad can really ask for.

Written by Brian Franks with Ears of Experience.

  

Ears of Experience Walt Disney World Resort

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