OK, lets start this off by saying I am ready for the blow back. I know there are some huge Disney fans out there.
I also want to say I have never been to Disney and I would love to take my kids one day but the idea of what that would cost literally and spiritually at this point in our lives doesn’t sit well with me.
Let me explain…
Disney is the happiest place on earth. Full of princesses and dreams come true. Thrilling rides and once in a lifetime experiences. Of course I would love to give my kids that.
But what is the cost?
An average day visit at Disney is 207 US dollars, so for a week long vacation with our family of five we are looking at $6210 plus flights we are looking at another $1200 US (yes I know prices change and deals happen but we are looking at a general average here) so $7400 US dollars which for me here in Canada translates to $9580 *GASP at todays exchange rate.
$9500 could feed so many starving children, it could provide people in need with opportunity.
Sometimes I wish the Holy Spirit didn’t convict me so but wow that EXCESS is something my heart cannot handle.
So instead of Disney we went to Nicaragua instead. Nicaragua is an affordable place to go for a mission trip. We had some vacation/downtime as well but we wanted to help, and show our kids how most of the world lives.
Our 2 week missions trip to Nicaragua which is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere cost us $2000 in airfare. $900 in accommodations $300 in food $900 for our rental van. For a grand total of $4100 – this included paying for our 3 friends who travelled everywhere with us so $4100 for 7 people. We had enough room left over in our 2 week, $5000 vacation budget for a few souvenirs and to pay for 3 months of our friends son’s english schooling.
The value of what this taught my children was priceless. Sure we didn’t eat to our stomachs content, get caught up in fairytales and thrilling rides, and submerse ourselves in the excess of North American Culture. But we fed kids, visited orphans, supported ministries, swam in the beautiful pacific ocean, fed monkeys, watched the most incredible sunsets around a beach bonfire, rode horses in the sand, collected seashells, ate some delicious simple Nicaraguan meals and cried our hearts out when we had to get on the plane to come home. My kids LOVED every minute of our Nicaraguan vacation/missions trip. Sometimes we can give our kids so much that we forget to enjoy the beautiful simplicities in life. My heart so full after our trip.
I am not writing this to you to try and make you feel bad. Vacations are a good thing and God wants us to rest and enjoy the gifts of life. But I do hope this serves as a gentle reminder that millions of people live without the basic needs. Maybe I could encourage you to cut your typical vacation one day short and donate the money you save to a family in need, in your community or somewhere else in this world.
I want to end by saying in no way do I think Disney is a bad thing to do. I think it is wonderful if you have the money and time and blessings to afford and enjoy a trip like that. I still hope to get there one day in my lifetime but if I don’t I know that where I invested our “vacation” money while here on this esrth helped other people. It served others not just my family. That’s the kind of legacy I want to leave behind.