Going to Disney to deal with grief?

Today we’re likely saying goodbye to my mom (and if not today, the next few days definitely). She took a turn over the weekend after a pretty bad Christmas week and is now in the ICU where I’m essentially waiting for her to let go. I know @profmatt went to Disney to deal with a funk and it seemed to help him, and I’m kinda wondering if I could do the same.

I guess I’m wondering if anyone has done it and if it truly helped or did it just taint everything? I still plan on going later next year, maybe even multiple times, but with the amount of time I’ve spent down there THIS year, I’m wondering if it’d even help or make everything seem worse by being there under such circumstances.

Really, this is a question I could probably figure out myself, but I just needed something to get my mind off being here in the ICU.


I am so sorry to hear about your mom. I don’t know if it will help at all, but please know that there are lots of people here on this forum who have taken great joy in following along with your trips with your mom and we are all thinking of you in this difficult time. There is no right answer to your questions. Whatever helps you with your grief is what you should do. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


I’m so sorry to hear this. I agree with @paulasc. There is no right right answer to you question. Do what seems right to you.


I am so sorry to hear this! I hope you can feel all of our virtual hugs and know, in spirt, we are there- holding your hand.

I do not know if it will help you. My son knows I bought DVC because it is my hope that he will always be able to escape to Disney whenever he wants, and I hope he thinks of me and knows I am smiling. I am sure that your mom would hope your memories will make you happy, even in grief.



I hate to hear this. I can’t imagine how you are feeling right now and all the grief you will be dealing with. The best way to deal with it would be whatever feels right to you. Every person is different and would deal with it differently. I do think that the first time you go back that you will look at all the places you had fond memories with her and remember those. I love all the pictures you posted and I’m really glad you have that last good trip together earlier this year. Hugs to you both right now!


I’m so sorry to hear that, your mum seemed so well on your last trip together.

I can’t answer your question, but I hope @Lucinderella won’t mind me saying that she took a (prearranged) trip this year after a terrible loss and I believe found the planning helped take her mind off things a little.


I’m so sorry for everything you are going through. I’m actually kind of in the same place, in a sense. My mother and I have always enjoyed Disney together. I took her on a trip Nov 2017, and a week after we got back we found out she had cancer. She passed away 6 months later. Right after she passed I thought it might be a good idea to book a trip to Disney, since it’s always made me so happy. I’m going next month, and i’m quite scared for all the same reasons. I’m scared I’ll look at her favorite restaurants, rides and random photo ops we have done together… and just feel depressed. But at the same time, I know there’s Disney magic, and it could do the opposite and make me feel happier than I have in this last year. Whatever you decide, I hope you find that peace and happiness you are looking for, sending you lots of prayers and pixie dust!


I’m so sorry @Randall1028. Such a tough weight to bear, and I agree with others that you are the only one who really knows how you will best deal with the grief. I can say that your mom looked so happy on the last trip she took with you. The pictures show what a wonderful time you both had, and you can look back knowing that you made her final trip to Disney magical. Sending virtual hugs and pixie dust.


I’m sorry for what you are going though; I did it with both of my parents and it was difficult. My parents were living in San Diego and I was in FL when my father passed. Mom told me not come for the “death watch” as no one knew how long it would be, but to come for the funeral - which I did. The day before the funeral my wife called me from FL to tell me that my dog got out the front door, was hit by a car, and had to be put down. That was a terrible 2 days. The day after Dad’s funeral I told my Mom that I needed some “away time” (she agreed and was surrounded by friends) so I drove up to DL for the day. It didn’t make all of the pain go away, but it was exactly what I needed at that time.


I’m sorry to hear about your Mom. I enjoyed following your trips together. Agree with others hard for us to say, but if you think it will help then maybe look into it.


As others have already said you will know what to do.

I think if it is a place of happy memories it will help your heart!

Sorry you are having a rough time!


Those photographs are lovely.

This is such an intimately personal thing.

First, it depends how you feel about your mother passing. Well, obviously you’ll be profoundly sad. But when my father died there was also a feeling of “relief” — for him and for me. I had been “lucky” to have had the opportunity to say a proper goodbye, so closure wasn’t so difficult to find. When my mother dies, I will certainly feel relieved. I’m not a monster, but sometimes it’s just time. My mother’s mental health has been poor ever since my father died and she’s basically been in mourning for the last nearly 14 years and I think if she could press a button she would. My first pet Cappa suffered so much in the last few days of her life that the decision to have her put to sleep was one of compassion. I was tremendously sad to lose her, but relieved her suffering was over.

Second, it depends how you feel about WDW. You’ve enjoyed trips there with your mother. Would another trip make you feel sad and regretful — guilty even — or would it bring back happy memories? Or distract you from grief in a way that you need to be distracted?

My recent trip to WDW was a big success. I was in a funk and it definitely helped. I needed a break; I needed to get away. It’s a place I can go on my own yet not feel alone or lonely (in part thanks to the lovely people on these forums). It’s a place of fun and excitement and beauty. It’s also an emotionally resonant place.

There was a concern that maybe it would make me feel worse. It did not. (Though, being brutally honest, I think this is partly because I’ve so repressed my own emotions that I’m to some extent dissociated. I remember going to Disneyland Paris at Christmas many years ago and being intensely sad and tearful that I was alone at such a happy time for others. Nothing remotely similar happened like that this year.)

Two memories stand out when my father died.

The first response I got was from a friend who sent me a jpg of a flower. The file name was “for wolfie” (a nickname back then). It really touched me.

The second memory was my thought that as my father had just died I was entitled to do whatever I wanted and no-one was entitled to say anything about it.

Perhaps that is the main point here. Losing a parent is universal, yet unique to each of us. Do whatever feels right at the time. If ever there’s a time when you’re entitled to do whatever you want, it is then. If going to WDW will give you comfort then go. I think it might. (Even if there are moments of sadness during the trip, that is a necessary part of the grieving process. And perhaps WDW is a better place to feel that sadness — tinged with happy memories — than being at home, with all its mundanity and sameness.)


I am so sorry to hear this, @Randall1028. I just read your trip reports with your mom and I am so glad you got that time with her. I’ll be holding you in my thoughts. Sending you so much love and light.


Aw honey :sob:I am so sad to read this. My heart is breaking for you

I think the first trip back is going to be hard for you no matter when that is. You made some really special memories there with your mom - these pictures make that so very clear. But I think it could be a help for you, too. It will be a very different trip, I’m sure, if you go, and you’ll need to expect that and curtail all other expectations. I have a feeling it will always be a place where you’ll feel her close to you.

I will be thinking of you in this sad time and sending you virtual hugs. One thing is certain - you can always know how loved you have made her feel through these health struggles. You are a very good son.

I’m thinking of the words from a song in the new movie, Mary Poppins Returns. I hope in time you feel comforted by them:

“So when you need her touch or loving gaze
‘Gone but not forgotten’ is the perfect phrase
Smilingfrom a star that she makes glow
Trust she’s always there, watching as you grow
Find her in the place where the lost things go”


Spot on.


I’m so sorry to hear this. I don’t have a lot to add. But to agree with the idea of doing what feels right to you. Our culture doesn’t do grief very well. We try to ignore it. I can’t say if WDW will help/hurt/neutral. But I do know grief and know it’s important to allow yourself to feel it and process it. To remember the wonderful parts of your relationship. My heart goes out to you.
Know that there is a group of people here who loved following along with you and your mom.


I’m so sorry for your loss Randell. I loved following along with your trips with your mom. She looked so happy on your last one together.

I don’t have any advice as to whether a trip to Disney will help you feel better or not, but I think you should do whatever you think may lift your spirits. Thinking of you. xo


My heart is breaking for you too. You and your mom have such an amazing bond that was evident in your trip reports. That will never go away. My advice is to do whatever you think may make you feel a bit better. There are no right or wrongs. I lost my dad when I was a teenager and I think you need to do whatever you can do to get through. Time does help to heal. The memories will always be with you. Huge hugs are being sent your way.


My friend, may I call you that though you don’t know me? My friend, your posts have given me strength in my own 5 year journey of care giving. I say GO! Weep in your hotel room, or be distracted in the parks…whatever you need. Remember the special times you had there with your mom, and feel proud for the wonderful son you have been. Going away to grieve, but also to look ahead to the next step in your journey of life, may be exactly what you need.


First, I am so sorry about your mom. I lost my father suddenly 4 months ago and I wouldn’t wish this kind of pain on anyone.

Second, I went to Disneyland exactly a month after he passed. I already had the trip planned… and i could have cancelled. I didn’t. I’m so glad I didn’t. My dad LOVED traveling and the last thing he would want for me is to stop doing things that make me happy. I went on the trip, and it was a lovely escape. Granted, I think I was still in shock from his passing… but still. The only other time I had been to Disneyland was with him. It almost made me feel closer to him while there. I think as time goes on I will seek out more opportunities to do things that my dad loved because I do think it will be a good way to still feel close to him. Grief is such a strange thing and there is no one answer for you. It’s so personal. Going to Disney might be painful for you for quite sometime because it’s something you shared so closely with her… but it also might be where you will feel closest to her :slight_smile: