Can Disney Cruises Heal Your “Toxic” Family? This Guest Tried It

tiffany leigh with her baby and pluto and captain minnie

Many Disney Guests savor or treasure the classic “Disney magic” from Disney Parks and Disney vacations — in fact, so much so that some people have actually uprooted their lives and moved to be closer to Walt Disney World Resort — and apparently, this Disney magic remains potent despite the many recent controversies surrounding the Walt Disney Company!

We’ve learned about many upsetting conflicts between Disney Guests in Disney Resorts as of late, and vacation tensions can certainly involve family as well, but one writer has recently proved that a Disney vacation can actually help with some seriously “toxic” family drama!

tiffany leigh with her baby and pluto

Credit: Tiffany Leigh /

Freelance writer Tiffany Leigh recently shared in an article on Insider that she embarked on a Disney Fantasy cruise ship vacation with her family in an effort to help them bond with her infant, despite heightened family tensions.

“The last thing I ever thought I’d do was go on a Disney cruise with my parents and mother-in-law,” Leigh wrote. “I’ve had a toxic relationship with all of them for years.” However, a Disney Cruise changed that — or at least alleviated the tension for a while!

Captain Minnie Mouse with disney cruise line florida donations

Captain Minnie Mouse joined Disney Cruise Line cast and crew members in Fort Lauderdale at the Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital at Broward Health / Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

“Due to a complicated history, I used to actively avoid my parents and in-law for fear of being triggered. In fact, I would only see them when absolutely necessary, such as birthday gatherings and holiday dinners,” Leigh began.

That changed when Leigh’s father heard about his daughter’s plans for a Disney cruise (the 7-Night Very Merrytime Western Caribbean Cruise, to be specific), and promptly invited himself.

“To be fair to all, we ultimately had to welcome my father, mother, and also my mother-in-law, on our trip,” Leigh continued.

However, Leigh and her husband began the Disney cruise with some strict rules: “no unsolicited advice, no off-side judgemental commentary, for our wishes for private family time away from them to be respected, and to ask permission before touching our baby.”

The Disney Fantasy holiday cruise set out from Port Canaveral and involved stops in Cozumel (in Mexico), George Town in Grand Cayman, Falmouth in Jamaica, and (of course) Castaway Cay in the Bahamas.

Disney Treasure Cruise Ship

Credit: Disney

Leigh made it clear, unfortunately, that she was still “more stressed than calm” during the Caribbean Disney Cruise.

However, she did also point out many benefits of the cruise, including the many opportunities that it provided when it came to creating some space between her and her estranged family.

As Leigh put it, the cruise ship’s enormous size “was integral to keeping the peace between everyone”. Apparently, “the ship’s cheerful ambiance” was also a huge help, especially since it was sporting some holiday finery.

Childcare services like the “it’s a small world” daycare and the Oceaneers Club were also a big help, apparently, and these locations provided a relatively safe space for some interactions between Leigh’s daughter and her relatives in a situation that made Leigh more comfortable than leaving them alone with her entirely.

Have you ever tried to use a Disney vacation or Disney cruise to mend some rifts between family members, or to distract everyone? Were your attempts successful? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!

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