By Jaime Mathews

To Be Twins in the Magic Kingdom

Mamahood + Homeschool

The Sweet Life

October 18, 2021

When I went to Disneyland with my family, I was suddenly confronted with the fact that my twins are growing to be their own individuals, with different personalities, wants, and needs.

Taking six kids to Disneyland is not for the faint of heart. Yes, six kids and two adults. I won’t even begin to tell you how totally outnumbered we were. Imagine six kids at the Happiest Place on Earth. There are six different meal preferences, six different dessert requests, and six different humans who all had their own ideas about what rides to go on first (and second, and third, and last). But more than the three strollers, the eight sweatshirts underneath said strollers, and the plethora of cotton candy and popcorn, I found that the greatest Disneyland Aha! moments came from watching my 7-year-old twins take on the park, and how this twin mama reacted to it all. 

Two For the Price of One

Whoever came up with this phrase in regards to twins is slightly (or entirety) delusional. There is nothing, not one thing, that is a two-fer when it comes to twins. There is absolutely no price discount from having twins. They may share clothes but all that means is that you have double the amount of clothes for them to share. Twin parents don’t get a two-for-one discount at dinner (or Disneyland), and I’m pretty sure having twin newborns is not the same as having one. Just to be clear, it is definitely two for the price of… two

When twins are younger (say under six), you can often get away with having them play the same sports, interested in the same movies and can even get away with dressing them the same most of the time (one of my favorite things to do). So, mamas with twins or multiples around that age or younger, soak it up! Because I’m here to tell you that this doesn’t last forever.

I started noticing that my older twin (by three minutes) started wanting her individuality and space right after she turned seven. For whatever reason, this age was when the lightbulb seemed to go off for her. It’s when she really understood that she did not need to be attached to her sibling at the hip. She began asking for her own room, her own accessories and hair brush, and yes, much to my dismay, she rarely wanted to dress alike with her twin any longer. So I guess it should have come to no surprise that when we were at the Magic Kingdom, she had her own individual ideas about what she wanted to do and who she wanted to do it with. 

How Parents Can Get Themselves Into Double the Trouble

Our trip to Disneyland and California Adventure with six kids ranging from 4 to 16 years old came with both planning and parent separation. For my older step kiddos and niece, Small World and Dumbo were not on their list of favorite rides. For my one twin and her 4-year-old brother, Small World and Dumbo were their absolute favorite rides! That left my other (older, again by three minutes but it’s worth mentioning) twin. You see, this twin has always loved to “play up.” For the last year or so, she loves to hang out with the big kids. She wants a phone like they do (no way!). She wants to dress like her teenage family does (eek!). And she wants to prove that she is not a little pipsqueak anymore. So when it came time to divide and conquer the park, there was no way she was being left behind to stand in line for the kiddie rides. 

But this did not sit well with me at first. I initially did not let her go with the big kids. I made her stay and ride the smaller rides with her twin sister and younger brother. While the big kids were off on Space Mountain and the Matterhorn, she was riding on the carousel and sitting on the painfully slow-moving boats of Storybook (that ride is not my favorite either, I might add). I watched as she somewhat graciously appeased me by riding the rides, but I also noticed that she was shriveling inside. She was conforming to what her twin and younger brother wanted to do… And if I’m being honest with myself, it’s what I wanted her to do as well.

I want my children to stay young forever. Okay, I don’t really want that, but I want them to understand that they have their whole life to be all grown up. I want them to walk around with Mickey Mouse ears on, to gleefully squeal when they see their favorite Disney princess or to sing “It’s a Small World After All” all the way back to the hotel at night. And that’s exactly what my one twin did the entire trip (minus the Mickey Mouse ears because she loathes headbands). But I, who have rarely seen my twins apart for more than a few hours, often want them to stay “wombmates” indefinitely. However, this is exactly opposite of what any twin parenting book would recommend.

How to Be Okay Separating the Doublemint Twins

Luckily, it did not take me long to realize the harmful messages I was teaching my twins at the Happiest Place on Earth. I have always worked hard to encourage their uniqueness, to help them see that they have different gifts from one another, and that they have their own ways of thinking and being in life. I love how different they are. But when it came down to experiencing the park how they wanted to, I was not loving it. I wanted my twins to be together, hand-in-hand for the entire trip. And it wasn’t until I saw how unhappy my older twin was that I gave myself a much-needed reality check. Here’s what I discovered about how vital it is to nurture twins individually:

  1. When twins are given the freedom to make their own choices, they build confidence in themselves, completely independent from their in utero counterpart.
  2. When twins are given space from their lookalike sibling, their unique personalities grow and develop exponentially.
  3. As twins spend time apart from one another, they build deeper relationships with other family members and siblings. That twin bond can make other siblings feel alienated at times.
  4. Twins need to learn early on that codependency is not healthy, so giving each one a little space allows for them to nurture their own unique selves instead of worrying about the needs of their twin sibling.
  5. Twins must learn that their individual wants and desires matter. They need to feel like they can speak up for themselves and that they should not simply conform to what their twin counterpart wants all the time. 

In the end, I allowed my older twin to pal around with the big kids. My husband and I split up a good amount of the time so that the big kid group (including one twin) had time with parents, and of course, one parent was always with the little kid group (including my other twin). Everyone got special time with each parent, and my husband and I were able to watch all six kids living their best, age- and stage-appropriate lives. We ended our Disneyland trip with a Small World ride all together. And as we walked down Main Street for the last time during our three-day excursion, I captured a glimpse of what I wanted to see all along: my twin girls, walking hand-in-hand together. They may have spent the majority of the weekend apart, but this mama was reminded that no matter their distance, they will always be connected.


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Jaime Mathews      Author

Jaime is a woman of many hats: follower of Jesus, wife, mama of three, homeschooler, business owner, blogger, writer and aspiring homesteader. Follow her on instagram @jaimeleemathews.

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