For part 3 in my Disney Family Vacation series, I’m going to tell it like it is. Don’t get me wrong – everything I said in the first two posts (“Disney Vacation: My top tips for your Disney Family Vacation” and “Disney Vacation Secrets Revealed – 10 things that surprised me”) is true. But taking my family of five on a Disney Family Vacation isn’t picture perfect. Assuming all families have a little imperfection, here’s the really real (really!) of our experience. I hope it forewarns you so you’re prepared for your own trip, and, of course, I hope it also makes you smile. Comment if you can relate (to reaffirm my sanity and let me know I’m not alone!).
- Flex-time. Just like when that wise friend warned me not to get my heart set on an epidural because it might not happen, you need to be prepared to have your Disney Family Vacation stray from your perfect plans. Rides can break down – even during your precious FastPass reservation time slot. It happened to us on Tower of Terror! Our car stopped right before it entered the drop chamber, and we sat there for a good 5 minutes waiting, hearts pounding in anticipation of the drop. The great news is that Disney apologized for the wait by handing us each a FastPass ticket when we got off the ride. The not-so-great news is that this was followed by my eldest child having a full-on argument with me about how annoyed he was we had to wait for Daddy and the other boys coming from across the park, and how mean I was to not let him have ice cream at 9:02am. Deep breath. Flex. Find something new to do.
- Forgiving the Ungrateful: I never thought it would happen, but I was that mom loudly and firmly declaring to her children, “We are NEVER coming to Disney again.” I didn’t mean it. You won’t either. But you’ll say it. It’s hard not to, when you’ve spent a lot of money on the trip, a lot of time planning, and when you expect a purely magical time. So when your kids start saying they just want to swim, or that the line for the ride is stupid and annoying, or they throw a tantrum because you won’t let them buy ice cream at 9:02am, you may find yourself uttering words you never thought you’d say. But you don’t mean them. Forgive your kids for their temporary ungratefulness. Maybe someday your kids will forgive the ice cream shop owner for not even being open at 9:02am.
- It’s OK to be a softy: It’s hard (or, for me, virtually impossible) to say no to soft serve ice cream. At any hour. I admit to giving in to many ice cream stops to tame or avoid my kids’ tantrums, or to sugar-up the kids to help them power through the next hour, or to let myself indulge for having been brave and trying scary rides with my kids. (yes, I’m a ride wuss). Go ahead and give in every now and then. You only live once, and it’s vacation, after all. If a little ice cream can go a long way toward a happy vacation, go for it.
- You will, at least once, be those people: We were those people more than once. Being those people can be achieved through yelling at your kids too loudly, then embarrassingly having your husband tell you you’re being too loud, by having a child actually lie down on the pavement to resist doing whatever you’re asking him to do, by bumping into people in the park because you’re too busy looking down at the My Disney Experience app on your phone, or even by taking too long on a moving conveyor belt walkway that leads up to a ride because you have multiple kids in tow. Tolerate these people. Because at one point on your vacation, you will be those people. Guaranteed.
- Beware the auto-flush toilets: They’re loud. The toilets in the park generally have auto-flush, and they are LOUD. I tell you this only because, on each of the two Disney Family Vacation trips my family has gone on, I’ve had at least one child covering his ears and crying in the public bathrooms because of it. You’ve been warned.
- Let’s pretend: Even your youngest children may think it’s strange that the characters they meet in the parks don’t talk, or that they’re physically larger than life. Pre-think an answer as to why. Or pretend you don’t know.
- Recovery room: You will be exhausted. I feel like I’m still recovering from all the planning, packing, flexing, frolicking, loving, enjoying, riding, re-planning, picture-taking fun. This vacation tired me out. I think this picture does a perfect job showcasing how it feels to leave Disney: You’re deflated, because you really want to stay a bit longer, and you’re shriveled up from exhaustion. But it’s sooo worth it.
Stay tuned for the 4th and final entry in my Disney Vacation Series: Vacation with Boys: What I (re)-learned . . . again.
#mobtruths #boymom #familyvacation #parenting