Holy crap. After a year of planning, we are T-minus two days away from our very first Disney World vacation and I can hardly believe it. I’ve turned our guest bedroom into packing headquarters and I’m making my lists and checking them twice. I’ve created a travel First Aid kit specific to our family’s needs (read: Mickey Mouse band-aids for all of those “boo-boos” the kids will inevitably get). Everyone in the family has been treated to extra pairs of underwear and socks since we’ll have to survive seven days without a washer and dryer and everyone knows you have to pack like you’re going to crap yourself several times on vacation anyway. My three-page itinerary has been updated with the latest information regarding every detail of our trip and like a nervous bride-to-be, I’m obsessively checking the weather as if it’s something I can control (and Googling “Is December a rainy month in Orlando?”)
While we’ve been prepping the kids on this trip for what feels like forever now I realized that I needed to prep myself mentally. Not only to deal with the inevitable overstimulated, over-tired meltdowns from the kids, but to manage my own tendencies to get a little crazy when it comes to trips. That said, I am going to try and hold myself to a list of Lynn’s Disney Commandments to keep me from acting like a negative Marlin and more like a plucky Dory who’s mantra is to “just keep swimming”.
- Commandment 1 – Thou Shalt Put the Phone Down and Enjoy the Moment: I’ve joked in the past about my phone being an extension of my body but I am seriously so DTP (down to photograph) that people around me cease taking photos because they know I’ve got it. Like a gunslinger in the Wild West, I’m a quick draw to nab a photo. In the time it takes you to crouch down and take a photo of our kids playing together I will already have enough candid and posed photos on my phone to put together an entire 8×8 Shutterfly photo book. OH, and I have a coupon for it too so its FREE. Of course I want photos of this amazing trip so I can cry over them later, but I also want to experience things first-hand rather than living behind the lens. That said, I’m putting the over/under on photos taken at 425.
- Commandment 2 – Thou Shall Not Obsess Over Sleeping (or lack thereof) I am obsessive over my kids’ sleeping schedules. Very rarely do I try and push my kids to go much further past their bedtime unless it is the most special of occasions. For that reason, we are usually the first to leave any play date or party because I MUST GET THEM TO BED IMMEDIATELY. Sadly, I don’t have kids that end up sleeping in because you kept them up later. Instead, they wake up even earlier…with a vengeance. At Disney I’m out of my element. We’re sharing a hotel room and these are going to be long days and potentially late nights. I can’t even bank on the fact that my kids will fall asleep in the stroller on the go because they’re just not wired that way. But I’m trying my best not to obsess over it because while it’s something I could try and control why be strict about bedtimes when you’re at the most magical place on earth? Instead I plan to feed them a steady diet of Pixie Sticks and Mountain Dew if I ever sense their energy waning.
- Commandment 3 – Thou Shalt Be Flexible: I didn’t schedule a “down day” during our week-long Disney vacation, which means every day we are headed to a park. This is absolutely going to lead to two exhausted kiddos and as much as I may be internal be screaming “GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER! LET’S MOVE IF WE’RE GOING TO MAKE THE ROPE DROP FOR SLINKY DOG!” I can’t carry each kid under my arm football-style and make a sprint for Hollywood Studios. Despite scheduling FastPasses 60 days out like a diligent Disney vacation planner, I may need to assess the situation and if the kids are feeling a little worn down, realize it won’t be the end of the world if we don’t make it in time for our Seven Dwarves Mine Train FastPass (although it sort feels like it would be, but serenity now). This leads me to my next and final commandment…
- Commandment 4 – Thou Shalt Realize That This Will Be A Magical Vacation Even If We Don’t Do All the Things: For awhile I was getting so swept up in the planning process as I read countless blogs about the best rides to FastPass, the hidden things to do at Disney, all of the snacks and food you have to eat because why wouldn’t I be taking inventory of all of the delicious things that would need to get in my belly? While making dining reservations six months out (yes, that isn’t a typo. SIX MONTHS) I agonized over the choices before me and felt like I needed to try and book a reservation at every single place that anyone had ever said was remotely magical and delicious. Then I realized that my kids are usually too turnt in restaurants and don’t willingly eat food unless it starts with “fruit” and ends in “snacks” so why was I stressing about an experience that would be overpriced and something none of us would enjoy anyway? So I made my peace with three dining reservations and the fact that we’re more of a QSR type of family. Then when it came time to book the FastPasses I had entered into a circle of Disney planning hell I didn’t know existed. The pressure is on because not only do you want to nab these desirable, hard-to-get-rides, but you want to minimize the amount of time your impatience 3 and 5 year old will have to wait in line. The day of I had my notes and spreadsheet before me and the Disney booking site kept crashing. The kids needed to leave for school in 10 minutes and no one was dressed or had their teeth brushed. I screamed out to Joe “YOU NEED TO TAKE THE KIDS! I HAVE TO STAY HERE AND FOCUS! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!” So yeah, I was freaking out. Then Joe, ever the more rational one in this relationship, offered a little perspective and reminded me that our kids have ZERO expectations for Disney. Even though we’ve talked about it with the kids exhaustively, I don’t think they quite grasp what Disney even is. So rather than stressing myself and everyone else out by trying to tick off everything on some checklist a blogger said we need to do, I’m going to take advantage of having an easy to please audience and enjoy the parks our way. We’ll see if I remain this zen a few days in, but I’m thinking drinking around the world at Epcot could help with that.