It’s the happiest place on earth! Happiest place…. Happiest…. I need to find my happy place. Disney is an anomaly to me. People go, they spend a ton of money, they sometimes do it every year and some go (gasp!) more than once a year!!! I cannot fathom the motivation behind that, but I digress. Let me begin with the upsides! My kids think it’s very cool that we fly across the country to visit the mother of all theme parks every year. We go because my husband plays a string of shows with his band Smashmouth every year in October. It’s the international food and wine fest in Disney’s Epcot Center. The concert series is called “Eat to the Beat”. It’s super cool and they treat us very well and I KNOW that I’m lucky to get this trip for free. BUT…. I can say with no amount of reluctance, that I would absolutely NEVER spend what it costs to have this family vacation. Ass in the sand, exploring ruins is more my speed. Screaming children, haggard parents, and those fucking gifts shops… Not so much.
That brings me to my first gripe. Those fucking gift shops! Are you serious? Every single ride ends in the damn gift shop. Which means every single child who leaves a ride is either tortured or is torturing their folks at ride’s end. The person who thought of that was an evil genius.
Secondly, it is nearly impossible to see everything. It’s so spread out and the lines… Well, you know. There is so much walking, that my kids would absolutely melt down by 3pm because they were just plain exhausted! I noticed an afternoon exodus in which whining, crying children were being pushed, carried or dragged by haggard parents. Each family had their own words of comfort, “we’ve got to get some rest and dinner so we can come back and see fireworks!” Or “we’ll come back as soon as Mickey is back from his break!” Hey, who am I to judge? That white lie and a glass of Chardonnay may have saved that child from certain death!
Traveling anywhere with children, especially toddlers, is its own brand of hell. I mean, at one point in the airport I was literally dragging a broken suitcase and a toddler who decided walking just wasn’t in his game plan. Dragging, people… I’m just grateful that that airport kept its floors shiny and slick, it cut WAY down on his drag. Traveling Disney, though… It’s like prepping to hike Half Dome. You’ve got to be prepared! You must have sunblock and water and band aids (kids always seem to get blisters at Disney) money, passes, ID, magic bands, and all of the other parental accoutrements that might “save the day” in a pinch.
Thankfully, staying in the resort provided easily accessible afternoon respite, and the fact that we did not have to pay for our park hopper passes, made it ok for me not to push ourselves to spend every waking moment in the park “to get our money’s worth”.
I am truly grateful that I am able to take my children on this yearly trip. Likewise, I am grateful that our next one is a year away….. I’m just looking for that ever elusive “vacation from my vacation”. Until next year, Mickey. Until we meet again Tower of Terror, auf wiedersehen Epcot and your beloved Prosecco booth and good riddance gift shops! One completely spent, totally exhausted mama, signing off.