It’s been over 4 years since I last went to Disney World. I have to say that my last experience there wasn’t all that great. The reason is pretty simple. At the time my sons were 1 and 5 years old. For my 5 year-old, it was great. It couldn’t have been any more exciting for the little guy. The kid got to battle Darth Vader. I mean, come on. How sick is that? But for me? It was tough. I happen to not love all the rides at theme parks (I get motion sickness pretty easily) and that week the weather was abysmally hot. We’re talking over 90 but with like 100% humidity. Top that off with a 1-year-old who can’t really go on too many rides and I’m playing babysitter most of the trip. Luckily my wife’s mom was there so that made things a bit easier but the whole diapers and always having to have milk ready thing wasn’t my cup of tea. I even left the parks early each day to go back to the hotel and take a nap. I still thank my wife for being OK with that but something just didn’t jive on that trip. Overall? Sure, it was definitely fun but I always knew deep down that I wanted my kids to be older for the next Disney adventure. So here we are, four years later and I just got back from not only this Disney trip but really the first family trip since COVID restrictions have loosened up. Plus this vacation was without my wife’s mom so it was just the four of us. And I have to say, while it was an absolute haul, it was fantastic. And I know we also did it right. How did we do it right? Let’s discuss:
Through their eyes
You know how parents always say things like “you get to live through their eyes?” It’s an expression used when you re-experience something with your children. So let’s say you watch a movie you saw when you were a kid only now you’re watching it as an adult with your children. You get to “see it through their eyes.” You get to see their reactions. You get to see their excitement, sadness, bewilderment, all of those emotions that come with seeing something for the first time. There’s no great place to do this than Disney World. Not only are you seeing new attractions and experiencing them at a different age in your life, you get to see the reactions on your kids’ faces when they get to experience these rides for the first time. It’s nothing short of awesome. Each time their eyes would light up it brought a smile to me and my wife’s face. I know I sound cheesy and it’s because it’s hard not to feel cheesy. It truly is that cool of a feeling.
I became a “yes” man
Let’s get something straight. I cannot stand crowds. Hell, I can’t even stand people most times in my life. But I made a decision before we left for Disney World. I decided to become a “yes” man and do my absolute best to simply forget about all that shit. I know someone would step on the back of my shoe. I knew that anywhere I turned there would be annoying people yelling in my face. I knew that my feet would be killing me all day. I knew that I’d be eating like absolutely garbage. I knew I wouldn’t be exercising. I knew that every semblance of routine (with the exception of waking up at 6 every day to get to the parks on time) would be eliminated from my life. I also knew that this non-routine would be very uncomfortable. But I also just “let go.” I did everything my wife and kids wanted to do. I complained the least out of the four of us which completely blew away my wife. And it’s easily the best decision I made in a long time. I just felt “free” despite all the little aggravations that come along with 4 days at brutally crowded theme parks.
Watching them get along when “forced” to
My two sons are great friends but they get into quarrels as much as any siblings do….which is quite a lot. One minute they’re saying “I hate you” and the next they’re giving each other hugs saying “you’re the best brother ever.” And this is when they’re in their “normal” environment. What I mean by that is this is when they have school, have their routines, are playing their video games, are watching TV, and are living how they normally live. But what happens when you strip that from them? A vacation is one hell of a test to see the measure of their relationship. No more video games. No more Youtube. No more Roblox. Yeah we took their tablets but they barely used them. For seven days the most “playing” they did was with a few action figures. We literally needed almost nothing and these two kids were entertaining each other for hours. It was an amazing sight to see. I couldn’t believe just how much they loved each other. I mean I knew they did but actually seeing it was a pleasure. And simply seeing their adaptability and maturity in this situation was about all you can ask for as a parent. I mean sure, we’re back to “normal” now but I think testing your children now and then in adverse conditions is one hell of a teaching tool.
Work almost feels like a joke right now
I almost feel like the true “vacation” is being back in my normal routine. I never realized just how “easy” it is to be doing my job. I guess 12 hours a day of constant walking, waiting on lines, and utter chaos will do that to you. Now whenever I think something is a pain in the ass I just say to myself “Disney World” and it puts things into perspective. And maybe I’m the exception. Maybe most of you out there feel like coming back from a trip to Disney World sucks. Not me. I’m grateful. And I only hope that anyone reading this can understand what I’m talking about. Take a trip to Disney. Go through the motions. Let the insanity grip you, and learn from it.