One week ago today we walked into our house completely wiped out after spending spring break week at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Trust me when I tell you that Disney is one of the most exhausting vacations you’ll ever take, but it’s also one of the most magical vacations you’ll ever experience. Yes, that pun was intended.
The last time we were at Disney WORLD, eight years ago, our family was a party of five and our then youngest was only two and he didn’t remember that trip.
In 2016 we took a west coast road trip and did Disneyland for two days and our kids remember the experience. This time around we decided we would brave the WORLD and go on spring break. Yes, it was busy. No, it wasn’t hot. Yes, it was worth it. Our oldest graduates from high school in May and we knew that this was really going to be our last hooray for spring break as a family of six.
Bonus that everyone was old enough to remember and also big enough that we could all ride the rides together, none of that waiting and trading places thing that parents with small children have to do. My husband and I firmly believe in giving our kids the gift of experiences over things, because a memory will truly last forever.
Now, I could go into the top ten things to do at Disney, or how to make the most of your meal plan should you choose to purchase one, or the pros and cons of staying on property, or if Disneyland is better than Disney World. I will spare you. If that’s the information that you are looking for, then just Google Disney Vacations or type Disney in your Pinterest search tab and faster than you can say “Cinderella” you’ll be overwhelmed with enough opinions, tips, tricks, hacks, information and ideas that you’ll wish you had stayed off the super information highway and planned your trip without any help from well-meaning Mousekateers.
Here IS what I am going to tell you:
- We spent an entire six nights and seven days together, free of distractions like school, work emails, constant texts messages, phone calls, etc.
- We stayed in a cabin at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and shared one bathroom without any issues.
- I saw the shock on Toby’s and our kids faces when I told them I would ride the Tower of Terror with them (let me tell you right here that there was no bravery in this feat, I cried and really questioned my sanity when I stepped onto the ride. That’s me, top row, pink shirt with black jacket, about to die)
- Every single meal was eaten together as a family. Do you know how hard that is now days? Our average of sitting together for a meal is maybe two times a week, but last week… we had 21 meals together. That’s 21 conversations, not to mention all the ones we had while standing in lines.
- Watching all four of our kids happily stand in line to meet characters and pose for pictures made us smile because there’s still a hint of childhood in our two older “babies”
- Experiencing Disney and all its magic and wonder through the eyes of our children, is one of the most rewarding things we have ever done.
- Our kids bonded. Not that they don’t “bond” when they are home, but there was less arguing and more laughter. Less competition and tattling and more comradery.
- While I was holding our youngest daughter and standing next to our oldest daughter on the last night as we watched Cinderella’s castle light up in the Happily Ever After show, and hearing our girls call out all the princesses in excited voices…. I ugly cried. To be able to have that moment with them was a dream come true and I was overwhelmed with thankfulness for a husband willing to work hard to make this trip happen, for allowing me to have that moment that will forever be seared in my memory, and hopefully theirs.
Do you have to go to Disney or any other destination to have the above-mentioned memories or to eat meals together and be undistracted? NO. WAY. You can unplug and do things around the house without any trips. For #Teambohl? Sometimes we need to grab the kids and get out of our environment. So here’s my “advice” on Disney if you choose to go. Drink in every moment. Relish every smile, every ohhh and ahhh, every giggle and shriek. Make the memories. And for your sanity, limit the amount of Google and Pinterest research you do… your mind will thank me for this. Oh yeah, I almost forgot… every park has Starbucks. Find these magical places first if you want to survive😂