I grew up in California. Lived there until I was 19. Therefore, I grew up with a love of Disney, having gone at least once every year until I graduated from High School, and even making a point to go to Disney when I came back to visit after having moved to another state. Silly as it sounds, there is something magical about Disney for me.
When I had children, I wanted it to be the source of fond memories for them that it was for me. I wanted them to see all the magic, as well as the skill involved in making the magic come to life, and to love it as I love it.
It was different for them though. Our first trip to Disney World was in 2000, when they were 4 and 5. Roo and Buzzard had already had 2 years of ABA therapy, but we were concerned about the overstimulation, and Buzzard was still coping with food issues and vomiting on occasion. Still, my husband had a meeting there, and it seemed like as good a time as any to test the waters. So off we went. Overall it was a good trip, except for Roo walking around most of the time with his lower lip puckered out chanting, “I wanna go home!”
The next time we would travel to Disney World would be 2007. I had begun to worry that the time they would actually want to do something like that with us was running out, so I planned a trip over a school break the end of October. They grumbled and groaned about the trip, saying it was for young children, that they were too old for such a vacation. I didn’t listen, and dragged everyone along.
And for a second time, everyone loosened up once we arrived, and they enjoyed themselves. Disney was putting on a Halloween trick or treating event where they closed the park early, and if you bought a ticket for the evening, you could stay with minimal crowds and get candy at every ride. The boys had a blast–all four of them!
“Aw, come on. It’ll be fun!” I counter. “We’ll see Harry Potter world,” I said as though dangling a carrot in front of a starving rabbit. They didn’t bite.
“We’ve got school. We’ve got cross-country practice. We can’t miss.”
“It’s only two days.” I say, deflating a bit.
“Nope. Two days of school is a lot.”
So I decide this will be a fun getaway without kids. We left on Thursday and came back today. We went to Disney, Epcot, and Universal Studios. And I was sad. Everywhere I looked I saw children having a great time. At one little food stand where they had ice-cream and funnel cakes, there was a woman with three small boys. It reminded me so much of when we had come the first time. I missed seeing excited little faces that held the wonder of seeing everything for the first time, or marveling in the ability to be big enough to ride a roller coaster.
Sure we had fun–a different kind of fun walking through and looking in shops, seeing the shows instead of getting on every roller coaster (and wanting to barf halfway through). But in the end, I think I decided that it just wasn’t the same without kids, once you’ve gone with kids.
For me, Disney is best left for when the kids want to come along. Who knows when that will be. Maybe it won’t be until there are grandkids. One thing I’m pretty sure of is, the Disney Chapter is closed for now.