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Not Your Mama’s Disney

If you’ve ever planned a vacation, you know that there are lots of moving parts. If you’ve ever planned a vacation with your extended family, you have my sympathies. Why would anyone want to juggle that many preferences, wishlists and personalities all while discussing how to have fun together? One word. DISNEY. But let me assure you, this is not your parent’s trip.

When my nephew turned five, our family decided we were ready to talk about a big trip to Disney. We had already decided five or six was the right age for Miss O to go and we knew she did better in a theme park with Mister A at her side. He’s six-months younger than she is and makes up for the bravery she often hides. Earlier that summer we took the kids to Canobie Lake Park, a theme park in New Hampshire about an hour north of us. They spent the ENTIRE DAY there. No joke, these two toddlers shut that park down with not one tantrum. They bordered on irritating only when they were hungry, but vocally torn between lunch and more rides. They were born for rides and finally decided we were allowed to leave when the fireworks started getting loud.


For real. SO. LOUD.

We planned on taking them to Canobie again the summer before we went on our epic Disney Adventure as a test to warm them up, but sadly, Miss O is now too tall for most of the kiddie rides and too short and scared for the big kid rides. Based on them tearing up Canobie and her love of geocaching, I think she can handle it.

The initial planning discussion was pretty vague, as most are, but left me ready to dive in and get it sorted. It’s been a while since my last vacation and my last trip to Disney so I’ll admit, I’m excited to travel for fun. I’m also about to finish grad school, so I’ve earned a whole lot of doing what I want. Because of my many years in conference planning, I have a really hard time not launching full-throttle into the planning phase of things. I was all set to knock out some low hanging fruit – when are we going? Where are we staying? how much is this going to cost us? I grabbed my notebook, got my spreadsheets ready and started researching.


It would not be possible at all without coffee.

HOLY COW. Let me tell you, it’s been six-months and I’m neck-deep in one of the most complicated strategy-building sessions I’ve ever encountered. I have never had so much help and felt so alone. There are thousands of posts with tips and tricks, all with varying levels of helpfulness and I assure you mine will be no better. What I can’t get over is how complicated the whole process has gotten and how much there is to juggle. Planning this trip is pure strategy bordering on an art form.

The last time I went to Disney World, I was single, living paycheck-to-where-did-my-money-go and had already done the parks to the point of only going to sit and watch the tourists come and go all day. Seriously, people-watching at Disney is fantastic, though with the rise of DisneyBounding it’s gone to a whole new level.


So. Many. Ears. photo by jpellgen (@1179_jp)

When you take things for granted, you really do a disservice to the thing you’re taking for granted. I didn’t realize how much emotion surfaces or how much strategy is actually involved in planning a Disney trip anymore. You used to just get a plane ticket, get a hotel room, buy some park passes and get your magic on. If that’s how you plan, good luck to you and I hope you get lucky. Those blogs, tips, tricks, hacks and strategies are out there for a reason. I’m happy to add mine to the pile and maybe it will help someone else who wants to do the impossible, too.

Let’s start juggling, y’all!


photo by Kosmolaut

9 thoughts on “Not Your Mama’s Disney

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