When I lived in Europe, my friend Carrie came over to visit and we spent a week in this town in Italy called Cinque Terre. It’s a series of five cliff side villages connected by ancient goat paths turned into hiking trails, surrounded by water the color of a million emeralds and people laying on the beach with boobies hanging every which way but nobody cares about that, or any of the things that people usually care about because they’re too busy drinking wine and breathing ocean air and it’s basically as close as you can get to heaven on Earth.
I could literally fly our entire family to Cinque Terre for for the same amount of money as it costs for a week at Disney World and before I had kids I used to wonder WHAT KIND OF IGNORANT ASS HOLE WOULD CHOOSE TO GO TO ORLANDO OVER ITALY? Whoever that person was, I never wanted to be her.
“We’re going to Disney World,” I told Nick in the same tone of voice I’d used for such conversations as, “It’s time for us to get engaged now”, and “Impregnate me”.
He protested, and I kindly pointed out that this was not my idea. None of this *points to everything in my mini van* was my idea. Everything just sort of crept up on me; a series of events commanded unto me by society and taking my family to Disney World is just another box to tick. Nobody chooses to go to Disney World, or buy a mini van or water their grass. These are just the things that people do. People are born, people get married, people have kids, people water their grass, people go to Disney World and then people die. Sometimes the order gets a little jumbled but for the most part that’s life in a nutshell and there’s nothing you can do about it except hang on tight and demand an epidural as early as possible.
The big secret that society keeps from “people” is that once you’re married your husband stops holding in his farts, children are endless pits of need and planning a trip to Disney is akin to picnicking in the seventh circle of hell. These are things you find out after it’s too late. Society is nowhere to be found when your husband is laughing his ass off trying to push your head under the covers while you think about what nice sheets you used to have back when you were single.
Planning a trip to Disney seems all easy peasy lemon squeezy until you get on Pinterest and discover there are five billion top ten lists of “Things You MUST Do To Avoid Certain Disney Disaster”. Each promises to send you into a fit of panic that you’re going to miss the one gold nugget that will make your trip super brag worthy, but mostly you’re going to find advice like, “wear shoes”. Still, you continue to catatonically cycle through them anyway because that’s another thing that people do.
Welcome to my last year and a half… pinging between the rabbit hole of Disney Pinterest and measuring my kids to see if maybe today they might be tall enough to ride Space Mountain.
I honestly don’t even know where to start when recounting the hell that is planning this trip. How about let’s start with there are twenty five Disney hotels. TWENTY FIVE. That, for one week in a two room suite, comes with a price tag of double what my entire first year of college cost. Have I mentioned how expensive this trip is?
Faced with twenty five hotel options, I decided planning this trip was way too big a job for one person and I asked our friebors (friends/neighbors) if they wanted to come with us/plan our entire trip. I left out the last part of that sentence but I feel like it was implied. We’ve made dinner together enough times that she knew what she was getting into partnering with me on anything.
Somewhere early in the (her) planning process my friend told me the Magic Kingdom doesn’t serve alcohol. This was almost a deal breaker for me – not kidding. What kind of messed up logic is this? This is a FAMILY THEME PARK. The need for getting shit faced has never been greater. They should have whiskey tables set up at regular intervals in the same fashion as water stations at a marathon. Parents just run by, splash malt liquor on their face, continue pushing the double stroller to the next five hour ride line and nobody gets hurt.
But no. There is no alcohol and everyone is cranky and I’ve heard nothing but comeapart story after comeapart story from my friends. Exhibit A, my friend Sarah’s status update last week:
But I don’t know about that yet… I’m still in planning mode/denial. Here’s what imma tell you about planning mode – once you’ve booked your hotel, flight and park passes you’re just dipping your toe in the water, my friend. A dizzying cornucopia of decisions awaits around every corner. Trading pins, autograph books, Bippity Bobbity Barf my head is going to explode. Which of the THIRTY character meal options are you going to choose? Let’s research it for seven months. Are you going to purchase a meal plan? This question is weighted with the same course-altering importance as taking a family member off life support.
Let’s talk for a minute about Fast Passes. Fast Passes are basically line cutting vouchers that come with the logistical complexity of mapping out an ant farm. You get four, but you reserve your first three sixty days out when the cell phone clock strikes midnight and the fourth in the park after you’ve used your first three. At first Fast Passes seem like a really good idea, like you’re getting away with something, but then you figure out everyone gets them and you feel much less important and realize it’s nothing but a pointless ploy to slowly drive you insane.
I began the Fast Pass selection process by cross referencing the rides in each park my kids were tall enough to ride with the rides my neighbor’s kids were tall enough to ride. Then I developed a spreadsheet listing out the lowest common denominators, took a friend to dinner to determine which rides were fast pass worthy, arranged these with an eastern to western geographical influence, making accommodations for meal and nap times and phases of the moon.
At midnight sixty days out my friend and I hovered over her computer and realized all our planning was for shit because Disney told us where we going to be and when and didn’t care if we were going to be in Quadrant three at 2:35; we’re fucking cutting in line for Peter Pan when they tell us we’re cutting in line for Peter Pan and it just makes you realize that Disney is controlling the entire world.
The last step was placing our grocery delivery order, which we have (she has) revised four times. How many frozen pizzas can nine people eat in a week? Let’s talk about it for six hours and hours and still not know.
So we’re going. We haven’t told the kids because I LOVE those videos where the parents spring it on them and the kids heads explode everywhere. Also, I can’t deal with, “Is it time to go yet?” on repeat from now until D day.
Plus once I tell them there’s no turning back, and I’ve heard Italy in November is breathtaking.