Let me preface this by saying that I am admittedly one of the more disorganized people I know. I lose things. I skim over the small print. I have trouble staying focused on the goal. Worst of all, I am a Master Procrastinator. These may be okay qualities to have for a creative type – big ideas, quirky and off-the-beaten path presentations, etc – but these are NOT good qualities in a Disney trip planner.
TIMELINE: How I planned my trip to Disney
- 1996 - I got pregnant and thought, “Hey, we should take this kid to Disney someday.”
- 2002 – I got pregnant for the third time and thought, “Jesus, I will NOT lug three small kids to Disney.”
- 2008 – Youngest Daughter started kindergarten and I thought, “Maybe we should think about Disney.”
- 2009 – Ordered Disney trip planning DVD. It arrived. I stuck it in a drawer with report cards and kid art.
- 2010 – Put house on market, got full time job, small life implosion not conducive to Princesses.
- October 2011 – Bit the bullet in October and booked plane tickets to Orlando for Valentine’s Day.
- November 2011 – Had sister book hotel rooms off property, as she could get me a Family Rate.
- December 2011 – Had kids open Christmas gift saying, “Yay, we’re going to Disney!” Didn’t quite get the screaming/tears/hysteria we were hoping for – it was more of a “Huh. You finally did it. Great.” Those damned Disney commercials that I’ve been tearing up watching for the last year as the kids freak out just created unrealistic expectations in my own children.
- January 2012 – Five weeks to departure – The Delusion is broken.
I start thinking maybe I should look at the cost of park tickets. We don’t get to Orlando until about 6 p.m. on Tuesday, and leave first thing on Sunday, so we really have four full days in town. We only want to hit Magic Kingdom one day and maybe another Disney park, but the kids will want to go to Harry Potter Land at Universal, and Current Husband wants to go to Sea World. We should be able to do that in four days, right? The cost of tickets for a family of five on that multi-park plan is about $3000. I REPEAT, JUST THE TICKETS TO THE PARKS COSTS THREE EXTRA LARGE.
But hey, we’re making that up in the room, right? Because they are so cheap! But we do have to rent a car while we’re there, because Disney has it rigged that you can’t get transportation to Disney from anyone but them. And then there are meals. And parking. I decide to look around the website a little bit.
OH DEAR GOD. I’VE FAILED. I’VE FAILED AT THE ONE THING MOMS SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO.
My name is Julie the Wife,
and I’m Disney Challenged.
I go to Facebook to complain and whine that I don’t know what the hell I’m Disney Doing, and a friend suggests I go to http://www.tourguidemike.com/. I do it, I buy the plan, and then I wait while they send my results. I can see that what they have is extremely helpful, to people other than me, but apparently now besides the Disney website to read, I have about 500 articles on the Tour Guide Mike site, all with secret codes and special instructions. What is my dining plan? What is my transportation plan? What is my Character Meet and Greet plan? What rides am I going to personally want to be on, and what time of day will I need to get in line? As I said, I know Tour Guide Mike is awesome for people who know how to point and shoot these weapons, but I can’t tell you what we are eating for dinner tomorrow night or where my black t-shirt is, so we’re both going to need a crystal ball for those decisions.
I said on Facebook that planning your first Disney trip is like having sex for the first time: Confusing, scary, and possibly overrated, but everyone expects you to do it. I’m starting to think I’ll use the same coping strategy this time – Close my eyes, brace for the unknown, and when people there ask me what I think, I’ll smile and say I came.
End of Part I. Stay tuned for Part II of the Disney Adventure, Crime and Punishment Version.