Saturday, April 9, 2011

This might qualify me as bonkers but I don't think so

D and I took N to Disney World when she was 3.  I was about 5 months pregnant with G at the time, and N was absolutely over-the-moon about Disney Princesses.

Her love affair began in December 2006 when my cousin gave her a Disney Princess Seek-And-Find book at the family Christmas party.  In February 2007 I began to have nonstop pregnancy sickness and took to the couch, leaving N to watch Disney Princess movies (borrowed from our neighbor whose own daughter had outgrown them) all day long for about 11 weeks.

On our first day at Disney World, we had lunch at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall with various princesses stopping by our table, and N's eyes all agog and her head on a swivel.  It was truly magical for her to meet the princesses and get their autographs.

Because at age 3, it was all completely real.

On the second day when we went to Magic Kingdom, N sat on Pa's lap (my parents and MIL went with us) riding the monorail and when she saw Cinderella's castle for the first time she screamed:  "There it is!!!!!"  The joy on her face made the trip.

G is a complete Pixar nut.  He has watched Cars at least 10 trillion times.  He has an abiding love for Mater and his rockin' version of "Dad Gum."  He (and N) have determined that our family is just like The Incredibles, with D as Mr. Incredible, me as Elastigirl (D wishes), N as Violet, G as Dash, and M as Jack-Jack.  He loves WALL-E.  He has seen all of the Toy Story movies over and over.  And he is 3.

So it made sense that we would visit Disney World this year since it is our "on" year for a big vacation (we do a bigger vacation every other year, with our "off" year being 1-2 small day trips during the summer.)

Friends with children the same age as G or slightly younger have asked me about going to Disney World, and I always encourage it.  Because of that realness and magic.  Because of the wonder of seeing it all through the eyes of a young child.

N is 7, and while she is plenty excited about going to Disney World, there is not that same kind of enthusiasm as when she was 3.  She is excited to ride bigger rides with her Daddy and sweet-talk her grandparents into buying her souvenirs.  (All 3 grandparents are going with us again.)

The truth is, as magical as it was for N at 3 and will be for G as a 3-year-old, at least 50% of the reason I'm doing this is for me.....because I want to witness the magic of my children seeing something completely fantastical and over-the-top and delightful.

Prior to going to Disney when N was 3, I hadn't been since I was a teenager.  Disney World was never and will never be somewhere I go on my own, without children.  Instead of visiting the fake places at Epcot, I want to go to the real China and the Netherlands and France.  Before having our kids, D and I made a point to travel as much as possible to some great places----Italy, Greece, Iceland, Niagara Falls, Toronto, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Grand Cayman Island, Chincoteague Island.   But young kids would not want to tour cathedrals or hike or do any of the "grown-up" things we did on those trips.

D is apprehensive about taking 3 kids because of tantrums and all of the issues that go along with kids.  But I figure at Disney there are kids everywhere, and at any given point some kid is screaming or zonked out after screaming.  I spend all day long with the kids and have had to endure their tantrums in Target and doctor's offices and libraries and grocery stores and shopping malls----plenty of places that are much less forgiving of childhood's most unpleasant behaviors.

I have told him that we will plan to go again to Disney World when to M is 3, and then we never have to go back.  If the kids want to ride amusement rides, we can go to much, much closer and much, much, much cheaper destinations.  What I'm willing to pay for is the magic and wonder that only lasts a few short years when a child is quite young.

1 comment:

Kelsey said...

I actually LOVE Disney World with or without kids. I was glad we waited until Harper was five to take her - it still seemed like a great age, although I was surprised by how many of their "tricks" she figured out - it didn't bother her though!

We are going in the fall. Originally we were going to wait until Michael was five to take him on a solo trip (which Harper got to do last year) but Matt decided we should take them once together before we go back with just Michael.

I can't wait to hear about your trip because I'm still a little leary of taking Michael when he is only three!