When next I post, it will no doubt be a picture–and it will surely be a happy picture, because we are off to the Happiest Place On Earth ™!
Actually, is that right? We’re going to Disneyworld, anyway. The Happiest Place On Earth ™ might be Disneyland. Or somewhere else. I forget. But we’re off to Orlando. And I do expect there will be plenty of happiness, although I’m not fool enough to expect nonstop joy or even a day without tears. DIsneyland may be happy, but it’s also hot, crowded, stressful and prone to providing disappointments in the form of rides that can’t be re-ridden or candy that can’t be purchased. But hey, it will all be good. We’re not expecting the trip of a lifetime, just a few fun days with Mickey and my parents.
But listen to what I’ve done. In honor of 4 days of theme parks, I purchased (as you will soon see) four sets of matching stripey tshirts. We need new summer ts anyway, and there’s no better cause than being able to glance up and pick our four out at a glance. Having other people have the ability to easily return a roaming kid to us (even the kid who might not, to uninitiated eyes, immediately appear to match) is pretty priceless too. Plus, while I was at it, everyone got new swimsuits to replace last year’s worn and outgrown models. Packing was easy. I grabbed underwear, then threw all the new shirts and plain navy shorts into the bag. I even bought new socks. In fact, the kids are totally packed, and we’re not leaving until Friday. (An advantage of going somewhere warm before it’s warm here–they don’t need any of this stuff. It’s been packed for days.)
But tonight I set out to pack for ME. And I have nothing. Not that I feel a need to look spiffy at Disney, but frankly a new swimsuit might have been in order, and ditto a few new tshirts. What I have is a pretty sad box of worn out stuff. Don’t feel sorry for me–I have some decent summer stuff too–but nothing you’d wear at Disneyworld. I have nice stuff, and then–ugh. But it really didn’t occur to me to get myself, say, a couple of UV blocking shirts or a better sunhat. Oh well.
Two questions, for Disney vets:
First, I don’t have hats for them. The last time we went anywhere like this, Lily lost her hat immediately, and Rory refused to wear hers, leaving me carrying it the whole time. They also came off for every ride and were far more trouble than I thought they were worth. Thoughts?
Second, I thought I’d give them some money, so that they can choose any souvenirs themselves and be done with it. That’s how we do money here–the answer to every “can I have that?” is “sure, do you have enough money?” It’s a parenting on track thing, and it’s fantastic. No one argues with it. But their tiny, a dollar-per-year-of-age allowances aren’t going to go very far at Disney, and I’m ok with giving them each something. But what? I have no idea what, say, one of those spinny light-up things they are bound to want there costs.
I haven’t been to Disney, but here’s what I think. Ask them if they want to wear a hat or sunglasses and then let them pick their own at Disney. It’ll cost you a bit more but they will probably wear them and tell them they’ll need to take care of them.
As for money, I am a huge fan of having spending their own money. Check out the gift shop alone if possible and see how much small things run. I would think $10-$15 should be plenty. Before you leave tell them you will be giving them money to spend and if they think they might want to spend money they should get their own money and pack it. It’s not you responsibility to pack it for them. When you talk to them about it you could suggest, one time, that they pack it in their suitcase right now and you could help them if they want. Otherwise leave it alone, even if you know they might be disappointed.
A word of advice: DO NOT LOAN YOUR KIDS MONEY! Tell them you don’t lend money to people you love. And you love them too much to loan them money.
I can’t give you advice on the money issue, I have no idea how much Disney stuff costs (though the visiting a gift shop advice seemed spot on if difficult to pull off). I do remember that when we went on family vacations to New Hampshire, my parents would give us money to use in the little town square, and we loved it. We were so much more discerning about what we actually wanted.
As for the hats, would bandanas work? They’d be easier to keep on, and you could even sell the kids on them as pirate themed.
Also, the biggest tip I remember for Disney is that each ride has several lines, but the lines on the far left (I think, check both sides) tend to be waaay shorter than the ones in the middle. Seriously, I remember passing tens of people by getting into those side lines.