have a perfection-free magical Disney day!

In the past, I have said there’s no greener garden than motherhood in which perfectionism can grow like kudzu.

Disney 2006

Still true. But there may be a close secondary Paradise of Perfectionists: a trip to Disney World.

We are off to Orlando for three days tomorrow morning. The kids are excited but not vomiting-excited. We planned this trip at the last minute, mostly because we were already going to be in Florida for ten days, and by the next time we get here, Maggie may be too big for princesses once and for all. If she’s not too big already. As I tucked her in last night:

ME: Maggie, are you getting excited to see the princesses?

Maggie looks at me with pity. She gestures for me to bend so she can whisper in my ear.

MAGGIE: **They’re really just girls wearing costumes Mommy.**

Deny, deny, deny.

ME: What? No way! I mean sometimes princesses are just people in costumes. But Disney World is the place where they’re all actually real!

Maggie ponders this. Finally:

MAGGIE: Okay. There’s like a one percent chance they’ll be real.

This was a lesson for me in pre-setting expectations. If I stand in line with Maggie for ninety minutes so she can experience the wonders of Ariel’s Grotto Fantasy Meet & Greet in the New Fantasyland, and if, upon our exit, Maggie goes with the girl-in-costume verdict, I am hereby declaring that I will not die a little inside.

Nor will I snap at my eight-year-old when he says he’s hot.

Nor will I tell my ten-year-old we’re not riding Space Mountain AGAIN if 1) my other kids are fine with that and 2) it’s making him happy.

This will be hard for me, because I am a planner. I am a researcher. After I entered the Disney 1-800 customer service vortex and booked a hotel, I checked TripAdvisor, and thanks to Jesse D. of Rockport, ME, willingly re-entered said vortex to find a new hotel. The “main pool” at the first hotel I had chosen was under construction, and while I will probably be really pissed if we spend more than twenty minutes of our seventy-two Disney hours in a swimming pool, the idea of not having the OPTION to swim, at Disney prices, was not something I was about to tolerate. That would not be Disney magic. That would not be perfect.

See, that’s much more my style. I have downloaded not one but two iPhone apps that estimate wait times for rides, enabling one to plan a Magical Day with maximum efficiency. And I could have those apps open every minute we’re in those parks, planning the most important, crowd-zig-zagging thing we should be doing at that moment, rather than just be.

I am telling myself today that we’re better off going on four rides a day, waiting in lines that are for chumps, eating at our fifth choice restaurant and staying up way past our kids’ bedtimes, rather than have a “perfect” trip with me in drill sergeant mode. That’s what my kids want, and heaven knows that’s what my husband wants (although he will be asking me where’s the best place near the Haunted Mansion for some salmon and steamed vegetables, very little oil. He will have to manage his expectations as well.)

Most of all, it’s what I want.

I hereby declare I will have an hot, inefficient, imperfect trip to Disney World, and that I will enjoy it thoroughly.

That being said give me your tips below.

Or at least wish me luck.


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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie March 21, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Oh my goodness, I love Disney! I ran a half marathon there a few years ago and I was really impressed by…everything. Lesson that we learned the hard way: Space Mountain is NOT the same as Splash Mountain! We mistakenly went on Splash Mountain right after entering the park and got drenched! Don’t sit in the front row of the car or you will get soaked.

There are periodic parades down Main Street so try to find out what times they are – really fun, big productions. We got antsy waiting for the lights one, though, and it was hard to find a good spot to watch.


Marie March 21, 2013 at 8:48 pm

P.S. I am the queen of Great Expectations so I know what you mean. I hope you have a wonderful, magical time with your family!


Experienced Bad Mom March 21, 2013 at 9:00 pm

We go every year. You cannot do it all. You cannot do it all. Whatever you get to do, it will be fun. I hope you already made your dinner reservations? We used to think paying $30/person for dinner was ridiculous, but now we make dinner reservations at a sit-down restaurant every night. It’s worth it to chill and have someone else wait on you after walking (and walking) all day.

P.S. While we love Boardwalk, we did see a giant hawk pluck ducklings out of the pool there and rip them to shreds for a snack. So, if you’re staying there, watch out!


christineb March 21, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Don’t forget about fast pass! We went last summer (4 adults/2 4-year old girls) and each day we had a strategy for getting the fastpass tickets for the rides we really wanted to do. And to echo Experienced Bad Mom, making dinner reservations is something I would highly recommend.


amywlsn April 3, 2013 at 6:09 pm

you guys saved me with that dinner advice. thanks.


tracy March 22, 2013 at 7:41 pm

love this for so many reasons. first, your comment about not being “vomiting-excited” is one of the funniest things i have read in a while! second, i am so the exact same as you when it comes to planning, researching, over analyzing things. i would have bought books, consulted blogs and found out each and every “tip and trick” for disney before going. that is part of why i don’t really want to go. too much pressure to have it be a “perfect” vacation. so, good luck to you! i know that you will have a great time!!!


Tracey Medrano Becker March 27, 2013 at 2:51 pm

My best piece of advice is to bring your lunch and drinks. Really. We actually bought a cheap umbrella stroller, even though my kids are 14, 10 and 7, just have somewhere to put our lunches, drinks and extra coats (it got chilly at night). BEST 12 BUCKS WE’VE EVER SPENT. Just refilled the water bottles and had plenty of snacks to keep the grumpiness at bay when sugar levels would get low. I also had each kid pick ONE THING that they’d be disappointed to miss and made those a priority. Everything else was just extras.

HAVE FUN. But you won’t have fun 24/7. It’s impossible. 🙂


amywlsn April 3, 2013 at 6:08 pm

I’m putting your tips in my roundup post. Thanks Tracey!


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