We're planning our second trip to Disney World and I am stressing. Big time. Why? Because after our last trip we mentioned it might be nice to have the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all go next time. The idea took off and now has a life of its own. We're committed. We've promised the kids we're going to go. It's going to happen, the reservations are made. The finances are shaky.
The first time we went, in 2009, the kids were six and not-quite-thirteen, old enough to not only remember it all, but also to enjoy the family component. It truly was a magical time. Seven whole days of not having to worry about cooking or cleaning and not having to trudge through the mountains of snow we left behind at home. Seven days without reading a newspaper and worrying about the outside world.
Best of all, we managed to get one of those "Stay 3 days/4 nights get 3 nights free" deals Disney runs, which was a huge relief because the Magic Your Way packages are fantastic but pricey.
My husband and I long ago made a decision to live without credit (but that's another blog post). If we don't have the money for it, we don't buy it. We have a few credit cards with very low limits for emergencies, but Disney World hardly qualifies as an emergency.
As soon as we got back last time, we began saving to be able to go again. We have an old glass water-cooler bottle that we've thrown all of our spare change into for a year and a half now and dedicated one of our savings accounts specifically for funds for Disney World. But stuff happens. Like financing maternity and paternity leave when our new Mouseketeer arrived. Like car repairs and children outgrowing every single pair of pants and shoes they own.
But we have to go. We have to. We promised.
There are two other families meeting us there during a mutual school break. It's no longer just our vacation, which in itself is a little overwhelming. I'm trying to figure out how to feel relaxed and magical when there inboxes full of multi-paragraph emails triangulating to figure out who thinks they'll be at which park when and who wants to eat at which restaurant. Did I mention this trip is over six months away?
It's not that I don't want to go with everyone, quite the contrary in fact. We don't get to see our nephews (and their parents) nearly as often as we'd like and all the cousins are thrilled to be able to run amok together in Mickey's lair. It's the money. It's the promise. It's the compromising and different personalities and planning styles of the families involved. It's the fact that for the next six months we're going to have to live on pasta and use duct tape to fix things that break. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but we will be making tremendous financial sacrifices to live up to this commitment.
I just want this trip to live up to the magical memory of our last one, especially since it probably will be among the last family vacation my daughter, who will turn fifteen in Disney World, will take with us.
Will that happen if we're constantly fretting about whether we can afford this or that? What happens if making plans together doesn't work well and what started out as a great Grand Gathering turns ugly? Maybe I need my very own Fairy Godmother to turn a pumpkin into an airplane and six white mice into six thousand dollars.
Image courtesy of disneyexclusiveonline