We had an overall great time at Disney with the kids last summer. We did. I swear.
Zach was 5 and he was very easily overwhelmed, over-stimulated, and scared of very many things. We had not anticipated this from him since he is usually a pretty easy going, ok with trying new things kind of kid. But by the time we went on our trip, he was more cautious and concerned about things. And the BIG nature of all things Disney was just too much for him.
Teagan did great most of the time. She was 8 years old and had the courage to try bigger rides and experiences. But sometimes the drag of that little brother... the hot day... the rain... the lines... resulted in some attitude meltdowns that weren't our favorite moments. Family vacation requires the ability to be flexible, embrace spontaneity, and sacrifice and compromise for those around you - Teagan wasn't quite there yet.
There were so many experiences, rides, and events in each park that the kids just couldn't quite do or wouldn't quite embrace where Jeff and I found ourselves saying... "We would really love this... without the kids!"
So we're doing it. A long weekend. Just the 2 of us. Celebrating our 11 year wedding anniversary and my 40th birthday.
These are the things we are doing to make it a more "adult" trip. These are the things that will make it a special vacation for a married couple away from the kids.
- Late Nights. Our kids get up before the sun so staying up for any of the fantastic fireworks experiences at Disney never happened. We caught glimpses once or twice as we travelled back to our resort. We are hoping to be able to catch the end of night extravaganzas in a couple of special ways - like the Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party and the Fantasmic! Dinner Package.
- Deluxe Resort. We stayed in a Moderate with the kids and we enjoyed it. But by bumping it up and staying at The Contemporary, we are more likely to be rooming around more adults and less families.
- Less Routine. With the kids along, we needed to have a solid plan each day to make sure the things that the kids would love would definitely happen. We also had to plan on meals in pretty specific timeframes. That's just how my kids operate. Without kids, we can be a bit more freeform. Enjoying Disney will always mean some planning. Dinner reservations have to be made. You have to be able to take advantage of Fast Pass +.
- EPCOT. Epcot was the park I was most looking forward to and ended up most frustrated with by having kids with me. I am very excited to enjoy the rides we couldn't do (like Soarin'). And I am very excited to take my time enjoying the World Showcase. I fully intend to explore, browse, eat, and drink my way through each of the countries. In fact, we aren't making any table service dining reservations for the day we are at EPCOT simply because I know there will be much eating and drinking throughout the day!
- Hollywood Studios. One of Jeff's very favorite things was in this park and I know that we will spend more time in The Magic of Disney Animation - specifically in the Animation Academy (where a class is led by a Disney artist and you get to draw a Disney character). Plus, we can ride Star Tours together and multiple times!
- Romance. Just as I enjoyed some sweet moments with my kids... hand holding as we walked, heads resting on shoulders on a bus back to the resort, the look of awe on their faces... I am going to enjoy those kind of moments with my sweetheart. Holding hands as we walk the parks. Sitting side by side to enjoy dinner, dessert, fireworks. Stealing a kiss under those fireworks. A hotel room with no kids in it.
If you know my kids, please don't give away our secret! I'm sure we won't keep it a secret the entire time. But we're not ready to tell them yet. For now... it's a secret plan for 2 grown ups to go and be big kids in the most magical place on earth!
Of course, we are using Katie from Hi Ho Vacations to help us plan our trip. She has all the knowledge and know how and inside scoop and she has the patience to do all the phone calls and waiting to get the reservations we want.