Okay, here I am, another week out from vacation and still feeling as if I'm on the ship. It still stinks, but I am getting more used to it, and therefore able to remember our vacation fondly. This was our first real vacation and I was SO excited. So were the kids, but I was SOOOO excited. Everyone looks so happy on vacation in the commercials, right? No fighting, no bickering, just smiles and laughter and love. Well, we were happy...MOST of the time, but I have to admit that I was a little disappointed both during and after.
I expected the entire trip to be like the 30 second snippets of the commercials. The first part was. The kids were excited just to stay at the hotel down by the airport in Des Moines. It has a swimming pool, so they were in heaven. They were fascinated with the idea of getting up at 4:30a.m. to get to the airport on time and were actually perky in the morning. I, on the other hand, was slugging down the coffee as quickly as I could before I had to toss it out at security. We were not prepared for the flight - had no snacks or drinks - and almost missed our connector flight in Atlanta. So tension was running high between Dad and I by the time we got to Florida. The kids were in heaven and wide awake when we got to Florida and were in their swim suits by 11:00a.m.
We spent the first day at Disney, just swimming and checking things out, then left for the ship the next day. WOW!! Disney knows how to do things right. We had a really good time, but from the beginning, my crazy son wouldn't stop talking about his computer game...this game he plans all the time at home. I got so tired of hearing about it...here we were, trying to give him a vacation of a lifetime, memories of fun he would have forever, and all he wanted to do was talk about his sodding game! I'm a little ashamed to say that it hurt my feelings. But I forget that he's a big kid, now: 9. He has his own interests and things that he enjoys. The ship had so many things to do, all at the same time, that it would be impossible to do everything even if you took the cruise three times! I wanted to have fun my way; he wanted to have fun his way... just because my way was better (according to me) doesn't mean his way wasn't fun, too. H was that way, too. She had an agenda of her own. Considering that the ship's policy was that anyone 8 or older could check themselves out of the kids' program and roam the ship unsupervised, I guess I should not have been surprised.
Once I came to terms with the fact that the kids didn't want to do the same things I did, I let loose a little - sent B off on his own, sent H with Dad, and did those things I wanted to do...like meet Mickey Mouse!! B met Mickey, too, but only because I MADE him! He just wanted to take pictures of the ship. Can you believe it?! Take pictures or meet Mickey Mouse...that's a no brainer! In retrospect, it's probably unrealistic to expect that four people, stuck in a tiny stateroom on a ship and/or a hotel room, for six days in a row are not going to get on each other's nerves. But in the end, I was so happy that we did it.
I highly recommend Disney for vacation - they cover everything-from transportation to food to fun! EXCEPT that Disney has NO Diet Mountain DEW!!! My recommendation: do it, but don't schedule events in advance (like snorkeling) if you've never done them before. You may be disappointed that you laid out money for something your kids hated (like snorkeling). Although, I have to admit, it was a good photo op! Happy Vacationing, everyone.