Sunday, January 28, 2007
Well, I am back. We just returned from a week at Walt Disney World and had a fabulous time. I think we finally got everything right all at the same time on a vacation.
Weather was perfect,crowds low.
Stayed at the Yacht Club Resort on site and it was gorgeous and the perfect location and they upgraded our room for free.
We decided to fly instead of drive and to not rent a car and that was a great decision. My husband was so happy and relaxed to be able to leave all the driving to someone else. Disney really has their on site transportation down to a science.
My husband also actually did not do any long distance work, check in at the office or keep his phone with him this trip, another sign of his commitment to truly relax and enjoy the week.
We had a tentative daily schedule and had one dining reservation made for each day and I have to say,as the Activities Chairman and Tour Guide, I did a great job.
We were all sad to have to come home, a true sign of a good trip.
I did learn a few things this trip about my children and my husband......and myself.
First ,my kids.
This was the first trip to Disney without using a stroller. My two little troopers never once complained of getting tired even though I am sure we walked miles and miles every day. They stayed close to us and never once wandered off or tried to get lost. They earned their stroller free status for good. I also know that we all enjoyed the parks so much more because of the stroller less freedom. Because of this new found status , I noticed something at the parks. The huge number of strollers and how rude and ignorant of the "walkers" most stroller pushers were acting. They would travel in packs three and four strollers wide totally blocking an entire street width from anyone passing them.And then the entire wheeled entourage would stop to gab or peruse a map or just look around confused while about several hundred pedestrians behind them would come to a grinding halt and they remained oblivious to what they were doing.I was also shocked at how many6,7,8 and 9 year old's were being pushed around the parks. I mean, aren't we a nation that is lamenting our overweight and under exercised kids? Why were so many healthy and able bodied kids being pushed around the parks? I am still perplexed by what I saw. I am feeling pretty smug that my two lean fit kiddos walked and cavorted through the parks and endless walking with energy and excitement and never once looking out of breath or out of shape.
Second thing I learned was that my husband and I take a different approach to discipline on vacation. I saw that I tend to relax a bit and let things slide and generally take a gentler view of some behavior. I understand that they are excited when faced with new experiences and surroundings and cut them some slack.
Dad on the other hand , seemed to go the other way. Expecting a little more since we are in public constantly on vacation and seemed to forget a little that they were just 5 and 7. I think about midweek he even began to get on his own nerves and saw "the Light" and came over to my side and chilled out.
We were very proud of our son, who did great the entire week with nary a meltdown or PDD or SI incident.My husband and I have always had a different approach to our son and his challenges. Dad tries to figure out before hand what he will and won't like and direct activities accordingly. I, on the other hand, will let him try anything and then go to plan B or chalk it up to experience it things don't go as planned. Our different views came into play on Day One. Magic Kingdom offers so many new and different rides that can thrill or horrify a child with an autism spectrum disorder and my husband is little more protective than me of the little prince . Add to that our daughter,the princess, who has yet to meet a ride that is fast enough, scary enough or high enough to satisfy her 5 year old self. The term fearless was created with her in mind. In line for our first ride, Goofy's Barnstormer, which is a kiddie roller coaster that is pretty fast and very curvy and more of a mini adult version rather than a tame child one, my dear husband kept giving me the " your going to see I'm right"eye as we stood in line. My son watched the coaster whiz by and laughed and jumped around in anticipation as the screams of the riders echoed. Husband just kept shaking his head. I wasn't really sure which way it would go, but hoping for the best. Our turn,-we ride, we scream, we get off. And my wonderful and brave son screeches with delight "WOW, That was FUN"! 1 point for Mom, Dad proud of son and waiting for Mom to say I told you so. I didn't.Wanted to, but refrained.
I vowed long ago to always give my son the chance to experience life and all it has to offer, I will never count him out before giving him a chance. I will not water down or censor life or fun or heartache to make things easier. He deserves more and I am going to make sure he has the chances to get it all. The entire week he rode and did everything, just like any other adventurous 8 year old boy would have. Another milestone in our life. I bet most Developmental experts don't have Disney listed as a milestone, but they should.
My daughter, was so thrilled that at 46", she was tall enough for every ride, except for one a Animal Kingdom. She took her first ride on Space Mountain and after proclaiming that she just had a heart attack, wanted to ride it again. I think I for see bungee jumping or parachuting in her future.
So overall, it was a perfect vacation and we are trying to figure out how soon we can go back.
Before we became parents, my husband and I tallied up a lot of vacati0ns in those 20 years. Every beach within a 10 hour drive, Mexico several times, New Orleans, Dallas, 3 weeks sailing around the British Virgin Islands, the mountains, name it we've been there. My hubby used to kid me that I only worked so I could go on vacation, that I lived from trip to trip and that we always had one coming up or one in the planning stages.
Having kids did not change that at all, in fact we are more determined than ever to share vacation experiences with them.They give us an excuse to be kids again and ride the Flying Dumbo Ride. And who can ever get tired of "It's a Small World" or having dinner with Winnie the Pooh or breakfast with Mickey and Minnie and and Donald and Goofy.Never thought at 46 and 51 we would be having such a grand time on vacations that included no Happy Hours. Although watching my two giving big hugs and wide grins to Piglet and Cinderella seemed like a pretty grand Happy Hours to us.
Now back to the real world, at least until our next trip, which yes, is already planned and reservati0ns made.
It's my job as Freeman Family of Four Tour Guide and Fun Director!


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