Your Disney vacation is going to cost you a ton of money, but can you really put a price on the memories you make there with your children? I tell every new mother the same thing, “Time goes by heart-breakingly fast, so you better take a lot of pictures.” And I follow it up with this, “The only piece of advice I will offer you? Take that baby to Disney.” They most-often don’t, of course, usually choosing to wait until Jr. is headed for pre-school. “Babies don’t remember vacations. Those trips cost a fortune. I want to take Jr. when he is old enough to remember everything.”
Point taken. I took my babies to Disney, and they don’t remember a minute of it. I took a lot of pictures, though, so I have the memories. Time does indeed go by fast, and in a short five more years, all my children will have flown the coop off into the real world, where I won’t make their breakfast and wash their clothes. They are still excited about Disney vacations at this point, those trips that cost a fortune. I probably could have pre-paid for one year of college for what I have paid in Disney tickets and hotel rooms over the last 14 years.
What I am buying now is not just a vacation, which I can easily put a price on. What I am buying is memories for my children, memories I hope will lead them back to me in adulthood, and those memories, you cannot put a price on.
I witnessed a proposal at the Magic Kingdom last summer, sitting quietly beside my three kids as we waited for the Magic, Memories, and You! show. I remember wondering if the Disney memories I give my children now will affect their lives as adults. I want our happy times at Disney when they were kids to bring them back to me as adults for more of the same.
30 minutes after the proposal, my 7th grader verbally started planning where he would propose to his wife. He has always talked about having a family of his own, and he declared Cinderella Castle was a fabulous spot to pop the question. I told him I would always have a camera ready to capture the moment if he would have me along on his special trip. He hugged me and said, “Of course you’ll be there. Where else would you be?” Oh, if life were only as simple as seen through the eyes of a ten-year-old.
Disney has given my youngest child something to talk about with me for years, planning trips and chatting about the snacks we’ll share. We talk about our plans for my retirement in Orlando, and how he wants to get a job as a dentist and work there. He thinks we can live in the same neighborhood. If he can just find the right girl who will allow him to bring his mother on vacation, I’ll be set up. I’ll miss our Disney talks as he grows older and starts planning dates with cooty-infested girls and practicing his trumpet without me, but I hope the seed is planted.
Come back and visit me, buddy, when you are 34 and have your own children. I’ll hold their hands and walk them through the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House.
My middle child, a 9th grader and high school school drummer, reacted to the proposal by reiterating,”Ugh. I am never getting married. Can we go ride Space Mountain now?” This child has been saying he wanted no part of marriage or kids since he was four, which I have to admit, tears greatly at my heart. I have been married for 22.5 years, and I have three kids, a mortgage, and two dogs. You don’t get much more family oriented than that. Middle child not getting married is going to mess up my plans for playing with his children, my grand-children, in the sand in front of the Polynesian Resort.
But then, this is not my life, it is his.
So I don’t tell middle child that he might one day bring a girlfriend or a family to Disney, but I do wonder if watching all the families there will shape his choices as an adult. I just simply say,”I bet Space Mountain will still look like this when you have to help me out of my wheelchair to ride it.”
Come back to Disney with me, oh-kid-O-mine, because the songs will still be the same in the Tiki Room when my hair is all gray, and we’ll sit in the back and sing real loud, just like we used to before you got your own cell phone.
My teen-age daughter, 11th grade high schooler this year, stood up from the Magic, Memories and You! show and announced,”If I don’t get proposed to in front of Cinderella Castle, then the whole deal may just be off.” I laughed and said,”I guess I should have a talk with the boy then, once you are 28, and he can afford a ring. You have to meet him first. Don’t rush it.” I have to tell myself not to worry. She will find the right guy one day, and she will be stunning in a wedding dress, and I will be totally broke if she plans the wedding I anticipate she will plan. I don’t even mention you can get married at Disney to this one; I just keep it in the back of my mind. And maybe I roll some quarters and hide them in a sock drawer for the wedding deposit.
Come back to me when I am old and gray, my first baby, my precious girl, and bring that boy with the ring with you. I will be there with a camera and a front row seat in front of Cinderella Castle, Kleenex in my pocket and joy in my heart.
Like to see the whole story of the proposal?
It’s just a crazy time we live in these days. My goodness, the world was supposed to end days ago (this was originally written in December of 2012, you know the whole Mayan calendar thing?) yet here I am, planning my next Orlando vacation. I hope I live long enough to see my kids married and happy. I have no reason to think I will be any place other than attending two weddings and watching two sets of grandkids. Ok, three sets if middle child changes his mind. But in a day and age where people get shot in movie theaters, and little children die in school classrooms, nothing seems very certain anymore.
I sometimes ponder the inevitable, because I won’t always be here to vacation with my kids.
Have I done all I can to make my children the best people they can be?
Did I talk to them enough?
Will they remember our late nights sharing cupcakes in the Contemporary Resort, and walking the dog around our block while planning the perfect Disney spot to share a snack?
Will they remember enough to come back and hang out with me when I will be called “Granny” and not “Mommy?” I took them to Disney, and one night, we sat and watched a proposal together. For today, I’ll just have to hope that memory stays with them as a reminder that I was there, and that I tried my best as their mom.
For better or worse, in sickness and in health, I took them to Disney and we made some memories. What they do with those memories remains to be seen. I’ll forget what I paid for the tickets, but they won’t forget me crying through “Wishes.” I’ll forget the price of the hotel, but they won’t forget riding the monorail at two a.m. that one summer night, just us by ourselves, my arms around them, humming “When You Wish Upon A Star.”
Hotel and ticket numbers come and go, but you can’t put a price on memories with your family.
Thanks for stopping by. Time goes by fast, so go hug your kids…
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Disney’s Cheapskate Princess