In two months, we are scheduled to fly to the States for a couple of weeks to stay with my in-laws in New Jersey. For five days of that time, we will be in Disney World, continuing my in-laws' tradition of taking their grandchildren (and their grandchildren's harried parents) to Disney World during winter break. Those who joined me at the beginning of my journey in blogging might recall from my very first post my feelings about Disney World. And in case you have joined the party late, you can read all about my very first taste of Disney World when I was engaged to my husband, five years ago.
Growing up in England, I never really gave much thought to Disney World - I knew it existed, it contained a bunch of Disney characters, and like everything and everyone in America, it was huge. Well, all that changed at the age of 23, when I started dating my husband. Disney World came up a LOT in conversation in our first dates, and I got the feeling that if I were to pursue this relationship, I would become increasingly familiar over time with Disney World, if not by actually going there, then by being treated to Disney World trivia and trips down Disney lane. To my husband's family, and to my husband in particular, Disney World is not just any vacation destination, but it is the Vacation of all Vacations. That became abundantly clear when I would dream out loud with my husband (then-boyfriend) of all the places in the world I wanted to travel with him, and instead of us visualizing gondolas and backpacking in Thailand, the conversation would invariably return to Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center. To his credit, he did agree to go to Italy if I could somehow recreate Disney World for him there - at that point, I realized that EuroDisney in Paris would be my best bet. In his words, "Why would you possibly want to go anywhere else in the world when there is EVERYTHING in Disney World?"
Joking apart, I did have an incredible time in Disney World when we went on our engagement trip, but I am not too sure if that is because I genuinely fell over head over heels in love with Disney World, or if it was by association -I was (and AM) in love with my husband, who was (and IS) in love with Disney World. Whatever the case, when I married Josh, it was with the acceptance of the centrality of Disney World in our lives, and it did not surprise me one bit when my father-in-law, who passed on his love of Disney World to his son, gave as a gift upon the births of my daughters the entire DVD collection of Disney movies. Gotta start them young, and sure enough, my four-year-old and even two-year-old girls make their father and grandfather proud as they sing the Disney songs joyfully and frequently. They know the movies and songs better than I do, which, granted, is not saying much. But still. No one could say they are not continuing the Weinstein legacy. Soon after my oldest daughter was born, my in-laws started planning how they would take all the cousins, and our daughter, when Eliana turned 4. Well, four years has passed and flown by, and my in-laws are making good on their promise. My girls are very excited to see Winnie the Pooh, and, as my two-year-old pronounces it, "Kicki Mouse." My husband and father-in-law are as excited, if not more, at the thought of the upcoming trip.
As for my mother-in-law, well, whenever I speak to her after her annual Disney trip, she has lost her voice or is exhausted after preparing all the meals, getting the kids ready, running after them all day, putting them to bed, so her feet are more firmly on the ground, and she is not floating as high as the menfolk of the family.
And me? Well, does it make me a terrible wife, mother, and daughter-in-law if I say that I am approaching this trip with trepidation rather than excitement? Being in romantic la-la land is very nice when you are floating around Disney World with your fiance, with not a dirty diaper or cranky child in sight, but the prospect of taking my two- and four-year-old there fills me with an emotion close to dread. I imagine that I will need a good vacation after this "vacation." It goes without saying that the kids will have a spectacular time, and that they will hopefully come back with great memories, which they can store up and then share with their boyfriends, please G-d, twenty (or forty years, if my husband had his way) years down the line, but truthfully, a nice calm vacation in England wouldn't go amiss right now. Or Europe. I miss Europe.
Anyway, if anyone has taken a toddler and a pre-schooler to Disney World (you deserve a medal), and has any tips or hints that will help me preserve my sanity, please do share. Adios amigos.