For as long as I can remember, I have been a planner. So it goes without saying that the planning aspect of our Disney vacation is always one of my favorite parts. As a single parent, I’ve always been able to plan without having to consult anyone else – I chose which parks to visit and when, where to eat and what shows to see, based on what I knew the kids would enjoy. But as my kids grew older, they became more and more interested in having a say.
I was lukewarm by this loss of “total planning power”. See, I liked the “surprise” aspect – of proudly revealing the plans I’d made and seeing the delight on their faces. But as they grew, that delight turned to frustration at not being consulted as to how we’d spend our precious time at Disney.
But I was stubborn. I continued to plan what I thought would be best for everyone. And to be honest, it was a huge mistake! I realized (almost too late) that my way was no longer the only way, and it resulted in my having to change my carefully-made-180-days-ago dining reservations and fast passes, on the fly… while we were already at the Park. I had chosen a few restaurants “for me”: Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Le Cellier in Canada – but my kids didn’t want to stop and have a “fancy” sit down meal. We argued. I got mad. And then… a turning point. I mean after all, this was OUR vacation. And I have always encouraged them to speak up about their wants and needs and here I was ignoring them. I asked myself, do I push my choices on them, and risk them having a fit at the table and not eating anything (and wasting precious dining credits)? Or do I give in, and book a more kid-friendly experience where I know they’ll be happy and everyone has something to eat? After taking a few deep breaths, I realized that being happy was more important than being right. So out went Sanaa and in came 50’s Prime Time.
And from that point on, I was no longer the all-powerful planner. When it came time to plan our trip in 2015, I happily included them in every aspect of the planning: from which flight we chose to where we ate, to our Fastpasses. We each made decisions – and then I brought it all together in a Master Spreadsheet that showed all of the choices we made… together.
Alysia has always been a Disney freak. From her first visit in 1974 to her most recent visit in September, she has grown up loving the experience that Disney provides its guests. Now with two children, she can proudly say she’s raising two little Disney freaks of her own. When she’s not planning a trip, Alysia has spent the last 23 years in marketing, working at both billion dollar corporations and small non-profits. It was during her time at one of those non profits, the Wildlife Conservation Society (parent company of the Bronx Zoo), that she took a side job at the Disney Store to supplement her income. Those five years as a Cast Member convinced Alysia that she would do whatever she could to work in and around the Disney company to marry her professional expertise and her passion for the Mouse! Writing for the Affordable Mouse brings her one step closer to that goal!