As our next Walt Disney World approaches, I’ve made it a priority to talk with my children, who are 5 and almost 4, about expectations. While I realize that they are young and some typical 4 and 5 year old behavior is inevitable, I want them to know a few things before we arrive. Here are a few conversation topics we’ve been exploring in preparation for our trip.
- It’s going to be hot. We will all be hot. Whining about being hot doesn’t make it less hot. (We hope to incorporate some mid-day rest and pool breaks to help with this.)
- I like being close to you, but not when it’s 90 degrees and we have 13 miles to walk. When there is a stroller available to you, I cannot carry you.
- I’m going to take pictures of you. I want to freeze these moments in time and this is as close as I can get. I’m going to take pictures when you’re not looking but sometimes I’m also going to ask you to stop and look at me so I can capture the moment. Appease me, ok?
- While everything’s amazing, it’s also expensive. We have been saving spare change since before we booked our trip. That money is designated for souvenirs and special snacks that you’re going to drool over when you see them. When that money is gone, there are no guarantees that we will be able to buy a souvenir or ice cream cone every day for the remainder of the trip, no matter how small.
- Along with number 4, being at Walt Disney World is special and a privilege that many people never get to experience. On our beach vacation last Fall, my husband and I were floored by our 4 year old’s sudden sense of entitlement. He’d beg for some trivial thing (that we knew was of no value to him and that he just wanted in the moment), we’d say no, and then he would melt down, saying that we were ruining his vacation. We were the worst parents ever. It was the worst day ever. Didn’t we want vacation to be special? Simply being at Walt Disney World (or on any family vacation) is a special treat for all of us that we have worked hard to make happen. So yes, we will buy souvenirs but you better choose wisely, because we cannot and will not buy everything we see and love. Same goes for Mommy & Daddy.
- You are going to have to wait. Many times and for many minutes. Please try to be patient. And while we’re on the topic, there is a lot to see and do. We all want to see and do our very favorite thing over and over again, but I can’t promise that we will be able to ride The Haunted Mansion 6 times in a row.
- Don’t get lost. Don’t wander off. Hold someone’s hand or hold on to the stroller. If you can’t see us, find a person with a name tag and tell them you can’t find your mom and dad. By this point, we will be looking for you, too. For once in your life, I am going to tell you that it’s okay to throw a fit. If someone without a name tag tries to walk away with you, throw a fit. Scream.
I realize no child behaves perfectly at all times regardless of where they are, but I want to have these conversations with my kids so that they are aware of our expectations for the vacation. My dream is for each person in our family to have the most enjoyable experience possible.
Candice was raised in east Tennessee. While in college, her best friend dragged her to a Walt Disney World College Program recruiting session at the University of Tennessee and the rest is Disney history. In the Fall of 1999, Candice became a quick service food hostess for Sunset Ranch Market and Fantasmic at Disney-MGM Studios – or what is now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While soaking up her time as a cast member, she met Ryan, a neighbor and a fellow college programmer who worked as a custodial host at Epcot. Four years later, Candice moved to the Midwest and married that boy from across the hall. They now live in Greenwood, Indiana with their two little boys. The Disney-loving foursome took their first family trip to The Happiest Place on Earth in 2013 and Candice is eagerly planning their return. Candice also works full-time at a community mental health center and enjoys taking photographs and blogging at Mommy in the Midwest.