Arriving at Disney World is one of the best moments of life. For my family, the trip has been upwards of 14 hours in a car (or train, but that’s a whole other talk) and months of preparation, and we’ve been ticking down the milestones for several states. When we finally see that first billboard held up by a white-gloved hand, and then the first mention of a resort, and then, oh, then, the “Where Dreams Come True” arch, it is a glorious moment. There are often tears. I want to fling myself out of the car and do a dance. It is wonderful. But even among all the giggles and cheers and tears and kisses and hugs, there is a dark cloud looming. We try to ignore it. We push it away and refuse to let it dampen our spirits. But it’s there. The worst, most miserable, most terrible, horrible moment of a Disney Vacation — when it ends.
Nobody really wants to think about their vacation being over when it’s just beginning, but the thing is, you can’t really avoid it. One of the best things about how my brain works is that reality is very flexible for me and I am able to adapt quickly so that things feel very real, as if that is just life. That is also one of the worst things about how my brain works. That’s because when it’s time for my reality to change, it is very difficult. I might be able to get into the groove of things within a few hours, but the change itself can be painful. I have a hard time tearing away from what I know and facing something else, even if I am very familiar with what’s coming. That means that I am always panicky in the days leading up to a trip. Did I forget to pack something? I did tell work that I won’t be writing for a few days, right? Did we remember to make Daisy her camp reservation? Is the car going to fall apart on the way? Did I leave the iron on? Is the TV going? Are the fish going to be OK? It just goes on and on and it can be pretty awful. It usually lasts until we have made it out of Virginia, and then I’m committed and there’s nothing I can do but enjoy. That’s when my reality becomes riding down the road — go visit my blog on milestones and their importance in my road trip to know more about that.
But what about when it’s time to leave Disney? I know I’m going home-home, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t get a little panicky. It’s sad that the trip is over, but it’s also a little scary. So here we go…
Is my room paid off? Being able to charge to the room is something that I adore about staying in the resort. I don’t like math. I don’t like counting out money when people are standing behind me in line getting impatient. I don’t like accepting change and trying to juggle it. I don’t like trying to figure out how much cash to carry with me into the park each day. But as the trip winds to a close, I start pondering — did I remember to pay everything off? I get around this by paying some off each day using gift cards or cash. At the end of the trip, I ask for a print out of my expenses the day before we check out, pay it off if there’s anything left, and then pay with cash for the last day. If I forget — they will just charge my card after I check out. All is good with the world
Did I forget anything? Packing is miserable and it’s even worse when it’s to leave Disney. I tend to make myself comfortable at the resort, which means that I can’t just zip up my suitcase and go. Am I the only one whose luggage seems to multiply when at Disney? It’s not just the souvenirs. Somehow, my clothes seem to spread out and I can’t fit everything back together. Here’s my trick — laundry. I learned early on to bring fewer clothes and take advantage of the laundry room throughout the trip. That way I have less to pack. If there is something that’s going to go home dirty, I put it in plastic and tuck it away. If there’s something I’m only going to wear once, like my shirts, I pack them as soon as they’re clean. We start packing two days before we leave so we can go gradually, and then make sure that we have something fun planned for checkout day so it isn’t as painful to get everything in the car and head on our way
Did I do everything I wanted to do? No. Unfortunately, that’s always going to be the answer. No, I didn’t do everything that I wanted to do. That’s often the hardest part about leaving. I think about the picture I didn’t take or the ride I only rode once or the parade we missed. It’s inevitable. There are far too many things to do at Disney to fit them all in in one trip, so you are bound to miss something. This is sad. However, if you’re like my family, you just have to remind yourself that this is not the end. There will be another trip. There will be another opportunity. Rather than thinking about what I didn’t do and being upset about it, I try to think about it as the next thing that I get to be excited about for the next trip. I highly recommend that you start thinking about your next trip as soon as your trip starts drawing to an end. Even if you aren’t sure about the dates, just start thinking about what you are going to do, the treats you want to try, the things that you want to do differently or the same. If you get a chance, book the Bounceback Offer in your room. It won’t make everything feel totally better, but it will take away some of the sting.
Taryn was born and raised, and still lives in Richmond, Virginia. Neither she nor her husband ever had the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World when they were children, but when their daughter Avalon came along, they decided she was not going to follow in their footsteps. They brought Avalon for the first time when she was 3 and have been hooked ever since. Now along with Taryn’s mother and equally Disney-loving older brother, they go “home” at least once a year, and by the time she is staring longingly at Cinderella Castle from the ferry on their last night, Taryn is well on her way to planning the next trip. As a group consisting of two adults with Asperger’s, including one who is also vegan, a very accommodating husband, an only child, a senior, and a service dog, they are a pretty special family, but Taryn is excited to show that the World really is The Most Magical Place on Earth and that there is a place there for everyone. When she isn’t thinking about her next Disney adventure and trying to come up with a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party costume that will beat her Oozma Kappa nerd look, she is a professional blogger and novelist, but Taryn also likes to indulge her Disney passion on her Etsy shop It’s Better in Vinyl.