Many, many years ago, when my kids were much younger, I had a momentary bout of insanity, and booked a trip for all 7 of us to go Orlando, and visit Disneyland. 4 nights and 5 days at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and SeaWorld. It seemed like a good idea at the time, I mean, it was November in Ontario, and it was getting cold. Orlando, on the other hand was basking in temperatures in the low 80s. So, we packed, headed to the airport, and began an experience I have never been able to forget.
The excitement started on the flight. My oldest son suddenly developed a fear of heights, and of closed spaces, and had a full blown anxiety attack. He required immediate sedation with some gravol. My youngest daughter, who was 4 at the time, decided that she could now longer sit still, and had to go to the bathroom every few minutes. Back and forth, up and down the narrow aisle, all flight long.. My middle daughter disliked the food so much, (yes it was still at a time when airlines fed you) she refused to eat. The hunger strike was very short lived, and she began screaming about how hungry she was. She was able to be subdued with chocolate and candies my wife had smuggled aboard.
When we landed in Orlando, we were whisked away by a Disney Shuttle, and taken to our hotel. It was wonderfully surreal, as one of my daughter’s informed us that she was afraid of the costumed characters, that roamed Disney properties like gazelles on the Serengeti, by shrieking hysterically and hiding behind my wife, while implanting her hands into my wife’s leg. The resort was amazing. Our adjoining rooms overlooked the courtyard, the pool, and as luck would have it, a bar. We rested a bit, unpacked, and headed to the pool.
“I’ll be back in a few minutes.”, I told my wife. “I’m going to check the place out.”
My wife don’t even look up. “If I smell beer on your breath when you get back….”, she said.
“Never mind, then.”, I said. “I’ll be swimming with the kids.”
The following day was spent at Magic Kingdom, where I had to ensure that we avoided all contact with Mickey, Goofy, and all of the other members of the Disney gang. It was exhausting. My sons wanted to go off on their own, I don’t blame them really, I mean, I wanted to go off on my own as well, and they left. There was a 3D movie experience that I wanted to see, and my wife agreed that we should take the kids. Within 5 minutes, my wife and daughters had left the theatre. It seems the sensation of bugs crawling on their legs was too much to bear. I never did see the end of the movie.
We continued our journey through the park. The Jaws ride was closed for repairs, and no one wanted to go on any of the roller coasters. The kids just wanted to go back to the hotel and play in the pool. On the shuttle back to the resort I made a deal with my wife. As soon as the bus pulled into the hotel, I headed to the bar, wondering what hell on earth I had to endure next.
I didn’t have to wait long. My daughter, who was afraid of the costumed characters, complained that her feet hurt. Apparently her shoes had become too small since we left home. She needed new shoes. Now. I took her to the store in the hotel lobby, and had her look for shoes. She decided that she had to get a pair of grey, fuzzy Disney slippers, and insisted that they would be fine to walk around the rest of the theme parks. It didn’t matter to me, I just wanted to go home.
The 3nd and 4th day were spent at SeaWorld and Epcot. The kids loved SeaWorld, while my wife and I enjoyed Epcot. “We should come back without the kids.”, she said. I agreed, and that night I had my teenage son look after the rest of the kids while my wife and I roamed Epcot. It felt like a Disney commercial. We held hands, laughed, and ate dinner in a Moroccan restaurant. We watched the fireworks. I drank beer.
The kids were all asleep when we returned to the hotel, so we went out and sat by the pool. “This was the best part of the whole trip.”, my wife said.
“That’s true.”, I replied. “We’re never taking the kids anywhere again. Ever.”
“Agreed.”, she said. “We should come back here without them.”
“To Disney?”, I asked.
“Yes.”, she answered. “Look at this place. Its so nice here.”
“It is nice.”, I agreed. “Too bad they let kids in. Want to go get a beer?”
She let out a little laugh, and stood up. “I think so.”, she said.
The flight back was not as bad as the flight down to Orlando. We had pre-sedated the kids, and I drank beer and had a nap on the plane. When we landed in Toronto, we gathered our belongings and headed to Customs. “Anything to declare?”, the official asked.
“Don’t ever travel with your kids.”, I replied. The Customs guy laughed. I let out a heavy sigh, and my wife informed my kids that I was just joking.