In my last post I wrote about how I love to be our family’s travel agent and how Ali is my assistant. I want to take the time now to reflect upon how Amy is my assistant too, but in a very different way.
Five years ago, Todd and I decided to take the girls to Disney so we could check it off the “to-visit” list. For this particular trip, I employed a professional travel agent to secure a good deal but still spent time surveying friends and family about their experiences and for their suggestions. Everyone I spoke to suggested fitting as much as possible into each day.
“Be sure to use the Fast Pass option.”
“Stay up and watch the fireworks.”
“Find out which park opens early and get there when the gate opens.”
The ideas all sounded wonderful until I thought of how Amy would react and my mothering instinct nudged me to be careful. I still wrote down all the suggestions, but I didn’t want Amy to get over stimulated and tired as this would likely result in behavior Todd and I tried to help her avoid. Instead, as the vacation neared, I cautiously planned our bare-bones itinerary.
A few months later, we arrived very late on Wednesday night. During our next four days at Disney, we spent two days in Magic Kingdom, one day in Epcot, and one day hanging by the pool until later afternoon when we toured Downtown Disney and attended the Cirque du Soleil performance. (Even at the tender age of seven, this was Ali’s favorite part of our entire Disney trip). After four days we saw what we planned to see and rode the rides we wanted to ride. We never were discouraged or disappointed and actually experienced a few surprises.
Seeing the 3:00 parade? Bonus.
Seeing the evening light show at Epcot? Bonus.
Sleeping in? Bonus.
Having a relaxing, enjoyable vacation? Priceless.
When we returned from vacation, people would ask about our trip. I was happy to report, “We saw what we planned to see and had a few extra surprises.” Our bare-bones itinerary was followed, and we never felt rushed or gypped. Could we have seen more? Sure, but that wasn’t the point of the trip. The final bonus of our Disney trip is now, whenever I wear my travel agent hat, I specifically plan a special itinerary. I do this not only because of Amy’s special needs, but because I realized after our Disney trip that family vacations shouldn’t just be about seeing as much as possible, but about the time spent together relaxing and enjoying “seeing what we see.”