New Dad Blogger: Taking My Kids to Disney World

It’s a topic I can’t escape. Few parents can. You can try to ignore it, but it will keep begging for attention anyway, like Dug always shadowing Carl.

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I refer to Disney World. It calls itself “the happiest place on Earth.” I think of it as “peer pressure with mouse ears.”

A trip there doesn’t feel like an option. It’s more like an obligation, a modern day commandment from the Cave of Wonders – “Know this. All must enter there. Admission costs a diamond.” Man that’s rough.

Over the years my kids have mentioned it numerous times, especially my daughter, now 8. It’s become an annual family tradition to respond conditionally.

“Maybe when your younger brother can walk” became “maybe when your brother can get around better” became “maybe when you both are in school” became “maybe when we have the money” became “maybe when you’re kidnapped by seven short gem miners heading home for the winter!”

I’m content with the fact we’ve yet to go south of three borders to the land of Buzz and Woody. That is, until I encounter parents who play Andy to my Sid.

“We’ve enjoyed a Whole New World!” their Facebook status will proclaim, showing off 101 exhibits of photographic proof. My inner Eeyore sighs.

Then there are the stories my kids bring home from school, each delivered with Tigger-like excitement.

“Dad, did you know Ethan just got back from Disney World? He said it was great! He got to see Mickey Mouse! And Spider-Man! (Huh?) Darth Vader (What?) And Ross Lynch! (Who?) And he said it was the best time of his life!”

Dramatic pause. Then the frying pan whap – “When are weeeeee going to Disney World?” Suddenly I’m Pa Gogan.

We’ve made Tinker Bell steps in the Disney direction. Two years ago we completed a successful test run at Disney Jr., aka. Carowinds. The kids loved the rides, embraced the costumed Peanuts gang, and survived the wave pool. More importantly – we never lost sight of them (A stellar success given our track record at the Boone Wal-Mart).

To you parents who’ve made the trek, I hate envy you. I envy your ability to plan, prepare and participate in a child’s greatest wish – to survive 11 hours in a car to encounter Space Mountain (aka. The long caffeinated drive back home at night, condensed to five minutes under flashing black lights).

We’ll make that trip one day, I tell my kids. This year’s condition – when dad wins the lottery. Hakuna matata!