For all you WDW veterans, you will know that in the time leading up to each trip it is all about certain milestones. Well, we passed one yesterday with our countdown slipping almost unnoticed below 200 days. There are far more significant milestones further down the line as we get to the stage where we can book ADRs (dining reservations…Louise always tell me off for not explaining all this acronym nonsense for those who read this and aren’t WDW saddos) and then sort FastPasses.
At some point we’ll need to sort our ESTAs. I think everyone still has one from our last trip, so it’ll just be for Rebecca, Tom, Freddie and Mikey, but before that we have to get Freddie a passport. Lots to do. As I always say, this isn’t, to quote a fellow Boltonian, a booked it, packed it, f***ked off type of holiday. You need to work at it, and generally you reap what you sow.
What I’m trying to sow for this trip is a magical first time for pretty much everyone. Of course, for Mikey and Tom it really is their first visit and we need to be mindful of that and give them the time and space to take in what we may take for granted and sprint by. Freddie too is a first timer but he won’t remember this one. No matter, we will and it is everyone’s first time in taking a grandchild, nephew, son etc and that is bound to make this a very different experience.
Alongside that desire to have the first timers see and do everything (impossible I know) I also need to make sure we accommodate the fact that a baby slows us down, Rebecca takes about three weeks to get ready and Louise enjoys a sunbathe, hence the large amount of rest and late starts you saw in my plan. So the main thing I will need to do is to turn off my theme park commando demon which rages through my body once I get within a few miles of a theme park. Right there, much more than the issue of dealing with a toddler on a long haul flight, is the biggest challenge that lies before me. I need to take up yoga and meditation between now and the end of August.
No matter what I do, put me at rope drop and I smell blood. Competitive Dad emerges and I am knee capping ten year olds and shoulder barging octogenarians to get to that first ride ahead of the masses. That also typically means that the rest of our party arrive fifteen minutes later with Louise giving me a look that tells me I’ve done it again. I’m not too proud of that behaviour but sometimes needs must. I remember one morning arriving at Animal Kingdom (pre Everest) and being on the “get on the safari” mission. The girls were in strollers and we were motoring. As we rounded a corner one of the girls screamed in delight as Lilo and Stitch were out meeting guests and with it being early, there was no queue.
“Look Daddy, it’s Lilo & Stitch!” yelled an excited daughter. I couldn’t tell you which one as I was in the zone.
Suffice to say, as I draw a veil over what happened next, no meet and greet happened that morning and ten minutes later we were sat on one of the first safaris out of the traps, seeing many animals that would be sheltering from the heat a few moments later. Sure, the girls were cradling their crushed dreams the whole way round as they didn’t get to meet those characters but in later life they came to appreciate my wisdom….I think.
Don’t worry, I redeemed myself later.
It’s all about balance I think. There’s a time to smell the roses and a time to get your head down and get somewhere. For clarity, the time for the former is NOT at park opening when you can get several rides under your belt before half of Orlando are out of bed, and the time for the latter is when you’ve done a few things, energy levels might be dropping and you need a breather.
Hmm, ridding myself of this theme park commando demon doesn’t seem to be off to a good start does it?
Till the next time…..