Do Perfectly Planned Vacations Really Exist?

disney photoOver the past eight months I have done research, searched for deals, made reservations, and meticulously planned… the perfect vacation. The anxiety is building and the pressure of making sure that this is indeed a flawless trip, is well… kind of overwhelming. Where are we headed? This is our very first family visit to the oh-so-magical Disney World. My husband and I have both been before, but this will be our first trip as a family. We actually visited the ‘happiest place on earth’ right after we got married. Which brings me to the ‘flashback’ portion of the post. And don’t worry… it’s all very relative to our upcoming family vacation.

So about eight years ago, after an amazing day of rides, shows and unplanned good old fashioned fun, my husband and I decided to hit one more ride before packing it in for the day. So we stood in line at the ever so popular Pirates of the Caribbean ride. For us, the twenty five minute wait seemed short and really didn’t phase either of us at all. But for the family in front of us, consisting of three whiny miserable children and two exhausted stressed out parents… it was a different story. I still to this day, think about this mother, who totally lost her shit at Disney World. The youngest child, who looked to be about five or six was screaming hysterically at the top of his lungs because he was scared of the dark and eerie atmosphere of the corridor that would eventually lead us to the ride. Finally, the mom just couldn’t take it anymore, and turned to her son and snarked, ‘I have rode every single stupid kiddy ride you wanted to go on ALL DAY LONG. You are going to go on this ride whether you like it or not. I want to go on this ride.’  At the time I felt really bad for the child. Now… looking back, I’m not too sure who I feel bad for anymore.

The whole point of my little flashback is to point out that I would bet that that mom also had planned out the perfect vacation for her family. So what happened? With just over a week to go before our flawlessly planned trip, I have to wonder… am I going to be that mom? Am I going to be the mom that has put so much pressure on myself to make this the perfect vacation, that I will lose my shit in magical freaking Disney World. Will I end up telling my kids that their rides are stupid? Or worse still, will I demand that they get their pictures taken with every single dressed up character, whether they like it or not, just so I can have proof that we enjoyed every minute of our perfect vacation?

I bet that mom, who I judged for being totally insane, had just put a bit too much pressure on herself and her family. I get it. When you put that much work into ensuring your family will enjoy the perfect vacation, it’s only natural that the stress of it all might get to you. I feel sort of lucky that I was able to witness this mom going off the deep end, because at least I have an idea of what it looks like to crack under the pressure of the perfect vacation. I’ve witnessed what I don’t what to be. This might sound totally judgmental, but I promise you it’s not. I totally understand. And realistically, I figure it’s probably a 50/50 chance that I will become that mom. But, I have the upper hand. As I’m writing this, I am making a vow to myself that when I get home my post will not be about me losing my shit. My post will be about how to deal with the less than perfect vacation.

I already know going in that James will be terrified about flying. He will probably have multiple anxiety attacks before getting on the plane. I also know that there is a very good chance that his eardrum might rupture from the pressure of the flight. Jocelyn will most likely kick the chair in front of us, throw multiple tantrums, and probably puke because of the terrible smell of airplane food. If we are not thrown off the plane before it lands, we most likely will face multiple meltdowns before we reach our resort. Our flight is at 6am, so naturally everyone will be exhausted before noon. If we are lucky enough to have early check-in, we may survive the first day. But if we are forced to experience the ‘magic’ before a nice long nap… well, who knows what type of ‘insane mom’ I might look like. And don’t worry… we will have six more days of fun-filled excitement to put us over the edge, before we arrive back home to review all of the amazing photos I forced my kids to smile for. But despite ALL of these realistic predictions, I think if I allow ourselves a few ‘less-than-perfect’ moments, we might actually have an amazing trip to remember.

The fact is, there is no perfect vacation. I would be totally crazy to expect every single aspect of this trip to go smoothly. The real challenge is not to have the perfect vacation, but to expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised when you get even a few of those best moments in life. Those moments when you know your kids have just created memories they will have forever. So… keep your fingers crossed for me, and hopefully the memories my kids will end up with will not consist of me losing my shit at any point during our perfect vacation.

photo credit: Express Monorail via photopin cc


Do Perfectly Planned Vacations Really Exist? — 4 Comments

  1. Dear Janet,
    Hi there. I love your blog and how real your stories are. And about your perfect vacation, well just go with the flow and don’t get too frustrated if it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to be. I just came back from Hong Kong Disneyland with my 3 and 1 year old daughters. Guess what? My husband and I didn’t get to go for any rides. Simply because my 3 year old is sooooo into Disney Princesses that we had to take turns to queue to snap photos with them.
    However, we truly enjoyed the trip and even though there were tantrums and my 3 year old refused to leave ‘the happiest place on earth’, it still turned up to be a happy perfect vacation for all of us. Don’t worry! Enjoy those moments. You’ll be laughing about it at the end of the day when it’s all over.
    Love,all the way from Malaysia.

    • Thanks so much!! And I really appreciate you sharing your story. We had a great time, with all the good and crazy moments combined!