February 10, 2011

Vacation Planning

I'm a planner. I admit it. I like to be spontaneous, really, but I feel a perverse sense of accomplishment when I can get a week of vacation planned out. I love researching places to go and restaurants to try. I love trying to find a route that includes a little less highway and a little more local color.

Mickey MiceRight now, I'm in the middle of planning a trip to Orlando, Florida. Yes, we are heading to the land of rodents with abnormally large ears. My four year old son is very excited. My four month old son, not as much. How do you "do Disney" in a way that is consistent with the lifestyle I'm trying to cultivate, you ask? You did ask, didn't you? Well, I think the key is not to expect to see everything. I know for some families this is the trip of a lifetime. They scrimp and save to fly the whole clan down, stay in the resorts and spend every waking moment in the parks. I consider my family very lucky that we live relatively close (we can drive) and my parents have a condo that they are willing to share with us. I understand that we have the luxury of being able to return almost any time and that many families don't have that same luxury.


TigersSo, here is my "vacationing from scratch" plan. We are going to drive straight there. We plan on doing most of our driving overnight on the way, to take advantage of a sleeping preschooler. My husband and older son have spent hours reading about the characters and rides and deciding which attractions are "must-see". Those are the ones we are going to hit. If we don't see every little thing, we're fine with that. The boys will also spend a day in Lakeland, Florida for Detroit Tigers spring training. Our goal is to see and do as much as we can enjoy. Have you ever come home from a vacation feeling more tired and run-down than when you left? That can easily happen in the land of never-ending theme parks. We're going to be picky about what we do and when we do it. On the way home, we're going to take two days and a different route. The return route will take us along the east coast of Florida and Georgia, then through the Carolinas, West Virginia and Ohio before we return to Michigan. I already have some restaurants picked out courtesy of Drive-Ins, Diners and Dives. I'll review those when we return.

In order to make sure my son (and the rest of us) remembers our trip we will not only take pictures, but we will spend time talking about what we've seen and done. No video games while waiting in line. We'll pass the time by talking to each other and playing little games together (my son is a big fan of "I Spy"). If we allow ourselves to zoom through the trip on autopilot, none of us will remember the trip clearly and it will have been money and time wasted.

When we return, I plan on a series of posts about the trip. Stay tuned to see if we were successful or if I broke down on day 2. It could go either way, but part of the adventure is knowing that and still hoping for the best!

3 comments:

basketsbyrose said...

Enjoy your trip and all the memories you will be making.

Laura said...

We just got back. We went with low expectations for how much we would see/do and that was the best plan. If at all possible, I recommend going back to the condo for lunch and naps, then heading back into the parks for the evening. Crowds are really low right now, too. We never waited in a line long enough to require "entertainment" for the kids. I have a bunch of disney facts ( that are formatted to be printed and taped to index cards) that can be used to pass time in lines if need bed. If you want it, let me know.
I also recommend touringplans.com. Their plans for the parks were spot on and made our vacation very smooth.

Ann said...

Thanks!

Laura, I would love those facts. My son would get a kick out of that, for sure. You can send them via email to ann (at) michiganmud (dot) com
Thanks! I'll check out that site, too.

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