A Surprise Vacation

I have a killer surprise planned for my daughter. I’m taking her to Disney World this weekend! I know, right? I’ve been dying to tell her but I’m not going to tell her until the day we leave. She’s going to lose her mind. Or not. You can never tell with 6-year olds. I’ll have the video rolling just in case.

She has no idea!  BOOM! Disney! Photo: K. Stevenson
She has no idea! BOOM! Disney!
Photo: K. Stevenson

I should be excited along with her. I totally am, but I’m also super nervous. First, I am not a traveler. I’m not afraid of flying or anything like that. I’ve done it before. I was just never bitten by the travel bug. Most of my vacations during my whole life have been a short drive away. Nice and close and comfortable.  Planning this trip is huge for me—getting me off the couch and on an adventure!

I hear a voice whisper in a Field of Dreams kind of way: “Breathe. Take it all in. Trust. Connect with your heart.”

I’m going to be flying solo with a child who has never traveled before. My husband can’t get away from work and the opportunity was too good for us to pass up. So it’s the Mommy and Zoey show. I’m picturing the “fun” of dealing with luggage, car seat, taxis, and getting to the hotel all by myself.  Then there’s the fact that I haven’t been on a plane in about 10 years. Lots of things have changed. Airport security. Baggage and carry-on rules. Do they even let little kids see the cockpit anymore? I’m pretending to ignore the fact that every couple of months this kid still asks, “Mommy, why did those men fly the plane into the buildings?” Hopefully, she will be too excited to remember that she’s scared. Ignoring it should work, right? OMG what if she freaks out on the plane?! What if the batteries die on her Kindle?! Gaahh!

That voice again: “Breathe. Take it all in. Trust. Connect with your heart.”

I want everything to be perfect. And we all know what happens when you set those expectations too high: Cue the sad trombones of disappointment. Having never been to Disney with a child before, I had no idea how overwhelming the planning is, let alone the actual visit. I was kind of late to the party on the planning, so there will be no fancy character meals for us. Just good old-fashioned days at the park. Riding the rides, taking in the shows, waiting in the lines. Of course, after I booked the trip, I realized that I’m going at one of the busiest times of the year. That should make waiting in line super fun. It’s stressing me out a little bit because what kid likes to wait in line? Oh and did I mention that the forecast is calling for rain? Thank goodness the grandparents will be there with us. Misery loves company, right?

Where is that voice coming from?: “Breathe. Take it all in. Trust. Connect with your heart.”

I am grateful that I am able to give my daughter this gift. This is going to be magical for her and for me. I get to see this place through her eyes. I want her to remember every single moment that we spend together on this vacation. I realize that no matter what happens, THAT is the guaranteed part, the most important part. I get to introduce my daughter to an enchanted world of fantasy (Sorry Daddy). It doesn’t matter if the plane ride is a little rough. It won’t matter if our hotel isn’t perfect (please let it be clean). So what if we forget to pack something or if the food costs a million dollars? Who cares if we have a little rain? We will just appreciate the rainbows even more. (They guarantee that there’s going to be rainbows, right? I think I read that on Pinterest. Somebody check into that for me, k?)

Through it all I will remember to Breathe. Take it all in. Trust. Connect with my heart. It sounds like good advice. She’s only going to be 6-years old at Disney World once (Sorry Daddy). So I’m loading up the film in my mental camera and leaping into this trip with both feet. Wish me luck.

12 thoughts on “A Surprise Vacation

  1. Have you considered using a shuttle service from the airport instead of a taxi? We are going to Disney next month and not renting a car, however the shuttle service (not Disney’s) that is picking us up is providing car seats-which means one less thing for us to worry about lugging around. Enjoy the trip, we are going with a four and one year old and we literally planned it last weekend, it’s fun (and scary) being so spontaneous! Hoping our daughter flips out (in a good way) when she realizes where we are going… We aren’t telling her until we get there! Have fun!!


    1. That’s a good idea. Our hotel doesn’t offer a shuttle but they said that there are taxi-like shuttles (non-cabs?) that are cheaper.
      Have fun on your trip. I am always throwing things together last minute. Spontaneity can make for a wild adventure!!


  2. Just a heads up from a Disney junkie…..it rains EVERY DAY in Orlando at least once. Some of my best memories of being there are the impromptu dashes to covered cafeterias and the fun chats with my family while we waited for the rain to subside. That’s the kind of magic Disney has….even doing nothing makes memories! Have a wonderful time!!!


  3. She is going to love it!!!! Have a wonderful time. As for the plane stuff…. I can confirm that if you ask, they will still let kids see the cockpit. In fact, a pilot we were talking to while waiting for our last flight actually encouraged us to ask. He said they love showing off the plane to the kids. In terms of carry-ons… remember two simple rules: No sharp/metal objects (yes, your nail clippers are considered sharp objects) and no liquids more than 3oz. (might have increased the amount a little, but you’re safe if you stick to 3oz). This includes hand lotion, water, liquid makeup.
    We took a vacation with our son back in October to Arizona – he was 20mon at the time. I was a nervous wreck about how my son would do flying, spending the week in a strange place, the time change. Nearly broke into hives! But he did fantastic. I’m sure your daughter will too. So.. “Breathe. Take it all in. Trust. Connect with your heart.” You got this! 🙂


    1. Thanks Vicki! Good call on the 3 oz reminder. I think I knew that. I’ll definitely ask if we can peek in the cockpit. I’ll probably like it more than her! LOL


  4. Have a fantastic trip! I always debate about keeping things like this a surprise – the anticipation is half the fun! (Plus it’s always hard to contain my excitement). Sun or rain, it will be way warmer there than it is here!


  5. BEST MOM EVER! She is going to go nuts. You are awesome for doing this!! I think it will be an excellent time for both of you 🙂


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