It's funny because growing up, I don't recall Disney being a big deal. It seems like people I knew went once, if that, and they were usually older. Now it seems like EVERYONE goes to Disney. Commercialization - yes, I know.
Prior to this trip, my Disney experience was limited to one trip when I was approximately 13-14 years old. My youngest brother was 6-7 years old at the time so there was plenty for all of us to do. In order to make that vacation work, my family drove to Florida from Massachusetts and the six of us crammed into one hotel room in Kissimmee, outside of Orlando.
Oh, I almost forgot about the mini-marathon trip. When I was pregnant with Abbey, Rich ran the Disney marathon. We flew down to Orlando for the weekend but didn't go to the parks. Well, except for the portion that Rich ran through.
After seeing how much the girls enjoyed Story Land this past summer, we decided to speed up our Disney vacation. You only live once. Right? Whenever the topic of Disney vacations comes up on my triplet message board, there are usually multiple responses of, "Take 'em before they turn 3. They are free!" Well, that seemed like a ton of work. Plus, I don't know how much they would have actually understood. Rich and I had been kicking around the idea of a family vacation for awhile. There was a mild discussion regarding Hawaii. (This means that I suggested and suggested and emailed pictures of tropical beaches.) And then somehow we decided to go to Disney after the girls turned four. Which was accelerated by a few months.
I don't know if it is just me but there was a lot of upfront work in planning this vacation. Once we figured out when we could go, we had to decide where to stay. Well, Disney was offering the dining plan free if you stayed at one of their moderate or above resorts. We still didn't know how we would be getting there so having Disney transportation available as an option was appealing. I had to research all the resorts and decide which one would meet our needs without being too expensive.
Grammy wanted to come with us so after deciding that the Disney condos were not an option due to cost, we decided to go with two connecting rooms. Almost all of the resorts have a limit of four people per room. Port Orleans, Riverside allows for five people in a room. There are two double beds with a pull out trundle bed for the fifth person. (I will laugh about the usefulness of the trundle bed later.)
The thought of driving didn't really come into play until I sat down one morning to search the internet for flights. I typed in dates, 3 adults, 3 children. I picked which flights matched our needs. Yeah, no, an 8:00 AM flight with three three year olds isn't really going to work. I just about spit out my Cherry Diet Pepsi when the total cost popped up. $3,000.
So I tried some other options. I whittled it down to $2,500. Really? I know that I haven't flown anywhere in years but really? $2,500? And then Southwest announced a sale for our time frame. In order for me to get the cost down below $2,000, we were going to have to take some difficult flights. Layovers. 7:30 AM flights. I told Rich that there was no way that we would be able to make a 7:30 AM flight with three three years AND using Disney transportation. That seemed like too much stress to me.
The option of renting a car was discussed. Okay, but we need three car seats. I did some more research. You can request car seats but those car seats are not guaranteed. And what happens when we arrive in Orlando and they don't have three car seats? So what do we do then? Bring three car seats on the plane? Then we most certainly cannot bring a double stroller and a single stroller. So what do we do? Rent strollers once there? That's not only an additional expense (in addition to renting a car, well, an SUV or a minivan) but it is not going to assist us in transporting the girls from the parking lot into the park.
And then there was the issue of how much stuff we would have to carry onto the plane. All of Anna's cath kits for the week. Extra clothes in case someone pukes, pees or our luggage goes MIA. I was also concerned with carrying Anna's liquid medicine on the plane. And then there would have been my camera and related equipment. Any and all laptops. Moving three three year olds from Point A to Point B can take a few hands sometimes so I don't know who would be carrying all of this carry-on luggage.
So Rich finally agreed that for this trip, driving may be easier. And definitely less expensive. You also have to understand that I'm a bit of a "just drive there" person. Growing up, we drove everywhere. I have family, including a set of grandparents, who live in Michigan so I have driven out there at least 25 times. It's only a 12 to 14 hour drive. What's the big deal?
And then in my twenties, my friends and I considered concerts in upstate New York, a four to five hour drive, to be in our backyard. But I'm not in my twenties anymore. And this wasn't a concert.
~To be continued tomorrow~