Great Expectations: How to Enjoy Disney World With Your Three Year Old

As I write this, I am sat in the window seat of a 747 with my son next to me and my husband on the aisle. We are headed to Florida. Disney World to be exact. I am mildly relieved, thus far, as with only one hour to go, things have gone pretty well. One word. iPad. I think I should write Apple a thank you letter.

I’ve decided the only way to approach this vacation is to anticipate it being the most stressful, horrible, un-relaxing experience I could imagine. That way, anything more positive than that is a win. I think it is the only way to approach ANYTHING with a three year old. That way we are not imposing unrealistic expectations on our son and, somehow, it helps to keep our sanity intact. There will no doubt be backlash later in the day for allowing two hours and forty minutes of screen time, but for now, all is quiet on the O front. And I’ll take it where I can get it.

They say flying in the morning with a child is best. I kind of have to agree. Our son, at least, is the most agreeable early in the day. This ungodly hour (5:30 am takeoff) won’t wear well on us later today, but again, for now, there is a sense of peace and calm. One Bloody Mary each and all seems right with the world and our present situation.

Expecting nothing from the first time you take your child to Disney is easier than it sounds. If we truly expected nothing, we probably wouldn’t go. Or at least we would go somewhere way less expensive. That way the sticker shock wouldn’t slap you across the face and add insult to injury. So as much as we tell ourselves to have no expectations, you kind of just do. And if you are like me and my husband, you grew up going there with your family and you have all sorts of memories and attachments to the place.

I guess I have to remind myself over and over that my child is only 3. I have to try and put myself in his shoes a bit on this trip. If I get tired and overwhelmed, what must he be feeling? If I am hangry (yes, hungry and angry) how does he feel? There is much to enjoy, of course, BUT it’s all new to him! His senses will be on overload, no doubt. It’s entirely unrealistic to expect him to just roll with everything and foolish of me to think it could even be possible.

So these are my self imposed rules: I will try to keep my cool. I will try to let go of any expectations I might have. I will try to take in all the magic of each moment. And, if certain things aren’t quite magical this trip, well, there is always next time. Here’s to a wonderful vacation at Mickey’s house. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Until next time, keep your fingers crossed for me. And remember, behind every great kid is a Mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up. Thanks for reading! Xo

Flying Solo


I am sitting in the airport awaiting my flight to West Palm Beach. I am flying solo. That isn’t just a cute quip. I am actually by myself. No husband. No child. They are staying home, having a boys weekend, holding the fort down. I will be readying my house in Florida for my snowbird renter. A quick jaunt, but I’ll be away, nonetheless. I don’t know why I feel the need to give you the details of why I am going. Maybe I don’t want you to think I’m leaving my child for a wild girl’s get away or an “all about me” spa weekend. Although, I wouldn’t judge you if YOU went away for a little fun in the sun or some R&R. I’d probably be jealous. Ha. I know I’d be jealous.  Always digressing.

The reason I am sharing this with you, is because this is significant for me. It will be the first time I will spend a night (let alone two nights) away from my O. I have been with him everyday and every night since the day he was born. I understood that I would be away from him when I made these arrangements. At times, I even looked forward to the little “break.” But the moment I had to walk away from him was harder than I expected. I’m just being honest. I’d like to say I walked away with the wind in my hair and the smell of freedom calling me. But instead, I felt like I was leaving a chunk of my own heart in New England. Say it….”Get a life, Mary!” Well, for 18 months and 4 days, he has been our life. Perhaps I am more of a Mommy than I realized.

It’s funny, because I keep telling my husband that I am ready to leave O with Grammy and be whisked away to Puerto Rico or some un-named island in the Caribbean at a moment’s notice. He is the one that is skeptical of leaving O overnight anywhere. He feels he is too young still for that. I tell him I would have no problem leaving O in her quite capable hands for a little weekend (or more) holiday with my husband. But, now I wonder……is that the truth? Could I stand being away from him for that long? Well, I guess I will see how I do first with two nights.

It’s not like I am worried about O. I am sure he will be quite happy to have Daddy take over the reigns of his day. My beloved is MORE than capable. He is truly Daddy of the Year. He will be silly and say things like, “I don’t know where his clothes are.” Or, ” I don’t know what he eats for lunch!” But the truth is, he can take care of O just as well (or better) than I can. Yes, haters…my husband is amazing in all ways. Suck on that.

My trip has only begun and I am missing both my boys something fierce. Logically, I know it’s a quick and necessary trip. I’ll be home before I know it. I was telling my husband on the way to the airport, that it’s actually good for me to go away on my own. It’s important for me to re-visit my independence every now and then. I truly believe that. It was a huge part of who I was before O. And I’m sure it will be again, when he is a bit older. But the pang in my heart when I left them still shocked me. After a life of travel and adventures, home is where I want to be. It is who I am now. It is my happy place. And boy, do I feel lucky to say that.

Until next time, keep fighting the good fight, and remember, behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up. Thanks for reading! Xo