By: Tangled Diva
This past February, my husband and I did something that we have only done once in our son’s entire life- we went on a trip without him. And, of all places, we went to Disney World! I do have to throw out a few disclaimers to make myself not feel like the worst parent in the world, so please indulge me:
1.) Our son has been to Disney three times, and we are going back two more times this year (one of which nobody knows about so shhhhh!!)
2.) I asked him before we went if it would be okay if we went “just the mommies and the daddies.” TIP: It really helps if you have a super cool Aunt Suzy like we do who he was more than excited to get to stay with while we were gone.
3.) We took him on a mini-vacation the weekend before Disney so he wouldn’t be too upset.
Okay, thanks for the indulgence.
Trust me, I know how hard it is to leave your kids. But, when you become a parent, you often forget that you are a spouse, and that relationship is just as important. So, you are not the worst parent in the world for going to Disney without your kids. Now, I do not recommend going without them if they have never been. But, if they have been before (particularly as many times as my son has) they will survive.
I registered last summer for the Princess Half Marathon’s Glass Slipper Challenge. And, on our trip to Disney last September, I talked my husband into going with me for the marathon weekend (again, after getting the okay from our son). I can honestly say it was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken. It is amazing to be in Disney with your child and see their face light up as they see and do new things. But, when you are without them, you truly experience a whole different side of Disney. And, you get to explore areas (World Showcase, Main Street Shops, etc.) that you likely wouldn’t get to—at least not peacefully anyway—if you had kids with you. We stumbled on so many hidden gems this trip because we were taking our time and not so focused on the rides. In fact, we rode far less rides and far less often than we do when our son is with us, but neither of us feel like we missed out on anything.
The World Showcase was a whole new world (pun intended) to us this trip. It was never something our son was particularly interested in, so we always just breezed through it. In fact, I don’t know that I had ever been through all of the countries represented prior to this trip. It was awesome to aimlessly meander through them and catch all the unique sights, sounds and shows of these represented countries. We also spent a significant amount of time exploring the shops on Main Street. One of our favorite things we stumbled on this trip was the glass blowing show that they do inside of Crystal Arts. It was amazing, and I highly recommend it. My son will love to see this when we go back, but had he been with us this time, we would have never been where we were to stumble across it.
With Skype, face-time, and video chats, it is very easy to stay in touch while you are away. We were never able to video chat with our son, but we did send him videos. He had one request when we left. He wanted a video of us on a roller-coaster, so we sent him a clip of us on his favorite—Big Thunder Mountain. He was so excited, although he did say we didn’t scream loud enough! Even though we didn’t video chat, we were able to talk to him frequently, and through the video updates I posted on our Facebook page while there, he was able to follow along on our trip. Aunt Suzy said that he absolutely loved seeing my video updates and always knew exactly where I was when doing them. He has done video updates for the page in the past, so I am not so sure mine lived up to his high standards, but I tried.
Another advantage, and this is not one that we really took advantage of because we are not really “foodies,” but you can also eat in restaurants that you would not otherwise eat at. Our son is pretty loud, so we always go to loud places and avoid quiet restaurants like the plague. There are so many amazing dining experiences at Disney and some of those are not so kid-friendly. Or, at the least, the money you would spend on them would not be worth it for a child. So, you can take advantage of some of these unique dining experiences when you are sans kids.
I say all this to say that if you have been to Disney as a family a few times, you should at least consider a parents-only trip. You will be surprised at how easy it is. I was really worried that I would spend my entire trip missing my son and thinking about how much more fun it would be if he were here, but I could not have been more wrong. Now, don’t get me wrong, we both definitely missed him. But, we also realized how important that one-on-one quality time we got that weekend was and how we need to focus on it more!