Vacations, while well deserved and exciting, can also be very overwhelming…especially when you are in the planning stages. Add in a child with special needs, and the whole process becomes exponentially more difficult. Never fear, though! After deciding to take the kids on a fun-filled trip to Disney World this spring, and experiencing the joy of planning the adventure, I’ve put together a handy list to help you plan your own magical vacation.
1. Decide to (finally) take a vacation and return to the “happiest place on earth”. I mean, it’s been five years, so you can surely suck it up and have some “fun”, right?
2-52. Change your mind. Fifty times. Your thoughts should alternate between “Who in their right mind would spend that kind of money on a vacation?!?” and “The kids are only little once, and we’ve been promising a return trip. We’re going.”
53. Ask your partner to research resorts and travel packages. Wait a week and ask again.
54. Refuse to look at the information your partner has found, because it’s Disney, and You. Just. Can’t.
55. Repeat steps 2-52 again.
105. Decide, again, that you really should go, and freak out in front of your partner because now you’ve waited so late that you probably won’t get character dining reservations and you’ve probably ruined your children’s magical adventure.
106. Apologize to your partner.
107. Find a place to board the dog. I mean, if no one can take care of the pup while you’re gone, then you can’t go anyway.
108. Book luxury accommodations for the dog. At least she’ll enjoy her vacation.
109. Look at the Disney website for the eight zillionith time and finally decide on a resort.
110. Pour over the list of dining options, try to decipher which one has which character experiences, get mad because the website does not give enough information, and then throw the keyboard out of desperation.
111. Sit in the corner, softly beat your head against the wall and hum “It’s a Small World” quietly, to yourself.
112. Apologize to your partner…again.
113. Discover the chat feature on the Disney website. Inundate the customer service representative with questions, and imagine that he is now banging his head against the wall.
114. Stay up all night, unable to sleep because you’re immediately regretting your decision.
115. Spend the next eight weeks obsessing over the plans you’ve made. Will the park be too overwhelming for your kiddo with special needs? Will anyone have any fun? Will you find enough wine in or around the theme parks?!?
116-201: Read every Disney blog you can find. Decide that you’re the worst Disney vacation planner ever, threaten not to go, change your mind and reassure yourself that it will all be just fine. Repeat 85 times.
202. Try to find matching Disney themed outfits for your entire family. Give up. Nobody will see past their adorably smiling faces in the photos, anyway.
203. Worry incessantly about the lack of accommodations for your child with special needs. Get angry at all the people who pretended to need special accommodations and ruined it for those of us who truly need them. Fantasize that those people step in gum the next time they go to Disney.
204. Finally, finally, finally book all your reservations. Take many, many deep breaths.
205. Repeat as many times as often: “It will be a magical vacation. It will be a magical vacation.”
See how easy it is? Best of luck in your planning.