Another real vacation for the family (that I won’t be going on)

DH’s grandmother died earlier this year and she left a small inheritance to her daughters.  DH’s mother has decided to put that money into a “Disney World” savings account and take all 6 grandkids and their parents to Disney World.  She wants to go in June.

This is very Midwestern.  Growing up I think I was the only kid who had never been to Disney World (I had been to Disney Land as a child with an after-school field trip when we lived in California– mostly notable because they lost me in the gift shop and I spent a good portion of the time in the room of lost kids coloring in already colored coloring books and eating lolly pops).  My sister has never been to either Disney.  That money went into our college fund instead.  (DC1 has been to Disneyland and to all the stuff in San Diego in conjunction with work trips for me– we paid for DH’s mom to fly out and take him places while DH took care of baby DC2 and I conferenced.)

I hate theme parks with a violent passion that’s mostly to do with my undiagnosed ocholophobia (well, not precisely undiagnosed– it showed up on the initial anxiety screen when I did CBT but I declined to get it fixed because I can easily avoid the kind of large crowds that freak me out now that I’m no longer forced to go to school dances or 6 Flags trips), and partly to do with the ease with which I get overheated in the sun.  So I won’t be going.  DH will have to go because there are 6 kids going and we have to send at least one adult to corral our two kids.

While I know that MIL will be paying for DH’s sister’s family (they combine a small-town teacher salary with a factory worker salary) and will probably be subsidizing DH’s brother’s family (union engineer + SAHM), we should probably pay our way.  If we book now, it looks like flights will be ~$1,500 for DH and the two kids, and hotel will be another $500, assuming they stay outside of Disney which I assume will be the plan [update:  our house rental will be $500-$1K, and I have to admit, some of these Kissamee houses are nice enough that I’m tempted to go and just work by the pool all day while everyone else goes to Disney/Universal].  Disney and Universal tickets look like they’ll be another $1,500 which seems pretty crazy to me.  So $3,500, not counting food or ground transportation, for a trip that the kids will probably enjoy but DH will find exhausting.  By me not going they’ll be saving ~$1,000, so that’s something, right?  (Of course, I will probably soon start spending similar amounts on academic summer camps for DC1 without blinking an eye, but those are at least more enjoyable for the parents!)

My well-off colleagues seem to be going to Caribbean destinations more and more.  Sitting on a beach has always sounded boring to me in the past (I can read a book just as easily inside without worrying about sunburn!), but given how hectic life has been lately, I’m kind of wondering if maybe they have a good idea.  Though that’s not cheap either.  Staying at home is cheap!  And I can get more work done.

What kind of vacation do I like?  The kind where a conference is paying for most of it, where there’s really amazing and different food to explore, and where there’s history and/or nature and not too much sun.  Sadly I haven’t been going to too many of those recently– all my conferences are either in Boston or Palo Alto/Berkeley these days.  And while those places are lovely, we’ve been so often that I can’t get DH and the kids to tag along with me (plus that whole public school thing puts a crimp in taking the whole family during the school year thing).  So… no vacations for me, and another week to myself next summer.

Have you done Disney?  Which one?  How do you feel about theme parks?  What’s your ideal vacation?  Have any good vacation travel coming up?

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42 Responses to “Another real vacation for the family (that I won’t be going on)”

  1. yetanotherpfblog Says:

    I don’t know what happened between my childhood and now, but I used to love theme parks and now I very much don’t. I recently took my Little to one and felt like I was going to get sick from all the rides.

    Since I’ve been traveling so much and busy recently, I think my ideal vacation would be to go somewhere familiar or even stay home and have an digital blackout for two weeks. Go on some long walks, read, cook if I need to.

  2. Sandy L Says:

    We are very similar in some regards. I have had multiple meetings/events in Orlando so we took the kids to do the amusement park think along with a work trip (usually mine).

    My MIL likes to travel so we prioritize vacations so we can include her. This year we did LA (on my route to China). We have lots of friends there. We did road trips to Niagra and Montreal as I have free/or super cheap hotel rates now with my employee discount.

    I do like going to new places though…so no more Florida trips even if I am going because it still is not free to fly everyone down and get park tickets.

    Many of our trips have been 5 days or less too. Haven’t taken a 2 week go away vacation since before kids.

  3. Rosa Says:

    Disney is not my ideal, but we did it, with the whole family like your family is doing, and it was surprisingly great. I did not expect to like it at all but the kids had a ton of fun together and the things I remember from when I was a kid (mostly the endless lines) were a lot better – in fact for a lot of the attractions the stuff they had to keep the line pacified was more entertaining than the ride. I’m not sure it’s so Midwestern, it seems like a pretty universal middle class kid experience. I have a couple friends who grew up in California and went to Disney every year and take their kids every year (but of course it doesn’t cost them $1500 in plane tickets.)

    I like to go to cities and see live theater and go to museums and new restaurants and take novel public transit (or not novel – I still love to go to Chicago and ride the El and eat a hot dog while the cars go by and the trains go overhead). My husband is not into that so much and my current life has enough public transit and live theater to make it less alluring so it’s something I don’t do a ton, though I did go to San Francisco & Oakland to visit friends & do those things a couple years ago and we spent a few days in Memphis last summer (which was great, Memphis is awesome.) I also really like sitting on a beach or by a sunny pool during our long awful winters, but it basically takes the promise of education & hiking added on (Vegas, Hilton Head) or getting a family obligation on my side (several Florida vacations) to make my husband go along, though. I’ve gone with my side of the family and the kid a couple times. We actually just got back from a Florida beach vacation that was about 1/3 sitting on the beach, 1/3 eating fried seafood, and 1/3 doing something strenuous on the water – paddleboarding, kayaking in the state park (okay that wasn’t strenuous but we saw dolphins and a manatee), jet skiing.

    Our annual family vacation is always camping in a state or national park because that’s what my husband likes and what he’ll take vacation days for. I don’t mind it but, unlike him, I am not enamored of seeing the Rockies from slightly different angles every year, so I’ve pushed him into several trips east of the Mississippi (Memphis was part of a trip to the Smokies and some Civil War sites, and we have been to Mammoth Cave and down to the gulf coast). I guess being able to do driving vacations to all these places is one of the benefits of being so, so far from the coast.

    I have to say, as bored as I am with all this arid Western nature we keep visiting (or, worse, the joys of going to Glacier in July to camp in the cold and hike in snow as if that were at all novel after another of our endless winters), when we go west and see busloads of foreign tourists who traveled so far to see purely American sites like Mt Rushmore and Old Faithful was really touching and gave me a new appreciation for it.

  4. jasonedwards57 Says:

    I have to admit that I do love Disney World and a lot of amusement parks. However, also like you I like using my conference trips as a vacation. That is why I basically only use my travel money for international conferences. My problem is ponying up the dough to stay just a little longer to see the sites. This summer I went to a conference in England for the first time (never been) and wanted to go to London, but I just didn’t spend the money to do so. I also take students abroad so that also can be a vacation for me. Sometimes the students are annoying, but seeing the sites makes it worth it and I get paid.

  5. Natasha Says:

    Never been to Disney Land/World, or any other major amusement parks. Never want to go. Haven’t taken my 3 kids and don’t plan to. Hate Disney and do my best to avoid their movies. If kids want to go – they can do it when they are grown ups. There are so many other amazing, wonderful things to see and do! I love visiting old cities with a ton of history that are easy to get around without a car. I love walking through old streets of unfamiliar places. I love trying out new foods. I love art museums. With kids (they are 9, 7, and 3), we’ve mostly gone camping and road trips to explore small towns that are within 5-h drive from where we live. I want to take them abroad in the next 3-4 years (Europe, Eastern Europe, Israel) and maybe somewhere a little more exotic when they over 15 (Nepal?).

    On the subject of amusement parks – we go to a small one every summer (in Ocean City, NJ, where we often spend a few days with family during the summer). As kids get older, we’ll probably start going to a “big” one that’s within a short drive from where we live about once a year or so.

  6. Shannon Says:

    I was firmly in the hate Disney camp until we took our kids once – mainly because we felt like we had to do it with them once and we came into some money the last year they were both in preschool which meant we could do during non-peak time. I have to say, I ultimately had a blast there with the kids. We stayed on property, and it just seemed like everything was right there when we needed it. We also forked over money for a meal plan, which took the stress out of meal planning, snack buying, and budgets. I guess I’d say, if you’re going to do it, go all in. It makes it easier and thus more enjoyable.

    That having been said, I don’t think I would ever go during peak time – I cannot imagine waiting in long lines for the rides. And we’ve only been back once – when we had a conference there, so pretty much everything was paid for except the kids flights. There are too many places to see in the world for me to justify going there over and over, although I could say the same thing for just about any place we visit.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It’s not Disney that’s the problem for me, it’s anything with a large number of people where I feel like I can’t escape. I have a genuine pathological fear of crowds. Long-time readers will recall that I had a black-out panic attack at the women’s march when I got too closed in. If I can’t handle 6 Flags in the middle of a school day, then I’m just going to be a liability at Disney World in the summer.

      • Shannon Says:

        Oh yes – summer is the WORST time to go for you. But at other times, it’s really quite manageable. That’s not on the agenda here, but you might want to think about going with them some other time because it is a fun experience when it’s not too crowded. And keep in mind that this is coming from someone who also had to leave the women’s march for the same reason. I didn’t black out, but I was on the verge of a melt-down/panic attack waiting for the march part after the rally. That’s probably why my ideal vacation would be hiking on an off the beaten path trail (no people except the ones I really, really like) followed by sleeping in a nice hotel. Unfortunately, to really get away from people when hiking, you typically often get away from the nice hotels too.

      • Rosa Says:

        maybe you should take the week they go on their vacation off and camp? That would be solitude and makes it easy to do a media blackout. If you’re willing to walk even a little (in our state parks even just a quarter mile; but even in the most crowded national parks, people thin out a mile or two off the pavement) you can get from “relatively uncrowded” to “hardly any people”, especially during the off season. One year a friend and I went to Yosemite in March and there was only one other camper in the entire “backpacking campground” which was only maybe half a mile from the parking lot.

        We have nice little camper cabins in a lot of our state parks but if it’s not too cold out a hammock in a tent campsite is the perfect place to read. That’s what I did with my solo camping days up on Lake Superior this summer – I read on the beach, i read in the sunny meadow, I read in my hammock in the campsite :)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I’d rather stay home– less effort, more air conditioning, less expensive, don’t have to hire someone to check on the cats. If I truly want a media blackout I just have to not restart the internet when it goes down.

  7. bogart Says:

    Interesting. I have literally never set foot in any amusement park though we did go to our state fair when I was a kid (which I enjoyed) and DH and I now take our own kid (which I don’t particularly enjoy nor does DH but the kid does, so …). ***However***, DH wants to take DS to Disneyworld (he took his older kids twice), and thus has it come to be that we are all going next spring (earlyish — DS is missing some school because: crowds. Hopefully that will help.). Partly I have consented to this because I have heard enough people say what @Rosa said (first sentence) above and partly because I mostly decide our vacation travel and generally believe that one should be willing to “try new stuff,” so am trying to be fair and practice what I preach (I ended up at Hilton Head this past summer for the same reason and had a perfectly good time, though it definitely has not become my first choice of east coast beach destinations). We’ll see. We bought a Costco package that is 7 nights hotel, 5 days Disney, and cost just under $2K for the 3 of us, plus roughly $300 in plane tickets each (and we won’t need a car).

    As for what I like to do, well, we “camp” (in a camping trailer, with electricity, and plumbing, and a programmable coffee pot) in state parks near us and I love, love, love that. And I like traveling with and to visit family. I enjoy roughing it much more than DH. Hoping to go to Europe next summer just me & DS and meet up with my brother’s family and travel around relatively more rural/less connected parts of the former Eastern bloc, which will be MUCH easier without DH than it would with (may include real camping, among other nutty ideas). I mostly use my (limited) conference travel to enjoy some time to myself and (ideally) to have at least one morning when I do not have to set an alarm clock or otherwise get up until I wake up.

    • Cloud Says:

      There are some good websites and blogs with Disney tips. I can’t give you any Disneyworld tips, since I’ve only done Disneyland, but my experience is that it pays to spend a little time researching and thinking about what you want to see and what order you should see it in. Failing that, my main tip is “go counterclockwise.” Americans all go clockwise by default. My first trip to Disneyland as a grown up was with a group of New Zealanders who all went counterclockwise by default. We didn’t meet up with the main crowd until noon. It was weird.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        My MIL has ordered a bunch of books too. She’s going all out on the planning.

      • Cloud Says:

        Honestly, I think that will pay off for her!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        She’s throwing herself into the grandma thing wholeheartedly, and seems to be enjoying it.

      • bogart Says:

        I think this is right. I don’t know if books are still a (useful) thing but I may get DH one for Christmas, as a way of nudging him toward taking on some of the mental load. He is in fact a good planner and ***great*** on details that I am prone to ignore, but we’ve something of a habit of my planning vacations, and this one really is his initiative. And if that doesn’t work (and maybe even if it does), we’ll go counterclockwise; thanks!

  8. Mary Says:

    Not a fan of Disney, but, from what I understand, it’s a well-designed experience for people who are into that kind of thing.

    My ideal vacation: rent an apartment in a big city in Europe for a month or so. Enroll the kids in activities so they can be immersed in the local culture/language and to give me time to do things without them. Sign myself up for intensive language lessons in the mornings and spend the afternoons doing standard tourist-type things.

  9. SP Says:

    We did disney when I was in grade school. It was the biggest vacation we ever did (usually we did road trips to national parks and such), and even then, we stayed with an uncle nearby and went during the school year. We did fly though, that was my only time on a plane until I was much much older.

    My ideal vacation now… I really like backpacking trips in beautiful nature, but also like good food and hot showers. So, little hut-to-hut / town-to-town hikes are my ideal. We did this for our honeymoon in Europe. This makes me happiest – walking all day in nice scenery – but not having to carry all that much. Stopping at lovely little cheese farms for lunch, then having a hot dinner at a hotel/auberge. But I also like visiting new cities, trying new food, etc.

    • Shannon Says:

      Hut to hut hiking is the BEST. Few people on the trails, no carrying stuff, and (at least for us this last summer in Spain), an endless supply of cold beers to purchase at the huts along with pretty decent meals. Heaven.

  10. becca Says:

    As a kid, we did Disneyworld once. It was enough. We did at least go off-peak because we NEVER went anywhere during the hot months (my Dad had reverse SAD). I liked Dollywood better, because less lines. The Smokies are a fabulous place to go for a family vacation, we went at least three times. I particularly recommend doing Berea Kentucky on the way.
    We’ve got extended family near both Disneyland and Disneyworld, so someday we may do them both. I’d like to do a cruise, so that could be a two-fer.
    All of our family vacations were the same in certain key ways. Every one involved a bookstore, a candy store, a waterfall and some shopping (often an outlet mall for socks- very exciting!). We did a trip around the Great Lakes when I was a bit older (too teenage to really enjoy my parents, yet the most memorable trip despite because of my age). I do remember pretty well the history focused Colonial Williamsburg/DC trip, which I think was the one my Dad had the most fun planning/executing.
    I don’t do the shopping as an essential component, but I still believe vacations should have a bookstore, a candy store, and a waterfall.

  11. Sarabeth Says:

    We don’t do theme parks, and my husband dislikes beach vacation. This year we are going to a YMCA family camp for a week. I am very, very excited – they have a few hours of childcare in the mornings, so we’ll get a real break, and someone else will deal with all the cooking and cleaning. On the order of $2k for a week for a family of four in the nicest available lodging.

  12. independentclause Says:

    I’m bad at vacations, and hate theme parks and crowds. However, I’m good at eating at new places and finding pretty or interesting places to either work or lounge and read.

  13. Cloud Says:

    I am not a huge fan of crowds, so I tend to schedule theme park visits when I think the crowds will be less. Living in SoCal makes that feasible! They are not my first choice for a vacation, but I enjoy the magic my kids get out of them, and I think we’re about to age out of that… so I’m scheming for a trip to Disneyland soonish. We have always stayed outside the park, but I may splash out on an in park hotel this time. It gets you early entry (fewer crowds!) and since I think we’re nearing the end of our theme park years, I might convince myself it is worth it. It is A LOT more money, though.

    In your shoes, I’d probably go and hang out at the house if (and only if) I thought the rest of the people on the trip would understand that choice and not pester me about it.

    My ideal vacation is going somewhere new to explore. I like a mix of city and beautiful scenery. I don’t care about interesting food so much, but I like it best if we can swing some chill out with a beer/cocktail time. That last thing is what I miss most about traveling w/o kids. Someone has to be the adult in charge when the kids are with us, so even though they are old enough to allow us to chill with a beer, I can’t REALLY chill. But watching them explore new places and find new things that excite them mostly makes up for that.

  14. Linda Says:

    Now that I’m living in California, I feel like I should visit Disneyland. I’m in no rush to do so, though.

    I’ve been to Disneyworld many times. For roughly 7 years in a row, we stopped there for a few nights on our way to places in Florida where my parents could go scuba diving. We camped during our summer vacations in a succession of tents and camper vehicles. We got really good at strategically scheduling our days to avoid the most crowded times at the park, and get the most bang for our buck. This was back in the days when only the Magic Kingdom existed. Now there are so many other aspects of the park.

    I went to Disneyworld once as an adult, too. There was a work meeting once where I was needed. Since work paid for my flight and hotel during the meeting dates, my (now ex-) husband and I wrapped a couple days of fun around it. We stayed on site and took Disney transport (buses) everywhere. It wasn’t that crowded and I enjoyed it, except for the food. The only place I felt I could get decently healthy food was at Epcot. With the exception of a fruit cup, all the food places in the Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios, and the mid-range place we stayed was stuff like burgers, fries, hotdogs, etc. Maybe that’s changed.

    In general, I don’t like big crowds, either, but I’ve found ways to deal with them when I really want to do something that involves crowd exposure. I can usually find some way to chill out in a quiet(er) place for an hour, if needed.

    I’m really hoping that I can do some sort of vacation next year. I did manage to make it to Portland, OR over the New Year’s holiday earlier this year to visit a friend, and that’s the first vacation I’ve been able to take in the past three years. If my health holds out and I don’t have to use up all my PTO sick days again, I’ll probably take a driving trip someplace in state.

  15. chacha1 Says:

    I don’t have a philosophical objection to theme parks; have been to Disney World three times (child, teenager, adult) and to Disneyland once (30th birthday, soon after moving to CA), to Six Flags and Universal and whatever. As an adult the theme-park experience is not much fun. Heat, hard surfaces, crowds, and expense = no thanks.

    Not much of a beach person, only because 1) I burn, and 2) I get bored. Water sports don’t really thrill me, though I do enjoy being out on a boat.

    Like Cloud, I prefer a mix of city and beautiful scenery. Victoria BC was great. Seattle – on a sunny day – was great. San Francisco is great though it’s very noisy, very dirty, and very crowded. But has one of my favorite museums, the Asian Art Museum, and parks and water and trees. Hilo, HI was great. Cocoa Beach, FL was great because we spent two days at the Space Center and a day at the Melbourne Zoo and a day driving to Miami and back. :-)

    My absolute ideal vacation is the one we take over and over again, staying in a small town in the Sierra foothills for a week and driving and photo-safariing around that beautiful scenery, which is wine country and consequently has great wine & good food, and in the spring/fall is not at all crowded or expensive.

    Anybody wanting to visit the Napa/Sonoma wine country is encouraged to go ASAP: there will probably be price deals, the businesses need visitors, a lot of the wineries and restaurants and sights are undamaged.

    I am taking a staycation after Thanksgiving, staying home and fixing up the yard. Haven’t had a proper vacation for a long time and the temptation was strong to get out of town, but the urge to Nest is stronger.

    • Linda Says:

      Oh, yes, come to Napa/Sonoma now! :-)

      Many hotels, restaurants, and wineries were shut down during the fires because of loss of electricity, road closures, and poor air quality. People who worked at those places suffered loss of wages since they don’t get paid if they don’t work. A friend who works at a high-end restaurant up valley was out of work for 10 days, and even now the restaurant isn’t filling up at night so her take home tips are not so great. Visitors will get good deals on hotel stays and many restaurants are running specials to entice people back. Several are also donating some of the proceeds to community disaster relief funds.

      • chacha1 Says:

        We had one of the best meals of our lives up in Napa. :-) Have stayed very happily at Windsor, in Sonoma county, which is a terrific base for just about everything in the north of both counties. I would be heading up there for sure this fall if we hadn’t just moved! We have spent all our money on home improvement.

  16. Q. Says:

    Not a lot of history, but a vacation you might love– check out the Olympic National Park. My husband and I went there twice pre-baby, I think in the early part of May both times. It was cool, wet, and gorgeous. Not crowded at all, just hiking through beautiful rainforest or up and down chilly mostly-deserted beaches. There was no cell service or internet access for the most part, so it was easy to decompress and not feel hectic. As long as you’re good with raincoat hiking, it’s a really wonderful place and time to go.

  17. Debbie M Says:

    I went to Disneyland with my parents and favorite uncle as a small child (age six? four?) (when we lived in California) and only remember a few things (like my Tinkerbell pin). I went to Disney World with my parents and grandparents when I was ten (my sister was ten days old) (we were about to move away from Florida). I remember the haunted house ride and the submarine ride. Then Dad took us again on a family vacation with family friends, and I mostly remember Epcot Center and a human body ride. Then I dragged my boyfriend when we were middle aged and we did all four parks 2+ days each (off season) and I remember loads of rides. It costs so much more than Six Flags (which I went to a few times as a teen), but it’s so much better! I no longer like roller-coaster-based theme parks. The newest, most exciting roller coasters are no fun for me, and I’ve never liked the spinny rides.

    My ideal vacation is someplace I’ve never been that a friend has planned. I definitely prefer the do-things type of vacation over the relax type of vacation. So I’ve enjoyed wandering around state parks, national parks, and foreign cities. Just finished a road trip to New England with my mom, which is not my favorite kind of trip (too much driving, not enough fun), but it’s a lot more fun with a travel partner. We talked a lot and listened to books on tape (or whatever they’re called now). I did also used to go to math teacher conferences, which ran Thursday – Sunday, and take a whole week vacation so I could visit the nearby sites. (I never did become a math teacher, but I really thought I wanted to for a while.)

    Still on my list is a visit to the Smithsonian.

    If I wanted a relaxing vacation, cruises are kind of fun (someone else cooks and cleans, but it’s so wasteful on the gas, etc.) but just staying in a local fancy hotel would also be an option, and I might also like just staying at home and letting myself get take-out a few times.

  18. Paul Lamb Says:

    I’ve never been to either Disney park, and I was proud that I did what I could to “protect” my children from the commercialization of it all. Now my (adult) daughter can’t get enuf of it. She’s been many times, run the marathons there, and has taken her three-year-old there twice already. (He’s also been to Europe and I haven’t.)

    I have to say I favor the Caribbean island vacation though I guess this will not be the year to go after the hurricanes and destroyed so much.

  19. Zenmoo Says:

    My parents took us all to Disneyland in California when I was 8 – I do remember it reasonably well as being super fun. We also went to Disneyland in Tokyo about 5 years ago. It was peak season then, but thankfully cold in mid-winter rather than summer hot. Sometimes it was very odd to be in an Asian world (Lilo and stitch in Japanese, soy sauce pop corn, Mickey & Minnie in kimono) but then other stuff was exactly how I remembered it from California 30 years previously (like the Swiss Family Robinson) We may yet go to Disneyland in Hong Kong or Paris in 2019. My DH has 3 months long service leave accrued that he needs to use. We had thought about visiting the US – but I can’t contemplate it right now. Maybe Canada.

    We holiday in New Zealand a lot. I like it – we see family, do outdoorsy stuff, eat good food… we’ve also got a week in Singapore planned this December. That will be pool time, hotel buffet breakfast, eating (and more eating) plus checking out the Christmas decorations and a few attractions (aquarium, science museum, Night Zoo, Gardens by the Bay).

    I kind of like familiarity in the holidays I do – it’s more relaxing to kind of already know what’s around (I literally do not know how many times I’ve been to Singapore, we went a lot when I was a kid.) I also like holidays where I don’t have to cook or clean or manage boring daily life stuff (I so love 5 star hotels).

    For all that, I do still want to do more travel. I want to go visit Europe (France/Switzerland/Northern Italy) and I’d also like to take my kids to Botswana & Namibia (where we spent our honeymoon) i do want to visit Israel – which I’ve only seen from Jordan. I’m really curious to see what Beirut is like now (we were there in the mid-1990s). I’d love to have a white, winter Christmas.

    I do not want to go back to India. But that is about it.

  20. Omdg Says:

    Never did Disney as a child and want to avoid it as a parent. Though, sitting in the house with your laptop while your family goes to the amusement park sounds lovely. Then you can hang out in the evenings with your family if you want!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Well, it sounded lovely when we were going to be sharing a house with just one other family (and probably the one with the 9 and 7 year olds, not the 4 and 2 year olds). Sharing one house with 6 kids under the age of 11 doesn’t sound so great. (DH was extremely grateful to come home last year after 5 days with 6 kids under the age of 10!) In any case, my not going is what has enabled my MIL to rent just one house instead of two, so it’s out of my hands now.

  21. PerpetualStudent Says:

    Best disney trip ever-the Christmas day when it poured rain. NO ONE was there and we had a lazy time in the park!

    I love institute subsidized conference trips! Made it to Europe 2x as a grad student this summer for FREE (or rather, paid for by blood,sweat, and tears), and I got to take a few days for actual fun!

  22. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    I hate crowds but given good enough promised or possible pleasure (say, at SDCC, and even FinCon this week) I’m willing to face them. But that’s only because I have the luxury of not dealing with them most of the rest of the year.

    The last and only time I went to Disney was for a school trip in junior high, maybe. I’ve never had the desire to go again for myself.

    We’ve been pretty anti-Disney on the basis of cost and Disney merchandise brainwashing but I think I’m softening a little thanks to JB’s enthusiasm for Moana. Then too there’s the announcement of FinCon18 in Orlando next year so it’s a little tempting to combine it with a family trip. And who knows if ze will still be into Moana / Maui / Tamatoa by this time next year.

    In general I imagine theme parks to be exhausting and that’s from memories during my good years – it’s hard to imagine truly wanting to take it on now.

  23. Ellie Says:

    Went to EuroDisney once. It was hideous. You couldn’t pay me to go to another one.

    What really struck me was the “Grandma decrees a big trip for the grandkids that requires parents to tag along as babysitters and costs the ‘beneficiaries’ of the gift a couple of thousand dollars” part of your story. My sister’s MIL did this to her, and she was out not only a big chunk of cash, but also her own vacation time. My lovely sister was too polite to be openly angry, but I was pissed on her behalf.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Grandma is willing to pay for the entire thing. We make enough money that we can contribute. She had several conversations with DH first hinting/asking if this is something the kids might like then getting more specific. We could have said no or opted out at any point.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      (Also, I’m not going and she didn’t expect me to go because I’m often at conferences during the summer.)

  24. Confused money feelings | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] feel rich and I start cutting back on spending or at least questioning purchases.  The Disney vacation also put a pretty big dent into our buffer, even though DH’s parents paid for […]


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