"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Sunday, February 28, 2010

dream vacation

It wasn't so very long ago when the words "Dream Vacation" conjured up mental images of white-sand beaches; hot, tropical breezes; pools with swim-up bars; cabana boys with frosty drinks in hand..........I imagined sleeping in only to wake up and take a nap by the pool. I imagined going to far-off, tucked away villages and eating in tiny, yet undiscovered bistros. The waiters and chef would fall all over themselves trying to ensure that I was enjoying my meal and my stay in their hometown. I imagined exploring large, cosmopolitan, city centers and the sense of pride I would feel when I successfully navigated the public transit system. I could imagine going anywhere, really. But I didn't actually go anywhere, really....a trip to the Caribbean here, trip to Mexico there, a few short jaunts around the U.S. And I'm not quite sure why. Was I thinking that travel would become more convenient? That I would have more time? That I would have more disposable income?

We "travel." We hop on I-95 and head up to my parents' house. Our families go to the beach every summer. We've gone to the mountains and even went on a cruise when my Big Boy was 8 months old. But I still hang onto my dreams of The Perfect Vacation......only, the images conjured up are completely different than they once were.

White-sand beaches have been replaced by a sprawling concrete jungle of games, rides, and attractions.

The pool with the swim-up bar now looks like a pool with a shallow end and a kiddo in swimmies.
Sleeping in? Yeah, right. Up at the crack of dawn so we don't miss a second of fun!

I'm sure those hot, tropical breezes are still there, but I don't notice them with the incessant loop of "It's a Small World" rattling through my brain.

And that cabana boy? He's still there. But he's a giant mouse holding a balloon that can be yours for only $10!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I'm dreaming of a Disney World Vacation.

We had always figured that someday we'd take The Kids. But we weren't in a rush. Evan doesn't know what he's missing yet. He can't tell you who Buzz Lightyear is or pick Cinderella out of a line-up. He's seen Lightning McQueen, but only at his cousin's house. He's never seen a Disney movie or sang a Disney song. He has, somehow, miraculously avoided the commercial explosion of all things Disney.

And then I read about Dining at Disney World. Apparently, the people over at Disney really DO fall all over themselves to ensure that you are enjoying your meal and your stay there! And, they're pretty smart. They have figured out that, to Food Allergy Parents, the real dream vacation would be one in which their kids could.....wait for it......Order Food off a Menu at a Restaurant.

Imagine a kid who has only eaten One thing at One restaurant in his whole life (of three whole years). Imagine a kid who has never stepped foot into an ice cream parlor and won't in the forseeable future. Imagine a kid whose parents follow him around everywhere we go as if he's standing at the edge of a pool--only, scarier than 6 feet of water is that cheese tray over there. That's my kid.

Now, imagine that kid ordering anything he could ever want off of a restaurant menu. Chocolate chip cookies with no dairy or eggs? Sure! Allergen-free waffles that look like Mickey Mouse? You got it! DAIRY-FREE MILKSHAKES AND ICE CREAM SUNDAES?? No problem!! This is, apparently, what Disney Dining is all about.

And to me, it sounds like a fairy tale.

Lesson Learned:

Time to start renting the Disney classics.
The real words to "It's a Small World" do NOT include:
There's a time for laughter,
A time for tears,
A time to go
and get Dad a beer.

But nice try, Dad.

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