The kids, at that time were 7, 5, and 3... perfect for the magic! The saddest part of the whole trip was waiting for the shuttle bus at the end of the whole thing and looking at my kids faces as they watched other families scurrying for the turnstiles and we... we were on our way home.
Waiting for the shuttle bus on Harbor Blvd... to take us to the airport... sniff sniff.
We have 3 kids... and basically a one income household. It took some amazing creativity to save up for this trip. Especially considering what we had been through financially in the 3 years prior to this trip. (long story) So it was amazing that we made it there at all! We headed home with fireworks sparkles in our eyes to start saving up again!
This is our bank that sits on the bar in our kitchen! Every piece of spare change goes in it!
Fast forward now to the Spring of 2012... I made a big change in my life and started running to get in shape and lose some weight. I had discovered in the Fall of 2011 this little thing called runDisney! My main motivation to keep running and do more races was the chance to possibly go to Disneyland and run in the Tinkerbell Half Marathon. I hadn't given it a ton of thought as to whether we would bring the kids or not when I finally went. In the summer of 2012 the registration opened for the 2013 race and I registered. About a week later after I had talked to my husband about a hundred times about how excited I was... I went back to the runDisney web site and registered my husband and myself the Neverland 5K as well. I couldn't imagine going and not experiencing EVERYTHING the weekend had to offer us! We decided that it would be too much in so many ways to try and make this a family trip. So we decided we were going but the kids were not.
I didn't feel too badly about this at first... I mean don't get me wrong... I would LOVE to take my kids to Disneyland as often as possible but realistically we live north of Seattle... this = $$$ folks. Plane fare, hotel, FOOD, etc... it adds up people! We knew that with the two of us going alone... we could cut some corners and get by fairly cheaply (for Disney standards). We stayed off property... we didn't eat 3 squares a day... that alone saved us a ton!
The trip was amazing but so many times during the trip I caught myself being so grateful they weren't with us... it was crowded... so crowded in the Parks. Especially the days following the race. They would have driven us nuts and been somewhat miserable... it was HOT for January... like in the 80s during the day. As adults we were LOVING this... but my poor little children who are used to the Seattle January weather would have been overheating. (How am I doing making up reasons for feeling better they weren't there?) On the other hand there were MANY moments that I wished they WERE there. That first ride on Radiator Springs Racers... oh my babies are going to LOVE this I thought! (I almost cried on the ride imagining their little eyes dancing with the amazement).
Single Rider line for Radiator Springs Racers
Seeing Carsland light up at dusk... oh I thought... they are going to LOVE this! I could go on and on with moments we had that were so much fun that I wished they were all with us! Having a kid free 5 days in the middle of the magic though was on the flip side amazing! We wore out the "single rider" option on many attractions... something we wouldn't have been able to do as much if the kids had been with us. We relived a bit of our Disneyland honeymoon (13 years ago) and ate at the Blue Bayou... and a big splurge we ate at Carthay Circle at DCA the night before we came home.
Oh ... but constantly that guilt hovered in the background. Not that I took a vacation without children... I think couples with children NEED to do that from time to time... but that we went to Disneyland without them. I KNOW we are not the only ones out there to do this! In my runDisney social media connections I have "met" many who travel solo to the parks... sans kids I mean.
So... here I am again... the Fall is looming. (I dislike the Fall... because Winter is after that and I really dislike Winters in Seattle) When we returned last January from our amazing Racecation to Disneyland... my husband told me he wanted me to register for Tinkerbell 2014. Really? He knew it was important for me that I keep that goal out in front of me and have something to work towards. It took me about a half of a second to say "OKAY!" But my next thought was... oh no... I can't go AGAIN without the kids? Can I? Is that fair to them... see Carsland AGAIN when they haven't even been once. (The sad thing is my youngest son who is now 5 thinks he has been to Carsland because we watch the Carsland attractions on youtube a lot) Once again - we live north of Seattle... my oldest son (who is now 9) has been to Disneyland 3 times in his short 9 years.
My oldest at 21 months with some friends... (circa Dec 2005)
My oldest at 3 yrs old and now sister who was 15 mos at the time... (circa July 2007)
My oldest at 7 yrs old, daughter now 5, and youngest son 3 yrs old (circa Dec 2011)
MANY of our Northwest friends think this is quite excessive! They are shocked when they learn this and can't believe it really. Are you kidding me? I was born in Anaheim after all... I can't and wouldn't Disney deprive my own children. I will take them at every opportunity!
BUT... here I am planning another Disneyland trip without them. This time my husband is going to stay home in Washington with the kids and I am going with a group of other moms who are also participating in the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend. (all of them leaving children at home too) I am sad the kids aren't going... but this isn't the right trip to take them. Money wise at least...
Crowds will be thick... we can't afford an entire family trip at this point... If we lived closer to Southern California it would make more sense... we would go more often and it wouldn't such a big deal to go once or even twice sans the kids. So I deal with the Mommy guilt again... we WILL go again as a family... we are saving for it.
Hoping for the Spring of 2015... seems like an eternity from now.
If you have children do you do "fun" vacations without them?
If you have children and do runDisney races... do you go solo or make the race weekends a family affair?
Chime in if you go solo and leave your kiddos at home... I need to know I am not the only one doing this... and living with a bit of guilt!