Monday, November 24, 2008

How Badly Do I Want the Damed Disney Cruise?

OK - so here we are, on the brink of the season of charity, and helping others, and toys for tots, and food drives, and the red bucket with the bell ringer, and the be thankful for all you have, yadda yadda yadda. So what did I spend an hour and a half doing yesterday? Researching a Disney Cruise.

I'm a bit of a Disney nut. Not a go-get-a-part-time-job-at-the-Disney-Store-so-I-can-be-close-to-the-Disney-magic kind of nut. But I love the place. It really IS the happiest place on Earth. Especially if you stay at the Contemporary. And get to sit in the front of the Monorail. And get to see the fireworks 3 nights in a row, all from different and really cool places. But I digress...

Like most Florida kids, we went to Disney once or twice when I was a kid. I remember it was a long drive from Pensacola, and that my sister and I camped out in the back of the ole Station Wagon. I read "Charlotte's Web" on the way down, so I was bawling. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Maingate (which is still there, by the way), and did our 3 days. It was fun. I rememeber riding Dumbo with my Dad. I remember 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which was the COOLEST ride ever. I remember loving flying over London in the Peter Pan ride. I remember that stuff (I was in 4th grade, I think...)

So it's really cool when you get to go back with your kids, because you really do re-live it all over again through them. Proximity to Disney was a major contributing factor in our decision to move to Tampa. We had our Seasonal Passes for 3 years, and have since taken a year off. (The Contemporary trip this summer was courtesy of Bart's Company, and the Conference he was attending there...)

So I decided 2 days ago that - you know what? OUR KIDS ARE THE PERFECT AGE FOR DISNEY! AND THEY ARE THE PERFECT AGE FOR A DISNEY CRUISE! At 4 and 7, they still believe in all the magic. They still love the characters. If we don't take them soon, Karlin will have slipped out of that "magic window" - once she's 9 or so, fuggedaboutit. So I decided that we NEED to do this, and create a special memory for our kids. We need to do this more than we need new bedroom furniture. We definitely need to do this more than I need a new purse. I decided - we are going to do this, before Karlin gets too old.

So I get on-line, and BAM! Reality hits. 3 Nights in the Bahamas on a Disney Cruise in a bottom-of-the-barrel, no windows cabin? Approximately $2,500, give or take $800 depending on when you go. So I'm thinking..."OK - I Substitute Teach 4 hours each day, at $8.50 an hour, so how many days of subbing would get us to Disney?" You see where I'm going here. It. Is. Freaking. Expensive. You can take a longer cruise on any other Cruise line for half as much. But then it wouldn't be Disney, now would it?

I know a few people who have been on Disney cruises, and they all say - without hesitation - that it is worth every penny. The level of customer service - as it is with Disney on Land - is supurb. The specialized attention the kids get is supposed to be second to none. It is just supposed to be The Bomb.

So now I am obsessed with the Disney Cruise. Which is really, really, really selfish this time of year. Do I get a little slack becuase I want it for my kids? Probably not - they are pretty overindulged as it is. However, you can't underestimate the value of a great vacation experience. When we went to the Grand Canyon last year, it was special. We all loved it, and all had a great time. The kids were old enough to remember it, and my 486 pictures can always serve as reminders. It was just one of those unbelieveable experiences that I will cherish forever. I know we had a few rough times - cranky kids, expensive but crappy meals, etc., but I don't really remember those too much. What I remember is Karlin blazing down the trails along the North Rim. Or Chase yelling into the Canyon to hear his echo. Chase high-fiving the "train robber" who boarded our train while en route to the South Rim. (the robber busted out laughing, becuase he was putting his hand out for tips...) Karlin diligently filling out her workbook and listening to the Ranger Program so she could be an Official Junior Ranger. The beautiful - and HUGE - deer that walked right up to me outside our cabin. The Coyote we saw. Drinking coffee while the sun was rising over the Canyon. Getting Icees after visiting the Volcano National Monument outside of Flagstaff. My point is, we had a great time. I want to do something amazing and special again.

So I'm going to start working on my Disney Cruise Account. I'm still buying for Toys For Tots. I'm still donating canned goods. But I'm also keeping in mind that my kids are growing up really, really, REALLY fast. Some things don't last forever, and you have to take advantage of things while you can. I can buy a purse when Karlin is in High School and hates me anyway. New bedroom furniture can come later, when Chase doesn't like to have his picture taken with Goofy anymore.

To quote a line from a great flick: "Up there, it's THEIR time. It's their time up there. But down here, it's OUR time. It's OUR time down here." I gotta get my kids on that boat while there's still time...

1 comment:

amy said...

you know, doing good things for others is all well and good, but hell, your family comes first. take the damn cruise! and take me with you ...