Music Mondays – Nobody to Blame
In a few hours, I will board a plane heading for one of the worst places on earth, Disney World. How could I say this is one of the worst places on earth when every other advertisement will try to convince you otherwise?…Because I speak from experience.
Six years ago we tried to convince my four-year-old son to stop sucking his thumb. We employed just about every bribe in the book, but with no success until we finally said that if he stopped sucking his thumb when he turned five, we would take him to Disney World.
Keeping up his end of the bargain, literally on his fifth birthday, Will stopped sucking his thumb and never turned back; and we booked our first family trip to Disney World for the upcoming summer. We booked this trip back when we were in the prime of our spendy days, so everything about the trip was over the top.
We booked a full week and stayed in the Animal Kingdom Lodge on the concierge floor with a room overlooking the savannah; and I had visions of waking up every morning to see giraffe or wildebeest at our window. In addition to the hotel, we purchased park hopper tickets for every day as well as the deluxe food plans with wine included. We made plans for Will to be transformed into a pirate as well as meet as many characters as we possibly could while we were there. We truly left no expensive option off the table.
We spent hundreds of dollars extra for a room with a view of the savannah yet we rarely ever saw the animals. Very few walked close to the hotel and even if they did, we didn’t spend much time in our room anyway. We also spent extra for the concierge level which again we didn’t enjoy much because we were spending time in the parks.
While we enjoyed the rides, we loathed the end of the rides where we were forced to exit through a themed gift shop based on the ride we just finished. This meant that every ride ended with the three of us in tears as my son whined for more toys and my husband and me just wanted him to shut up.
We spent hundreds of dollars for Will to get dressed up like a pirate only for him to get crabby because the costume was hot and he didn’t like his given pirate name “Sven Cabinstealer.” Within a few hours all of the make-up wore off and my hubby was stuck lugging the costume around.
We indulged in our meal plan to the fullest and enjoyed the nicest restaurants Disney had to offer only to overeat and come home with more than five extra pounds on our already overweight bodies; and despite the fact that we paid all of this money for the ultimate Disney experience, my son’s favorite part of the whole trip was the hotel pool that we enjoyed on the last day.
So why are we heading back to the fifth circle of hell? Because I made a promise to my son five years ago that we would. While waiting in one of the endless rides for our turn to experience three minutes of joy, my son asked, “When are we coming back to Disney?” If I could have gotten away with “never” and not triggered a complete five-year-old meltdown I would have, instead I responded, “When you are ten.”
At the time, this promise seemed so far off that it felt like never to me, after all, in five years Will would be double his age and who knew if he would even want to return to this hell hole. As luck would have it, last summer Will reminded me “Next year we’re going back to Disney, right?”
I don’t make many promises to my son because he knows that when I do make a promise, I stand by my word, so I really do think long and hard before using the words “I promise.” Looking back on that conversation from five years ago, I’m not really sure I used the words “I promise;” however, I definitely know that my son heard it that way and I’ve got nobody to blame but me.
Nobody to Blame
So this time around, my husband and I are definitely more frugal minded and we decided to hit Disney right before a family cruise we are going on. My in-laws are graciously paying for this cruise and paid for our airfare as a part of it; and I churned an IHG Rewards credit card at the end of last year and used those points to stay at a Holiday Inn that is on the Disney property. We really felt like we were in great shape until we went to book the tickets.
It’s mind boggling to me just how expensive Disney tickets are, and how few deals are available to save money on the tickets. I whined and complained to my husband of all of the ways we could spend $980, but at the end of the day, I have nobody to blame but me. I made a promise to my son before I thought about the cost of fulfilling that promise and now I have to fulfill my promise.
The lesson I have learned through this experience is to think through my promises before I make them as all parents should when we make promises to our kids. We didn’t really need to go back to Disney and I could have agreed to take him somewhere else, but I didn’t think it through. How much money do we waste when we don’t think through the costs?
Thankfully, my husband found another credit card to churn and we will be getting cash back now that we booked the tickets and he took on some extra tutoring jobs to cover other expenses, but we both know that no matter how magical our experience this time around, we will reserve the promises for a more frugal family adventure in the future.