Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Going to War with Walt

Planning for a Disney vacation is like planning an invasion. You need to launch your attack from a well-positioned stronghold. You must make sure your troops are provisioned with food, footwear, gear, and proper identification. Transportation must be arranged and baggage must be properly packed for minimum weight and maximum ease of carry. You must have a detailed strategy in place so that you can storm the castle in the allotted amount of time. Communication plans must be firmly established, and in the case of retreat, a point of surrender must be located. And fun must be had by all.

I’m exhausted already.

To start with, my lists have lists. I have the list of toiletries I still have to acquire. I have a list of things to be packed, a list of things that must go in the diaper bag and the princess pack (more on this later), a list of tickets, confirmation numbers, and information that must be brought with us, and a list of things to do, places to see, and people to meet. I also need to make a list of grocery items to buy upon arrival, a list of items that need to be purchased, fixed, or updated before we depart, and a list of people who must be notified that we are going to be away. That’s a whole lot of lists.

Then there is the packing. Car seats, cribs, and strollers are still necessities of my daily life. The diaper bag is ever present. As we are flying, we’ll need a bag just for airport entertainment and another bag for the laptop. Bedtime requires books, blankets, nightlights, sound machines, and beloved stuffed animals. Obviously, princess dresses are required, but no force on this earth will convince my daughter that the matching tiaras, necklaces, and shoes are optional, so into the suitcase they go. All that stuff adds up and quickly starts taking over space usually reserved for say, actual clothes. Which we’ll need enough of for four people, for four days, adding in changes of clothes due to sweat, mess, or whimsy, plus shoes, rain gear, and hats.

All this crap must be brought to the airport. Some will get loaded at check-in, some at the gate, and some onto the actual plane. My careful packing will be not so carefully unpacked by security. Will then have to board, fly, deplane, hope everything we brought to the airport in Philly finds its way to the airport in Orlando, load everything into our rental car, and find our way to our hotel.

Upon arrival, we have to grocery shop.

Before leaving for the park each day, the diaper bag must be fully stocked. The camera and the extra batteries must be loaded. The princess pack, containing Little Golden Books for the characters to autograph and the heels that match each dress (I won’t allow them to be worn in the park, but I agreed to let her change into them whenever she meets a character), plus small coloring sets to keep both kids occupied while we wait in lines must be filled. We’ll have two portable coolers for food drinks and one cooler just filled with ice and bottled water for the car. Cell phones must be charged, ID tags placed around the kids necks, and a general game plan set into place for each excursion.

Replenish, re-accessorize, restock, and repeat.

I don’t need a travel agent. I need a quartermaster.

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