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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Separation During Your Vacation

A Disney vacation, or any vacation for that matter, is an opportunity for families to spend time together; to make memories.  But we aren’t programmed to spend 24 hours a day with each other.  Our normal, everyday lives include work, school, daycare, sports, clubs, meetings, volunteer work, etc.  Families typically have an ebb and flow of spending time together and apart during the course of days over a week.  So, this sudden, but planned time together during a vacation can be potentially stressful.  That’s why we recommend a bit of separation during a vacation.

When the boy was younger and needed an even earlier bedtime, our separation time happened in the evenings with either the husband or myself heading out to venture on our own.  Maybe it was shopping at Downtown Disney or taking advantage of evening Extra Magic Hours at one of the Walt Disney World theme parks.

Nap time was another opportunity for us to separate.  During one of our cruises, one of us would head to the stateroom to cover naptime while the other took advantage of ship board offerings during that time.  When we were in Cancun, the husband needed time out of the sun while the boy napped and I soaked in the rays on the beach or near the pool.

Now, our separation time is a bit more sporadic like when one of us, usually the husband, heads off to gather Fastpasses for the next attraction or goes to the food court to refill our mugs.  On our last trip, the husband and the boy swam while I did laundry.  I remember greeting characters at Hollywood Studios by myself as the boy and husband were off riding Star Tours and we had planned to meet later.  Or, the boy and I riding Figment and exploring the Imagination Pavilion at EPCOT while the husband saw Captain EO. 

The boy is getting older and he is showing us, and telling us he needs time away from us by himself.  That can be a bit of a dilemma but we are figuring out ways to meet his needs and still feel comfortable.  The kids clubs on Disney Cruise Line provide him with that opportunity while still giving us confidence that he is well supervised.  There are kids clubs at some of the resorts at Walt Disney World, but we have not used them. 

We stretch his cord of freedom each time we visit Walt Disney World, whether it is racing off to Germany to watch the trains ahead of us, or playing in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure while we wait next door, or riding some rides on his own. 

On our last trip while visiting Blue Lagoon in the Bahamas, he grabbed a life jacket and headed to the inflatable structures on the water and left us for the afternoon.  We could see him and he was within earshot if we yelled to get his attention, but for the most part he was on his own.

While I appreciate his confidence to want to be on his own and his ability to handle a variety of situations including asking a Cast Member for help if need be, it is a growing situation as a parent to allow for that need for freedom. 

When planning for your next vacation, consider that people, including your family, may want and need time apart from the group.  If those separation opportunities are built into the plans it can lesson hurt feelings if the need comes up and reduce tension to ask for time apart.  For us, we know that we love our time together even more because we have spent a few moments apart.

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