I’ve been feeling this shift in our family dynamics for a while. With a few children, my husband and I spent our vacations surrounded by all things Disney. We spent wonderful years creating lifetime childhood memories for them in the parks, on Disney cruises and at Aulani Resort and Spa. I loved it, and I remember every single stroller fold up on the bus, every Disney cold virus, every temper tantrum on the hot Animal Kingdom pavement, as well as the magical surprises and tears of joy with happiness when Tinker Bell flew over the castle. And then, slowly, the shift begins.
One by one, they turn into teens and as they approach high school and college, your Disney vacation pictures are missing one of your kids, with thankfully good reasons. This one is in camp, this one is in college, this one has an internship, this one got their first summer job, and yikes, THIS ONE IS NOT INTERESTED IN DISNEY ANYMORE (what?!)! The core family of five in your Disney photos is now down to four.
Then the shift happens again. And your core four is a trio in your Disney PhotoPass pictures. At first it’s wonderful to see one or two of your babies becoming busy in the world, adulting as they are calling it now, too big and busy for your family vacations. But then…
My last, my baby, has graduated high school. The one who said his first word on a Disney monorail at two years old. And we are down to none. The shift now feels like a seismic earthquake. So, what do you do when the core five is now you and your spouse and the solution was to book a resort reservation for our next trip for only two. The core five has been dwindling at Disney for a long time and now I need to officially change my mindset. And I am excited, but of course it is bittersweet.
Disney without having little ones, without having pre-teens, without teens on my trips. I ask myself if it’s strange to go without them. It will be an adjustment. I will be leaning on my DIS Unplugged community for the advice and guidance that I’ll find on the DISboards. And I am very glad my amazing husband loves Disney too and will join me on this new adventure together, because that’s how it all began; it was the two of us at Disney before they were born, so let’s bring it back full circle.
Where are you in your Disney family dynamics? Have you moved on from a full nest to an empty one, and, if so, what are your tips? Question: Do those little birdies return for Disney vacations?!