There are dream journeys, and then there are Dream Journeys. My top-of-the-line Dream Journey would involve a white-sand-beach, preferably isolated, or a trip to an old-world city, rich in culture and sophisticated chic. My kids would all be perfectly behaved, or cared for by nannies, or older, or not included. We would travel in the lap of luxury and be there for at least two weeks.
My short-term dream journey is a bit simpler and perhaps more attainable. I just want to take my children to Disneyland. I first visited Disneyland when I was seven, and it was truly magical. I have been there three times since, as well as Disneyworld once, and each time have left wanting to go back. Now that I have children, I want to go even more. I want to see the joy and wonder in their faces as their favorite storybook characters come alive. Graham wonders at the intensity of my desire; he has never been to Disneyland, so I cannot really explain to him how different it is from the parks he has been to: Great America, Marine World or even Legoland.
I've started thinking about this dream journey again because David Beckham has joined the LA Galaxy, Graham is finally interested in visiting LA again, and now that there's talk of the Galaxy playing an exhibition match with Chelsea this summer, he's more than willing to make the 5?6?7? hour drive from the Bay Area to see it. So if we do go to LA, how can we not make a quick detour to finally show our kids the Happiest Place on Earth?
But is this a dream journey in more ways than one? Will the reality of Disneyland always fall short of my expectations? Standing in line for an hour while you're smooching your boyfriend or chatting with friends is one thing, standing in line for an hour with three kids in tow is another. Paying $160 for a 3-day pass when you're single and making lots of money is one thing, paying $160 each for two adults and $130 each for three children when you're subsisting on a single income is a different story. Getting to the park at 8AM and staying till it closes is one thing, getting everyone ready before noon and dragging your kids around till they collapse from exhaustion is another.
Somehow I think the children will have a magical experience; whatever happens, a trip to Disneyland would be their dream vacation. I'm just not so sure anymore that it would be a dream vacation for us, the parents. How can I deprive them of this magical experience, but on the other hand, what's the point if we end up too stressed and exhausted to enjoy it? I'm aware of the pitfalls, but still I'm hopeful that we will all love it. After all, surely millions of families can't be paying tons of money to be miserable. I just don't know... to go or not to go? Is this my dream journey after all?
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