The following is a heretical statement.

I’m a Disney hater.

OK, “hate” is too strong a word. But our children have been raised with an unspoken credo:

Trail tromping trumps teacup twirling.

This motto is unspoken because it sounds ridiculous…and also I just made it up. But you know what I mean. None of us have ever been, or wanted to go, to Disney World. And yet when school ends, that’s our destination. We have a client convention there and figured what the heck, might as well take the kids.

Past vacations have been reality-based. We have camped in the end-of-the-alphabet national parks – Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion. Pennies were scraped together to take a toddler and a preschooler to Rome when my brother’s family lived there, because missing that opportunity was unthinkable. A pilgrimage was made to England with my mother-in-law, when the boys were 3, 6 and 9, to explore her childhood stomping grounds.

Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of miserable moments in these trips. Our toddler broke his leg in Italy. I tossed and turned in Yellowstone, obsessing that if there was so much as a tic-tac in the tent, our adventure would end like Grizzly Man’s. In England, we endured a one-mile forced march in the rain from the train station to our B&B, dragging luggage and pushing a stroller, one child sobbing that we promised him a trip to the toy store in London and we were mean old liar, liar, pants-on-fire parents if we didn’t take him Lego-shopping right NOW. Never mind that it was night and we were nowhere near London.

But what are vacations without a bit of danger and misery?

Apparently, we’re about to find out.

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