In a little over a month or so, we’ll be off to the House of Mouse. Lady M is already regressing to be a six year old, while my daughter and I are only just starting to really get excited now that work, study and other distractions like exams have come and gone. After a number of years of not being able to take holidays, it still seems a bit surreal to be in a position to take breaks again. By scrimping and saving we’re managing to organise some amazing experiences. Last year saw us in the Maldives, which I would never have believed was somewhere I would ever get to see. Even with the accident and Lady M’s needing to be in a wheelchair for most of that break, it remains one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
I’ve already sort of joked that we would probably end up with something horrendous happening while we’re out in Florida. It might be a ride breaking down at a crucial moment, or our hotel getting flattened by a hurricane. Neither of these would be particularly surprising. Getting a phone call out of the blue last week to say that Lady M’s back had started to hurt again was rather more frightening. It brought back memories of a few years ago when initially undiagnosed prolapsed discs in the base of her spine kept her out of work. I essentially became her full time carer for a while – at a time when we had very little income and had to contend with the unhelpful and at times positively antagonistic Department of Work and Pensions.
We muddled through that and eventually got ourselves stable again, but hearing that her back was out of commission again was hard to hear. Fortunately it appears that this time around, it really is just a muscular spasm. She’s responding well to the strong pain killers and anti-inflammatories, and her place of work has been happy to let her work from home. Still, she’s exhausted from it all, so this year’s holiday to Disney in Florida has suddenly taken on even more importance than it already had.
It’s the first time any of us have been there. My daughter and I have been to Disneyland Paris a couple of times, a good few years back, and I had initially worried that she might see herself as too old or “too cool” for Disney now that she’s older. I needn’t have worried. The minute we broached the subject, her first response was to check that we really meant “the proper one” and I understand that she may have been driving her mother and other relatives somewhat to distraction by talking about it over the last six or seven months. I’m rather pleased about this breach in her usual cool reserve as it allows me to see the simple giggliness that she normally keeps well hidden.
For Lady M, and to a degree myself, Disney was one of those seemingly impossible locations that we always heard about when we were growing up. She grew up in the North East of England in the shadows of the Pits, while I grew up (largely) in a Vicarage family. Neither of these are places where money flows in abundance, so the dream of Disney was one that was usually handled with a vague “well maybe one day” and generally allowed to fall by the wayside.
Now that long-abandoned option is available again – along with trips to Universal Studios, to NASA and any number of other attractions thanks to some shrewd bargaining and scheduling by my very determined wife. We’ve struggled through spreadsheets and planning advice websites to load up an itinerary through the Disney Experience website that includes FastPass bookings, restaurant bookings, displays, shows and even the occasional lounge by the pool. I feel exhausted just from the planning.
So the holidays are nearly here, and with any luck none of us will burn out before we get there!