Everyone is going to Disneyland except us.
It’s true (ish). Disneyland Paris seems to be this year’s hottest holiday destination amongst the children in The Boy’s class. A lucky few have even been, or will soon be going, to Florida. And of course, that means The Boy wants to go too.
Every year for the past few years we’ve taken The Boy on holiday in June. We’ve been to Majorca twice and Menorca once, and he has always had a ball. So unsurprisingly, earlier this year, he started asking when we were next going on an ‘aeroplane holiday,’ as he puts it.
This summer, though, things are a bit different. Not only are we now tied to travelling in the school holidays, and coughing up the difference in price, but we also have The Baby. Okay, so plenty of people do travel abroad with under-ones, but in all honesty, I can’t face it. I know exactly what would happen; hubby and The Boy would spend all their day digging on the beach or splashing about in the pool, while I’d be left with The Baby, either hopping from one patch of shade to another or sitting in silence in the hotel room while she napped. Oh, and I’m breastfeeding, which means I’d have to steer clear of the sangria. Not much of a holiday for me, then.
To his credit, The Boy has taken his lack of summer jolly with good grace, and has accepted my excuse that babies can’t go on planes, but that hasn’t stopped him asking about when our next aeroplane holiday might be. So when my parents recently gave us a very generous monetary gift, of the size that would more or less pay for a trip to Disneyland, I suggested a wee trip to Paris to hubby.
At first, it seemed a great idea. Hubby’s initial reaction was that it was pointless to go this summer as The Baby wouldn’t get anything out of it, but, I reasoned, with a five-year gap between the children, we can’t put everything off until she’s old enough to appreciate it, or The Boy will be too old to enjoy it. And, I argued, The Baby is likely to be more portable this summer than next, when she’ll be 18 months old and no doubt in prime pushchair-refusal territory.
The Boy has taken so well to being a big brother, I continued, that he deserves a special treat. What could be better than a trip on the Eurostar to meet Buzz, Mickey and his other idols?
But while my heart was saying, ‘Do it, do it, do it,’ my head was holding me back. First and foremost, we’d all have to share a room. I’d been telling myself that The Boy would be so exhausted after a day at Disneyland that he’d sleep through The Baby’s (many) night wakings, but what if he didn’t? He has a tendency to spike a temperature as soon as he gets overtired, and he would be devastated (as would I) if he ended up spending his Disney adventure lying in a hotel room feeling poorly.
Then there was the weather issue. Surely few things can be worse than standing in a never-ending queue in the pouring rain with a whinging five-year-old and a baby who hates the rain cover. Scorching August sunshine would be no better, either; I’d be constantly stressing about sunburn and heatstroke.
Last, but not least, was the thought of the queues. My overriding impression of Disneyland Paris, based on my one and only visit for my 21st birthday, was of how awful the French are at queuing (apologies to any French readers). They thought nothing of elbowing their way past, reserving places for 10 of their best mates while they went to buy frites, and so on. And that was in February. We’d be going at the height of the summer holidays.
So, I procrastinated. For such a long time that by the time I got round to looking at the booking website again, the offer that would have made the holiday slightly less extortionate had expired. We were looking at paying in the region of £2000 for a three-day trip; a three-day trip that had the potential to end in disaster. It was just too big a gamble to take.
Instead, we’ve booked a short break to the Isle of Wight. It’s an infinitely more sensible option: two bedrooms, closer to home, and with plenty of things to do come rain or shine. Fortunately, we hadn’t mentioned any of our tentative Disneyland plans to The Boy, so at least we didn’t have any awkward (and no doubt tearful) retractions to make. He was over the moon when I told him that we would be going on holiday after all – albeit a ferry holiday rather than an aeroplane holiday.
Nevertheless, a big part of me wishes we’d just bitten the bullet and booked Disneyland six weeks ago, when we first started discussing it. Having to do what is right for your family, rather than following your heart, has to be one of the hardest parts of being a parent, and the big kid in me is still having a two-year-old sulk in the corner about it. But the grown-up me has to concede that we’ve made the right decision. Maybe by next summer The Baby will have learnt to sleep, and we’ll be able to reconsider, but this year, the great British seaside will have to do. Now, where are my waterproofs?