Permission to go… to the happiest place on earth this Christmas

A tuxedo cat beside an old trunk with a frothy coffee  / FunkyJunkInteriors.net

Our plans had been to go to Disney during Christmas.

I had a flight, hotel, lots of things planned. But I could never get around to actually doing the final booking. Either something always came up, or I got overwhelmed with indecision on something, so I let it sit.

We even went clothes shopping one day, and desiring some new pjs, I grabbed the Mickey Mouse flannel pants with glee, thinking I’d be wearing them in California.

I thought it was a SIGN. Book it! Go on… 

Christmas decorations and a frothy coffee on an old trunk / FunkyJunkInteriors.net

Well, I didn’t. Something wasn’t right. 

I was trying to entice us both at one point, by watching You Tube on Disney rides. But the more I watched, the more exhausting it all looked.

So I had the final chat with my son.

“Do you REALLY want to go?”

(stall…) “Ok… yes!”

But I knew he really didn’t want to. But I figured it was just because he really truly is a ‘comforts of home’ kinda kid. So I picked up the planner for the 100th time, and jotted down TRIP for the next day.

And then he got sick. Pretty sick. Just a flu thing going around. But it knocked him (and I) down further.

So I held off. Again.

Christmas decorations, sleeping cat and a frothy coffee on an old trunk / FunkyJunkInteriors.net

And then ‘busy’ with 12 Days of Christmas just took over my mind completely.

I just got to the point where one more thing on the agenda would be just too much.

My mind chanted, “Disney isn’t relaxing. It’s fun, but you are more tired coming home than when you leave. Been there, done that.”

And then one day, while in mid worry, it just hit me. 

I didn’t feel like hunting down a hotel. Or worrying about how to get from the airport to the hotel. Or standing in hour plus long lineups. Or being shoved this way and that on whizzing rides. A month ago, maybe. But not during Christmas.

The desire to leave just melted away.

I suddenly craved simple. Cozy. Quiet.

Christmas decorations, sleeping cat and a frothy coffee on an old trunk in front of a lit fireplace / FunkyJunkInteriors.net

And then the convincing started. 

I told myself Christmas wasn’t about the perfect mantel design (that had flopped countless times this year) or fancy getaways or any of that stuff.

It’s about cats, hot frothy coffee, a warm fireplace, cheesy Christmas movies in pjs all day long, board games, going for walks, eating a little too much, hitting a movie, and being near those you love.

Christmas is about home.

We have everything right where we need it. With no lineups in sight.

The last convo I had with my son went like this…

“Maybe we should just stay home. I dunno… I’m just tired…”

“Mom, I TOLD you I wanted to stay home! GOOD!”

Sleeping tuxedo cat on a burlap pillow in front of a fireplace / FunkyJunkInteriors.net
Then we just moved on. 

I think part of the hesitation was just missing my parents. It happens this time of year. You look forward to the season, but… you know. Sigh… 

But then suddenly, one day my son broke out, “Did you book it?”

“Book what?”

“Disney! We’re going right?”

Hmmm….

“No, we decided to stay home! Didn’t we…?”

Hmmm…. x 50000000000000000

Well, I got online to see if stuff was still avail.

It was! But I still held off.

And then I just remembered… I couldn’t book if I wanted to. I hadn’t activated my new credit card that holds all the bonus air miles and stuff. I should do that, just in case.

Picking up the phone, I dialled the number and ran through the prompts, fully ready to change the pin number they generated for me, because theirs always hurt your head trying to remember that garble of nothing numbers.

That’s when the door slammed shut, encasing my world in total deafening silence, and my jaw dropped.

Clear as day, there was the number. It glowed on paper.

And a big ‘ol smile grew on my face. 

Their pin number had a VERY special significance rooting back to my parents.

It was like receiving permission to go to the happiest place on earth for Christmas. To not be unhappy. To stop moping. And to give my son, us, a wonderful time together.

I booked our trip that evening. In minutes.

This time of year is hard. I can fake it like the best of them, but it’s just hard. When you miss someone so desperately, it makes you want to crawl under a pillow and sleep the days away, if you dwell there.

But what better way to celebrate such a special season, than by visiting the happiest place on earth?

Who knows… maybe we’ll start a new tradition.

But there’s one thing for sure…  

Disney at night during Christmas
When I look up towards the ice lit castle on Christmas night, as the soap sud snowflakes start to fall after the fireworks, I’ll be winking at my parents, thanking them.

With a big ‘ol soap sud filled smile on my face this round. 🙂

If you have ANY Disney tips and tricks to share, I’m all ears! It’s been several years since we’ve gone. Thank-you!

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  1. Enjoy! Your son may not want to hang with his mom as he gets older, so grab it now while you can! I treasured the time I took my daughter camping and traveling. She recently told me that those times were very special to her. At 40, she is the mom and wants to provide memories for each of her 8 children. Have fun, and we’ll see you when you get back!

  2. Hi Donna,
    That was a very heart warming post, Thankyou for sharing.
    Hope you enjoy the most magical place on Earth.
    I do have a question though, who looks after your beautiful cats when you are away?

  3. This is beautiful and touching! Thank you for posting – I needed this today! Hope you have a wonderful trip to Disney with your son. 🙂

  4. What a great post Donna. I’ve been to Disney World for Christmas several years ago and and its pretty magical. I have a friend who lives in Cali and she goes every year. Oh and I look for the signs too, its just who we are as women. Have fun with your son!!!

  5. Merry Christmas! And have a really wonderful time! Are you staying for New Years too? I may have missed if you said a week.

  6. To counteract the hotel booking, airport lines, whizzing rides, pushing lines, etc? A morning on a warm beach, listening to and watching the waves, with that cup of hot coffee and that magazine. I hope you had a chance to slip away to the ocean….

  7. Enjoy every moment with your son and family, be patient and be happy. Merry Christmas and we look forward to more funky Junk!!!

  8. Donna, I know what you mean. I just told my husband “I love Christmas, but I hate it.” I love giving gifts, I love the (usually) happier people at the stores, I love decorating my tree with ornaments that mean so much. But like you, it’s hard to get through a happy time when my parents are no longer of this earth, I have no family around, I’ve lost friends this year. The sadness of the voids in our life seem heavier now. So, I try to keep my heart light by doing for others. This brings the joy I need to get through it. I hope you have a good time at Disneyland. I know you will. Quiet reflection will wait for your return. Merry Christmas, Donna !

  9. Donna, i understand where you are coming from. My dad has been gone for 11 years and I lost my mom in August. I miss them everyday. Since you are going to Disney with your son you’ll have a great time and be making such great memories. Have a very Merry Christmas!

  10. Sometimes holidays need to be celebrated in a new way. After losing a brother 20 years ago, holidays were never the same. Then this year I lost my Dad, so I kinda know what you’re feeling. Rest assured, your loved ones in heaven will be with you where ever you go, but it does help to change things up when the blues come around. Have a very Merry Christmas!!!!

  11. Oh, I do this exact same thing when it comes to going away. Drag my feet, change my mind, want to stay home.
    I also miss my parents. My Dad passed away on Dec. 17th, 23 years ago and my Mom on Dec. 18th, 2 years ago. This is a very sad time. It is hard to get in the Christmas spirit!

    Have a great time at Disney. Here is a tip: Get the fast passes and you will avoid the long line ups. You pick up the ride ticket and come back at the specified time.

    Have FUN!

    Lori

  12. Disneyland is magical at Christmas! You and your son will have a blast. We spent last year there. My advice (as someone who has been countless times and watched the place grow and change) 1. Visit a Disneyland forum. Discards dot com is great.. They have the inside scoop on everything. 2. Get there for rope drop (park opening) every day and plan on using the early entries you are entitled to. 3. Use one of those early entries for Fantasyland. Peter Pan should be done first. 4. Fast Passes are your best friend. Learn how to use them to your advantage. 5. Make reservations for meals and enjoy sitting down at least once a day and being waited upon. We LOVED Carthay Theater on Christmas Eve last year. And Blue Bayou is a remarkable experience. I suggest first lunch seating to get a waterside table. 6. Take a mid day break. Go back to your hotel, swim, nap, shower, and generally rest. Locals (the majority of the Disneyland guests) come late and leave early. The middle of the day is the busiest. 7. Make a plan for the evening entertainment. You can realistically do Fireworks one night, Fantastic another, and World of Color on a third. Do Fireworks first, they get cancelled the most often. 8. Cartland and Radiator Springs Racers are a must do. Plan on a daytime visit/ride and one at night.

    Hope these tips help and HAVE FUN!!!!

  13. As you can see I am a Disney fan just by my nickname. Disney is CRAZY at Christmas. Make a note of one thing you want to see each day. Don’t expect to do it all. Make your one thing your destination for the day and anything else is pixie dust luck. This is the time for favorites. Take a handheld game or something to pass the time in line. There is a great book on hidden mickeys that you can look for everywhere. Remember to give yourself downtime at the hotel. Enjoy the magic of the sights and sound and soap flakes.

  14. Enjoy your Christmas here in southern California. I don’t have any tips other than take your time… planning the rides is fun, but not if you get stressed about hitting every one of them. If you go to CA Adventure, Carsland is so much fun. If you are still here over New Year’s Eve night, my husband’s band, The Kelly Rae Band, will be performing, ringing in the new year at Carsland. I’ll be there this year, should be a blast!

  15. Hi Donna 🙂 I haven’t been reading blogs in a long time. I save yours, every one of them, hoping to find the time to go back and read through them! I especially love your posts. This time I read Disney and your possible trip there so I had to read it, and now! I am so glad you decided to go! I was understanding all the reasons not to go and I was right there wishy washy the whole way through with you .. I was thrilled reading you really are going! Disneyland IS the Happiest Place on Earth! You will love it. It is even more magical at Christmas time. We have happy memories of every trip there and especially the Christmas visits. I can’t wait to see pictures and hear all about your trip! All the best to you both and a very Merry Christmas.

  16. I haven’t been in years but I’m sure that you and your son will figure it out and you & your son will have the best time. Can’t wait to hear all about it and hope for lots of photos. Merry Christmas!

  17. I want to take my Son, his Wife and 2 babes, ages 3 and 7 but they want to wait…I am 68 years old and you just never know how much time you have left…friends of mine go 4 times a year (from NY state) and they adore it….we are in NC and could drive there in about 12 hours but my Darling Son has Kidney disease, my DIL is a leukemia survivor and every day that they are healthy is a GREAT DAY…so one of these days we’ll go there. I hope you had a wonderful trip and I just LOVE YOUR BLOG…

  18. One of the best times to catch popular rides is when everyone else is watching a parade or the major evening fireworks show. The lines for the rides are a lot shorter then, so if you’re going for several days, you can see the parade and firework show one time and then go to the ride the next day. Also, catching the train from one point to another can sometimes be faster than trying to walk, and it gives you a little break. Wear comfortable shoes. My wife, daughter and I went at 4th of July and it’s crazy how many women were wearing high heels! They probably suffered for it later. Mostly, remember that it’s better to miss some things and enjoy yourselves than to do everything and be miserable.

  19. I’ve got a tip for you Donna…I live 30 minutes from Disney, we could trade homes and cars for a week- sort of a vacation barter! Merry Christmas!

  20. Donna!
    What a wonderful gift for both of you! He will always remember this! If you stay on sight they will drive you everywhere. Get the fast passes and book them in advance. As much as I heat being on a schedule on vacation, I have found that at Disney a schedule is a must!! Make dining reservations before you go.
    Have an amazing time, I can’t wait to see the photos!

    Missy

  21. I am certain as the sunrise that I was meant to read your post this
    a.m.
    I’ve been dwelling in a place of great sadness, missing my mom so desperately. I lost her this summer and I was her person. And obviously she mine.
    I’ve been lost in a sea of tears since the beginning of December and today for the first time I fell less broken.
    Thank you. Merry Christmas.
    Disney Land is the happiest place on earth.
    Be the first one at the gates. Run for your favorite ride!!
    Stay late…
    Smile at everyone, you are incredibly beautiful.

  22. Donna, so happy to hear you and your son are going to Disneyland! The two of you will come back with memories you will smile at years from now. Our niece and her family just came back from Disney World in Florida and they had purchased a special photography package from Disney which I imagine is also available at Disneyland. I don’t know how much it costs but our niece said it was worth every penny. Disney has photographers all around the park and they will take pictures of your family whenever you want. They got some absolutely beautiful pictures with wonderful backgrounds. The photographers are pros at getting good facial expressions, composition and backgrounds. My understanding is that you get in digital format every picture taken by the park photographers. You are a great photographer but if you go this route you can get both of you in all the pictures and they are wonderful memories you will have forever. I think this package also included pictures that were taken on some of the rides – you know the ones where you’re screaming like crazy! Have a great time!

  23. Enjoy your trip! Don’t ya just love how things just seem to fall into place and come together! Sweet story! I miss my parents this time of year, too!

  24. Beautiful story as always. Wear comfy shoes and take lots of pictures. Merry Christmas and have a Happy and healthy New Year.

  25. Get the app so you can fast track 3 rides or shows per day. We just left disney on Saturday . Fun place for an early meal while waiting for the lights is the brown derby. The bar outside is first come first serve. Great place to people watch and have a glass of wine.

  26. I have friends that after facing and horrid life event decided to change up their holiday rituals and included Disneyland. We only live about 2 hours away so they go on Christmas eve and close the park but not until they have ridden every ride and bought a few new Disney themed ornaments for their tree…..

  27. Glad you went! 2014 was not good for us, lost my dad, sister had breast cancer and I was hit by a car! Life can change so fast. We will always have memories of past loved ones, they are never forgotten but its the people in front of us that we need to create new, loving, lasting memories with! Walt Disney World has many great family memories for us as well, celebrated my husbands 50th and this year my 50th and our 25th will (hopefully!) be on the Disney Cruise with our 22 and 20 year old! As cruel as this sounds ‘the world doesn’t stop turning’…its true. In all thats happened, I chose to turn with it, cause standing still means falling off and that only hurts the ones left behind. Health, happiness and great ideas for you in 2015!