They Grow Up Too Fast!

I have a confession to make (and trust me when I say I never expected to say this, ever!) . . . I’m not as excited about our next Disney trip as I’d like to be.

  • Maybe it’s because this next trip takes place only seven months after our most recent trip. (But since I’ve always said I’d like to live at Disney, I don’t think this is the reason.)
  • Or, maybe it’s because this next trip will be more of a “working vacation” as I’m going to do some Disney training for my new job.  (Though that’s never kept me from being excited and planning  before.)
Kids at Hoop Dee Doo

My 3 kids at Hoop Dee Doo
(January 2012)

I think the real reason is because my oldest daughter – now 18 and recently graduated from our homeschool – will not be able to go with us.  And, quite frankly, that just doesn’t seem right.  In our household, she runs a very close second to me, as far as being the biggest Disney freak.  She loves helping me plan our trips – which park we’ll visit each day, what we want to do there, where we should eat, etc.  I find myself slacking on the planning of this next trip because when I ask her for her thoughts, she says “I don’t know, Mom, I won’t be there.”

A few months ago here at The Disney Moms, Mary shared some thoughts on allowing your teens to go off on their own at Walt Disney World.  I’m going to take that one step further . . .

I know how much Ashley’s heart is breaking over not being able to go with us on our next trip.  So, I’ve encouraged her to find a friend and head to Disney on her own next time!  While I wouldn’t feel confident sending her off just anywhere on her own, I feel pretty good about sending her to Walt Disney World.  Here’s why:

  • She’s flown before, so she’s familiar with planes, airports, etc.
  • Disney offers Magical Express – a bus service that will pick her up right at the airport in Orlando and deliver her to whatever resort she is staying at for her trip (they will return her to the airport at the end of her trip also).
  • She’s been to Disney plenty of times and knows her way around the parks and surrounding areas quite well.  She knows what there is to see and do.
  • She is familiar with Disney transportation.  (While we often drive to Disney and enjoy the liberty of having our own car down there, Disney transportation is a great alternative!)
  • She would go during a time when free dining is offered.  So, not only would she and a friend be able to enjoy some fun sit-down dinners, but she wouldn’t have to dish out any extra money for food during her stay.
  • She really wouldn’t have to carry much extra money with her.  Any “extras” could be charged to her room with the “Key to the Kingdom” card.
  • She’s always been an outgoing kid, and would have no problem asking a Cast Member for help, if needed.

Our tradition - Tower of Terror
(January 2012)

My only problem with this potential plan is this — I would hope she wouldn’t enjoying doing Disney so much on her own that she wouldn’t want to go back with us as a family.  ‘Cause I’d really miss my Tower of Terror partner!  She rides with me on every trip.  (I’m already feeling kinda sad that nobody will ride it with me in September!)

So, what about you?  Would you feel confident allowing your older child to do a Disney trip on his/her own?  What factors would play into your decision?

9 comments for “They Grow Up Too Fast!

  1. Jodi Whisenhunt
    16 April, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Oh, that makes me sad! :( It’s so hard to let them begin to fly on their own. I have a feeling she will always treasure those family trips, no matter how old she gets. My first 2 trips to the world were with my mommy…and I was in my 30s! Btw, I will ride ToT with you in September!!!

    • disneymomheidi
      16 April, 2012 at 8:35 am

      Promise me you’ll ride ToT with me in September! That will be great! Both Gracie and Ian have been on it, but it is NOT a favorite of either of them. And, if my mom happens to travel with me, I know I’d NEVER get her on it! LOL Brian would, but then what would I do with the kids?!

      And you’re right – it IS sad. As the title of my post suggests, they grow up too fast.

      • Jodi Whisenhunt
        19 April, 2012 at 8:59 pm

        It’s a date!!! :)

  2. Beth Green
    16 April, 2012 at 8:36 am

    At age 18, I’d absolutely let my “child” head to WDW with a friend. I was 18 the day I started college, almost 3 hours away from my parents. I think most 18 year olds are ready to be ‘on their own’ even though I’m sure it’s hard for mommy and daddy!! :)

    • disneymomheidi
      16 April, 2012 at 8:40 am

      I agree, Beth. But, on the other hand, I know a LOT of 18 year olds that I wouldn’t trust to accompany my 18 year old to Walt Disney World. LOL

  3. Debbie
    18 April, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    We have taken our now 18 and 15 year old daughters to WDW several times. This past summer, as an alternative to the “senior trip” to an island, we took the 18 yo and 2 of her friends on a trip to 3 days at WDW and a 5 night cruise. They had an absolute blast because my girls showed the newbies the Disney ropes. It was hard tho to let her go off with her friends because it was also possibly our last family vacation. The all understood and did hang out with us a couple hours each day. As for safety and security, Disney is the best place to let them spread their wings. Where else can you let teens go on their own? And with cell phones it is easy to keep in touch. I so agree that they grow up too fast! Thanks for the articles.

    • disneymomheidi
      19 April, 2012 at 7:28 am

      Debbie~ What a wonderful alternative to a senior trip! I bet the girls were thrilled. We were in Orlando last year for a business trip and we were able to take two of my daughter’s friends (who were there with parents on business) to Disney for a day. They had not been before – so my daughter also got to play “tour guide” and the friends were so cute – they were just in awe of Disney! I love the safety and security!

  4. 18 April, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    I was 18 when I made my first “adult” trip to WDW with my bestie almost 12 years ago to the day. We had a magical time, called home every night, and got to experience Disney magic in a whole new way. Luckily my bestie had family in central FL so they did “check up” on us, lol! But other than that, we had 12 magical days in the Happiest Place on Earth and it is a trip I cherish and will remember for the rest of my life <3 I'll be honest, I learned a lot about my ability to be a grown up and take care of myself that trip. That is a Disney memory I am very thankful to have in my file 😀

    • disneymomheidi
      19 April, 2012 at 7:29 am

      Nicole~ Thanks so much for sharing about your “first grown-up Disney trip”. Sounds like it was so much fun. I hope you took a lot of pictures!

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