Thursday, October 30, 2008

Outta my way, Halloween!

I really don't like Halloween. It's not that I dislike it... it's just in the way! It's like an unnecessary speedbump between me and Christmas. And between me and Walt Disney World before that!

I am a Christmas-aholic... I would be listening to Christmas music right now if I didn't think my co-workers would stuff me in a file cabinet. Just after Thanksgiving (and it kills me to wait that long) my small little front yard becomes home to an array of various inflated light-up Mickey-and-Minnie decorations. The bushes are covered in little white lights, and yet more lights line the driveway. I'm surprised a plane hasn't tried to land there yet.

And Disney at Christmas -- Stunning!! See that picture of the castle over there on the right? Imagine it in person. It's breath-taking. Disney is all about the details, and no detail is overlooked at Christmas time. Not a poinsettia leaf is out of place. And to hear the choir sing at the Candlelight Processional... and meet the different “Santa's” from all around the world at Epcot... it's all just so moving and spirit-lifting.

It's always the same group of us -- the 4 ½ Mouseketeers! Myself, my son, my dad, my dad's sister who is my giggle-twin, and my dad's guide dog. Newley is a Disney vet in his own right -- he really does love it. His favorite rides, for some reason, are Jungle Cruise and Snow White's Scary Adventures. Here he is in his Santa Goofy hat:

How adorable is that? We all have such a good time, every time.

You know, I catch a lot of flack for the Disney trips my son and I take... Because after all, how can a single mom afford such things?? It's pretty simple, really: This is what is important to us. We scrimp, we save, we make a conscious choice to do without a lot of things. Plus, I am the Bargain Queen. It would cause me physical pain, I think, to pay full price for something. Trips are no exception. With Disney, you have to know all the little “tricks”... when they tend to release discount codes, times of the year that are cheaper to visit, how far ahead you have to plan for the best discounts. They don't readily volunteer money-saving information! Our next trip is in 42 days, and because I knew to specifically ask about a certain code, we have been booked since March on a 40% discount. Gotta love it!

And the way I see it is this: Every day, people waste money on silly, fleeting things. Fancy coffees at Starbucks for $5 a pop, $300 purses, giant plasma-screen tv's. At 12, my son has been to more countries and places than most grown-ups. He has met people from a number of cultures, seen wondrous natural sites, witnessed incredible wildlife and marine life up close and personal, made friends from all over that he still has today. He has learned how to behave in formal settings, in foreign countries, in unfamiliar surroundings.

But most important, we have created memories together that which, no matter what happens later in life, will always be with us. We love to talk and reminisce about past trips as much as we love planning the next one. And he will be able to go out into the world later, confident in himself and knowing that he will be able to adapt to any setting he is in. All, basically, thanks to a mouse. :-)

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