Thanksgiving Reflections

While today’s blog still deals with travel, it is also a bit more personal than my usual posts.

Quite honestly, I have never been a fan of Thanksgiving. I’m not really sure why. I don’t have a traumatic experience that made me dread the holiday. I think I basically just found it dull. I understand the meaning behind it and appreciate that, but I also feel that gratitude should be practiced everyday.

I am so thankful for all that I have. I tell my husband and kids all of the time that I absolutely can not believe the life that we have built and the things I get to do and share with my children. For me, travel is a huge part of that. I am very thankful every chance I have to travel. It doesn’t matter if it’s a long weekend in DC or a 7 Night Caribbean cruise.

So between the time off from school for the kids and my need not to just sit and make small talk all day on the last Thursday of November, we travel. Sometimes it’s a long weekend and sometimes we manage a full week away to kick off our holiday season.

For several years, we would join my in-laws and other extended family members for a few days at a time. My in-laws would treat everyone to a stay at one of their time share properties. We visited D.C., the Poconos, Williamsburg, VA and Myrtle Beach.

It was nice to visit with out of town relatives and so nice to be given the opportunity to travel for so small a cost. However, as the kids got older, they became more like their parents and had trouble just sitting in a condo to chat for days on end and not really have the opportunity to enjoy the resorts or the area we were visiting. The expectation of these visits was that the kids would play games or do crafts and the adults would sit and chat.

Once that tradition sort of fell by the wayside, we basically made Disney World our Thanksgiving tradition. Just the 5 of us! Sometimes we would do multiple parks and sometimes we would go just to explore the beautifully decorated resorts, enjoy a character meal and spend a night at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Most years we didn’t even have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and when we did, it was usually the day before. When going to Disney World, we would fly on Thanksgiving day. Two years ago, we arrived in Orlando close to 9 p.m. and the only place open was McDonalds. We still crack up about our Thanksgiving dinner of McDoubles and fries.

Last year was my favorite so far! We went to Disney World for Mickey’ Christmas Party and spent 3 days in Orlando followed by 4 nights on the Disney Dream for our first Very Merrytime Cruise!

The ship was decked out for Christmas and WOW was it beautiful! Mickey and friends were dressed in their Christmas best. Santa and Mrs. Claus made various appearances and you could stop by the atrium throughout the cruise to enjoy sugar cookies and hot Chocolate. If you have not sailed with Disney, I highly recommend it, especially during the holidays.

This year, having spent a week in June at Disney World, we decided to return to an old favorite. We will be heading to Williamsburg, VA. We haven’t been there in years. We plan to visit Busch Gardens Christmas Town, which is full of new attractions that were not there last time we visited. We also have a traditional holiday meal and show scheduled Friday evening at their German Festival House.

On Thanksgiving day, we will be attending a re-enactment of Hamilton and Madison working on the Federalist papers. Being a family full of history buffs, we are all looking forward to this.

As much as we have enjoyed our Thanksgiving travels, every family has a nightmare vacation story and we are no different. Several years ago, we decided to go to Atlantic City for Thanksgiving…with the kids. Yep…we took a 2, 6 and 10 year old to Atlantic City. We wanted to take them to a buffet hosted at one of the larger hotels that we had loved on a previous trip the two of us had taken. We also read about this fun aquarium and the hotel claimed to have activities for kids.

Everything that could have gone wrong did. It rained the entire time. The hotel activities closed at 6 p.m. The restaurant was closed for renovations. The kids were so cranky. The only saving grace was the aquarium! But, we traveled and we still crack up about it.

Do you travel for the holidays? Do you have a Crazy travel story to share?

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