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Can This Marriage Survive?

Friday, August 21, 2009

**apologies to Ladies Home Journal for the title!

Marriage isn’t always easy. Let’s face it, you gotta compromise on things.
Case in point: How does a family pick a vacation destination? Well, I hadn’t really thought too deeply on the subject until reading John Frost’s comment in the Disney Blog, responding to the leaked (rumored) expansion plans for the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland:
It’s exactly what I would expect Disney World to come up with as an answer to Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Disney is essentially writing off the tween boys and focusing all their attention on the girls with the idea that moms and their daughters control the vacation purse strings.
Hmm, do moms and daughters really call the shots here? I was in the midst of recording an episode of the Those Darn Cats podcast when my spouse overheard me talking about this with my BFF and my son. He called out from the other room to let me know exactly how he knows I hold those purse strings: When was the last time we went on a family vacation that didn’t include a Disney park? I was quick to name a few trips we’d taken in recent years when I didn’t cross the berm, but he was just as quick to let me know that those didn’t really count, since either they were chosen as part of a larger group, or were lower-cost weekend jaunts to anime conventions (where, yes, I take pictures to blog about Disney costumes).
Harumph.  It’s embarrassing to admit he’s right.  What vacation destinations have we chosen in recent years? Tokyo, Paris, Anaheim, and of course the incomparable Lake Buena Vista. We even daydream about a trip someday to Hong Kong.
I know it’s entirely unfair of me to keep my family hostage to my Disney obsession. My husband is similarly obsessed with Mongolia, but you don’t see him bringing home fermented mare’s milk or wooden saddles to try to entice me to book a trip (perhaps because he doubts it would work).  He celebrated my fortieth birthday with me at the Blue Bayou at Disneyland Anaheim, and never insisted I promise to celebrate his fiftieth in a yurt.
My son chimed in that really, that list of destinations isn’t so bad to pick from. After all, who doesn’t want to see Paris and Tokyo? I can’t claim that Anaheim or Orlando rank as highly in the cities of the world, but there’s certainly lots to do in Southern California and Central Florida.
But somehow it seems I don’t really feel like I’m on vacation until I’ve had a Mickey bar, or waited in a 90-minute line, or heard someone wish me a Magical day.  And it would seem that my history-buff spouse prefers the true adventure, the ancient relics, the thrill of not quite knowing what is coming over that horizon.
So, I don’t drag him along to Disney (that often), and he’s looking at options for solo travel to Mongolia. But our marriage is doing just fine, thank you, and yes I’m getting my Disney needs met. When this article hits the wires, we’ll be visiting the beaches of Normandy, a World War II battlefield my spouse has always wanted to see. It will be an excellent experience for my son, and I myself am usually deeply affected when we visit battlefields.  But our home base for the trip is an apartment in Paris that a friend has been kind enough to loan us, and wouldn’t you just know that it’s a 40 minute train ride from Disneyland? Bien sur!