Our most recent DVC visit was filled with travel lessons.
We learned not to assume that every resort has the same amenities. We learned that overnight oats make an excellent breakfast in the room. We learned that we need to take more photos that we think we need, shoot more video than we think we need, because once we get home we can’t go back for more.
But most of all, we learned the importance of letting go… letting go of expectations.
This trip was unplanned, another last-minute weekend getaway spurred by one good evening at Epcot. We don’t get up to Disney after work much anymore thanks to traffic, but early this month the roads were clear and we took a chance.
The result was a great family evening in the park, exploring only the tiniest bit of the Flower & Garden Festival, and it left me wanting to return sooner than our much-anticipated Mother’s Day weekend. So I started checking availability at DVC resorts, and when a deluxe studio popped up at Boulder Ridge Villas I jumped on it.
It would be our first visit to Boulder Ridge, and I had the whole weekend mapped out in my head. We were going to spend most of Saturday at Epcot, working our way around the lake, eating good food, listening to good music, and fully exploring each of the playgrounds that we all wish were permanent features (instead of Flower & Garden festival-specific).
But by Saturday morning, life and traffic had other ideas. Instead of rolling into Epcot just as the World Showcase opens, we were creeping through stop-and-go traffic on the backroads, a good two hours after we should have eaten lunch. First lesson: stick to the interstate. If our GPS tells us to get off and go around, so will many others.
After a stressful drive on an empty stomach, I decided to head straight to our resort, thinking we could get a bite to eat and then take Disney transportation to Epcot to avoid more car time for the boys. I also hoped that our room might be ready early, a nice surprise that’s happened many times before, but you see where this is going…
Lesson two: if you don’t leave home early, eat lunch before you get on the road. If we weren’t so famished, it would have been easier to adapt, and the boys would not have been so cranky when we got there. We wasted precious time wandering the resort trying to decide what to eat, knowing that we had to eat something soon, but unable to make a decision.
Finally my wife checked us in to Whispering Canyon, the family restaurant adjacent to the lobby in Wilderness Lodge. In the interest of speed, we ignored the a la carte menu and just ordered the skillet, a family-style platter of heavy meat and starch. Another lesson: the lunch skillet doesn’t come with salad or vegetables. I wish I had slowed down and ordered something healthier.
Lunch was ok, though, and Henrik ate well, but Kasper was having stomach issues well before we sat down to eat. We were going through diapers faster than I could imagine, and the few extra clothes we packed were already in use. Suddenly a day at any theme park didn’t sound like a good idea.
So we stuck around the resort, toured the new Copper Creek Cabins, and gratefully crashed in our room a good 30 minutes before the official check-in time. This was where I learned another lesson: always bring a USB charger. We’ve been spoiled with other DVC rooms which have USB wall outlets in every room, and I only brought the cables to charge our phones and cameras, not the plug.
It was around that time that I realized I needed to let go. I had built up expectations for the weekend that included hours of Epcot time, fun videos of the boys at play, beautiful photos of the Flower & Garden displays, and hanging onto those ideals was dragging me down.
Once I let go, I was able to breathe and accept the fact that we drove all that way just to relax in a hotel room for the night. There would be no Epcot visit that weekend, and that’s ok. We still had some good times, ordering room service for dinner (mushroom pizza and a fresh salad), making cold brew coffee and overnight oats in our room’s mini-fridge, and watching the evening storm blow sheets of rain outside our balcony.
I came home with enough footage for a short video, so even though it didn’t live up to my expectations, I’m still proud to share these brief memories from our visit to Boulder Ridge.