MONIQUE BATSON — Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, right?

Published 12:04 am Friday, June 25, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Two weeks from Saturday, I’ll be headed to the most magical place on Earth. And I don’t think I’ve ever been so stressed.

As my daughter said Tuesday, “Why would you be stressed about going to Disney?”

How I do miss being 19.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

But let me back up.

I went to Disney at the ages of 3 and 5, and the only thing I remember from either trip is my claustrophobic mother hitting the floorboard while we went through an insanely long tunnel. Thankfully, she wasn’t driving.

Taking my kids to Disney has been a goal of mine for more than a decade, although I knew I wanted my youngest to be old enough to remember. My 15-year-old went last year with the marching band during Spring Break, but for my current purpose we’re pretending that didn’t happen.

So here we are in the great age of social media where it seems like every other week someone I know posts a picture of magic bands. And I consider myself a fairly intelligent person, so I thought if everyone else in Mid County could figure it out, so could I.

I decided to book the trip, started working on resort and park accommodations, and was immediately overwhelmed. Not to mention I hadn’t even gotten to those oh-so-popular magic bands yet. By the time I was done just picking a place to stay and a few parks to visit, I was looking at about $6,000 for a week.

On my first day of Intro to Journalism at Lamar University, my professor started the class by saying, “If you want to be rich, you’re in the wrong class.” I didn’t leave, so I’m sure you can guess where that leaves me. Add in being a single mom, and $6,000 for a week might as well be $6 million.

But thankfully my friend put me in touch with a fantastic local travel agent that works specifically with Disney (and better yet, they pay her so I didn’t have to) that asked me a couple of questions, took my card for file, and handled the rest. I picked a resort, I picked park days, I picked a couple of restaurants, and I had instant plans. One week, four people, and only about $2,500. (Big difference, there.) She sends me weekly emails on park changes, hidden secrets, cost savers, dining options, packing lists, mask mandates, etc. And she set up my account for me so all I had to do was download the app, log in and everything is instantly there.

But as the day nears, I can’t stop thinking about things like, “what if I forget to pack something?” I’ve made 12 lists and crossed nothing off of them. With my luck I’ll leave without those coveted magic bands.

Can I drive for 13 hours? How many times will a child try to unsync my phone from the radio so they can torture each other with really bad music? Can I keep the younger two from beating each other in the back seat before we even get there? Will my navigator be reliable? Last week when I put it directions to Pleasure Island, it took me to the sea wall and expected me to swim across.

Did you know there’s a ride so popular you have to enroll into a mobile virtual queue at 7 a.m. and then be at the gate down to the second your time arrives?

And did you know that’s the one ride my 15-year-old wants to do more than anything else? What if I oversleep? Is it really necessary to eat ice cream shaped like a mouse?

And then there’s my daughter, with her Mickey socks packed and ready to go, saying, “Why would you be stressed about going to Disney?”

No reason, just a few little things.

But for now I’m going to have faith that once we cross the gates — and eat ice cream shaped like a mouse — that Disney magic will take over and wipe the stress away.


Monique Batson is the Port Arthur Newsmedia editor and can be reached at