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Being optimistic isn’t one of my gifts… and it can bite me in parenting, so today I wanted to talk about optimism especially when it’s about travel.
Today’s guest is Melissa — she is a travel junkie and a Disney planning expert. She shares tips and helpful information for planning Disney vacations on social media and her website. She also has a weekly podcast where she shares Disney park strategies, helpful information and Disney history. In addition to all things Disney, she loves Diet Dr Pepper, cooking and cheap sunglasses. She’s a full time mother of four and is always planning her families next adventure. You can find her at: https://mixinsomemagic.com
Or on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/mixinsomemagic/
This episode was inspired by all my posts on family travel.
In this episode
The realization that there is no perfect family vacation.
Making a plan (no matter what that looks like)
How you’re going to have a good vacation, no matter what!
Letting them have some choice in the matter
Other things that might interest you
Best Disneyland Hotels for Families
Knotts Berry Farms vs Disneyland
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other parenting podcasts:
[00:00:00.190] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys. Welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on episode 143, we are talking about being optimistic, and I am not good at this, so I brought on a friend. Let’s untangle it.
[00:00:22.410] – Hilary Erickson
Hi, I’m Hilary Erickson, the curly head behind the Pulling Curls Podcast where we untangle pregnancy, parenting, home, and even travel. We know there’s no right answer for every family, but hopefully we can spark some ideas that will work for yours. Life’s tangled, just like my hair.
[00:00:45.010] – Hilary Erickson
Today’s guest runs the podcast Mix in Some Magic and the Instagram and the website. She is all about being magical. She’s also one of my very best friends. And we went to Disneyland together in January and had such a good time. So I wanted to introduce today’s guest, Melissa Hamlin.
[00:01:02.570] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, Melissa, welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast.
[00:01:04.970] – Melissa Hamblin
How are you?
[00:01:06.610] – Hilary Erickson
So good. We’re both here with wet hair, recording podcasts. I love podcasting.
[00:01:11.730] – Melissa Hamblin
Me too. Thanks for having me on. I’m excited to be here.
[00:01:14.760] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. So Melissa is one of my good friends, and she is always so optimistic. She’s like, it’ll just work out.
[00:01:21.490] – Melissa Hamblin
It will. It does, right?
[00:01:25.210] – Hilary Erickson
I mean, it really usually does, but I always think it’s going to go down like a flaming ball of Millennium Falcon.
[00:01:33.730] – Melissa Hamblin
That’s why we’re friends. I bring you up and then you bring me down a little bit in a good way. You help me be realistic sometimes because sometimes maybe I’m too optimistic.
[00:01:44.630] – Hilary Erickson
Right. We don’t need too optimistic.
[00:01:47.650] – Melissa Hamblin
That would just be silly.
[00:01:49.110] – Hilary Erickson
Well, I mean, I am definitely a believer that optimism is awesome, but I have a hard time doing it. And today we thought we would focus on optimism and family travel.
[00:01:57.990] – Melissa Hamblin
[00:01:58.700] – Hilary Erickson
Because I think everyone has such optimistic hopes to start with. Hopefully. Otherwise you probably wouldn’t plan it.
[00:02:04.460] – Melissa Hamblin
[00:02:05.020] – Hilary Erickson
And then it falls apart. Right.
[00:02:10.270] – Melissa Hamblin
Well, I do have some tips I want to share with you about being optimistic in your family travel because there’s a lot of things that can go wrong. Right. That’s what you worry about.
[00:02:20.910] – Hilary Erickson
So many things can and will go wrong. I mean, you have to expect that a lot will go wrong with kids. Exactly.
[00:02:27.120] – Melissa Hamblin
There is no such thing as a perfect family vacation. So I think everyone needs to know that right off the bat and stop daydreaming about the perfect family vacation because it doesn’t exist. But you can still have an amazing family vacation that later in your memories will seem perfect. But in the moment, you’re never actually going to have a perfect family vacation.
[00:02:46.630] – Hilary Erickson
It’s true. I will say our last trip to Disneyland, like, there was a moment where I was sitting there, where I was like, this is perfect. And I was like, you need to remember this moment because ten minutes later, everything was going to pop.
[00:03:00.570] – Melissa Hamblin
Exactly. Well, the number one thing that I like to tell people is to make a plan for your vacation because I feel better. And I think most people do when they have a plan instead of just winging it, because winging it makes people stressed. And I know people get upset when I say make a plan because they say we’re on vacation, we’re supposed to relax. We don’t need a plan, but you do need a plan. And it can be as detailed or as vague as you want it to be, but have some sort of idea of what you’re going to do or how you’re going to get there, what you’re going to eat, these little things so that you don’t have to make those big decisions that can feel stressful when you’re on vacation in the moment.
[00:03:37.820] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, I agree. Because sometimes your plan, especially like on a cruise, is today’s a sea day, so we’re just going to walk around the ship and see what fits our fancy.
[00:03:46.220] – Melissa Hamblin
Right. And that’s the perfect plan for the day. But sometimes your plan is you’re at Disneyland and you’re like, all these kids want to go on different rides and what time are we going to get there and where are we going to eat? And they have more things that you need to think of beforehand. So I just tell people make a plan, however that looks for you, however that looks for your family, but just have a general idea, at least of what you’re going to do, how you’re going to do it, because I think it makes a big difference.
[00:04:10.000] – Hilary Erickson
Do you think other people’s kids are always like, what are we doing next?
[00:04:12.590] – Melissa Hamblin
[00:04:12.940] – Hilary Erickson
Or is that just me, the planner’s kids?
[00:04:15.910] – Melissa Hamblin
No, that’s just you. No, just kidding. Everybody does that. Their kids all do that in the past. I’ve printed off little schedules for my kids when they were little, and they loved it. They loved seeing what was coming up next. And then I didn’t have to tell them a hundred times.
[00:04:31.470] – Hilary Erickson
[00:04:31.780] – Melissa Hamblin
And that’s helpful. Okay.
[00:04:32.930] – Hilary Erickson
What happened if you deviate it, though, from the printed schedule.
[00:04:35.540] – Melissa Hamblin
And then we learned about being flexible because you always go off the printed schedule. It never goes like you think it’s going to go. Something always changes, so you got to be flexible and adaptable.
[00:04:46.300] – Hilary Erickson
Did you bring a printer with you to Disneyland so you could reprint them?
[00:04:49.190] – Melissa Hamblin
No. Just scribbled it out like throw it away kids, for going off script.
[00:04:56.170] – Hilary Erickson
It’s like riding the Matterhorn. We’re going to jerky around a little bit today.
[00:05:00.820] – Melissa Hamblin
It’s good for him. Right? You’re teaching them things. Yeah. Another thing I think is so important is deciding ahead of time that you’re going to have a good time no matter what. I always do this. I sit everybody down and we have a little family meeting before every vacation, every trip, I talk about what we’re going to do, what our plans are, and then I talk about what I expect from them, and I tell them, I expect you to have a good attitude. I expect you to be good while we’re traveling. Sometimes if we have a long plane ride, then I’ll say we’re going to be on a plane for this many hours, and it’s going to be hard sometimes, but we’re going to have snacks and we’re going to have games and we’re going to have toys. And this is how we’re going to get through it. It’s going to be okay. And I expect you to have a good attitude. And we talk about those different things. And I think it really helps them to know that there’s going to be tough times because it’s always hard if you’re in the car or driving or waiting in long lines.
[00:05:56.590] – Melissa Hamblin
But if they know talk about it ahead of time. This is what’s going to happen. But we’re still going to have fun if we’re waiting in line. Guess what? That’s okay. We knew we were going to have to wait in line, but we’re going to have a good time anyway, right?
[00:06:07.340] – Hilary Erickson
I mean, a lot of it is your attitude.
[00:06:09.030] – Hilary Erickson
[00:06:09.290] – Hilary Erickson
Because I was watching a video that back in the day when the Country Bear Jamboree used to be an E ticket, it had the longest lines ever. And thinking back, I mean, God bless the Country Bear Jamboree. I love it. But because people’s expectations were that it was going to be an amazing ride, people were in line for it. So why don’t we go to Mr. Lincoln like that?
[00:06:30.010] – Melissa Hamblin
I bet they were disappointed.
[00:06:33.610] – Hilary Erickson
I mean, Blood in the Sand, isn’t that the song.
[00:06:39.130] – Melissa Hamblin
I always tell them to? One thing that makes me crazy is when we stop to go to the bathroom, someone always is like, I don’t have to go to the bathroom, and I don’t want to hear about it. When we’re on vacation, I don’t want to hear that. So our rule is, and I tell them every time, when I say it’s time to go to the bathroom, everybody goes, I don’t care if you have to go. Don’t say that to me. Just go in and go to the bathroom so we can move on with our lives. We’re not going to argue about it. We’re all just going to do it. And that helps me feel better, too, when I don’t have arguing.
[00:07:06.700] – Hilary Erickson
Is there an age that you stop this?
[00:07:08.820] – Melissa Hamblin
No, my oldest is. We still do. We still do it. I’m like, I don’t want to hear it. Talk about it before. Just all going to go to the bathroom. We’re all on the same schedule with the bathrooms.
[00:07:17.450] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. I mean, I got a lot of guff on my last trip about how many restrooms I visited at Disneyland, but I was like, I don’t need to hear it. Do you want me to wet my pants on that ride?
[00:07:27.970] – Melissa Hamblin
And they don’t. They don’t want you to wear your pants. Well, another thing that you need to remember is that the goal of a family vacation is to have fun and make memories right. And sometimes those memories end up being ones that you don’t think are going to be the good memories. Like sometimes those are the hard times on vacation, but they end up as you’re looking back, being some of your most favorite times. So we were traveling to South Africa last summer and we had a twelve hour plane ride to Germany and we had an eleven hour layover in Germany and then another twelve hour plane ride to South Africa. And those like 11 hours in Germany were kind of rough. Like, we had some rough moments. Everyone is exhausted and it was during COVID. And so the only place for food was this little convenience store type thing with chips and candy bars and soda. And we had some low moments. But looking back, those are some of my kids’favorites, they’re always like, remember when we were in the airport for 11 hours in Germany and they talk about all these stories about how my son, he was sleeping on the chairs and then he all of a sudden was up sleep talking and it was hilarious.
[00:08:37.010] – Melissa Hamblin
And how they spent an hour making up this silly song and adding harmonies and all these things to it. And that’s one of their most favorite parts about it. So sometimes you have to remember that the goal is to spend time together and create memories. And sometimes those memories aren’t the ones that you think they’re going to be when you start off on your vacation.
[00:08:53.910] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, I love that. Well, and as a mom, I look back on those rough times. My dad’s swearing when we went fishing. My dad always swore when he was fishing. But this also reminded me that my parents were just like normal humans who got super as a mom. Then when I took my kids and started swearing about something else, not that would ever happen.
[00:09:14.080] – Melissa Hamblin
[00:09:15.850] – Hilary Erickson
It reminds me. It’s the circle of life. It’s fine.
[00:09:18.950] – Melissa Hamblin
Exactly. It is the circle of life. I do think probably the most important thing you can do, though, is not waste time worrying about what you can’t control because you’ve made your plan. You’ve already decided that you’re going to have a really good time no matter what happens. And so don’t waste time worrying about the weather or worrying about flight delays or crowds, things like that. Things you can’t control. Just put them out of your mind and decide that you’re going to enjoy yourself no matter what happens. Maybe your flight gets canceled. That sucks. But teach your kids about being adaptable and have a good attitude. And it really all does work out. And those are the things that you forget, all those bad things. And when you’re looking back on your vacation, you just remember all the good moments.
[00:09:59.080] – Hilary Erickson
[00:09:59.960] – Melissa Hamblin
You do. It’s like being pregnant.
[00:10:02.830] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. Now you ask me.
[00:10:06.970] – Melissa Hamblin
And you’re like, that wasn’t so bad. I could do that again. Then you get pregnant again, you’re like, uh oh.
[00:10:13.000] – Hilary Erickson
What have I done? And now you just go on family trips instead of getting pregnant.
[00:10:16.910] – Melissa Hamblin
It works out better. This is more fun.
[00:10:20.000] – Hilary Erickson
It’s probably cheaper in the long run, for sure. Emotionally cheaper, for sure.
[00:10:26.830] – Melissa Hamblin
Yes, for sure. So I think you just have to know something’s going to go wrong. You’re going to have a good attitude about it. And just don’t worry about those little things that you can’t control, because sometimes you can get so caught up in those, like, what if it’s going to rain on my Disney day? What are we going to do that will ruin the whole day? Well, sometimes the best days are in the rain. You just don’t know.
[00:10:46.890] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. I mean, there’s a fine line between preparing because some people show up to Disneyland and they’re short and then it’s raining and they’re all miserable. And it is really hard to have a good attitude if you’re freezing cold. I will say that.
[00:10:58.740] – Melissa Hamblin
No, you have to be prepared.
[00:11:00.580] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. So that, I guess, would be something you could prepare. Looking at the weather, having your galoshes being prepared. I loved what you said before, though, about what your real goal is, because I see so many people with Disneyland. We hit every ride in Tomorrowland, this morning. And I was like, I mean, is that your goal? Because that could be a goal.
[00:11:19.990] – Melissa Hamblin
[00:11:20.700] – Hilary Erickson
But it’s not my family’s goal anymore because we’ve been enough time.
[00:11:23.810] – Melissa Hamblin
Yeah, well, and with trips, especially as your kids get older, I think it’s kind of nice to ask them what they want to do. Tell them these are the options. These are the different things that we could do. What would you like to do? And kind of trying to fit in something that everybody thinks would be fun. We were on a cruise a few years ago, and my oldest son was so excited about all the teen activities, and he was running around doing all of those. And my middle son was 15 at the time, and he could have gone to all the activities, but he was just like, no, I’ll just stay with you. I’ll just sit in the chair by the pool. And I was worried that he wasn’t having a good time. And I kept saying, don’t you want to go and do those things? Go with your brother and go have fun and do those things. But that’s really not his personality. That’s not his scene. He doesn’t want to meet new people, especially on a cruise ship. It’s not that social. And so finally he looked at me and he’s like, mom, this is my vacation, too.
[00:12:18.370] – Melissa Hamblin
And I was like, oh, I guess you’re right. I mean, his idea of a vacation is not going and making new friends and doing all these social activities with strangers. That does not sound fun to him. His idea of a vacation was just to sit and enjoy not doing anything and not having any demands on his time. And so I’ve learned that for him, that’s what he enjoys doing. And so I try to work some of that into every single vacation, even if we have busy vacations, because I know that’s kind of what his vacation goals are. So if you kind of ask your kids, what are your expectations? What do you think would be fun and just kind of try to work in a little bit of something for everyone.
[00:12:55.910] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And do they desperately want to swim at the pool, even though Disneyland is across the street? You know, they do not my kids.
[00:13:04.270] – Melissa Hamblin
Even if it’s a terrible pool, I think it’s going to be amazing if they’re going to want to try it out.
[00:13:09.290] – Hilary Erickson
I mean, I have Arizona kids, so unless it’s 120 degrees, they’re like, “it is too cold.”
[00:13:15.610] – Melissa Hamblin
I agree with them. I think it’s probably always too cold.
[00:13:18.260] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. I love the idea of asking them what their goal is, though, because I think it’s really easy because we’re used to hauling baby kids with us. We don’t ask our little kids. You don’t ask for 18 months old what the goal is because they’d be like, look at a bug and you’re like, no. Then the other thing is sometimes, like Disneyland, getting back to Disneyland. My kids never wanted to ride, ride. They all were scared of Big Thunder. They were scared of Matterhorn. So there is a thing where you’re like, one of my goals is to just try and get you on a roller coaster. That’s one of my goals. I don’t care what your goal is. Letting them pick which one they want to go on or when they go on. It things like that, which parent they get a ride with.
[00:13:56.900] – Melissa Hamblin
Right. That makes sense. And sometimes you do have to, like, they don’t know what they want to do because they don’t know all the options. Maybe they would love Space Mountain, but they don’t know because they’ve never been on it. So you kind of have to ease them into those things, make it their goal. To Gregory is a good idea.
[00:14:12.890] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Or you take them on Ghost Galaxy, that horrific Halloween overlay and ruin them. And sometimes that happens, too. And it’s a great memory.
[00:14:21.250] – Melissa Hamblin
It’s all about making memories is what it’s about, right?
[00:14:24.740] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Ultimately, that’s really what all of our life is about.
[00:14:28.570] – Melissa Hamblin
And I found that family vacations I found a long time ago. I just have to adjust my expectations because a family vacation for parents, it’s more like a business trip. It’s not a vacation. I don’t know why we say vacation when it’s a family. It’s just a trip. Yeah. I’m working all the time. Like, I’m up late getting things ready for the next day or packing lunches or we were in Hawaii a few months ago and we rented a house and I made dinner every single night and I was doing laundry. I’m washing swimming suits and towels and they’re all in the hot tub having their best vacation ever and it wasn’t a relaxing vacation but that wasn’t really the point. The point was to be together as a family and that’s just what comes with being with your family. And so I knew that going into it so it didn’t bother me. I had a good attitude about it, but I’m definitely going to go back to Hawaii without the kids and have my family my alone vacation.
[00:15:23.850] – Hilary Erickson
I’ll bring my husband probably someone to do your laundry.
[00:15:27.070] – Melissa Hamblin
Yeah, that’s why I’ll bring him along. He can be in charge of the laundry next time.
[00:15:32.470] – Hilary Erickson
All right. So many good ideas. I think optimism is so important and I am absolutely horrible at it but I’m working on it with good friends like Melissa.
[00:15:40.850] – Melissa Hamblin
I think you’re good at you’re doing good. I feel like you’re getting better.
[00:15:45.010] – Hilary Erickson
I guess you’re optimistic tone.
[00:15:46.670] – Melissa Hamblin
That’s my optimistic point of view. Exactly.
[00:15:49.810] – Hilary Erickson
All right. Thanks for coming on, Melissa.
[00:15:51.680] – Melissa Hamblin
Thanks so much. It was fun to chat with you.
[00:15:53.970] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. I hope you guys enjoyed this episode. I think these are so many good tips, especially as we are coming to a summer where there’s probably going to be a lot of people traveling. Fingers crossed. I hope, I hope I don’t did you know that the pulling curls podcast had an entire month planned of travel episodes for may 2020? So I’m hoping that by recording this episode I’m not like bringing back some sort of a virus. But either way, let’s be optimistic that it’s just going to be a good summer for family travel with us and our good attitudes.
[00:16:26.900] – Hilary Erickson
Stay tuned, next week we are talking about moving to the postpartum floor with one of my very favorite TikTok creators. And if you’re not looking in pregnancy the week after that, we are talking about decluttering your kitchen which I think is so important and so hard. So stay tuned.
[00:16:42.740] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode. We know you have lots of options for your ears and we are glad that you chose us. We drop episodes weekly and until next time, we hope you have a tangle free day.
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