JeniLynn Knopp (234 Posts)

JeniLynn was born and raised in South Florida. Being so close to Walt Disney World, she grew up regularly visiting the Mouse and developed a fascination with the creativity of Disney Parks. Noticing that her happiest moments seemed to always take place in Walt Disney World, JeniLynn began trying to recreate the magic of Disney in her everyday life beginning in her pre-teen years. Adulthood, sixteen years of marriage, and three children later, JeniLynn continues to lead a Disney Driven Life and diligently works to pass her love for Disney on to her husband and children. She has blogged for Touring Plans and been a contributing writer for The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and she currently co-hosts Orlando Attractions Magazine: The Show; however, her primary focus has always been with the community that has grown around her own site, The Disney Driven Life. Through these venues JeniLynn strives to help other Disney fans stay connected to the brand that has served as a keystone in her family’s life.

The idea of taking my trio of Mouse-centered kiddos to a Disney park as a single parent has me scared.  I have never attempted a magical expedition “child heavy” and husbandless.  My mommy senses warn me that this situation has the potential to be disastrous.

I am a Neurotic Disney Mom, and as such I tend to daydream while I walk through the fanciful streets of The Happiest Place on Earth.  What if I slip into my Disney coma and lose track of my most precious treasures?  What if while I’m looking to the left a monstrous Mousenapper snatches my little micelings from the right?  My mind races through an alarming number of possible scenarios.

The alternative of focusing intently on my children isn’t much more appealing.  What if I’m so paranoid about losing my little dwarves that I don’t embrace the Disney diamond mine of being amongst friends in my favorite place?  What if my anal attempt to keep everyone on a short leash sucks the life-essence out of the Disney marrow within our bones?

I ponder the fact that going to Disney without a spouse certainly complicates matters.  I feel trapped between a rock and a hard place.  While I loathe the idea of restraining myself from emotional immersion in the Disney experience, the possibility of losing one of my Nemos in the sea of tourists is unthinkable.  So in order to keep my small school of clown fish together I begin a headcount that restarts after every five steps.  One head, two heads, three heads . . . take five steps . . . one head, two heads, three heads . . . . take five steps.  By the time we reach the security bag check, I’m exhausted and don’t know how I’ll sustain my watchdog approach.

“Mommy,” Margeaux asks sweetly, “May I walk with one of the other Neurotic Disney Moms?”  It is then that I realize that I’ve been counting out loud and making the simple function of walking a tense experience.  “I guess that is OK,” I reply.  Margeaux runs off and takes Jen’s hand.  Never ones to be left behind, my other two opt for escorting Traci and Jackie.

Due to my overprotective practices, I have alienated my troop.  They have taken advantage of the fact that the NDMs in our group outnumber the NDKs, escaped the incessant head-counting, and I walk solo.  This is a strange feeling for a mommy who doesn’t even get solitary moments when sitting on the toilet.  I feel naked and as if I am missing three appendages.

I look longingly at Margeaux and her new Disney partner.  They are obviously engaged in deep Disney conversation.  My lower lip pokes out a bit, for I have no little partner to engage in cheerful banter.  Miller and Elle look equally happy to hold hands with their adoring escorts.  My hands are empty.

This will never do!  At times my darlings have exasperated me, and I’ve told myself that I would be better off enjoying the parks alone.  But now that I am given that opportunity, I don’t think I like it very much.  I want my children back (or at least just one).  It is their innocence and companionship on which all my Disney memories of the last decade have been built.

It occurs to me that a degree of maturation in Disney experience is required in order to “do Disney” childless.  I’m humbled as I acknowledge that I still have much growth to achieve in my Disney Driven Life.  But rather than take the high road and allow this difficult evolution to take its course, I fixate on retrieving a child or two so that I don’t feel so bare.

I am certain that single parents are able to enjoy Disney and keep track of their offspring simultaneously.  There must be a way, and it is time to learn the ropes.  I quickly look around for something to entice a little person back to my side so that I can begin to practice.

Contributed by: JL (NDM#1). JL is our Disney Driven Lifestyle Coach and creator of The Disney Driven Life as well as the Neurotic Disney People Community.

4 thoughts on “A NDM IN HER NAKEDNESS

  1. I think you will like Food & Wine Festival childless. I like Disney with children too, but usually I have to borrow one. When the time comes, let me know and I'll hook a sista up with the childless experience 🙂


  2. My first ever trip to WDW was as a single parent of 3 children aged 7, 4 and 15months. I had got divorced the year before,my mom had died, and then had a car crash in which my eldest had ended up on life support. He made a full recovery but I re-assesed my life and realised as a family unit we had no real outstanding happy memories. I decided that it would be worth everything to let my children be part of the magic. I literally had just enough to pay for the holiday and food, with a treat each day for the children, but it was the best holiday EVER!! Of course the bug bit and now all we do is dream of the day we can go back!

  3. Kym, this is very moving. Stories like this one are what make Disney the incredible place that it is. I applaud you for being brave and aggressively seek out this memory for your family as it does sound like the best holiday EVER!

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