Mom Celebrates Kids Going Back to School by Hitting Up Disney World Without Them

Lisa DiNoto

Lisa DiNoto
Lisa DiNoto

What could make the Most Magical Place on Earth even more magical? How about spending a full day there alone -- with absolutely NO kids. I know, I know; it seems like a pipe dream. But one mom from Florida recently made it happen, when she went to Disney World alone to celebrate her kids going back to school. She even documented the entire experience to make the rest of us turn green with envy. (Mission = accomplished.)

  • Lisa DiNoto says she lives about a mile from Magic Kingdom, and visits Disney regularly like other families "might visit their local park."

    Lisa DiNoto
    Lisa DiNoto

    The mom of two (and probable genius) tells CafeMom that although her sons are usually with her, she went solo on their first day back to school. (To be fair, she says they were "so, so excited to go back and see their friends and teachers," so they had their own fun going on that day.)

    DiNoto documented her big day on the blog The Castle Run, where jealous readers can now live vicariously through what can only be described as the best self-care trip ever.

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  • In fact, DiNoto viewed her kids' first day back to school as a chance to "take a mental health morning of my own."

    "So instead of running home and working and doing laundry, I forced myself to drive over to the Magic Kingdom (it's less than 10 minutes from my house) and relax and soak in the magic on my own for awhile," she tells CafeMom. "It was wonderful."

    She adds that she chose not to do any of the typical Disney attractions -- so no rides and no shows. Instead, she strolled solo through the Most Magical Place on Earth, "totally unencumbered by anyone else, and enjoyed people watching and magic."

  • She even used one of the iconic Disney celebration pins to make a hilarious statement.

    Lisa DiNoto
    Lisa DiNoto

    Disney World regularly gives out pins for special celebrations such as birthdays or anniversaries, but DiNoto had the brilliant idea to embrace her own personal holiday, by making a "1st Day of School" pin of her own.

    The mom says that the highlight of her day came when she met and posed with Cinderella's Fairy Godmother, who was pretty tickled when she saw DiNoto's pin. 

    "She was laughing so hard she was crying and we just started hugging and laughing together while I squeaked, 'This is why I moved here!'" DiNoto shared.

    And then, DiNoto got the ultimate Disney blessing: "She reached into her sleeve and pulled out a bag of pixie dust and handed it to me and said 'This is for you and only you. You use it today!!'" the giddy mom recalls. "It was one of those moments of connection that is really what the parks are all about."

  • And in case you're wondering whether it was lonely to cruise through the park alone, DiNoto says it was actually "wonderful."

    "Nothing is rushed," she says. "You can soak up the magic and enjoy the little details without any schedule or being pulled in any other direction." 

    And unlike when you go with kids, going alone means you can experience the magic "on your own terms." 

  • The mom of two added that her sons weren't even jealous that she went to Disney alone (as hard as that might be to believe).

    Lisa DiNoto
    Lisa DiNoto

    Because her family lives so close to Disney World, her boys go as often as they want. ("In fact we'd been at Animal Kingdom the day before," DiNoto shared.) So they were pretty cool about Mom's special day. 

    "That's not to say that a mother doesn't have the right to indulge in things that make her happy without her kids in any case," she tells CafeMom. "But as for Disney and my children, I promise you they get there as often as they want. Living this close, there's no urgency about it."

    At the end of the day, DiNoto says she shared her story to remind other parents to take some time for themselves too, if they can. 

    "If I've been able to communicate to one parent out there that they have permission to take a few hours for themselves when they know that their kids are happy and healthy elsewhere," she says, "then I'd write it again 1,000 times."

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