Posted February 14th, 2018, 09:49 PM
I'm so sorry for your loss.
I cruised with my oldest two as a single parent, they were 7 and 4 at the time. I now have 3 kids and have done LOTS of traveling with them solo (cruises, resorts, flights, road trips).
First and foremost, you already manage your children by yourself. So now you're parenting your 4 kids on a ship, full of a crew that is just standing by, ready and waiting to help. They will DOTE on your kids. I haven't been on Disney, but on Royal Caribbean my server actually cut my meat while I was taking care of my 4 year old so that I would have an easier time with my own meal. I also have experience at Disney World with little ones and always found Disney staff to be superb at 'helping' with the littles. One time we were in one of their more expensive restaurants and my oldest, then 15 months at time time, started getting antsy. Rather than give us 'the look' our server cheerily plopped a plate of goldfish in front of him, successfully distracting him.
You got this dad, you can do it. Will it be the same vacation you would have had without kids or not as a widower? No. But you will still be surrounded by people that are there to help. Like you, I don't like to rely on family traveling with me too much - I wind up feeling guilty because it's their trip too. When it's grandparents with us, they remind me that they're really just there to be with us.
For flying - get to the airport early and take your time. Don't worry about the people behind you or be apologetic for trying to manage the crapload of stuff that traveling with 4 kids overseas entails. For the airline, you bought 5 tickets - making you one of their bigger spenders. If for some reason your seats are not together, a gate agent will help you because NO ONE on that flight wants you separated from them.
I have had very very good luck with flight attendants. If your airline offers pre-boarding for families take it. Introduce yourself to the flight attendants when you board and make nice. Mention you're traveling solo as a widower. I bet they will bend over backwards to help you. Again, you are five of their clients.
Relax and don't worry too much through the flight. You will never again see these people. And you know what? They are adults. They can deal with a temporary inconvenience.
On the ship your kids will be totally wowed by everything Disney has to offer.
I have found that when my kids were smaller (and my current one still is) that I cannot go at the same pace as families with older kids. I carve out quiet time in the cabin (or hotel room or whatever) daily and just provide them all time to decompress and get over any over stimulation. Don't be afraid to cut something short if you think your kids are getting overloaded, just like at home!
You got this. You parent the alone all the time and it's just the same thing, only in a new setting. A new setting that was designed to cater towards families and small children. It's probably the best possible option for vacationing alone with 4 kids. Have fun and relax!
September 2018 - Carnival Paradise - Cuba & Cozumel
2018 February - Royal Caribbean Enchantment OTS - Bahamas
2017 December - Royal Caribbean Oasis OTS - Eastern Caribbean LIVE REVIEW
2017 July - Norwegian Pearl - Alaska
2013 Carnival Imagination - Bahamas
2012 Carnival Paradise - Western Caribbean/Mexico
2010 Royal Caribbean Majesty OTS - Bahamas
2010 Celebrity Millennium - Western Caribbean
2009 Carnival Inspiration - Western Caribbean/Mexico
2000 Celebrity Millennium - Western Caribbean
1997 Holland America Veendam - Alaska cruise/land tour
1990 Ocean Princess - Venice to Cannes
1987 Ocean Pearl - Seoul to Hong Kong