When and where I grew up, we had Spring Break. One of them. Between New Year’s and the end of the school year. Our kids now have Winter Break, Spring Break, and about a million days off in between before they get to summer sometime at the end of June. And because my wife and I were raised with that one break, we always find ourselves the week before winter break with a huge gaping hole in our calendar and no plan in place. But, alas, not this year! We planned months in advance this time around (and we were very self congratulatory about the whole thing. Yes, this year we were to be good parents). Seeing as Lesa and I were relatively fresh off a solo, sans kids jaunt to Mexico we were definitely up for more of the warm, but at a place where the kids could lose their minds and have a blast. Preferably a place with a kid’s club or sitting service so Mommy and Daddy could hit the proverbial town on a night or three. We surfed and chatted and looked a little more before we dimwittedly booked a “fun-filled” family vacation to Atlantis.I want to be clear from the start that there is nothing wrong with the people who actually work at Atlantis. They could not have been more helpful and kind in every respect, but the place is just too bloody huge. And that is, unfortunately, Atlantis’ greatest downfall. We were impressed on the first day (65° and blowing 25 knots) by how easy it was to get a snack and a drink at the poolside food huts. No line. Everyone knows your name and your drink of choice. Amazing. Switch that six to an eight in the temperature and you have some serious beach and pool weather. You also have a shit show backstage with lines a half-hour long to get a fruity rum something and a donkey dick-sized chili dog that’ll set you back almost as much as a couple of appetizers at Per Se. Now, call me crazy, but if you’re gullible enough to pay the kind of money that Atlantis charges at any of its six hotels, shouldn’t you at least be spared the indignity of spending an indecent fraction of your day waiting in some interminable line simply because the weather is cooperating? And God help you if you haven’t booked your Mesa Grill reservation at least a month in advance because mealtimes around this place become a survival-of-the-fittest type exercise complete with running (yes, running) and sheer anxiety. And once you’ve secured your lowly spot at the bar (and your heart rate has returned to normal) don’t for a second be fooled into thinking you’ll be rewarded with a tasty morsel or two. Unfortunately Atlantis’ second greatest downfall is that the food is one step above completely inedible.Now, maybe I’m bitter because the weather didn’t turn out to be the best and Lulu brought with her the remnants of a nasty cold and cough that kept us imprisoned in the suite a time or two. But, if you go ahead and splurge for the ocean view suite, it should at least be tolerable to go on the balcony and read while your little one takes a nap and battles a fever. That ocean view suite we booked? Yeah, you see the ocean, but you mostly see, through the bars of your balcony, the tower of the neighboring hotel with its four thousand balconies. Call me nuts, but staring at all those things with all those people behind them is in no way, shape or form relaxing.But there are upshots to the debacle that was winter break this year. Ten year-olds don’t particularly give a hoot about waiting in lines, freezing their pellets off or eating really crappy food. They do, however, love to run around in a new and different environment tailor made just for them with water slides, a cool aquarium with sharks and a bunch of other kids who are just as bananas. And our 10 year old is no different. The kid had a blast and that certainly softens the blow for us grumpy grownups. And in spite of the #epicfail we consider this vacay to be, we did, at the very least, learn to always plan in advance. We know we cannot control the rain or the wind, but we can control how large or small our future destination will be and ours will be little. Tiny and intimate. And this one is for certain. The three-year-old who, will be four, will not be sick. She will not be sick. God, please, she will not be sick.