Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Disney

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We recently got back from our short little trip to Disney and it pains me to say it wasn't as magical as we were hoping. Gah. That's not to say we didn't have fun because we did. But it just wasn't as good as it could have been.

Let me give you some of our Disney background to start. We are not first time Disney goers. We've done Disney many times and most of those times were just day trips while we were vacationing in Daytona. Those didn't take much planning at all except maybe scoping out a crowd calendar to pick which day we wanted to go during our week vacation. We would choose some Fast Passes once we got there and that was it for planning. We had also found that going around noon and staying until the park closed was so much better for us - the mornings were always the worst for crowds. So of course, I threw all of those tried and true tips out of the window for this trip. THIS trip was going to be different because I picked a slower time of year and we were staying in a Disney resort.

About a month before the trip was here I realized that my plan to go when the park was not crowded may not be what I was hoping. I had chosen Columbus Day weekend without knowing because that wasn't a day that any of us had off of work or school or anything. But, government and bank jobs and many schools around the country DID have that day off which would make the parks more crowded than another random October weekend would have been. Ugh. (Spoiler alert - the parks WERE way more crowded. Boo.)

Around 6:00 a.m. on the morning of our flight to Orlando, Charley woke up and came into our room. She was burning up, sweating, and just weepy. We took her temperature and she had a fever of 102.6. We gave her ibuprofen and let her go back to sleep. Our flight wasn't until 11:00 so she had time to get a couple more hours of sleep. I, however, could not go back to sleep. I started consulting Dr. Google and looking up information on if we needed to change our flights and our reservations to another weekend. I didn't know what we were going to do.

A couple hours later when everyone was now awake we made the decision to go ahead and go. Charley's fever was down to 99 degrees with the help of the meds and she seemed happy again. She really didn't have any other symptoms other than fever so I figured she probably just had a virus and it was on it's way out. I had already looked up information on the Disney Urgent Care in case we needed it. We also had nothing planned for that day except maybe going out to dinner at Downtown Disney which we could easily scrap so Charley could get more rest before heading to the park the next day. And off we went.

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My parents also came with us and we all got to Disney with no trouble at all. Both girls were great travelers and Charley was happy.

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On Disney's Magical Express bus - so convenient. So magical!

We got to our hotel around 2 and had a late lunch. Charley didn't eat much but we chalked it up to her still recovering. We also decided against going out to dinner and decided some time at the pool and an early night was a better plan. John's aunt who lives pretty close to Disney came and joined us at the pool (originally she was going to meet us out for dinner) and Charley had a blast playing with her. I'm not a pool person so Charley was so glad to have someone that would play with her in the pool as long as she wanted.

Oh - I also discovered I had lost my driver's license and about $12 in cash that I had hastily stuffed in my pocket at the airport. My pockets were rather shallow and I was sure I either lost them on the Disney bus from the airport to hotel or on the airplane, so both places had to be contacted so I could maybe get that back in time for our return flight home.

We were all in bed by 9:00 that night.

The next morning Charley woke up and didn't have much of a fever at all! Yay!! In fact, some of her spunk was back as she REFUSED the super cute Minnie Mouse tee and red shorts I had planned for the day. Oh well. Pick your battles and such.

The plan was Magic Kingdom for the day which opened at 9:00 a.m. We had never seen the opening ceremony that began at 8:40 a.m. so the plan was to quickly get us ready and out of the door to make it in time for that. We had to cut our breakfast time a little short so we just grabbed a banana for Charley from the resort restaurant and made our way to the queue for the bus to take us to Magic Kingdom. The rest of us decided to just find something at the park once we got there. There were people in line for the bus, but it wasn't too bad and we should have made it there just in time. One bus came, filled up, and left and we would for sure make it on the next bus to arrive. They came every 5 minutes so we were still doing good on time. A couple minutes after that first bus left, Charley tells me she has to go potty. Of course. She and I ran inside to the restroom and hurried back out as quickly as we could. The bus was already sitting there and the queue had emptied out. My parents, John and Laney were standing off to the side waiting for us so we all tried to squeeze on that bus also, but it is just too full. We had to wait until the next bus. And now, we were going to miss most of the opening ceremony.

We showed up with only a few minutes left of the opening ceremony and honestly we were too far back to see most of it anyways. So we just joined the masses to go through security and then the gate. Whew. We were in. But, we were hungry. We weren't able to secure a Fast Pass for the new Seven Dwarves mine train so the plan was to head straight there before the line got ridiculous, but now that we needed to eat something first that wasn't going to happen. And, on top of that, Charley's fever had returned. We found some breakfast and gave Charley some meds and continued on. Luckily she perked up once they kicked in. She wasn't 100% Charley, but she was probably about an 80% Charley.

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We used Fast Passes for Peter Pan and then for meeting Rapunzel (of course!) For whatever reason, I cannot stand to wait in line for character meet and greets. I'm obviously way in the minority on that since everyone else didn't seem to have a problem with those, but that was why I insisted one of our FastPasses was for meeting Rapunzel. I cannot imagine the regular line for meeting her because the Fastpass line wasn't very fast at all. I think we still waited a half hour for her.

Anyways, Rapunzel was amazing. Charley ended up being pretty shy with her but she was just SO in character and even got down on the floor with Charley to "read" the card Charley had brought for her. It was definitely a highlight of the day so I went ahead and stuck my foot in my mouth about character meet and greets THIS ONE TIME. Haha.

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[As an aside though - man. We seemed to be in the minority for the meet and greet. Most of the little girls were all done up (probably from Bippity Boppity Boutique) and were just wearing their princess dresses versus having just tossed it on over their clothing. John noticed that while waiting in line and asked if I wanted to take Charley's t-shirt off under her dress and I declined. I mean, it really isn't that serious to me! Plus, that dress is just a tidge too big and has a binder clip in the back making it smaller so it won't fall off her shoulders. It's PLAY. And I intend to keep it that way. Heaven knows we already are dealing with her wanting to be fancy all the time regardless so one less thing to get her worked up about.]

[Another aside - A mom stopped to ask us where Charley (and another little girl in line) got their Rapunzel braids from while we waited. I answered honestly - "from a yard sale but I think they originally came from the Disney store" - because I wasn't completely sure where it was originally bought. That apparently embarrassed John that I will outright admit to my bargains like that. I mean! That IS where I got it! I am not ashamed of that! We paid $1 versus the $15 - $20 I assume it originally cost! That is nothing to be ashamed of!]

Our next Fast Pass was for Splash Mountain. One of my very favorite rides! Charley was tall enough for it, but I knew she would be afraid if she saw that last drop. But I truly thought if I just got her on the ride that she'd enjoy it despite that last big hill. Since we had a Fast Pass, she never realized that the line we were in was for the ride with that big hill. She sat with me, John and my mom sat in the row behind us, and my Dad opted to sit outside with Laney. Charley was anxious even through the first parts of the ride and the smaller hills. I was holding her tightly and telling her all about the stories of Brer Rabbit and Brer Bear. But nothing could distract from that huge hill. I think she had figured it out and knew it was coming. We plunged down it and I held on to her tightly hoping she would think it was fun once we were at the bottom. Guess what? She didn't. She cried and I felt terrible. She told us she "nevah evah evah wants to ride that again" and she was just pitiful. When we met back up with my dad outside she told him all about it and the tears started up again. And then, at just 1:00 in the afternoon, Charley tells us she wants to go back to the hotel. Gah. What an epic failure of a day so far.

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We (obviously) did not purchase PhotoPass so this is just a screenshot with their watermark. I did end up buying two total photos from the trip for $30 ($15/each) which makes me glad I didn't buy the PhotoPass for $170 beforehand because I had considered it! Like this one - I was so excited to see the look of terror on her face (horrible mom) and then we couldn't even see her face!)

I still think that her being sick had a lot to do with her reaction to the ride. I don't think it would have been so awful to her had she been herself. We then took a break and had lunch which calmed Charley down. Laney was SCREAMING to be fed so I was running around Columbia Harbour House trying to find a table so I could sit and feed Laney while everyone else stood in line to order our food. There is a second level with additional seating, but the stairs were guarded by restaurant worker ladies. After finding no seating at all on the first floor, I make my way to the stairs and the lady informs me that you are not allowed to go find a table upstairs until you actually have your food. Laney is SCREAMING at the same time, so I am extra frantic and impatient. I tell her I need to find a place to sit down so I can feed HER and she questions why I have no bag containing her food on my person. "Do you even have her food?". And my response was "UH YEAH! MY BOOBS." Not my finest moment. But she let me go through. Funnily enough there weren't any tables available upstairs either and I ended up taking another set of stairs back down where I finally found a table. If this all sounds frantic - it was. Thankfully though - this was probably the only moment in our whole trip where nursing her was a little stressful. Anyways. We all had lunch and Charley's little spirit was revived again. We made our way over to Mickey's PhilHarmagic.

We were basically using wait time predictions and fast passes to determine what we rode for the remainder of the day. We had made our way over to Tomorrowland and did the Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor. (Really loved that one! My mom and Laney both were on the big screen!) After that let out I noticed Stitch's Great Escape had a really short wait so we just got in line. ANOTHER. HUGE. MISTAKE. Charley was terrified and was curled up in a ball in her seat and I couldn't even hold her because you are buckled in your own seats. She was D.O.N.E. done after that. She wanted to go back to the hotel and there was no convincing her otherwise. I was pretty bummed.

(We did consider going back to the hotel and returning later like we had planned but ultimately decided against it thinking Charley would be much harder to convince to return at this point. Thinking back now, I think that is what we should have done but oh well. None of the day was really going as planned.)

But, in typical Disney fashion, as we made our way out of Tomorrowland and towards the exit, Mickey and friends were on stage performing Dream-Along with Mickey in front of the castle. Again, spirit was revived a bit and we convinced her to continue on. We went over to Dumbo and rode that.

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After Dumbo we stumbled upon the splash pad and Charley let loose. She LOVED it so much. We let her play and get completely soaked (and no, we did not bring a change of clothes - whoops!) for a good half hour or more. It was so good to see her smiles at this point. Although, the thought DID cross my mind that the one of the things she was enjoying the most was a splash pad, and most of those are typically free.

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From there we hit up Aladdin's Magic Carpet ride (which she will tell you was her favorite ride there) and considered doing the Jungle Cruise as it is my mom's favorite, but the wait time was insane so we ended up not doing it. We somehow wound up at the little park area back at the gate where we tried to decide what to do. Charley danced around as happy as she could be and we all sat or laid down in the turf. Ultimately, that was it for our day at Magic Kingdom. Also, do you know how hard it is to convince a sick child to put wet shoes and socks back on? It was time to go home.

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Is this not the saddest Disney recap you've ever read so far? Ha!

So what tips did I take away from Day 1?

  • Stick with going later and staying until close. Even though we left at 5 or 6, we could already see the crowd levels dying way down. The evening brings cooler temps, shorter lines, and of course, the most magical fireworks display and parades that we missed. 
  • Nursing a baby at Disney wasn't bad at all. And to think this was what I was probably most stressed about. I learned to nurse the "right" way in the Beco (loosen straps a ton and let her scootch way down to nurse) and also my "wrong" way (lay her across how she's most comfortable nursing with my arm beneath her and just take the one strap diagonally across me and buckle it - not hands free this way but hand free and much easier to walk around while nursing this way. Both ways I still threw the nursing cover over her and the Beco.) I never stepped foot in one of the infant care centers so no advice there. In fact, I didn't even see one until later in the day as we were leaving.
  • Fastpasses are awesome as I already knew. While I will continue to use them in the future, I think there is a certain relaxed feeling to doing LESS research on what Fastpasses to get and blah blah blah and just winging it. I missed the more relaxed feel of our usual Disney day trips. 
  • Along the same lines, the dining reservations I am sort of glad I missed the early sign up date for those. (We had no dining reservations.) It would have been one more scheduled thing in our day and adds more to the rushing around feeling that I didn't particularly love. Next time I would be up for doing one of the reservations at one of the resort restaurants, but will stick with no reservations during the theme park days.
  • Also, this was our first Disney trip where we had MagicBands. I was QUITE fond of those! There was once where everyone but Laney and I were on a ride and I was dyingggg of thirst. John kept up with our cash and cards and all and they were all in the backpack with him. But, I did set up our credit card to link to the MagicBand so was easily able to just walk over to a vendor and get myself a water. Easy peasy. Loved that perk. And loved that they were the room key too. It was also convenient to use those for the FastPasses versus using the card that you are issued as your ticket as we didn't have to dig them out every time we wanted to use them. I think they are worth the $13/each (had we had to purchase them if we didn't stay at a Disney resort) just for convenience alone. But, I would draw the line at the ones that are $20/each. Somewhere between the $13 and $20 is my cost deal breaker apparently!
Also, worth a mention that Laney (at 5.5 months old) was AWESOME the whole day. Sure, she cried during lunch because I didn't respect her usual lunch time, but that was really it for her. She could go on so many rides with us too so there were only a couple of times someone sat out with her while the rest of the group went on the ride. It definitely helped to have my parents there as extra "here hold this baby" hands. Her and Charley took turns with the stroller all day and I got great use out of the Beco. She didn't nap as much as usual, but still got in a couple of decent stroller naps.

The next morning we went ahead and learned a few things from our Day 1 mistakes. The plan was Hollywood Studios but our first Fastpass could be used anytime from 9:30 - 10:30 so we didn't rush ourselves there. Charley had a fever again this morning after she woke (after not needing a second dose of meds at all on Day 1) so we went ahead and gave her ibuprofen. We then had a leisurely breakfast at the resort (well, as leisurely as we could with a bajillion other people) and got in the queue for the Hollywood Studios bus after that.

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This was actually Columbus day so we could already tell that the crowd volume was way down. For those that were just taking advantage of the holiday weekend, many would be traveling back home this day and not in the parks. The only ride that had a ridiculous wait was Toy Story and thankfully we had Fastpasses for that! Hooray! (and wow! It was SO good! No wonder there was a 2 hour wait!)

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This day was much better overall. While Charley was still not 100% (see below)...

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...the combination of less people and a more relaxed pace made it much better for all of us. I even warmed some milk for Laney in a bottle beforehand so at least one of her meals wasn't dependent on me. (I tried to give her a bottle of formula the day before in Magic Kingdom and she was having none of it. She will soon have to get over that as the frozen stash is growing thin!)

We did everything that we wanted to do at this park except for the Frozen sing-a-long and the Fantasmic show (which we knew we weren't staying long enough for). The Beauty and the Beast show was AMAZING and while my parents and John and I did watch it, I know we also had our eyes on Charley for a good portion of it too. She truly loved it. Also, since so many of the things to do at this park were shows, I did the majority of nursing Laney during those. I also nursed her on The Great Movie Ride and I'm shocked that Ms. Distraction was not distracted during that. 

I don't have anything life-changing to add about day 2 really. As Charley was just about done we did a quick survey to make sure that there wasn't anything anyone wanted to do that they hadn't got to do yet and I was the only one to pipe up and request we do just one more thing. I had never ridden the Rock n Roller coaster and had heard great things about it so I really wanted to try it. We tried all day to get a Fastpass for it and just never had any luck. My parents really didn't care to ride it so we considered sending them back to the hotel with Charley and Laney and the stroller and realized that was asking a whole lot. Eventually, they urged John and I to just go ride it and they'd entertain the girls for the whole hour wait. We went to get in line and noticed the "single riders" queue and it was really a no-brainer. We skipped the regular queue and got in the single riders line knowing we may not sit together which really didn't matter to either one of us. We were in and out in 20 minutes and it was so very worth it! Loved that coaster too! (But we both agree it wasn't as good as The Mummy at Universal Studios.)

It was around 6 I think when we left for our hotel. Charley was nearly asleep on the bus on the ride back and we had had our fill of Disney too. We went back for some dinner and an evening at the pool.

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Our flight home was the next day and both girls (and all adults too!) were great travelers. Laney slept the ENTIRE way (plane, taxiing, baggage claim area, bus to our parking lot) and Charley got her some rest too. We did head straight to the pediatrician from the airport for the fever that just wouldn't go away and she did have an ear infection that the doctor believed was just developing. He thinks that it was just a virus the rest of the days. I feel slightly bad that we may have spread virus germs at Disney but 1) I guarantee we weren't the only ones and 2) we KEPT thinking it had gone away because she never needed a second dose of meds - her fever would go away and stay away all the way until the next morning when we'd start all over again.

Regardless, the trip was fun but not AS fun as it could have been, so another Disney trip will have to be taken. I am pushing for sooner rather than later, but John is not on board with that just yet.

Oh! And my lost driver's license and $12? Well neither the airline or the bus was able to find it. So I was a little concerned with how security would go at the airport with no ID. But never fear - I actually ended up finding them both the day before we left. Some goofball hid them IN MY PURSE. I mean, no wonder I couldn't find them! Such an idiot.

Sorry this got SO long. I know I'll think of several more things I'll want to add after I hit publish, so feel free to ask me whatever I may have missed!

Even with the sickies I'll still say YAY DISNEY! It really is the most magical place on Earth.

3 comments:

Kara Keenan said...

We took the kids to Disneyland over Christmas break. We did two days at Magic Kingdom and one day at California Adventures (we picked the rainy day for that, no crowds at all, did the entire park in 4 hours, every ride twice). The Magic Kingdom was ridiculously packed on both days we were there. My oldest is 12, and on the first day, we did the Magic Hour, and got in early. We made a beeline to Space Mountain (we specifically didn't tell her a lot about the ride, just that it was about space and she'd like it). We were one of the first 20 in line, and only as we were getting on did she hear the announcement about it being a fast paced ride. But it was too late to freak out, because the shoulder guards were already down. She loved it, and transformed from a kid who had never been on roller coasters to one who LOVES them. I fully agree with just not telling kids everything about a ride so they don't get the chance to get worked up about it.

The Mrs./The Mom said...

Glad Charley is feeling better now. My son got sick the last day we were at Disney so I the "such child at Disney" all too well.

Heather said...

Sounds like you had a good trip overall, though I'm sorry Charley wasn't feeling well. Traveling with kids is never easy, but in my opinion so worth it. There's just going to be some ups and downs no matter what. Nevertheless, you were still in the happiest place on Earth with your favorite people!