Highlights of the Best/Worst Vacation Ever

At the last minute, my husband and I put together a short trip over his spring break to Disney World.  It was the first time at Disney for the kids.

Here are some highlights from our trip:

*I’m glad that we paid for long-term parking at a hotel near the airport.  The shuttle was much more convenient than having to figure out what lots were open at O’Hare and do a combination of walk/tram/shuttle to get to and from our terminal.

*The kids really enjoyed their first flight on an airplane.  I had Piper and Katie in one row with me while Rick and Bailey sat behind us.  The air pressure changes didn’t cause any problems.  My biggest issues were Piper and Katie fighting over the tray and me trying to bend over to pick stuff off the floor of the airplane.  Rick’s biggest issue was Bailey talking the ear off of the stranger in the seat next to her and telling every embarrassing detail of our lives.

*The kids thought all of the shuttle buses we had to ride were just as much fun as the airplane.  They also thought it was super cool and fancy when we ordered room service at midnight after we arrived in Orlando.

*We went to Disney Hollywood Studios first and quickly learned the importance of the Fast Pass.  We had only planned on spending about three hours at that park; the stand-by line for the Toy Story Mania ride was an estimated hour wait and the Fast Passes were scheduling people to come back for the “no-wait” line in four hours.  Needless to say that was one ride we missed.

*Disney really needs to expand the Fast Pass  option to the pavilions where you can meet characters.  Those lines were the longest, and those are probably more popular than many of the rides.

*With the idea that we were going to Florida, which should be at least slightly warmer than Chicago, I had packed everyone shorts and t-shirts.  At first we thought the chill would pass as the day progressed, but it was colder in Florida on Wednesday and Thursday than it was back home.  Thankfully, I had at least packed hoodies in the diaper bag/back pack in case of rain showers so we didn’t completely freeze.

*The girls loved the Magic Kingdom.  Piper loved the carousel and the Jungle Cruise.  Bailey loved the Pirates of the Caribbean.  They both liked the tea cups and the Transit Authority.

*It didn’t take us long to realize that getting around Disney with a stroller is horrible.  You have to park the stroller before you get on almost any attraction then remember to go get it when you’re done.  If we had planned this trip further ahead I probably would have invested in some sort of back-carry sling for Katie and left the stroller at home.

*Piper started drifting off in Rick’s lap as we waited for the big nightly parade in the Magic Kingdom.  She was pretty surly when he tried to wake her up, but I think she was glad we risked our safety (because she has violent tendencies) for her to see it.

*The girls were a little concerned about Spaceship Earth at Epcot, but once we rode on it they thought the video at the end where they place your head on cartoon bodies was really cool.  That was a neat new update since the last time Rick and I were there.

*I was less impressed with the changes to The Seas and Imagination, but the kids really liked Imagination or as they called it “the dragon ride”.

*Epcot has this really cool thing at each of the world showcases where kids can decorate a mask on a stick with Sharpies and then they can collect little paper charms and passport stamps on their mask from every country.  It was a neat opportunity to meet people from each represented country as well as get a free souvenir.

*We tried to keep the souvenirs simple.  The two older girls each got mouse ears and a t-shirt.  Piper picked up a snow globe for her collection and a little Disney airplane.  Bailey snagged a small Tinkerbell figurine and a Japanese fan.  Katie got a plastic Mickey Mouse.

*Traveling on a Friday in Lent is very hard, especially with picky eaters.   It wasn’t until later that we learned that there was a meat abstinence exemption that Friday for the Solemnity of St. Joseph.  I had absolutely no idea.  All I know is that we better get a few years shaved off in purgatory.

*We had turned the heater in our house completely off because the weather was fairly warm in Chicago when we left and it was a short trip.  However, there was a freak weather shift, and it was 32 degrees and snowing when we got home.  Thanks to the temperature drop our house was a very chilly 60 degrees.  Thank goodness for the fireplace and the space heater.

*I have lots of mixed feelings about our trip.  Because it was planned on such short notice, it ended up being very stressful.  We had limited opportunities for sleep, and I didn’t sleep well.  All of the speed walking while lugging a 10-pound backpack, 12 pounds of pregnancy weight, and sometimes a 20-pound toddler made every muscle in my body ache for two days.  On the flip side, it was wonderful to experience Disney through the eyes of my children.  We got lots of great pictures and made lots of great memories.  That’s why I can’t decide if it was the best or worst vacation ever.

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