Enter the Virus – Our First Disney Trip

We took a trip to Walt Disney World last week. We arrived on Sunday at noon. We boarded our Magical Express to the Art of Animation. It was all VERY exciting. It was our 1st Visit – they gave the kids these buttons :-)

The hotel was really amazing and I’ll review it for you later. We found our stroller and groceries just where the company said it would be. We went up to our room in the Mater building, yep a CARS themed suite! Had a bite to eat and then off we went to Epcot.

Everything was going great!!

We spent about 5 hours at Epcot that night arriving home for gelato and bedtime. The baby was pretty cranky but everyone picked out a space to sleep and we snuggled in.

I woke up first and got everyone up, almost everyone. My big boy was soundly asleep. Very soundly. I kept looking at him as we all walked by him noisily. He didn’t budge. I went over to him and could clearly see that his cheeks were bright red. I felt his face. He was burning up.

Enter the virus.

A few days before we left for vacation I took the baby to the pediatrician for a possible ear infection. Nothing showed up in his ears or in a rapid strep. But the day before we left he came down with a 102 fever. I hightailed it to urgent care. He needed to fly!  She said he had some fluid in his left ear and gave him a script and cleared him to fly. He gave no real indication that his ears hurt on the flight, but he was becoming more and more congested, and whiny. (see Day 1. Sigh.)

After I was able to rouse the big boy, I took his temp  – 103. He was mopey and coughing. The baby was wheezing so we used his nebulizer – he promptly vomited. Are you effing kidding me? This can’t be happening. The baby spent the next half an hour coughing and gagging. The big boy was on the couch practically motionless.

My mind was racing in so many different directions. What of the day? What should we do? Should we do nothing. Should I take them to the doctor? What doctor? I had only built in one day off. I wasn’t sure it would be prudent to use it on the first day! But LOOK AT THEM! OMG.

So there were are Monday morning of our week long Disney vacation. Our first vacation as a family, a proper vacation, an expensive vacation. There we were – one child in a heap on the couch and one puking in a recycle bucket.

This virus nearly ruined our whole vacation. It ravaged my oldest son, made the baby a crying lethargic mess, and it beat me down to utter exhaustion and tears.

I say nearly because as far as the kids are concerned they had fun. They don’t know what they missed. They don’t understand you can spend more than 3-4 hours at a park in one day. They’re kids – they had fun. But because I didn’t tell them we were going and I planned the entire trip while my husband worked, I had all the expectations for everyone built up in me. It was going to be the BEST TRIP EVER! (please say that like Rapunzel as she left the tower for the first time ;-)

When it started going all to hell I could feel myself slowly losing my shit. I kept it together away from the kids. But all that expectation is a hard thing to let go of. It hurts a bit. There were things we wouldn’t get to do. Things I wouldn’t even tell them existed here. I started canceling dinner reservations and character breakfasts. Hoping we just be able to get to the parks. Hoping we’d just get out of the hotel room.


Nana took the well one out of the sick room for a walk. I gave meds and waited. Offered food and waited. After and hour or so they both began to perk up, a bit. Maybe we should venture out…

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Day 1 Epcot -princesses, a turtle, and the beginning of Screamfest 2013

After a successful first plane ride we had arrived at Epcot! It was also our 1st Visit to Disney World! I was so excited for us, for them.


Epcot Family

The big boy was duly impressed with the giant sphere that greeted us and we went straight inside it to Spaceship Earth. He has just started to get into history and this was an awesome crash course in the coolest form available – a Disney ride!

After travelling through time, we went over to get some Fastpasses for Soarin’. Our very first setback was upon us. Our return time was 8:30, we were bummed. I was pretty sure we’d never make it since the kids had been up at 5:30. We soldiered on and found ourselves on Living with the Land. The first bit was sort of ho- hum but the kids really enjoyed seeing the greenhouses and all the different plants.

We then headed off to our dinner reservation at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall to see all the princesses at once for my little princess. I couldn’t get us in to Cinderella’s Table at the Magic Kingdom with only a couple of months lead time. If you’re even considering going to Disney and want to spend a whole lot of money seeing the princesses in the Castle – BOOK EARLY. Akershus was still a lot of coin (thank you Nana!), but dining with Cinderelly at the MK is even more! We figured we would catch up with her the next day :-)

To everyone’s delight Belle, Jasmine, Aurora, Snow White, and Ariel were in da house! My little girl was SO happy. She eagerly waited for each princess with her autograph book in hand. Big boy was into it as well politely asking them for their autographs.

Princess Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
Baby boy on the other had was yelling and crying as soon as we sat down. Rather, as soon as I tried to sit him down. He stiff legged me and started screaming and didn’t stop for about a half hour. How is it that people so little can suddenly have super human strength?

He wouldn’t eat anything. He wouldn’t drink anything. He wouldn’t DO anything – other than yell.This would be the beginning of what we now call Screamfest 2013. Every time we tried to set him down to eat he would yell. Put him in the stoller? Scream. Have Daddy hold you? Cry. Nana? Shout. Mama? Whimper -ok that’s good. OMG.

Did his ears hurt from the plane? Was he getting even more sick? He yelled at Nana for a while as we went on Maelstrom.  We put him in the stroller and he settled a bit as we walked over to The Seas for the Nemo ride.

At this point we realized we weren’t going to make it to stay up for Soarin’. Wanting to do one more thing we almost walked away from Turtle Talk with Crush. So glad we didn’t! If you have kids under 6, or heck, even over – Go! It’s cute and funny and it lifted all of our spirits a bit. Crush zeroed in on our little family and it’s a really great memory for all of us. Duuuuuuude!

We headed home eager to get a good night’s sleep for our big day at the Magic Kingdom!

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Sick Kids at Disney is a First World Problem

A quick look through the World news anywhere on the internet will tell you that having sick kids at Disney doesn’t really rank up there with the kinds of serious problems facing the world.

As you read my posts over the next week or two realize that I know this. I understand that I am whining and complaing that my otherwise healthy kids got to take a trip to Disney World and didn’t feeeeeeeeel good. I get it. These are first world problems.

I have traveled around the world and have seen first hand the way that some children live, and die. I know that I have a good life and so do my children.

The whining comes from having saved for a couple of years for this, watching my kids not really enjoy it, and wondering if we should have spent the money. However, we can make more money, they did have some fun, and in the end I do think it was a good decision.

The bottom line is the fact that for us, this was probably a once in a childhood trip and I feel sad about that. But not so sad that I don’t see the ridiculousness of it all. I will be telling our story. That’s it. There are lots of stories to tell.

Like this one… or this one…



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Surprise! We’re going to Disney.

Big boy’s reaction is priceless and just what I wanted.

S is cold and not awake and isn’t quite clear until we get in the car what is happening.

I should have taken T’s reaction as a warning of things to come…


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Our Maiden Voyage – 5 tips for flying with kids for the first time

My kids had never been on a plane before our recent trip to Disney. I wanted to prepare them and myself as best I could for their maiden voyage.

The tricky part was that Disney was a surprise. So I couldn’t just sit them down to have a talk about how to behave on a plane and what to expect without the 6 year old getting suspicious. I crowd sourced on my Facebook page and got some great advice.

 First time plane Disney

1. Activities

I bought NEW activities for them. Yep, I all capped the NEW, because that’s important. The same old same old isn’t gonna cut it. Triangle shaped crayons not round (they won’t roll away – brilliant!). “Magic” Marker sets, meaning the marker magically writes on special paper. No mess ;-) And of course electronics. I have what we call a ‘kid phone” which is an old iPhone, an iPad, and my laptop. I got a headphone splitter so two could watch a movie on the computer while someone was using the iPad.

First time plane Disney
2. Snacks

All of their favorites, plus gum and lollies for pressure changes. Surprises work well here too. Annie’s Gummies were a huge hit! Juice boxes will make it through security if you just tell them you have them.

3. Prepare them, prepare yourself
I prepared them in generalities because of the whole surprise thang. If we saw a plane in the sky we talked about how it flew what kinds of noises it made how many people it held etc. I prepared myself by asking for advice and reading lots of great blog posts about it. I also made sure I knew our particular airlines’ policies and those of the TSA so the were no surprises. We told the kids before we left the house that we were going to Disney, so we had some time there too.

4. Supplies
Think diaper bag on steroids. I had a change of clothes for everyone. More snacks and activities. Diapers, wipes, meds, tissues. Really anything you can think of that you might need. You might need different things than I did.

First time plane Disney
5. Don’t let ’em see you sweat

This was most important of all I think. if you’re scared or nervous or anxious  – they can tell. Those little buggers can smell fear. I’ve done a fair amount of flying and it doesn’t particularly stress me out. I don’t love it, but I don’t mind it.

We had uneventful flights both ways – thank goodness. Except for the last ten minutes of the flight back when the baby screamed  “I WANT MY BUCKLE OFF!”  That was super fun and not at all embarrassing. Apart from that we’re ready to go again – anytime!

What advice would you add?

First time plane Disney



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DIY Autograph Books for Disney World

I am not so crafty, but I try. Sometimes I do it because my kids are begging me. Sometimes I do it because the occasion demands it.

Other times, like this one, I just want something special and different. Autograph books for Walt Disney World.

I just wanted something personalized, small enough for their little hands, and inexpensive.  I didn’t want them to have the very same, kind of cheap feeling, one that everyone else had. I wanted a lot of pages, strong pages that wouldn’t bleed through. I searched for a couple days online and finally settled on these.


I ordered them through Dick Blick Art Materials. They are a simple 6″ x 4″ sketchbook. It comes in black and kraft. They were $5.13 each. I got some stickers and scrapbooking notions from Michaels and, well, all done…

Autographbook for Disney
Mirage Sketchbook Kraft 6″ x 4″

I really love them. The kids will further personalize them as a craft on the plane with some stickers. When we come home I’ll get some photos printed and stick them in there. There’s even enough pages for me to make some notes for them about the special things they saw and did on their trip. And of course a special love note on the inside back cover from mama to each of them.

I also got them each a clickable sharpie in their favorite colors. They are big enough for the characters to hold and will show up really well on the pages.

So it wasn’t like a real craft, really? But I made it for them, and that’s what matters to me.

Seriously? SO excited.

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