Thursday, April 26, 2012

Disney Thoughts Part II

So I think this will be my last Disney post...until we start planning our next trip.  It's hard coming back from such a wonderful trip and I find myself wanting to look at the pictures frequently.  My dad has uploaded many of his now so I get to look at those too.  It really was a wonderful time and I'm already anticipating starting the planning again, but even that won't be for a while yet.  The plan right now is spring 2015 which means official planning starting sometime in summer 2014....so only 2 years away.  And yes, time does go fast so I'm sure it will be here again before I know it.  But with that, here are a few more topics I wanted to jot down:

Sleep Deprivation - I was severely sleep deprived the entire trip.  Not because our room wasn't quiet, the beds weren't comfortable, or any other reason.  I just couldn't sleep.  I would have a hard time getting to sleep and then some nights I would wake multiple times and then I would wake up way earlier than I planned.  I think a lot of it was excitement but I also know myself and I think a good bit of it was my anxiety thinking about all that I had planned for the following day.  I just wanted everything to work out perfectly and it was like I didn't let my brain turn off.  Thankfully, adrenaline took over and once I was up and started moving, I was fine.  I think I was running on fumes by the end of the trip and when we got back, my body felt tired for days.  It's no wonder I got sick.  Jason and the kids seemed to sleep just fine though so clearly it was just me.  I really expected to sleep great while we were there because of all the activity.   Maybe next time when I won't be as hell bent on getting certain things done.  Or maybe not, I do know myself well.

Sore and Blistered Feet - One thing I can say for Jason and I is that I'm glad we were in half decent shape to start this trip.  While we were tired at the end of the day we weren't achy or in pain as a result of all the walking because our bodies were used to the physical activity.  However the one thing that did plague Caroline and I was the skin on our feet.  Both of our tennis shoes got a little wet on the first day we were there and I think that set us up for irritated feet for a day or two.  My feet were burning most of the time on the second and third day but I powered through.  Caroline complained a LOT but I told her I had the same problem.  I think our skin was just irritated from being in sweaty shoes.  Thankfully by Tuesday that had mostly gone away but I really wish now that I had an alternative pair of walking shoes.  My mom had 2 pair of tennis shoes in addition to athletic type sandals, something I would definitely get for next time.  I only had one pair of tennis shoes and a pair of sandals that weren't really made for extreme amounts of walking.  I guess I figured one pair of tennis shoes would be enough.  The other thing that started plaguing me by day two was blisters on my toes.  They were pressure blisters as opposed to rubbing blisters and each day that went by they got a little worse.  I've never had that problem before, but again I powered through - I wasn't going to let something like that spoil my trip.  My brother and Kelly had similar problems so I was kind of glad it wasn't just me.  I'm sure having alternate shoes would have helped in this scenario too.

Things I'd Do Differently - While I say that there are things I would do differently, it's not to say we didn't do our trip well.  All of this is a result of hindsight and will prepare us for next time but it was still a fantastic trip:

- not giving into complaining kids
- getting to the parks early most mornings
- stay one extra day (if possible)
- plan for an even later flight to return home (our flight was at 5:30 which meant leaving at 2:30pm)
- plan for an earlier flight to arrive (we arrived at noon but it would have been great to arrive even earlier)
- bring extra walking shoes!
- have the kids carry their own backpack with their own stuff inside - Caroline could have done it this time but next time they will be older and Caroline and Bryce could definitely carry a small one
- spend a lot more time in Animal Kingdom! I feel like we (Jason, Caroline, Piper and I) didn't get get to see much of it since that was the day we gave into Caroline's complaining and left early.
- spend a little more time in the Magic Kingdom and really explore some of the little seen "highlights" that I've been reading about since we got back
- spend a late night riding rides in the Magic Kingdom (something that the ages of the kids kind of prevented this time around)
- not worry as much about making sure everything is perfect.  Once you're in The World, things have a way of working out if you've done all your planning ahead of time.

Things We Did Right - Even though there are some things we'll do differently, there are a lot of things we got very right!

- packing a first aid kit in my backpack!  If you have kids, especially kids that are a little accident prone, you must carry one with you.  Do you know how many times I would have had to go to get band aids in the parks if I hadn't had them with me?  Piper fell leaving our building the first day we were there and skinned both knees.  (You'll notice matching knee band aids in many of her photos.)  Then as we were literally getting onto the bus to go to the airport she fell again and re-skinned them.  She fell once in line for Triceratops Spin too and skinned on under where the band aid was from the day before too.  Bryce fell once while walking through Epcot and really boogered up his knee too.  I was also equipped with antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, and blister band aids.  (Can you tell my mom's a nurse?)  Do not go to a theme park without one!
- stroller for Piper - at 3 1/2, she really still needed the stroller and I'm glad we had it because she wouldn't have been able to handle all the walking.  I wish I'd already had an umbrella stroller that leaned back so she could have snoozed easier but I didn't want to spend the money on one that we'd virtually never use again.  So we made do with what we had and walked with it tilted back when she was asleep.
- having breakfast food in the room
- connected room with my parents
- traveling with my parents and Kevin/Kelly - this was helpful and just so special.  I can't say enough about how much sweeter this made our trip.  I truly love my parents and Kevin/Kelly and having this opportunity to spend such a special vacation with them was wonderful.  I even commented to my mom one night as we were walking into the Magic Kingdom how much it meant to me that we were all together and that we were sharing these memories.  Not that Jason, the kids and I wouldn't have had a good trip by ourselves, but going with my family was truly great.  I loved how much attention each of the kids got because there were so many attentive adults around enjoying the experience with them.  It also helped when someone was tired or grumpy too.  So a big thanks to my parents and Kevin and Kelly for experiencing the magic with us!
- Staying at Port Orleans, Riverside - This place was awesome.  We know that the resort was at nearly 100% capacity while we were there but you couldn't tell based on the "crowds" at our resort or the noise level.  It was sooooo quiet and we felt like we barely saw other people except at the pool or dining area.  The place was impeccably clean and well taken care of.  The room suited our needs perfectly.  I'm so glad we spent the extra money to book a moderate resort - I can pretty much guarantee that we'll be staying there the next time we go.  Some people in the guide books complain that it's too spread out or that the bus service was bad but we couldn't disagree more.  Maybe because we like walking too and fro and we liked that because it was spread out you weren't on top of anyone - but we also walk pretty fast and didn't think it was all that spread out.  We didn't really have any issues with buses and felt like Disney does an amazing job of getting all of their guests to the right places in a reasonable time.  Does that mean you need to plan accordingly?  Yes, but that's not a problem for us.  We were lucky enough to be in one of the newly renovated rooms though and I know that made our experience even better.  I faxed the resort our room request a few days before arrival and it must have worked because we got everything we wanted.  (We had noted our request on our initial reservation but I read that it doesn't hurt to do this because it's fresh in their minds when they assign rooms and if you ask very nicely and give reasons why you want certain things, they will try to help - e.g. connected rooms that were renovated - queen beds as opposed to double.)
- lunch sit down reservations
- allowing time for swimming
- getting Bryce into Jedi Training and Piper to see Snow White multiple times (We kept asking Caroline what she really wanted to do and all she could usually come up with was swimming - maybe we should just book a few days at a Holiday Inn with a pool and she would be happy?)

The Disney Spoil - After we got back, the kids and I drove by one of those traveling, parking lot carnivals.  I pointed it out to them and joked, "Hey look, it's Disney World!"  Of course they were not amused but it made me realize that, even though we have never patronized one of those fairs, Disney really does spoil all other amusement parks.  Even the good ones.  Once you experience Disney, you know what amusement parks are supposed to be like!   Disney has costumes for their cast members specific to certain rides or areas of the park.  The theming and attention to detail at every turn is truly amazing and you will not find a cleaner park.  Not places like Busch Gardens are bad, they just aren't Disney.

So with that, I think I'll close my Disney blog entries until the next trip.  Well, unless I think of something else or my dad or Kevin sends me a random photo worth posting.  :)

1 comment:

Katie said...

You did a great job planning, Erika! I am amazed that you can get there early & stay late with the kids though. Our kids would be miserable! You should travel with Binnie!!! You guys are on the same speed while we are the slow pokes. :) I guess I always know that we'll be back again one day, so I don't fret about doing everything....I just try to enjoy it however it happens.

I am so glad you guys had a fun trip with your family. You are lucky to go with your parents & brother/SIL too. Wow. I can't imagine having more adults than kids!!!!!

What wonderful memories! Not get started on your photo book. :) You'll probably be finished yours before I even start mine.