After being gone for a week, I was looking forward to a nice quite weekend at home. Sadly, I woke up very sick last night, so today was not nearly as productive as I was hoping it would be. Unless you consider a day sitting in bed hardly able to sit up productive, I do not. . .
On a happier note, here is a recap of our lesson's learned from our first family vacation.
Disney Love - We like Disney, don't get me wrong, it was a magical and merry experience and tons of fun, but neither of us are the type to wear a Mickey shirt, or too furnish our house with Disney art work. So, it may not come as a surprise that we actually ended up enjoying some of our days out of the park better. The Animal Kingdom Lodge had so many activities available throughout the day, it would have been easy for us to stay there a couple days and happily just hang out at the hotel. As we think about a future visit, we'll definitely plan days where we hang out at the hotel.
SeaWorld - While I was worried that the childhood love of SeaWorld would not be as magical for my chief food critic when we got there, I was proven wrong. In many ways, I think our day at SeaWorld was the favorite part of the trip. We all enjoyed watching the shows and baby Shamu who was too small to even splash the audience was adorable.
Park Food - While I packed a lot of snacks for the kiddies, I didn't pack a ton of food for us. After experiencing the park food, and even some of the hotel food for that matter, I fully plan on heading to a Publix grocery store next time. I did find out after we returned that there is a grocery store that will deliver to the hotels as well, but assuming we rent a car in the future, we'll probably just go and stock up on a case of water, some bread, peanut butter and some fruit. Not all food is bad, the really high end restaurants are good. But, any reasonably priced food was inedible.
Flying with children - We were pleasantly surprised by how well the kids did with flying. The Little Guy slept most of both ways, he was antsy prior to take off, but he sat on his Daddy's lap both times and ended up passing out, much to the pleasure of the people sitting next to him. I sat with Little Girl both times, and considering both of us have a tendency to get motion sick, I was worried. Turns out, she was fine, and did a great job entertaining herself with her coloring books and stickers while I felt horrible. By the last 30 minutes of the flight home, she was over it and ready to get out of the plane, but, all in all, she still behaved pretty good considering how much she wanted to get out.
Car - Aside from hating riding the Disney buses (too crowded, took forever and were very jerky), and desperately needing to get off-site for alternative food options, a car was a must for us. I admit, we're picky about what we eat, normal "park food" such as hot dogs and fries aren't our thing. So, if you are willing to eat that type of food, then you could do fine without a car.
Kitchen - I cook a lot at home, that's why I started this blog. And while I have been busy lately and haven't posted a ton of new recipes, it definitely wore on me not being in complete control of my food for a full week. If you enjoy cooking, I would suggest looking for an hotel or resort with a kitchen available. This is something I will be seriously considering when we return.
The more hands, the better - Our kids handled the trip exceptionally well. I was preparing for the worst, meltdowns, refusing to sleep, starving children. . .luckily we didn't have any of these. We did however, miss a lot, as children have to constantly get our of their strollers, and some times, they have to get out of their stroller, a long distance from the attraction. When a little one was sleeping, we did a lot of walking, but not much doing as we didn't want to disrupt them. If we had an extra set of hands (more adults than kids), we could have rotated more with who got to do what.
Trust maternal instinct - I had read that "It's a Bug Life" could be scary for young kids. Yet, I let myself get talked into taking the kids to the 3-D experience. End result, within 90 seconds of the start, both kids were tucking their heads into my chest, screaming. Eventually I left with both of them when I determined there would be no calming down while in the theater. It took 10 more minutes to have them completely calmed down once outside. And, to my surprise, mine weren't the the only ones, I heard other angry parents leaving with crying children, complaining about not having a warning for young children. That experience alone wouldn't have been the end of the world, if it didn't cause them to be gun-shy about every other attraction. The worst, was when we told the Little Girl we would be going on The Little Mermaid ride and her response was, "Is she scary?" (lip quivering and eyes very scared looking). We assured her Ariel isn't scary, but neither kid had an appetite for anything the least bit frightening after the Bugs Life incident.
Ok, that took all the energy I had built up, back to bed, hopefully I feel better tomorrow.