Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ups & Downs of Disney

While at a glance, our vacation to Disney World seemed like THE!BEST!TRIP!EVER!, like any other trip--it has it's challenges. I do not, for one second, want to under emphasize how great this trip was, though. Because it WAS great. Overall, it was fantastic! Awesome! Amazing! Full of fun! Chocked full of memories! Magical! (Okay you get it? Good.)

For sure, Disney is a memory-making-trip, though. And what do I say about memory-making? Oh yea. It often takes work. For the parents, mainly.

So I thought about a few of the ups & downs in Disney. In fact, I may have jotted some down along the way--because this pregnant brain forgets things, like, all the time.


Naps. For us, they were necessary. I wish sometimes that my daughter would happily turn her head in a stroller and just fall asleep peacefully for a blissful 2 hour nap while we continued on enjoying the parks & what-not. But noooo. She's never really been a nap-on-the-go'er. So this part was a bit challenging.

Our days were often split in half by a nap. Sometimes, just Declan & I would return to the suite while the rest of my family kept on trucking enjoying rides & fun at the parks. Others times, we'd all return and they would go down and hang out by the pool while we had to (womp womp) stay inside while the little lady napped.

Honestly, I know you're thinking, why weren't you just like SCREW IT about naptime? It's vacation anyway! But the truth is, we had dinner reservations MOST nights, at fairly nice restaurants, and a completely un-napped Eme is, well, let's put it this way--not fun. It was for the sanity of all.

So the napping thing was a bit of a downer. Sometimes I'd feel a little left out that I couldn't continue on at the parks, or spend as much time at the pool*, etc---but that's the whole having-children-thing. Oh, responsibility. That.

Upside? Having a happy child for most of the day!

*A few times we took turns & went down to the pool, just one of us. Declan was great about me going down there during some naps while he stayed up in the rooms and napped or read a book in peace. So that was nice and much appreciated!

On that same note. Bedtime. While we definitely did not stick to normal bedtime hours, she still was so overly tired and exhausted by the end of the night, she was asleep much earlier than 'night life' at Disney is. Again, lots of parents keep their kiddies out way late in Disney, but as far as a 10pm firework show goes? Eme would have NEVER made it. Thankfully, my parents were happy to stay back at the room on two separate occasions so that Declan and I could go watch the fireworks in Magic Kingdom & do some rides/attractions, and also so we could have a little fun in Downtown Disney the other night. That time was much appreciated and also very cherished :)

Upside? Emeline was a rockstar sleeper there. I will say, I'm sure the sun, fun & exhaustion of all the activities helps, but she literally would wave us goodbye at bedtime, and basically rid us from her 'bedroom' (which was really a bathroom with a pack-n-play in it). She's used to sleeping with a fan for noise at home, so we put a white noise app on the iPad, stuck it under the door each night with a towel blocking out the rest of the light, allowing the adults to be up, noisy as ever, not even remotely waking her up. Which was great! I couldn't have been more pleased with her in the sleep arena, which can always be tricky while out of their element.

Fast Walkers. I was born into a family of fast walkers. That's just how we do. I get that, and it's fine. BUT OMG at 28 weeks pregnant, and the week when my sciatic nerve pain was acting up and my HIPS felt like they were breaking apart? It was torture! To be fair, it wasn't anyones fault. But being pregnant with literally the miles and miles and miles and miles of walking you do daily (with a stroller)? OUCH. I definitely went to bed with sore hips every night. My braxton hicks contractions were off the chain there.

My husband was great. Very, very, very attentive to my needs. Always offered to do anything & everything related to Eme-pushing her stroller, carrying her, taking charge on the bus trips, at restaurants, etc. If anything, I realized even more what a fabulous daddy (and husband) this man is on this trip.

Upside? My parents gave us the master bedroom in our suite (to help accomodate for Emeline & a place to sleep, etc), and it had a jacuzzi bathtub in it! And you bet your butt I used that thing, and multiple times. It was just what the doctor ordered for my achey pregnant hips & contracting belly. Also, another UP? In all of this, with all the miles and miles of walking in 90 degree weather? I got NO puffy ankles. I fully expected to look like an elephant with cankles the size of Africa, but nope! So yay.

No Manners, Yo. A few times, I admit, I was slightly disgusted by the lack of basic manners/chivalry while there--from strangers. If you stay within the Disney resorts, you use the bussing system to get to and from all parks/hotels, etc. Right? Right. A few times the busses were so full, and I was shocked and appalled that young, capable men didn't give up their seats for elderly, pregnant women (more than just me, but me included), or women with small babies/children. Being forced to stand and hang onto the bars, or hold their kids/babies while hanging onto the straps, etc.

One time we were on a bus heading somewhere, we stopped, and a huge group of people got on. The first people up & offering their seats to others were my husband, my brother and my dad. Like real gentleman should. Some things like that seem like basic human kindness to me, but apparently not to everyone.

Upside? The bus system is great. It's the easiest, most convenient, well-oiled machine when it comes to travelling around in Disney. Simple, simple, simple.

CHAOS. You know how here, in public places, people generally walk in the same direction as traffic? Stay to the right is a good rule of thumb. Yes? Not there. I actually think this is probably due to the very vast & diverse crowd (from lots of countries & such) that Disney draws. (Different countries drive on different sides of the road, etc.) So, basically? It felt like chaos sometimes navigating the parks, zig-zagging amongst people, especially with a stroller. It's not like there are big signs telling people the direction to walk to keep foot traffic smooth-flowin' ya know? It was just an observation, but definitely got a little stressful (for me) at times. Also, parking the stroller to do rides/attractions, unloading your kid & personal belongings a million times--gets old. But that's just how it works there and has to be done, obviously.

Upside? I loved the diversity. Loved, loved, loved it. So did Declan. Emeline met a little French girl her age, they had many-a-busride together, we stayed at the same resort & they would giggle, play peek-a-boo and sing the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse song together. It was ridiculously cute & so fun. (Just one example :))

Lovebugs. Do you know what they are? Well, we were apparently there in PRIME TIME MATING SEASON for these little creatures. They're two bugs, flying together, ATTACHED, having sex basically. Awesome, right? They don't bite--but holy cow, they swarm. Literally, at the opening of Magic Kingdom, where the little town square is? It was like the plague. They would be all over the air, flying, and then fly onto your hair, clothing, legs, stroller, your kids hair, their clothes, their legs, etc. ICK. Thankfully, once you got out of over-crowded areas, they'd lighten up a bit.

My brother may or may not have made many-a-jokes about the number of bugs having sex on him that day. It was funny at the time, swear.

Upside? None. Sorry. ;)

Pregnancy. I already touched on this a little, but I definitely missed out on a few things because of the occupancy of my uterus. Lucky for me, I went only about 6 years ago and did everything as a fully able-bodied person. But this time? Different story. I obviously did not get to do any water slides at the water park, no everest, no space mountain...nada.

Upside? There are about a million and one other 'rides' and attractions you CAN be a part of! There is always someone able to sit with the kid who is too small to do above-mentioned-rides and hold everyone's bags. Oh, and take photos.  And another upside is the cute babe inside me who is so totally worth missing out on those few things.


There you have it. Some of them, anyway :)

Happy Tuesday!

**ps: I've had a few people email me with questions about the trip, some of you are taking trips soon or in the near future. If you do have any specific questions, feel free to ask away--but make sure you have your email address attached when you comment so I can respond!


  1. Naps would be a must for us too, just very necessary. And? It gives you a chance to cool down from that hot FL heat, right? I'm so glad Eme was a trooper for you! Traveling with a toddler is never easy but we make the best of it!

  2. Sounds like you had a great time! I'm really hoping that Chloe is a master napper/sleeper when we go to Maine. That's part of the reason we switched her to a toddler bed now so that she will be comfortable sleeping outside of a crib for a week. So, we shall see.

  3. Disney rocks, end of story. The only downside to the buses I found when we went last year was that it was all pirate themed, and you only ever heard pirate music. It got a little old after, oh, FOUR DAYS.

    I just think there is something in the air there. C had never been his whole life and enjoyed the heck out of it at 36. So much in fact that he's already trying to plan a return trip. I am so excited to go eventually with our future baby.

  4. We head there in August and I'll be 32 weeks pregnant with an 18 month old...thanks for your tips, I totally appreciate it!

  5. Sounds like you had a fun time :) I tend to catch public transport alot (being a student and not having my licence) and it drives me mad when people don't get up for elderly people, people with young kids and pregnant women! I actually had a boy that was in high school stand up and offered me his seat which was really nice :)

  6. When we moved to orlando last year the Mating season for love bugs was August and. May and we moved in August I almost passed out at all the bugs
    Also thank the lord for naps cause this small child will not make it thr rest of the day without his naps

  7. I feel like I just went to Disney World reading this post... Love it! :)

  8. Naps are an absolute must in this house as well. On our beach trip, we also divided the day because the girl must nap, or like y'all, dinner would be a disaster.

    The no manners thing? I would have been the chick standing glaring and staring at those boys. Or said something. Yea. I don't do well with that. Rude.

    The lovebugs are pretty annoying. Especially all splattered across the front of one's car.

  9. Girl, you know I'm obsessed with Disney World and I try to go every year. Twice a year if I'm lucky! Still, I had no idea the love bugs came out in May. I know for sure they do in September, too. Horny little buggers.

    I actually LIKE the idea of the midday nap/break, even for adults because it breaks up the day, gets you out of the hottest sun and biggest crowds, and gives you staying power for the late night stuff. I'm a night owl, so I LOVE the late night stuff. I can easily hang at MK until 2am on EMH night!

    When I took Aidan when he was 2, that midday break was a welcome necessity.

    Lack of manners there is a pain. Everyone has paid a lot of money and they feel entitled to HAVE AN EXPERIENCE so you really have to watch out for those kinds. Adam and I have been so many times and will go many more, so it's easy for me to forget that for some people, this is IT. Their only time ever, right? So I try to keep that in mind when I see people being overly aggressive, etc. However, there's no excuse not to have manners.

  10. When I read the blog title I was thinking, "Downside to Disney?" But I found myself nodding as I read. You were so brave to do this trip pregnant with a toddler and I'm sure some day Eme will realize this and thank you.

  11. Honestly, some of this is the exact reason I want to wait to take Noah. That and I'm pretty sure he has no idea who Mickey Mouse is. :) He's just not interested in Disney yet.

    I'm amazed you never got swollen. That definitely would've done it for me. I was born into a family of fast walkers too. I don't even realize it until Brad mentions how we're not in a race when we're out at the mall or something. lol.

  12. I'm so glad you had a good time, even with the downsides. It makes me wonder how we'll handle our annual Disney trips when we have little ones in tow.

  13. One of the tips for getting around Disney or any parks for that matter
    is to go in the opposite direction
    since most people would go to the right it is suggested to go to the left when entering. It shortens the lines, that way everyone is not all bottlenecked at the first

  14. I've never even heard of a lovebug! Ewww.

  15. Thanks for your update on the realities of the trip. My husband has been dying to know when we can take our daughter (who is now 2) to Disneyland. After seeing your first post I was thinking I might be wrong for telling him it was too early. But now that I see how you made it work with help and with extra space for her to sleep I can understand why it went so well for you. For just our little family and a regular hotel room, now is probably too early.

  16. Thanks for this, I am pregnant with our first child and we are planning a trip with my family after the baby is born, so this is all good to know!


    The lovebug thing is hysterical to me. I mean, I totally appreciate (and relate) to the rest of this, but the lovebugs comment is classic.

    Being raised in Central Florida, it always amuses me when people are so disgusted by them. We are just so used to them, that as annoying as they are, they really don't phase us. We just know that during lovebug season, it's time to bring out the dryer sheets on our cars (dead lovebugs will eat through the paint and have to be removed... wet dryer sheets take them off and help protect the paint against the next round).

    Hysterical, lol.

  18. Lovebugs...yuck!

    But thank you for posting all this! I've been to Disney a handful of times, but go back next month, and this will be my first time there while pregnant! I know it'll make it very different, so I was interested to hear your take on it. Thanks for sharing!