Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Top 5 Lessons Learned: The Hard Way :(

A Disney Parks vacation is the most magical family vacation, in my opinion. Nothing whisks you away from reality quite like Disney does. Most of our trips have been filled top to bottom with amazing memories and so much fun. BUT...... we have experienced unpleasantness, too. You can't always escape it or even prevent it, but you can be prepared.

Here are my top 5 lessons learned the hard way :( Hopefully you can learn from them.

#1- Rain

It rains in Florida. Sometimes just a little. Sometimes a lot. It depends on the time of year. But if you're traveling in rainy/hurricane season, which can be anywhere from June to November, you need to be prepared for inclement weather. I always knew it could happen, so we always brought dollar store ponchos. Those teenie tiny clear plastic things that are almost as thin as Saran wrap. I'm sure you know where this is going. Some years they were fine, but not when there is a torrential downpour. If you will be traveling during rainy season, please invest in some good ponchos or rain coats. Something with some weight to it. Even better if the sleeves are gathered at the wrist so they can't blow all around. And bring some kind of footwear that does not need to be worn with socks. Water shoes, good flip flops, Crocs, Keens, etc.. Even if you just throw them in your bag or stroller and change into them only if necessary. It is NOT fun to walk through unavoidable deep puddles in sneakers and socks.

#2- Sick Kids

Many trips are great and no one gets sick. But it's happened-minor things to almost as bad as you can imagine. Last trip I woke in the middle of the night to my daughter scrambling to get to the bathroom to vomit. A few years ago my son's breathing issues became so bad due to the high Florida humidity that he had to be taken to Celebration hospital, and then transferred to Orlando hospital. We spent the first 3 days of our trip there. My only advice is to take preventative measures ahead of time and load up on Vitamin D, Airborne, etc. --but I'm still not convinced that really works--and have a plan just in case. When my daughter was sick, my mother in law volunteered to stay with her so we could visit Magic Kingdom with my parents that day, who were only at Disney with us for 2 days. My husband had planned on doing it until she offered. When my son was hospitalized, we rented a car and took turns staying with him while the other took our daughter to the parks. Pack every med you might need, even though they do sell most common medications at the resort gift shop.

It makes me so sad to look at this awesome pic and my daughter and mother in law are not in it :(

He looks pretty happy in his hospital bed :) He had some good moments, but much of the experience he was miserable :(

Here he is the day he was released from the hospital. We headed to Magic Kingdom and he had a great time!

#3- Heat

It's unavoidable. It's hot in Florida, especially if you travel between April and October. All you can do is be prepared. Dress in light fabrics and colors. I prefer skirts and sundresses in the summer months. Bring sunglasses and hats. Purchase personal misting fans at home or buy the ones they sell in the parks. Take breaks. Especially midday. If you don't want to leave the park to go back to the resort and swim, do some indoor attractions. It's a great chance to do those things you might have skipped otherwise. Get a Fastpass for water attractions midday- like Splash Mountain and Kali River Rapids. Stay hydrated. The kids WILL whine about the heat, so prepare yourself for that too! Listen to your body and don't overdo it.

#4- Sore Feet

Another inevitable thing. They say the average person walks an average of 10 miles per day! That's a lot of time on your feet! Not counting the standing in place, which is worse in my opinion. My solution is to wear a different pair of shoes every day. I don't mean you need a different pair for each day of the trip, but at least 2...3 is better. Never wear the same pair two days in a row. And decent shoes. Not cheap flip flops. I actually have fabulous flips flops from Teva and Clarks, and those are great. I love my Crocs sandals and ballet flats. Hubby swears by his Keen sandals. Bring a stroller for the kids, even if they are way too old for it. Kids don't have the stamina we do, and severely lack the ability to keep their complaints to themselves. It's better for everyone to have it. I have no shame in admitting I brought a double stroller to accommodate both kids until my daughter was 9-1/2. (She has always been very petite) And our last trip with the stroller for my son was when he was 5-1/2. (He was 6-1/2 our last trip and we didn't take it, but he did pretty good. My daughter is definitely more of a complainer! LOL!)

#5- Cold

Believe it or not, Florida can get downright cold, especially if you're traveling between December and February. One trip, there was unusually cold weather the entire winter and it got downright chilly. Lows in the 30's! Even as life-long north-easterners, we weren't quite prepared, and had not brought anything heavier than sweatshirts. I remember the coldest day that week...we all had on two long sleeve tees, two sweatshirts- one with a hood- and the kids were in the double side by side stroller with a fleece blanket tucked around them. I think the Photopass photographer thought we were completely nuts because we shed our sweatshirts for one photo. We all had homemade matching shirts on and I wanted at least one picture of them! We bought hats and gloves. We had to. So my advice for that time of year- bring coats and hats and gloves. Bring long johns! Bring an extra suitcase if you need to. You might regret not doing it.

The one pic we all took our sweatshirts off to take. It looks so deceiving. Sunny, but very very cold!

So there ya have it. My top five lessons. Hope they help you!!

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