Walt Disney World in May – Getting Ready!

Our house is currently a whirlwind of activity!  Joseph has worked his last day of the Disney College Program and will be headed home today or tomorrow.  Just in time to relax for a week before we head back to Walt Disney World for our family vacation.  I’m packing, tweaking plans, and lining up house and pet-sitters.  No small feat, that, with the dog, cat, tortoise, and seven chickens (one of which is currently attempting to hatch nine eggs!).  But I digress…

Walt Disney World in May – Getting Ready!

I’m extra-excited about this vacation – all my favorite people in the world will be with me in my favorite vacation destination!  Raymond, Megan, Grant, Joseph and his girlfriend, Lyndsey – we’ll all be together for six whole days!  I’m amazed that after nearly 30 years of Disney vacations, I’ve managed to squeeze in quite a few new experiences while also including a bunch of our favorite restaurants and attractions.  I’m hoping that by going in May, before many schools have let out for the summer and also before Toy Story Land opens, means the crowds won’t be too bad.

What’s New?

I’ve ordered breakfast foods and bottled water from Garden Grocer.  A firm believer in NOT cooking on vacation, this is unprecedented!  Eggs, milk, bread, butter, and jelly.  I’m not going crazy here, but it will be nice to head out to the parks and not have eating breakfast as the first thing on the agenda every morning.  That Garden Grocer will deliver our order right to our resort is super convenient…don’t know why I haven’t done this before.

UP! A Great Bird Adventure – Normally, I would never book a FastPass for any show in any park, but this is new and I was looking for some attractions friendly to Megan’s advanced pregnancy condition.  Joseph’s seen it, but I haven’t gotten any feedback yet.  I’ve also got FastPasses for Festival of the Lion King and Epcot’s Living With the Land…I figure anything that will get Meg off her feet for a while is a good idea!  She’ll be missing out on all her favorite rides, but I still want her to have a fun time.  Germany Pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase

We’re going to Biergarten!  Finally!  I’ve made reservations before and cancelled them in favor of other options.  We love Epcot’s Germany pavilion so much, it’s hard to believe we have never eaten at Biergarten.  Buffet, live German music, beer – what’s not to love?

Enzo’s Hideaway“Inspired by Florida’s secretive “rum-running” past, this watering hole specializes in barrel-aged cocktails and has the largest selection of rums and scotches than any other restaurant at Disney Springs.” – Disney World Website

They had me at “largest selection of rums and scotches”.  The Italian menu also looks like something we would love.  Sometimes, it’s super difficult to try a new place when so many others are proven, tried-and-true favorites…but after an incredibly disappointing visit to a former favorite, Raglan Road, I’m more willing to throw caution to the wind.

Old Favorites…

‘Ohana and Boma are both places we love (for different reasons) and haven’t visited in a couple of years.  Both have enough delicious options and are all-you-care-to-eat, so nobody goes away hungry.

‘Ohana is fun and we’ve never had a bad meal there.  I’ve heard complaints about a decline in both food and service quality, but so far, we have not found that to be the case.  Our last visit was in 2016 (the Hurricane Matthew vacation) and we had a wonderful meal.Exterior Rooftops / Animal Kingdom Lodge

I’ve been especially craving Boma lately…that watermelon rind salad, the soups and stews, the setting at Animal Kingdom Lodge!  The plan is to arrive early, allowing time for a stroll around the savannah overlook and a cocktail at Victoria Falls…family traditions every time we eat at any of Animal Kingdom Lodge’s terrific restaurants.

Other restaurants in our lineup include Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd Skipper Canteen (Magic Kingdom), Rose & Crown (Epcot), and Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ (Disney Springs).

We’ll have time to spend some time at our resort pool, which is also highly unusual for our family.  The last time we did that was around 2006, I think.  We’ve got one morning where we don’t need to be anywhere until lunchtime and two afternoons with big gaps between our last FastPasses and dinner.  I’m excited to see how we actually end up using this free time.

At the end of the day, my hope is that our last family vacation before the baby arrives is a relaxing, fun, and happy one.  Of course, I’ll tell you all about it when we get home.

 

 

 

Vacation Preparation – WDW & 7 Months Pregnant

Vacation Preparation – WDW & 7 Months Pregnant

by Megan Edwards

I know it’s important, so I have secured permission for everything I’ve wanted to do from the first doctor’s visit until now.  I’ve run two 10K’s, two half-marathons and now?  I’m going to Walt Disney World!  It’s May and that means hot weather.  I’ll be just 7 weeks from having this baby.  Am I worried?  Nope, not a bit.  I feel fantastic and my doctor seems very happy with how easily and comfortably this gestating thing is going for me.  According to my last doctor’s visit, I’ve gained a total of 18 pounds with firm instructions to gain at least 5 or 6 more.  (Disney food, here I come!)  I’m doing everything I can think of to be ready for all the Disney vacation action since this is our last vacation before we become parents.  Here are the details…

Early Prep –

Keeping Fit – I’ve been walking outdoors and at the gym regularly in order to be ready for those Disney miles.  I’ve also tried to keep my weight gain under control so I won’t have anything unnecessary to carry around.  I’ve never had a problem with the walking involved at Walt Disney World and I am on my feet at work most of the day.  So far, I’ve not experienced any swelling in my feet or ankles…fingers crossed!  I honestly feel great and have lots of energy right now.

60 Days Out –

Flexible Touring Plans – Mom always takes care of our FastPasses and touring plans, but she’s kept me in the loop this time so I know there will be plenty of rest time built-in.  I feel sure I’ll spend at least a couple of afternoons relaxing at our resort so I can make it to the fireworks shows at Magic Kingdom and the Studios.  Been putting off purchasing a swimsuit…guess I’d better get on that.

Park Bag Adjustments – Two things I want to avoid are sunburn and indigestion.  Extra sunscreen and Tums are definitely coming with us to the parks.  Since my Disney Vera Bradley cross-body bag is probably out of the question (I can’t see it fitting on or around this baby bump), I’m going to carry a small, lightweight backpack.  I may see if I can put my stuff in Mom’s park bag if we won’t be out long or there’s no rain in the forecast.  I’ll also carry a water bottle to refill as necessary to stay hydrated.  I’ll need healthy snacks handy too.  Nobody needs to be exposed to me when I get hangry…it’s ugly.

Starting to Pack –

Clothes and Shoes – I’m pretty sure by the time the baby gets here, I’ll want to have a bonfire for my maternity clothes.  Let’s be honest – I want to look cute on vacation!  I also want to be comfortable while not spending too much on clothes I’ll only be wearing for a few months.  I’ve had some luck at a maternity store in our local mall by taking advantage of their buy-one-get-one 1/2 off sales.  I’ve shopped Target and Old Navy both in store and on line for shorts that fit well with plenty of room to spare.

I am worried about my feet (which I can still see, btw).  If I’m ever going to have swollen feet and ankles, I feel like the heat and humidity in Orlando will be the most likely triggers. I’ve heard wearing sneakers (versus sandals) helps minimize swelling, so I’m taking three different pairs. As a backup, if there’s rain in the forecast, I’ll carry some extra footwear like my favorite pair of Chacos in my park bag with my poncho. There’s nothing worse to me than wet shoes and socks, especially if you go into a cold restaurant for dinner.

None of those packing plans may matter.  If I have to, I’ll toss in some shorts and tee shirts and be done with it, because my #1, must-have item is a giant body pillow called a Snoogle.  This pillow is nothing short of a miracle and has allowed me to sleep comfortably since I got it for Christmas.  I sincerely hope Grant has some excess space in his suitcase for my shoes because I am not leaving this pillow at home.Hey there, moms!  If you’ve got any suggestions for me or if I’ve forgotten anything, please leave a comment.

Saying Farewell to Walt Disney World

It inevitably begins the day before the last day of our vacation.  I start to get anxious and wonder how the days went by so impossibly fast.  After all the planning and anticipation, vacation is practically over already!  Then I get a little depressed thinking, “Oh, NO! Tomorrow’s the last day!”.  And you know what?  I ruin the last day of vacation for myself.  This time?  I’m bound and determined not to let that happen.

Saying Farewell to Walt Disney World

Next month we’ll be spending a long-awaited five-and-a-half-day family vacation at Walt Disney World.  The dining’s been planned, the FastPasses have been booked and soon the packing will start.  Once we arrive, I know time will mysteriously and tragically speed up.  While it might not be possible to change the fact that time does indeed fly when we’re having fun, I’m planning to do everything possible to slow it down a little and make our last day every bit as happy as the first.

Over the past nearly five year existence of this blog, I’ve been dishing out advice like crazy…it’s time for me to listen to me.

My Strategy

Slow down – I plan so much stuff, it’s always full steam ahead all day, every day.  This time I’ve built-in big blocks of time to relax.  I’m convinced this will make our vacation seem to last longer.  As an added bonus, we’ll be less tired and Megan (who will be 7-months pregnant) will certainly benefit from less time on her feet.Epcot meeting Minnie

Stay in the moment – With tons of plans, comes a whole lot of looking ahead.  I love to take pictures, so maybe I can capture special moments while NOT thinking about what comes next.  In the past, when I’ve focused on being present and soaking up the magic of both being at Walt Disney World and also being surrounded by my most favorite people in the world, I seem to make better memories.  Who remembers what they were looking at on their cell phone at any particular time?  I certainly don’t.

Don’t over-plan – I always think the more we accomplish, the more fun we’ll have…as if we’ll never be back. That’s crazy and I’m not doing it again. I’ve deliberately only planned a few things for our last day and, because our plane leaves late on departure day, I’ve only planned one thing for that day.

Let someone else take the lead – To facilitate this, I’ve already emailed a spreadsheet of our itinerary to everyone.  I’m hoping Joseph will take the lead on Animal Kingdom days.  Thanks to the Disney College Program, he’s now more an expert than I could every hope to be.  I haven’t asked yet, but I’m sure Megan and Grant would be happy to take a day to lead the way.  I do love planning everything and giving everybody options on what we’ll do between FastPasses and where we can grab our Quick Service meals.  If I let go of the reins, though, maybe I’ll relax more.

I have a feeling that beating the last-day-blues will take practice, but I’m determined to conquer it!  My Grandma always said, “Quit while you still want more”.   While that seems to always be the case with every Disney vacation I take, it never feels like my choice to quit when it’s time to go home.  This time will hopefully be different with my new and improved strategy.

Do you have any advice for making the last Disney day more special?  I’d love to hear it.

 

 

FastPass Strategy – Six Adults Including One Expectant Mother

After gleefully anticipating and tackling many a FastPass-booking day, I’m feeling anxious about the one ahead!  Typically, we all ride the same rides and none are off the table.  This time’s different and if you’ve got advice, I’d love to hear it.

FastPass Strategy – Six Adults Including One Expectant Mother

This will be our last family vacation before we all change names.  Megan and Grant will become Mom and Dad, Joseph will become Uncle Joe (which always makes me think of Petticoat Junction – holler if you know what I mean!), and Raymond and I will turn into Grandma and Grandpa (or some variation thereof).  This trip is special and I want everyone to have a wonderful, memorable time.  Because Megan’s “in the family way”, she won’t be able to ride her usual favorites, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to miss out, right?  But I don’t want Megan hanging out the whole time waiting alone, either.  Thus the need for a new, special-circumstance FastPass plan.

I found and reviewed this list of rides Disney specifically says expectant mothers should not ride.  Of the ones left, only a few are possibly FastPass-worthy.  Let me know which one’s you’d choose.

Magic Kingdom:  Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan’s Flight, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, or It’s a Small World.  I feel like I can book FastPasses for us in groups of two or three for the Mountains and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, so Megan won’t wait alone.  The best thing about Magic Kingdom, under these circumstances, is that there are a ton of attractions that won’t need FastPasses at all.

Epcot:  Frozen Ever After one day, Soarin’ another.  If I book more than one FastPass, the others will be for Space Ship Earth and maybe Finding Nemo and Friends.  Typically, Raymond and I don’t ride Test Track or Mission Space, so we can keep Meg company while everyone else does those.  This park’s easy.

Animal Kingdom:  Kilimanjaro Safaris (Disney advises against this one, but we think it’ll be okay) and maybe the Festival of the Lion King.  This park is tough because almost all of our favorites are hard no’s for Megan.  Also challenging is how spread out everything is.  Maybe I can stagger our FastPasses for Flight of Passage (if I can even get any) in a way that would allow us to use Nomad Lounge for a home base and Megan can have a big rest and a snack while we take turns riding.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios:  Toy Story Midway Mania is probably the only thing Megan can ride that would need a FastPass.  If we rope-drop Rock’n’ Roller Coaster and make our first FastPass of the day for Tower of Terror, Megan would be on her own to shop or relax, but only for a very short time.  I hate to stagger FastPasses here because we’ll only be in this park for one morning.  I’m sure it’ll be back to being a full-day park for us in the future, but right now…no.

This is challenging and I know we’ll have a great time with or without FastPasses, but I want to save at least some queue-waiting time.  If you’ve been to Walt Disney World while expecting or traveled with someone who was, please let me know what you did.  For all the rest of you…speculate!  Any and all suggestions are welcome, I could use your help, please.  Thanks! – Lisa