familyholidaystravel

Thanksgiving Blessings

We made it home Saturday from a 4 day trip to Surfside Beach for Thanksgiving! My parents now own a condo down there so when they invited us to join then for the holiday there was no way we were going to say no! It also ended up that Hubs’ family was also going to celebrate at the beach and they were less than 5 miles away! It was so much fun to have BOTH families nearby!

 

The blessing in disguise of the trip was having no data service. If you were lucky, you could get phone calls but once you tried email, Facebook, or twitter you got nada which was not dependent on which provider you had so it was nice that we all got to be unplugged for a couple days! I had wanted to put up a couple more posts last week but in the end, I will take the time with family! We have another road trip coming up on Thursday to my parents in VA! Not looking forward to more time in the car (so I’m asking for tips on my Facebook page!) but I am looking forward to seeing my extended family! It is the only time that the 3 of us kids will be able to be together for the holidays! I will also get to see my grandparents (A’s great grandparents!) who I have not seen for over a year!

 

Here are a couple shots from our wonderful time at the shore:

Family Thanksgiving Surfside Beach

Did anyone else adventure to another state or town for the  holidays?

chronic illnessfamilytravel

5 More Lessons I Learned From Traveling To Disney World With Chronic Illness

5 More Things About Traveling To Disney World With Chronic Illness
You can click here to see my first post on our Disney vacation!

Here are a couple more lessons I picked up on our trip about traveling to Disney World with chronic illness!

6- Try to spread your days out if possible, especially if you are a spoonie or have a small child. We opted to get 6 day passes versus 4 day passes for several reasons – 1) the cost really wasn’t that different (when we purchases our tickets there was only a $25 price difference between the 4 day & 6 day passes) and 2) this allowed us to freedom of spending as much or as little time in the parks as we wanted. Because we knew we had 6 days, we didn’t feel the pressure to cram seeing all of the Magic Kingdom in one day. It also gave us the freedom of having shorter days if we felt like it (most days we were on the shuttle to the parks at 9 and home by 2:30 except for Animal Kingdom). I know that I could not have handled full days and I definitely know Abby would have been worn out. She was knocked out by the time we left every day! Plus it gave us the freedom to enjoy the relaxing pool and lazy river in the evening at the resort!

 

7- Make time for the non-ride attractions. Being post-op and having a toddler, we didn’t have the option of the big rides this go-round (thinking Everest, Space Mountain, etc) so it encouraged us to explore some of the other options the parks have to offer. If you go to the Animal Kingdom, you MUST  go see the Lion King & Finding Nemo shows! Fantastic! Animal Kingdom also offers a lot of walking trails which I have heard are definitely worth it (we didn’t do the trails since I wanted to give my poor husband a break pushing me around). One of Abby’s favorite places was the Boneyard at Animal Kingdom which combined two of her favorite things: slides and dinosaurs. How can you not smile when you see this face?

Animal Kingdom Boneyard Slide

Another favorite at the Magic Kingdom was Mickey’s Philharmonic! She actually cried when it was over!

 

 8- Pass over the camera. Since I was blessed with my new DSLR, I tend to find myself doing most of the picture taking. Not that I have mastered the camera by any stretch of the imagination but I am more comfortable with it than John so I think that’s why I tend to be the one behind the camera. It showed on this vacation. We’ve got loads of the most wonderful pictures of Abby and Daddy, as well as pictures with my family but unfortunately I’ve found myself in very few of them which is a bit sad! So definitely remember to pass the camera every so often! P.S. The cast members of Disney are awesome at taking pictures using your camera at Character Spots (as well as the professional putting images on your PhotoPass).

9- Enjoy the wonder through the eyes of your child! It has been a long time since I had been to Disney (1988 to be exact) so quite a bit had changed and it was almost like it was a first-time trip for myself but watching Abby take in all the sights was amazing! I had to remind myself of this the night of the Electric Parade. I really wanted to catch some good shots but I couldn’t get the settings right on my camera and the longer I fooled with it, the more I realized how much I was missing! So instead I put the camera aside and enjoyed watching Abby watch the parade – something I would have missed if I had stayed behind the camera!  I loved watching her eyes light up when she got to meet Tiana in person or how big she smiled as she gave Buzz Lightyear a high-five. I loved watching the wonder as we watched the puppeteers bring Finding Nemo to life. I loved how excited she got to ride Dumbo or the Triceratop Spin or even the PeopleMover (which she thought was a big deal).

Disney Dumbo People Mover Dinosaur

10- Finally – enjoy yourself! Before this trip I never understood why families would choose to go back to Disney year after year. I mean, don’t you want variety?! Now I know why. There is something truly magical about Disney and there is just something about it that brings family together. John is not a huge theme park roller-coaster guy but he even loves Disney. My parents are huge Disney fans and love going just the two of them (of course they absolutely loved having both grandbabies on this trip!). Even with all of the obstacles (pain, being post-op, etc) I had the most wonderful time and am already counting down to our next trip! I am sure I will have even more to share about traveling to Disney World with chronic illness each time we go! I don’t mind becoming a professional 🙂 Disney 2013 here we come!

 

familytravel

Preparing for Your Trip To Disney World

Preparing For Your Trip To Disney World

Its no secret that I am a planner at heart. I love checklists and achieve boatloads of internal satisfaction in crossing items off a to-do list! I’ve described myself as “almost type-A” (which my former counselor got a kick out of). Planning for vacation is no different! Especially now that it will come 4 weeks after a pretty major surgery so I’m trying to get prepared early.

In my prepping for our trip, I wanted to share some things I learned about preparing for your trip to Disney World! Here are some cool things that I have found so far in packing for children:

 

1 – The Disney World Vacation Ultimate Packing List

Seriously this list has it all – including things to remember to put in your day bag for visiting the parks! Hopefully this will help me remember the little things that I always find myself forgetting like extra batteries.

 

2 – What to Pack in Your Disney Diaper Bag

Another great packing list specifically for your little one! I love that this list was created by a mom and not only does she provide a list of items, she also gives her recommendations on what works and what doesn’t. The Growing Up Disney blog is a great resource when traveling a family trip to see The Mouse.

 

3- Travel Kids Card

Abby is 2 so obviously she doesn’t have a photo ID. While the airline will not require a photo ID to get on the plane, it is not a bad idea to have one on hand for traveling. Heaven forbid, she get separated from us, but at least this will allow some peace of mind. Creating a travel ID only takes a matter of minutes, ships quickly, and is fairly inexpensive. We ordered ours from Kids Travel Card. I ended up purchased 2 spares so that Hubs and I can each keep one in our wallets just in case.

 

4- Sippy Cup Straps

If you follow me on twitter, you’ve recently heard my rants about sippy cups going missing in our house. Seriously I have had to buy at least 6 new sippies in the last 3 weeks. I was concerned with how we could keep up with Abby’s cups while touring Disney. I’ve seen several variety of sippy cup straps/leashes  and some of them are quite pricey. I decided to check out one of my fav sites, Etsy, and I discovered the shop HarmonyStyle who has the cutest sippy cup leashes in Disney prints at $5 each! Score!

 

5- Hit up Dollar Tree & Dollar General

I have seen so, so many cute Disney related items at Dollar Tree and Dollar General (and similar stores). You can save some money by packing some small souvenirs or items to keep them occupied on the plane (or in the car). They have Disney related snack bags and sippy cups. All of these things you can get for a fraction of the price! We traveled to Disney the last time at Christmas so I picked up a Disney Princess stocking at the Dollar Tree and every morning she had a small Disney treat waiting on her in her stocking that I picked up while preparing for the trip at Dollar General or the Dollar Tree. She was super excited and she didn’t care where it came from! Cool points for mom!

 

Any great sites or products that you would recommend in planning for family vacation? Do you have tips to share regarding traveling with a toddler, either to Disney or in general? Would love to hear them!