familyholidays

Vacation is finally here & I am seeing Disney at Christmas!

By the time you read this I will be in sunny Orlando with my family preparing to take over Walt Disney World!

I am a Disney lover at heart (if you haven’t picked up on that yet) but I have never been during the holidays so I am beyond excited to see Disney at Christmas and see everything dressed up in lights!

Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World

My dad and I did a ton of research online to find out the best weeks to visit without the parks being absolutely jam packed and it seems that the first two weeks of December are two of the most favorable weeks throughout the year! Thanksgiving and Christmas are horrible (as in close the gates by noon horrible) but the time in between is great because kids are still in school!

While I am stoked that the weather will be a beautiful 80 degrees for most of our visit, I am a little bummed that I won’t be able to wear my Minnie Mouse Santa hat! At least to the parks. There will be family pictures and of course there will be a post or two (or five) when I get back 🙂

While I am gone, I lined up three guest posts from some absolutely wonderful ladies who will be sharing their tips on surviving the holidays with chronic illness! You will definitely not want to miss this!

P.S. Make sure you are following me on Instagram to take a look at Disney at Christmas! I am sure there will be more than a few pics of a certain little princess all dressed up!

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Our Disney on Ice Experience

It is no secret that I absolutely love Disney and love passing my love for Disney onto my daughter! Our visit to Disney World last year was absolutely magical and Abby still talks about it so when I found out that Disney on Ice was coming to our area, I immediately started shopping for tickets!

We had the opportunity to see Disney on Ice: Worlds of Fantasy this past weekend and had an amazing time! Abby was excited to get dressed up in one of her princess dresses and was very happy to join in the many other little girls that were in attendance spreading the love of glitter! I pity of the cleaning crew that has to get all of that up after four days of shows!

We ended up with seats just four rows up from the ice so we had a fantastic view!Abby’s face completely lit up when the characters took the ice which made the experience absolutely priceless! The Worlds of Fantasy show featured Cars, The Little Mermaid, Tinkerbell, and Toy Story!

These are some of my favorite shots:

Disney-On-Ice

Disney-on-Ice

Disney-On-Ice

 

The only thing that I did not consider, being a spoonie, was how sitting so close to the ice was going to affect my joint and fibromyalgia (oops!) but had I thought ahead, packing a blanket would have made a big difference and I will definitely know that for next time (there will most definitely be a next time!)

All in all, we had an amazing time and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

p.s. I was not asked to do this review at all. All expenses came from my pocket but I just wanted to share our wonderful experience! But hey, Disney, just in case you want me to check out another show, I’m all ears 🙂

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!