Friday, September 02, 2011
Took me long enough to get this update on here!!!! Just 10 days under a month of being there! LoL Well, things kinda got in the way....getting back from a trip is stressful and then...oh we had a bit of weather here on Long Island...just a bit, so that added fun was a bit of a glitch in the works as well!
Anyway, I promised an update of Disney and here it is!!
Well...tip #1 - avoid going in July or August if you can possibly help it! The kids whining factor was at an all-time high, probably exacerbated by the heat & humidity thrown on them while waiting on lines and walking through every single park every day. Even standing on the line to get in Magic Kingdom on the first day was SO filled with whining it was kinda putting a damper on the trip - so avoid the summer months if possible....you will thank me, trust me!
Well, if you exclude the whole waiting and whining factors - the whole trip was a success and we really did have a great time! The memories are what really stand out and the only thing I can compare it to is child-birth: you will go through whining and crying, but in the end, those stresses fade into the distance and what you have left is a beautiful bundle of joy!
So on to tip #2! Character breakfasts!!!! If you can possibly get them in a park, at 8am on any given day...well, you will be GOLDEN! The parks usually open at 9am, but character breakfasts start at 8am - which means, you will be in the park before the main gates open...which meeeeeaaaans that even though you cannot enter the park yourself and have to wait for the rope to drop in your area of the park - you are waaaaay ahead of all the other people at the main gate entering! which therefore means that you can get to coveted rides first! Woohoo! Magic Kingdom's Crystal Palace and Animal Kingdom's Tusker House have the characater breakfasts....use them to your advantage!! I don't know if other parks have them, but it is SO worth doing a little homework on this one! Let's just say that we were in the first truck on the Animal Kingdom Safari ride...and in summer, that is KEY because the animals tend to go back to sleep when it gets too hot out.
Tip #3 - MEALS: those Quick Service meals that say kids under 9 have to order from a kids menu....IGNORE THEM!!! We forgot about this tidbit of advice from our friends who went with their kids....by the time the 4th day hit, our kids were SO SICK of the kid's choices...and we forgot that a Quick Service (QS) meal is taken off your meal plan just as that - a QS meal, regardless of the age of the person using it! By the last day, we sat the kids down (ok, we hid them b/c we don't liek to break 'rules'), then we confidently went up to the counter and ordered 5 different meals and it was the best QS meal of the whole week!
Tip #4 - Strollers vs. No stroller.....Sometimes they are neccessary, but we have a 5 year old, a 7 year old and a 9 year old. Mom's panel advice for this age range was to bring a stroller or rent one. Umm, my 7 year old is 60 pounds at least - stocky build, heavy to push yet a whiner....but I was NOT going to give him the option to sit in comfort while I busted my butt in 100 degree heat. As for the 5 year old...he is very active in general, so walking and no stroller was our decision. And I am SO glad we did. Why? because between 2 parents and a savvy 9 year old, we had enough hands to skirt around the stroller and skooter crowd and it was FASTER than if we had a stroller. Strollers and skooters created more traffic than we anticipated, and with the few times I wished we had something to put them in - I realized it was way less than the times I thanked heaven that we did NOT have one! The distinct advantage of being on foot was thoroughly realized when we had a thunderstorm upon us just as the nighttime parade was getting ready on mainstreet....we zipped right past everyone and every wheeled device in the park and made it to the monorial in record and dry time!
Tip #5 - The monorail!!! Love it! We stayed at the Contemporary resort...yes, pricey, but for our once in a lifetime trip - it was worth it! The last time we went to Disney, we were newlyweds and stayed at the Grand Floridian - and that is on the monorail - and that was also 12 years ago! We regularly do NOT take fancy vacations, so this was a well-earned, well-planned out treat for us as a family. and Yes, it was worth it. The Contemporary was close enough to WALK to the Magic Kingdom and the return trip on monorail was 3 minutes long. Perfect for our needs. I must admit, from the pics of the pool at the Contemporary, I was NOT impressed...well, it turned out to be one of the best pools in the complex. The kids went to a few other resort pools with more visual ambiance, but the slide at our resort was "the best" according to them.
Tip #6 - Fast pass and go to the park EARLY - Learn how to use Fast passes and use them wisely! Going early to the parks is also a tip I am throwing in here - between the early arrival time and the fast passes - we banged out Magic kingdom before noon on our first day!!! No kidding! The rest of the time we visited this park, it was in the evening and we used the fast passes again, but to our advantage.
Tip #7 - Water bottles - reuse them! If you have a dining plan with snacks on it - then you can use the snack for a water bottle...but reuse those bottles at the water fountains throughout the park..you save on money and snacks per day!
Tip #8 - Resort refillable mugs - definitely worth the money to buy them! WE bought 3 at $13 a piece. At each resort, you can refill the mug as many times with whatever you want during your stay. My husband paid the mugs off in coffee refills by the 4th day! It was well worth the money, especially if you like coffee in the morning and the evening! We would throw them in the bag and would refill them each time we would return to the hotel.
Tip #9 - Bag at a park vs. no bag. At each park entrance, you must go through a bag check if you have one. We brought the backpack with us 75% of the time, but we split up and met on the entrance line to save time. The back pack held water bottle, baseball hate, sunglasses, sunscreen, camera & lollipops (bribery material while waiting on lines). It was really great to have...the only time we left it behind was when we went back to the park at night for a short time. Mind you, we did NOT have a stroller, so we took turns carrying it. No problems taking it on the rides either - most have storage places to put them because everyone has some sort of bag with them.
Tip #10 - KNOW THE TURNSTILES! At the park entrance - the entrance turnstiles work 2 ways: Kids ticket cards are sent through and the kids go through. Adults (anyone over 12 I think?) well, be ready to put the key card in, THEN put your index finger on a scanner and then go through. Not knowing this holds up the line. We had a game plan after ther first torturous & confusing entrance . We went like this: Oldest kid, kid, kid, Adult, Adult. The oldest kept the younger set put while we went through. The other option is Adult, kid, kid, kid, Adult. Since the cards all pile up, it's easy to grab them all at the same time and go quickly after that. The Fast Past adult should keep all the ticket cards because Fast passes need each card per person in order to get a Fast pass. If he/she runs ahjead without the ticket cards in hand - it's just a BIG waste of time....how do I know this? been there, done that! LoL
Tip #11 - If you are staying on the resort and your airline offers the Magic Your way Express Transportation - DO IT!! We had 2 carrying on backpacks on the plane - the rest of the luggage met us in our room.
Tip #12 - By the 3rd day - for people who frequent Disney vacations...this is known as the "Meltdown day" and should be entered into with caution. Children will have a tendency to melt down faster....which increases the stress from the caring adults faster and then EVERYone is in a pissy mood by lunchtime! We learned this little tidbit of information on Day 4 of our trip while talking with other parent on line. I think that is enough said on that subject. LoL We should have been more kind to ourselves, slept late and stayed by the pool that day. Think about how traveling will affect your kids - especially if you do not travel like this that often!
OK - I think that was all of the major tips that we thought about and reviewed over and over during the trip. We will be using a bunch of them the next time we go to Disney...maybe in 5 years or so! LoL But then, the kids will be older and more independent and more things will be learned!
A funny thing that happened a lot was the frequency of the bathroom visits!! We started joking that it was our favorite ride! Easy entrance, no lines, air conditioned...the perfect ride! LoL We would go before and after each ride...during every single meal, several times. Absolute ridiculousness!!!!!!! Yes, we were drinking water ad nauseum and there were some serious after meal repercussions on occassion (I don't think I need to say more than that, right?) We even had favorites by the end of the week! I even took photo's of our favorite places! This one was behind the PeterPan ride, in between Fantasyland and Liberty Square Tavern....it piped in German music....good to dance to...very soothing
As you can see - we kept our sense of humor (or at least tried to) most of the time!!
I hope some of these tips help a few of you out when you go there!!
Have a Magical Day!
PS - Weight/health update - Hubby did NOT work out, ate whatever he wanted (dessert - creamer, the whole 9 yards) and he gained 10 pounds! It came off pretty quick when we got home. I cannot eat like that, and between the walking and whatnot, I stayed the same. These past few weeks have been stressful for me (that's another blog!) - I gained 2 pounds since the trip and have not worked out in a few weeks...back in the saddle starting today!!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
We are heading out at 4am tomorrow and will be in the big Mouse's House by 10am!!!!
See those faces above...that is what me & the family will be looking like as soon as well get on the plane! LoL
The kids are SO excited!!
Heck - WE are so excited!! The last real vacation (and by vacation, I mean away for more than 4 days and having people serve us meals with no laundry or looooong driving involved - camping does not count in my book, because I still have to work - it's more like a refreshing change of scenery) - but I digress...the last REAL vacation we had was 12 years ago on our honeymoon...and that was, can you guess? well, it was at DisneyWorld! LoL
But this time is going to be special - noone is in diapers, noone really needs a stroller...I planned doing this about 5 years ago when my then 4 year old said just before his little brother's birth : "Mom, when can we go to Disney?" and my answer was, "When your little brother is 4 and you are 8." OK, so I missed the 8 year old timeframe, BUT I didn't for the little brother who is still 4....for another few weeks!
The promise has been kept
So that being said.....SEE YOU ALL NEXT WEEK!!!!
Make it a magical week!!
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
I love my family...but sometimes, when the out-of-towners come in, we hang....and I drink.
It really was NOT the food that killed this week for me....it was the drink.
I have been working out more...I have been tracking religiously...and yet..today....I stepped on the scale and was greeted with a number I have NOT seen in AGES.....134.9.
And I am NOT happy.
I came down stairs, looked at my husband and said to him: "I really don't want to listen to you today. I do NOT need a recap of your workout, or what you just ate, or what you weigh or how you are dealing with your fluctuation over the last few days. I am pissed right now at a number on the scale that I have not seen in months and it is my own fault because when family visits I get stressed, and I drink more, and it's not as if I ate badly, but I drank more to be in a better mood for the last 3 days, and it's not my occassional glass of wine that did it - it was the one beer one day, and then 4 the next and then the 2 martini's and the BBQ we ate yesterday....and I cannot even tally it on the computer, but still, I am pissed and we are going away in 2 days where I have to wear a bathingsuit for a week and the last thing I wanted to do was to be puffy and bloated on this ginormous vacation and to feel like crap because GOD FORBID I eat like everyone else and indulge on occassion because HEAVEN FORBID I have cream and salt and sugar within 2 hours of eating one after another. ALL it gets me is 4 pounds of puff and nonsense, a gut that feels like I want to disembowel my own self, wash it out and put it all back in. Now I am going to get this coffee and go do my makeup."
So I went and I did my makeup......EVEN MY FACE IS PUFFY!!!!!!!!!
For the LOVE OF PETE!!!! WTF is going on?!?!?!?!
So I finally get done and go downstairs...hubby goes, "I hear ya honey, it's OK, do what ya gotta do for the next 2 days to feel better." and he gave me a hug, after which he asks, "Umm....are you PMS-ing? maybe that is part of the problem."
"Nah - I tallied it up and we should be good - let me look, I wrote down the last time....Oh crap...I should be getting it on the way back home."
SOOOOOOO - I am in PMS mode (Hello stress and mood swings) and with the salt and alcohol, oh and don't forget heat and humidity....I am UBER bloated as well.....wonderful
Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go pop some Pamprin PMS like jellybeans today, drink my water to flush this system out and move my body today to help it all along it's way.
Great timing.....greeeeeaaaat timing.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Just wanted to update my personal challenge that I posted the other day.
Family fun was successful...one boardgame played twice, a few books read per kid, even playdates! That is pretty darned good considering I too also am lacking in the playdate department...I tell parents right off the bat that I am one of the worst when it comes to setting up or hosting. I'm being completely honest here - playdates are NOT my forte. LoL Next week are some more playdates and a scout picnic to be had....and family in town, which means socializing - I will tackle those food-situations as they arrive.
Family business also on hand was in cleaning the kids' rooms....they are thrilled just by moving a bed from one side of the wall to the other! It is really cute to hear them talk about how much better they sleep just from that! LoL Very cute. And here is the other bonus: they are making their beds! Eureka!!! So that is all I had to do to get them to do it! Switch their rooms around a wee bit! LOL
Exercise that has been written on the calendar has been DONE! Woohoo! (Self-Pat on the back going on right now.) Mid-week was my break and I actually missed it after 4 active days . Today it was good to get back on the treadmill. So that plan was a good one. Spark right now is screaming at me to up my calories....I was hungry on Tuesday (really ravinous - OMG-I-am-going-to-eat- my-own-arm-hungry) and that was satisfied just right with dinner & I have been fine since...we shall see after the next few days. If I see that happening again, I will address it then. Let's face it, the body knows when it is not getting enough fuel, so when it screams like that, I will give it it's extra protein/carbs/fats it needs. Just looked at next week and made that schedule up too! We shall see if my plan continues to work!
As for the wine...well, I had a glass on Wed night and then at lunch on Thursday. Straight up Pinot - nothing uber-sweet like the evil sangria and I was totally in calories, so there really should be not guilt on my part....so there will not be any! LoL What's the study about one glass a day? Yeah, I'm not going to beat myself up over that one. If it was the evil sangria every other day well, then that would be a different story! Now, once again, I am done for a little bit since I am on full out mom-duty for the next 3 days.
My mom-only family-free weekend I had LAST weekend was just that...family free and VERY VERY quiet and VERY alone...which is what I needed. The constant go here & go there was ceased. No talking was nice too. MY movies I rented were nice to see. Sleep was right what the doctor ordered. However, I did miss the crew by the end of the second day and was glad when they came back with their hustle & bustle of "Get me this, get me that" and "honey what are we going to make for dinner?" conversations. This weekend hubby is away on a trip - a well deserved on at that since he was in 100+ degree heat & camping with the kids last weekend!
So that's it for now. I'm sure I'm missing something, but that's it. Nothing eye opening, or profound...just stuff going on. Moving forward.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
....for about the 10000000 time!
I stink at challenges...so I decided today that my challenge will be to just challenge myself a bit more than normal.
This is going for more than just exercise, it's about everyday things as well...and that includes relaxing...because I tend to stink at that too.
Yes, I am a hot mess.
So with exercise, I wrote in my bible (a.k.a. my desk calendar) the days and times I should workout. DONE. The thing is to now follow through (despite my ever changing moods) and JUST DO IT...like NIke says.
So with food, it's not like I don't know what to do there, but it's my NEW VICES that I need to control more....and yes, my new vice is wine. I love my wine. I know I can have a glass everyday, but really, for me, it will be just like cake and cookies...I know this in my gut, so my new thing is to only have on occassion and with others. Which means that hubby has GOT to stop making his delicious sangria that he kinda got us hooked on to. Ahhh, summer sangria, you are evil So so yummy and full of sugary sweet goodness but I know better....you are really the in disguise and not regular old wine. So that I/we have been working on and it is pretty much a done deal.
On to family - there is always something to improve there...to be a better listener, to be a better player, to be more active (yet restrained) in one's child's life so you are there, yet you let them feel there way down the path....all that jazz. I do not PLAY enough with them.....I stink at board games. Yes, I do....and despite that, my husband married me! You see, he comes from a big board game family, and now that the kids are older, I think it is time to introduce the kids to his beloved world of boardgaming. Lord, give me patience. Today we are starting another one...we are in progress, so that is a good thing.
As for the household...we need to declutter, so that will be something I do everyday. Today we attack the kids' bedrooms!!!!! Garbage bags are in hand, sheets are in the wash...here we go. (again, I ask for patience....)
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