Thursday, January 17, 2013

Disney v2.0 - The beginning

I think I finally have some time to begin blogging about our December Disney trip.  Well, I better find time before I forget everything.  I had packed a small notebook thinking that I would jot down notes each day back at the resort.  That worked for the first few nights.  After that, I either fell asleep when the girls did or Rich and I ventured out for a snack and/or a photography expedition and taking notes fell off of my list.  When I finally tried to catch up on the plane, I couldn't remember what we had done three days earlier.  I have no idea what's going on with my brain.

Ah, where to begin....  Okay, so this vacation was mainly my idea.  I didn't think Rich would buy into another Disney adventure but after I pleaded my case, he agreed without much resistance.  The only hiccup was that we had to fly.  I knew that our next trip to Florida (or anywhere more than 14 hours away) was going to involve a plane and I kept telling myself that it wouldn't be a big deal.  How many people fly everyday without issue?  We would just be like those people.  And I know that flying is supposed to be safer than driving but as with grief, irrational thoughts go along with anxiety.

I've never liked flying, mainly because I suffer from motion sickness on any flight lasting for more than three hours.  I hadn't been on a plane since our honeymoon to Hawaii in 2004.  (Rich, remember how we were stuck in the Chicago airport and it was freezing, absolutely FREEZING, inside?)  If you can't tell, I'm a Type A personality with some OCD tendencies.  (Rich, remember when you placed my bagel on the counter and I FREAKED out?)  Since Abbey's death and the girls' birth, I've noticed that I seem to have some anxiety issues.  But honestly, if you were in my position, wouldn't you too?

Over the past year, I've noticed that my anxiety has become worse and sometimes happens over stupid, everyday stuff.  Like driving myself to the train station and using the new machines for the first time to pay for my parking spot for the day.  I was able to do it just fine but there was this underlying nervousness that was just absolutely ridiculous.  During the two days before we drove to Florida back in August, I was an absolute mess.  I suppose in the back of my mind I was terrified of a major car accident and the thought stuck there.

For this trip, I was calm and okay when it came to discussing different flight options with Rich or stalking Jet Blue's website for fare changes.  Rich and I have a sort of routine when planning vacations.  I do most of the online research, like find different hotel and flight options and prices.  I had an online quote from Disney for the resort and park tickets.  Rich then called AAA to see if they were offering a discount greater than what I was finding online.  In this case, they did so Rich booked the vacation through them.

I basically left anything to do with the flights, airport and rental car with Rich.  The girls are still much too small for booster seats and it was going to cost $10 per day per car seat to rent them from Avis (or wherever we were renting a minivan from.)  Although, Rich thinks that AAA would have given us some type of discount. But whatever, it was easily going to cost over $100 and there's always that caveat that they can't guarantee that they will have car seats available.  Rich decided that we would bring the car seats on the plane with us and because we were planning to check the two strollers in at the gate, we would just use the strollers to transport the car seats from our van to the plane. 

Because I'm Type A, I tried to research the whole car seat/stroller check-in situation (even though I had left it for Rich) and found that I actually felt sick if I thought about it for too long.  I would have to shut down the internet and move on.  Another issue was how to transport the luggage from our van to the airline check-in.  We were going to have six suitcases in addition to carry-on bags (and three kids, three car seats and two strollers.)  Rich concluded that we would simply use curbside check-in.  During one of my quick reads about the airport, I saw hours for curbside check-in and noted that they were closed in the middle part of the day.  That useful piece of information slipped my mind though.

The weekend before our trip, I decided to see if I could bring my tripod with me.  I've always been interested in night photography but there's not really much of interest to photograph around here that's in a convenient location.  I'm still kicking myself for not bringing the tripod when we drove.  It's quite large and heavy and not even close to a travel model at all.  I delayed looking into transporting it because it meant that I would have to think about the plane.  So although my tripod would have fit into one of the overhead bins, it's considered a weapon and not allowed on the plane.  It was too late for me to find and order a travel one so I ended up improvising (but I'll talk about that later.)

I admit that flying saves SO much time but it seems like it took me a lot longer to pack because I was limited to a certain amount of bags and suitcases.  Plus, the beginning of December is a tricky time to vacation in Florida when it comes to the weather.  I checked different forecasts and ultimately did what was recommended - packed layers.  In addition to the girls' custom clothes, I packed long sleeve shirts, short sleeve shirts, hoodies, jackets and leggings so that they could dress in layers.  The extended forecast showed temperatures in the 70s, with a few days close to 80.  But how accurate was that forecast?

Up next - Traveling with triplets


Dad to Triplets said...

Yes, Sarah I remember. The bagel-on-the-counter story willl forever be etched in my memory AND a story I will always love to tell! Maybe you can become obsessive with putting away yor empty Cherry Diet Pepsi cans? Ha!

Michelle - New Zealand said...

Hi Sarah, I'm a bit of an anxious flyer too (no particular reason why, just am). I find natural homeopathic products do the trick! Maybe something you could look into?

Chantel said...

Your are not alone. I was a little high strung/worried before Curtis but after losing him, going through Claudia's pregnancy my brain freaked in the middle of Cole's pregnancy and my anxiety is tough. I can't even manage intense dramas/movies/news anymore because I internalize what is happening way too much. I have hated flying for years. It has gotten worse as I have gotten older...I had a hard time flying with the kids, but it would have been worse WITHOUT them. At least this way I knew we were all together. Though, while landing, Cole kept saying "It is bumpy! I don't like this" and I was, in my head saying "ME EITHER!!!!". :)

Merks said...

I really wish that airlines and rental car companies would make it easier (cheaper even?) to travel with kids. Just the cost of additional tickets and baggage fees causes us to drive whenever we want to go somewhere.

I agree that the car seat issue is another fun obstacle. Trying to confirm that we could get a rear facing car seat (not an infant seat) was nearly impossible. It made us realize that a lot of people just don't care about car seat safety. Maybe I'm a little overly cautious, but I'm okay with that.

I enjoy reading your travel posts a lot, especially since we'll be making the Disney trek at some point. What do you think is the best age for a first trip to Disney? I was thinking we'd go when our oldest was 7 or 8 so the others would be 5 or 6 and 3 or 4 (and probably another baby at that point, too).

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah.
I hate to leave this in a comment but I don't know how else to contact you.

I wanted to let you know that someone named Melissa Wingfield ( has set up a fake FB profile, stealing pictures from the blog "Growing Up Geeky." Her "friends" all seem to be imposters as well, and one of them (Sarah Hill, is using your photo of one of the girls.

Just looking out for you, and others I recognize.

Sarah said...

Anon - thank you so much for the heads up! Some others warned me a little while ago. Thanks for looking out for me.

Sarah said...

Merks - I think anything over the age of 3 is great for a Disney vacation. The ages that you listed would be great. I'm very cautious too when it comes to car seats. It just doesn't seem worth blowing off, you know?

Michelle - I should look into something like that. I didn't want to take anything that required a prescription.

Lily said...

I just peeked at Sarah Hill's facebook and her photos and I have to say I'm so creeped out. who the heck are these people?

Anonymous said...

Ok, that FB page for Sarah Hill is creepy. She obviously went to a lot of effort to download all those pictures and create a fake site. She even kept your watermark. Can;t you report it to Facebook and have them shut it down?

Anonymous said...

Thought of you when i read this (not spamming, just wanted to share)

Sarah said...

I did report it to FB but of course, I think their reporting process is horrible. Click this, click that, click this, click that. I never found an option to type in an explanation. It is currently under investigation, which may take up to 48 hours. All of her friends are fake and using stolen pictures too. Obviously kids who don't give a crap - esp since they have filled in that they have gone to F*** **U University. Oooookay. I was creeped out and pissed at first until I realized that it was kids - obviously with too much time on their hands. If it was an adult really pretending to be me - yeah, super weird.

Sarah said...

Last Anon - Wow - I didn't know that. Good to know!