While my number one goal is to help my readers to make the most of their vacation dollars, there is going to be a time during one of your trips when things don't go well and you can't stretch your dollars, and you know what? That's okay.
Before our recent trip to Disney if something could go wrong, it did. In addition to the tiny things that kept happening, one week before we left, my oldest got the stomach flu. Two days later, he gave it to his little brother. I was so exhausted after taking care of both kids, when the youngest insisted on sleeping in the bathroom next to the toilet because he was so sick, I was right there with him all night long. Still, I figured, it's okay, we are still 4 days out, it's going to be fine. Then the next night, Mr. Disney Magic came home from work with a very badly pulled hamstring. Two days later it was still very, very swollen and he couldn't put any weight on it. It was his right leg, and he does 99% of the driving on trips, so I was driving him to doctor's appointments to try and get help and in between, taking the youngest to the bathroom constantly. It got so bad with him, I actually bought him disposable trainer pants, just in case, even though he's been potty trained for 2 years.
Cue the day before we leave. I've been taking people back and forth to doctors, to pharmacy's, and I had to stop by work for a few hours. I had loaded up the minivan and my emotions were swinging between cautiously optimistic and absolutely terrified. My stomach was killing me. Nerves, I figured. I sure had a lot of them. Evening came, and we ordered pizza, like we always do the night before a trip. I managed to eat one piece, and wondered at why I had hardly eaten all week. An hour later, as I was gifted the first round of the stomach flu, I figured it out. That awful pain in my stomach hadn't been nerves!
It was a miracle we made it down to Disney, between my stomach, my youngests stomach, and my husband's leg. I know he was in excruciating pain, and I felt horrible about that. It's a terrible feeling to be helpless when everyone around you is sick or hurt and you can't really do much to help.
So the first few days were rough. I wasn't eating, the youngest wasn't eating. He had a relapse with diarrhea, and then there was a very lovely moment of him throwing up at Disney Springs after he wouldn't stop eating and putting a stop to our planned evening at Animal Kingdom to see Pandora, but you know what? It was okay.
It was okay that we couldn't do everything we had planned to do. It was okay that we had meal credits piling up because some of us were unable to eat. It was okay that even though we had waited almost 2 years to do things, we had to slow down and skip some of it.
It was okay.
During those moments, instead of feeling upset that we were wasting food when we ordered it and couldn't eat it, we enjoyed those few bites. We enjoyed the atmosphere and were grateful that even a few bites could be held down. When we couldn't walk as fast, or do as much, we instead tried to be grateful that we were there, doing what we could and capturing as much of it as possible on camera to enjoy later. That attitude sure was hard to find at some points, and there was a few times when one or another was an absolute cranky pants, but we sure tried.
After all...the worst day at Disney is still better than not being there!
The week wore on and we all started to feel better. We still ended the trip with leftover meal credits, but instead of fretting about how it was a waste to turn them into snack credits, I thought about how great it was to have the option to turn them into snack credits! Disney doesn't have to offer that, but they do, and now, we not only have a stash of eat now treats, but also some special ones tucked back for when we need a bit of Disney Magic in our tummies.
No trip is going to go perfectly. You might get rained out, or you might get bad sunburn. Someone might get hurt or sick. I promise you though, if you try and find the good parts around you, and try to have the attitude of being happy, content and grateful for where you are, and what you can do, you will find moments of happiness and perfection, even in an imperfect vacation. Your mindset is what is going to determine if it was the worst trip ever, or if it was a trip with some memorable moments, both good and bad.
Cut yourself some slack, give yourself permission to miss a few things or go a little slower and enjoy what you can. Take a deep breath and find the Pixie Dust where it may fall. It's okay. If you happen to be at Disney when things start going wrong, just remember what Dory says.... just keep swimming.
Have you ever been able to find the good in a rough vacation? I sure hope so. but even more than that, I hope you don't ever experience one, because really, that's just not fair!
Undeniebly, one of the best feelings you can have is when you walk out of a Disney nighttime show with that warm glow, your heart still swelling from the music, and magic crackling all around you. You kind of want that feeling forever. But life happens, and you can't always see the nighttime shows because something always comes up, or maybe you can't even get to Disney often. I know both of those very well. And it stinks.
BUT!! I've found 3 ways to bring back all those memories, and feelings for only $1.29 or less. If it's not one of the best Disney things out there you can buy, well... I don't know what is!
Without further ado!!
The super fantastic, FANTASMIC exit music! Just a few seconds of this and it feels like you can relive the whole show. (Including the trying to squeeze out of the stadium!) Seriously though.... this will bring back awesome memories!
I know not everyone was ready to say goodbye to Wishes, and you know how Disney stuff can be sometimes, here one day, gone the next, but for right now, for 99 cents you can get the Wishes sing along version, or for $5.99 you can buy all ten tracks of the Wishes show! Relive every single moment whenever you are driving, or doing stuff around the house!
The newest Disney World nighttime spectacular had a song created just for it! It really is a good song. We loved watching the live stream. The first time I heard it in person was as we were boarding the Disney bus back to our resort with a sick kiddo. (One of these days I'll get to see it live, right?! Cross your fingers for me please!)
Click here or on photo above to go directly to sample the music
There you have it... 3 very inexpensive ways to Disney up your day and bring back all those wonderful memories for less than a fancy coffee!
I wonder if they will be releasing the music for the new Pixar symphony. Wouldn't that be great too?
Ohh I really like this Wordless Wednesday hosted by Focus on the Magic! (See the button at the bottom of my post)
Since we got back from our trip, all I can do is think about, and miss all of the wonderful food we had! Can't wait til we can get back, even though it's going to be a while!
Mmm!! WolfgangPuck Express! This is the bacon wrapped meatloaf. It's on the dining plan, but even if you don't have that, but it anyway! The potatoes make you weep, they are so amazing.
Be Our Guest open faced (yet it has a top?!) bacon and egg. I have seriously never tasted anything this good. It was light and fluffy and satisfying and magical. GOD BLESS DISNEY!
French pastries at Epcot. Need I say more? And why, oh why didn't I think to get the camera out before Mr. Disney Magic and my oldest attacked??!!
One of the pieces of Disney Magic we brought back home to ease our sorrow at leaving. Why is it upside down?! I have no idea. I can't turn the photo!!
Simple, classic, tasty. The Mickey Mouse Cupcake.
Click on the button to see other amazing Disney foods!
If you can guess where this photo was taken, you are a Disney guru! There's a tiny clue in the photo!
Traditions are important. They give you something to look forward to, and the best part is, they aren't holiday exclusive. I'm sure thinking about traditions, the first ones that come to mind are Christmas, Thanksgiving and even Halloween or Easter, but there are other traditions too that are just as special and can extend the enjoyment of the moment long before, and long after a trip.
If you vacation in a particular place multiple times, chances are you've gotten some traditions too! Whether it's a favorite place you eat at every time, or a shirt that you only wear on your trip, traditions play a huge role in our vacations. They make us smile in those long days between trips, and they fill us with excitement in the anticipation of an upcoming event!
The Disney Magic Family has a tradition too, for the first day of our Disney vacation. Join us for our first day!!
The first day starts with us waking up in a hotel in South Carolina, or Georgia. We like to get on the road pretty quickly after breakfast. We stop off at Whataburger in Jackson , FL, since Mr. Disney Magic is a Texas Native, and misses his Whataburger quite a bit. But we also visit the Florida Welcome Center.
If you've never been, the Florida Welcome centers are amazing. Not only are they a great place to stretch your legs and use a clean restroom, they welcome you with fresh orange juice, or grapefruit juice. In years past, there have been little games for the kids to play, those big cardboard cutouts to stand behind and snap a picture in, a fantastic Welcome to Florida sign for your required tourist photo, maps, digital postcards to send to yourself, and a massive collection of brochures.
After we've explored the Welcome Center, we make “The big push” as my mother in law calls it, and head to Kissamee!
Pop Century is our resort of choice, so that's where we head to. We all shout out as we are pulling in and reading the signs. It's a mad dash as we check in, The Disney Kids and I trying to restrain ourselves from running 96 directions at once, and Mr. Disney doing the check in. We grab our Rapid Refill Mugs from the gift shop (checking out a few lanyards for pin trading on the way) do a quick trip to make sure the room is in good shape, bring the bags in from the car and we pop through the gift shop (hitting up a few more pin lanyards on the way) to the bus stop. There, we board the first bus to Disney Springs.
Once we get to Disney Springs, we jump out, do a little shopping, watch the volcano at the Rainforest Cafe, visit the Lego Store and Fun Finds.
Then, it's time for an early dinner. Our tradition is Wolfgang Puck Express over on the Marketplace side. It's always so hard to pick what we want there, but it's on the Disney Dining Plan so anything goes! The cheese pizza is to die for, the meatloaf incredible, there's nothing at all on the menu that's bad. (Except don't order the four cheese pizza expecting it to just be cheese. When they brought it out, I was a bit shocked at how much green was on there. It was ok, but not a cheese pizza like I expected!) Wolfgang Puck's also has really great desserts, and one of my favorite things to do our last night there, is to buy a few of their brownies to take back home. They are big, kind of cakey, dark chocolate brownies and I have a few in the freezer now, so I still taste Disney in an emergency.
If you want to be like our family, promise yourself you'll go to the Giridellis for Ice Cream, but leave that night, still too full from dinner! We've never made it there yet!
World of Disney is next on the list. You've got to drag me out of that place. Marketplace Co-op, The Superhero headquarters, and now, the Star Wars shop are all favorites too. We always stop off at the Pin Traders store, enjoy a long stroll around and head back to the bus.
Here's a part of our tradition too. We always hop the bus back to Art of Animation. The first time we did it, it was because it was the first bus, and we figured we'd just walk. Now it's tradition to stroll through their gift shop and food court (maybe grabbing a snack for the room and doing a little pin trading) and then through their fabulous outdoor themeing. I think I like the Cars area more than my boys do! They love to stop off at the little playground that's Ocean themed, and then we slowly go across the bridge to Pop Century, counting turtles and big fish, and just absolutely enjoying ever single second of that first day.
It's back to our room, one person goes to fill mugs (And pin trade. Hmm. That might be me!) and then it's jammies, and if the little people aren't asleep, a pop outside the door to watch the fireworks over the lake.
It's always the perfect start to our Disney vacation, and a tradition that we look forward to and cherish the times we aren't there.
Tell me your vacation traditions! How do you spend your first day? Or last? Or is there just a smaller way you celebrate, every single time?
I'm not sure why, but at age 4, both of my boys fell in love with Indiana Jones. This last visit, we spent more time in that tiny Indiana Jones gift shop than most anything else in Hollywood Studios I think.
If you have never seen the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, it's about a half hour show in an open air stadium based on the Raiders of the Lost Ark. The entire show makes you feel as though you are right on set with the actors as they practice their stunts, and "film" their scenes including all of the booby traps and gold idol snatching. The show is fantastic and you can't help but be a little disappointed when it's over.
We were fortunate enough to meet "Indy" and "Marion" at the end, and shockingly, the youngest who has massive hero worship was too shy to get his photo with them, but has talked about them nonstop! Go figure!
Join us on a short picture travel through the show! And if you ever get a chance...go see it!
Until the attraction closes, you can also see a scene in The Great Movie Ride, as well as The Lost Ark. It's very impressive in person.