Thursday, December 20, 2012

Disney '12

On our first full day at Disney, I set my alarm for 6 to go running with my friend Betsey, who was visiting with her family from St. Louis. I had just put on my running shoes when Jacob woke up and came over to me crying -- his ears were just throbbing and he was in terrible pain. He'd had a bit of a cold, and that and the landing into Orlando the night before combined to cause big trouble. I plied him with Motrin, texted Betsey to cancel our run, and pulled out the Guest Services directory to check out the magical medical care options. It looked like there was a shuttle service to urgent care, and also an option of "in-room medical care." I decided to just walk down to the front desk to ask for more details.

I got to the front desk and the two women working there greeted me cheerfully (magically!) and I explained my situation -- child with probable ear infection, short visit, desire to get problem treated quickly so as to minimize disruption to vacation, etc. etc. First I asked about the shuttle/urgent care option and they told me a little about that. And then I asked about the in-room medical care option that I had read about, and one of the clerks said:

"Oh. That's very expensive."

Now granted, I had just rolled out of bed and was wearing pajamas/running clothes and sporting matted hair and no makeup, but was it really so bad that they wouldn't even quote me a price?

So I said, "I doubt very much that we'll use it, but we just have a short trip here so I'm trying to get all of our options on the table, because frankly each day in Walt Disney World is also expensive, so from a strictly economic perspective, if the in-room option would help us avoid missing a full day of our already-paid-for vacation, it might ultimately be our least expensive option."

So first clerk (Kim) said "gosh, so few people use this because it's very expensive, isn't it Sandie?" And Sandie replied "yes, it's VERY expensive!"

Something about the way Kim and Sandie tagged-teamed in communicating the expensiveness caused my mind to fly to the scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts goes shopping:

And it was all I could do to stop myself from pulling a Julia and yelling: "HEY I GOT MONEY TO SPEND HERE!!" but as I get older I really do try to refrain from blurting out things that are likely to seem weird or confusing to others just because it would totally amuse me.

Eventually I was able to beat the price for in-room medical care out of them (hint: less than the cost of a day at Disney World for a family of 5, as I suspected), but Kim, Sandie and I hatched a plan that involved me calling our pediatrician's office when it opened to see if I could convince them to call in some prescriptions and avoid the need for any kind of Orlando doctor's visit at all! I filled out some forms for them to fax to the local pharmacy and headed back upstairs.

{To summarize the rest of Jacob's ear saga, which can't possibly be interesting to anyone but me: we went to the Magic Kingdom that day and Motrin carried him through until late afternoon, when he started to feel really bad. So David and Jacob went back to hotel while girls and I stayed on at the Magic Kingdom for a couple of hours. When we got back to the hotel, I took one look at him and knew he was flat-out sick. Turns out our pediatrician would only call in numbing drops unless he had a fever, which he did not when I called in the morning but did by early evening. So I told David that we had no choice but to take him to urgent care. I think of a trip to urgent care as easily killing a half a day or more, and I assumed that it would be even worse in a place swarming with kids, but it turned out to be WAY less of a production than it is here at home. David was given a shuttle time, had only a short wait in the waiting room, and was seen pretty much immediately by the doctor when they got into an exam room. They came back with a diagnosis of a double ear infection and an antibiotic. Jacob took his first dose before bed that night, and within an hour of his second dose the next morning, he was as good as new}.

Other than than minor bump in the road, the trip went off without a hitch, and everyone had a great time. A defining feature of our last trip to Disney World was Caroline's disabling fear of large-costumed characters, so we were curious to see how she'd handle things this go-round. Our first test was breakfast with Minnie, Donald and Goofy that first morning in our hotel. The result? She still doesn't like them, but she can at least hold herself together. David didn't need to remove her from the premises like last time, for example. So no photos of Caroline with the characters, but she was able to just ignore them and skittishly eat her Mickey-shaped waffle. My baby's growing up - sniff.

Here are Jacob and Elizabeth at breakfast with Donald:

At the Magic Kingdom that morning, David and Jacob took off to ride some roller coasters, and I took the girls onto Elizabeth's favorite ride -- the Mad Tea Cups, of all things.

Then onto Caroline's favorite ride, Aladdin's Magic Carpet (or "Magic Carpet Dumbo," as David calls it):

The parks were pretty decked out for Christmas, which I loved:

We booked the trip too late to get a reservation to eat in Cinderella's castle, but we managed to hit the princess breakfast in Epcot:

Another thing I'll remember about this trip is fidgeting, and a lot of it. Touching the ropes when waiting in line, getting from point A to point B by spinning or dancing, getting all up into the personal space of the people in front of them because they're just not paying attention, etc. I felt like we took up way more space than our numbers would justify, so we were constantly trying to reign that in. Ah, childhood!! Here are Jacob and Elizabeth not keeping their hands to themselves at breakfast, this was typical:

Note that the hair accessory that Elizabeth chose that day was a stuffed Goofy with magnetic paws.

Watching the fireworks:

One new thing the kids got into this time that they hadn't done on their last trip was pin trading. The cast members who collect and wear pins happily trade with pin-trading kids, and my kids thought this was a lot of fun.

I think the most fun we had was the night we went to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. The crowds were light and we just walked on to most rides. We learned that while Caroline may be afraid of walking oversized characters, she is definitely not afraid of thrill rides -- she rode Big Thunder Mountain twice and wanted to ride Space Mountain (we told her she was too small). The parade and fireworks were festive. I think everyone just had fun being there at night.

At some point I decided that the one thing I really wanted from this trip was a picture of the kids with Goofy Claus to serve as our annual Santa Claus photo. David texted me at one point when we had separated at Mickey's party to tell me that Goofy Claus was cutting the rug at the Tomorrowland Character Dance Party. The girls and I high-tailed it to Tomorrowland, but alas, Goofy was gone, replaced by Chip and Dale. The guy at the door (bouncer?) told us that they rotate every 45 minutes, so Goofy would be back. I started grilling David for more details of what he'd seen to try to figure out if it was worth it to come back:

C: So he's just out there on the dance floor?

D: Yes, he's just out there dancing.

C: But is he posing for pictures?

D: Well, it's a dance party.

C: I'm just trying to figure out if I can get my Santa Claus picture.

D: Look, it's like a nightclub. I guess there is nothing to stop us from going up and pawing at him.

In the end we found out that Goofy Claus would be making a proper appearance at Animal Kingdom, where we planned to go the next day, so there was no need to accost him on the dance floor. At Animal Kingdom the next day, I was the first in line for Goofy a solid 30 minutes before he was scheduled to make his appearance while David and the kids wandered around Dinoland. I think my efforts paid off.


Amanda said...

I love this post so much. The only thing that could have been better about the Pretty Woman story is if you had been wearing that exact same outfit Julia Roberts had on in the store instead of workout clothes! I'm glad Jacob's illness didn't make him miss much of the trip.

Kayte said...

What happy to see such happiness at the happiest place on earth! Fond memories of Disney for us when the boys were younger as well. Always a great time. Beautiful photos!!