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vacation

vacation, disney world, Orlando Florida, Universal Studios, Shingle Creek, paradise, family vacation

Vacation

Family Vacation, the very term conjures up images of the Griswolds driving cross country, singing songs and wreaking havoc all while narrowly escaping death. This was sort of what our trip was like. Only it was a much needed and soul replenishing vacation in Orlando, Florida that began in an amazing hotel ans ended in Disney world. I can’t believe how much vacationing we fit into our 10 day road trip. Oh yeah, that’s right, I did it again. I swore I never would but I did and what a difference a few years makes. The difference between traveling with a 5 and 7 year and a 2 and 4 year old is the difference between strolling through the park on a sunny Sunday afternoon and being chased through the park during the middle of the night by an axe murderer with Mommy issues. World of difference. Vacation road trip was a huge success, if you don’t take into account the fact that I developed a raging case of shark week on the return trip home. Oye vey, my poor family.

Honestly,there is so much to tell you and so many great places and things to do in Orlando that I want to share with you that I am going to write this as a series over the next few weeks, every Friday will be Florida vacationing tips, tricks and honest reviews of some of the places we visited. Unfortunately, all were not great experiences.

As you can see from some of the photos above, there is a LOT to do in Florida and so many places to choose to spend your time and money so I feel it’s my duty to share what I learned; good, bad and ugly. Here are a few general tips to keep in mind while road tripping with small children:

  1. Invest in a DVD player for the car. It will save your sanity and their little lives.
  2. Bring snacks because small children and husbands get the munchies when they are on the road and the only thing that is worse than “are we there yet?” is a screamed chorus of “I’m hungry!”
  3. Bring water because apparently in places where the humidity is 200% and you might die of dehydration, they feel it’s okay to charge $5 for a bottle of water. Hint: You can buy an entire case of bottled water for $5 in most cities, including Orlando, at the grocery store. Publix is  your friend.
  4. Never buy hotel rooms or tickets through a third party, there are hidden charges. Believe me we learned this lesson twice on this vacation to a total of about $300. Not a whole lot of money but it could have been spent on something better than what it was wasted on. Just say no to third party sales.
  5. Always make sure to have children’s ibuprofen, adult ibuprofen, a thermometer, Neosporin, band-aids, hydrocortizone and pepto bismol in your bag at all times.
  6. Bring a water proof back pack to carry your camera, passes, keys, extra clothes and bottles of water in while sight seeing.
  7. When staying in a hotel, if you are watching your money, it may be worth it to consider going off grounds to purchase dinner. Case in point: Dinner for 4 at one of the hotel restaurants was  $45 for sandwiches and drinks. Off grounds, the same meal would have cost about $20. Just something to think about.
  8. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS take a rain poncho with you when visiting Florida. I know that no one wears those damn ugly things unless they are going to a sporting event in the rain or an amusement park in the rain. We never buy these things until we are being rained on and then it will cost you an arm and a leg for essentially the cheapest Glad trash bag you will ever encounter. Know this now. It rains in Orlando, a lot. I’ve been several times and in every season and it ALWAYS rains. Somehow, I forgot and left the $1000 rain ponchos that I bought on my last trip at home and had to buy more. 6 more! There are only 4 of us but 2 of them ripped. There I was in the middle of the happiest place on earth getting water logged and extremely pissed off and then I laughed at myself, grabbed my 7 year old and started dancing and singing in the rain. Fuck it. Life’s too short! But if you melt and rain annoys you, BUY A RAIN PONCHO!
  9. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen and Aloe. It is hot as hell in Florida and I’m not entirely sure that it is not the gateway to the underworld but it is beautiful and after awhile of looking into the sun and cooking yourself to 165 degrees, you get used to it. You may even stop sweating in 110 degree weather. Not me, I was sweating like a whore in church the entire time I was there but you may be a cooler cat than I on vacation. Once your eyes adjust and you get used to looking directly into the sun, don’t forget that you are probably being burnt to a crisp. Reapply sunscreen, SPF 50+ every 80 minutes and don’t forget the SPF lip balm. Believe me when I tell you, I forgot to reapply to myself. I thought I was safe because of my olive Latina skin. No one is safe. Florida chews up Latinos for breakfast every day and spits them out for lunch. Currently, I am no longer red but I am the damn freckliest Mexibilly you ever did see. But what about the children? I reapplied sunscreen to them every hour and they STILL got red.Please don’t let your babies burn. Nothing ruins a family vacation faster than a kid in pain from sunburn.

vacation, Disney World, Universal Studios, Orlando Florida, Rosen Shingle Creek,the Magic Kingdom, MGM Hollywood studios, Disney's Boardwalk, Kouzzina

So much to say and do in Florida, there’s definitely more than just face eating zombies to keep you entertained. Our Griswold family vacation to Florida was pretty much awesome, with the exception of a few minor shark week induced over reactions, being water logged while alternately sweating our asses off and being burnt to a crisp and the incident with public relations at the place I will hence to forth refer to as Florida Throat Punch Recipient #1 (Universal). We loved our vacation and still think Florida is the happiest place on earth. I’m already planning next year’s trip. I’ve got loads of info about all the hottest things to do with children on your family vacation to Florida and will be giving you the down low on Fridays.

I need a vacation from my vacation

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Road Tripping with Toddlers

Road Tripping with Toddlers  is not for the week. We are on a mini vacation/ look see around town for my husbands potential new job, in Virginia. First, let me start by saying, this is one of the most gorgeous parts of the country that I have been to thus far in my life. The weather is awesome, the foliage abounds, large cities are concealed by an enveloping plethora of greenery. Essentially, you have big city life with the look of the country and all the amenities of a Beaches all inclusive resort. So, that is where we are Today!
On Saturday, however, we were road tripping with toddlers for 12 glorious hours. Yes, that is correct, 12 hours with a 4 and newly turned 2 year old.Can you say a little touch of hell on earth. My ,otherwise, sweet loving girls do not like to be confined in those 5 point harnesses on a good day on a trip across town. So, imagine their state at taking their very first long drive trip imprisoned in those wonderful harnesses.

My oldest, rambunctious as ever, insisted on asking, every 20 minutes or so,”Are we there yet?” I always thought that was a funny spoof on parenting but now I realize that it is, in fact, the truth of traveling with children. I never realized how frazzling that could be to me as a person. I thought “those” moms have no patience. Just say ,”Not yet, in a little while.” Why all the overreaction? Then I realized that it can actually bring you to the brink of insanity and make a grown woman, such as myself, cry, almost inconsolably, if asked in the right voice and enough times over a 12 hour period.

While the oldest was hitting us with the barrage of “Are we there yet”s the youngest was freaking out of her ever loving mind about a gnat. Yes, a gnat, that supposedly must have been the scariest, meanest, baby eating gnat you ever did see because , god bless her little bitty heart, she screamed bloody murder for at least 3 hours of the trip.Oh, the humanity! So, to sum it up, my 4 year old is wondering if we are there yet, every single second of every single minute we were on the road, my 2 year old is being terrorized by a gnat and screaming so highly pitched, that all the dogs of the world were seeking her out to eat her and end the misery, I am at the brink of insanity on the verge of losing the battle and my poor beloved husband is trying to plot his course to the nearest gunsmith to rent a gun and buy a bullet.
Then I pull out my bag of tricks because obviously the 1200 DVDs that I brought are not holding their attention. First , we color ( you know those Wonder Crayola colors that magically appear on the special paper but nothing else..that’s what you think, but that’s another story entirely), then we color the glittery ones, then we color My little Pony. We sing, only the songs that they know so we had Bella’s favorites, “Twinkle ,Twinkle” and “Mary had a little Lamb” and Gabi’s favorites “Happy Burtday to you!” and ” Five, Five DOlla..Five Dolla foot long!” Yes, my 2 year old is obsessed with the Subway commercial jingle. Have you any idea how many times they play that thing? I do , because she sings it incessantly. Don’t get me wrong, in the right context, it is absolutely adorable. She is the cutest thing that has ever walked this earth, besides her sister, of course, but everything in moderation. Interrupted only by the “Are we there yet?” inquiry of her sister. OK, so brink of insanity on way to gun shop, we stop at lunch and we try and let them stretch there legs at some wayward Wendy’s in West Virginia. Not my idea, have you seen Wrong Turn?
We get lunch, they have ants in their pants and can’t keep still. We get the food, the chicken flavored whatsamanuggets are not done, still doughy,”EWWWW, gross”, as my daughter like to say. I return them. We wait, I return with nuggets, all is good in the land.

Road Tripping With Toddlers

Road Tripping with Toddlers is Hell on Wheels

A ‘fly” dares to descend upon the table. All hell breaks lose. Toddlers jumping everywhere, screaming, crying, running away in terror. I did mention it was a fly and not Godzilla, right? Not a horsefly, just a regular old house fly! In true fix the situation fast fashion, I take off my flip flop and the untimely death of one unsuspecting fly ensues. All is good in the land, and then Gabs, because all of the attention we just received was apparently not enough for her, screams, at the absolute top of her lungs “EWWWW, FAARTED.Stinks”. Absolutely, mortified , I say ” OK, honey, it’s OK.” Then I realize, amongst all of the commotion, she did not have any kind of flatulation incident. Apparently, she just thinks it’s funny and likes to take credit for such occurrence. She is really better than the dog. This is a quirk I am hoping she outgrows.

Bella, my older one starts asking, “Mom, what are we going to do on our vacation?” I say, because I am out of the car and somewhat rational and overly sweet because I am trying to gain redemption from being “Crazy Mommy” from in the car,
“Well, sweetie.we’ll look around the town and eat out, maybe go to Busch Gardens, and we will take you girls to the pool at the hotel.” She look at me with wide eyes,” Even you, Mommy?”

First lets put this into context, I am a Mommy in my mid 30’s, I am a little over weight and a little out of shape, and I hate swimsuits with a passion. I have since I was a teenager. It’s like a taunting suit, it takes every possible flaw you can possibly have and flaunts it to the discriminating eyes of the world. But I do occasionally wear these horrible contraptions to play with my children and because I am determined not to pass my body issues on to them. In response to my daughter, I say “yes, sweetie, even Mommy.” I look at my husband and say ” What the heck, I don’t know any of these people.I’m going swimming!” To which my daughter responds in her most defiant voice “Yeah,I don’t know these people either, so I’m going swimming too!”

How funny, she has no idea about the context but dammit, she’s going swimming!! I’m still in the throes of this mini vacation that teeters between heaven and hell, I’ll post more when we all arrive safely at home, by passing any and all asylums and gun shops…save for that poor Godzilla fly at the Wrong Turn Wendys. The only thing more difficult than Road Tripping with Toddlers is road tripping with TWO toddlers.

How have you survived road tripping with toddlers?

Road Tripping with toddlers Only the Strong need Apply

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