Family vacations not for faint of heart

By on January 19, 2014
Riley, Sadie (center) and Molly Ball at Disney World.

Riley, Sadie (center) and Molly Ball at Disney World.

Westside News Family Guy

Family vacations not for faint of heart

Christmas Day, our children unwrapped memories that will last a lifetime, at least now that they were able to survive their present.

For years we have been debating on the best time to take our kids to Disney World. We wanted to make sure that they were not too young to remember, or too old to truly appreciate the magic. We were also hoping to not be too broke to get there. When child four, five and six came along we knew that neither hope could be realized.

So, now was the time.

We decided that this inaugural trip would just be for our oldest three with a promise to repeat the trek in five to seven years with the new crew. When they opened a big box of Disney sweatshirts with a travel itinerary on top – their joy burst forth in shouting and dancing and hugging and kissing and more shouting.

The night before takeoff, Leslie checked in to confirm our flight, and found out that it was canceled. Lots of snow and blowing had grounded many planes coming in and out of Rochester. So we called the airline to develop a Plan B. And we waited, and waited. An hour after being on hold, I called the airline from another phone. Now we waited in stereo, and waited. Another hour in we added a third phone to our effort.

By 1 a.m. we had been on hold for four hours and I was begging Leslie to rest and renew our efforts after some sleep. She relented. Fifteen minutes later Leslie woke me up.

“I think we need to fly out of Buffalo,” Leslie said.
Not really sure if she said “fly out of Buffalo,” or “we need a flying Buffalo,” I agreed and rolled over to get more sleep.

Five minutes later, she had the children buckled in the car and she came back to carry me out to the passenger seat.

We drove for more than three hours in little visibility and less sanity to the Buffalo Airport. Leslie marched to the counter and began pleading our case. The sympathetic ticket woman devised a plan that would have us flying standby with a slight chance of actually making it to Florida.

Later that evening we were rubbing elbows with Mickey!

That was only the beginning of our wild times in Disney World. Knowing that we had one shot at making memories, Leslie had each day planned to the minute. No attraction was too big or too small for us to experience. Marching from line to line from sun up to sundown, by day’s end it was all that I could do to muster up enough strength to roll onto the mattress. Each night as I snuggled into my pillow it was under the glow of Leslie’s computer screen as she reviewed a map of each park, plotting out our plan of attack for the next day’s adventure.

And each day was an adventure.

By day four the kids were beginning to fade. Leslie’s quest for experiencing all that Disney has to offer was starting to take a toll on them. Our eldest, Molly, was the first one to fall. She wasn’t looking so good. By that evening not good turned to bad. Strep throat merited a run to the nearby emergency room. One painful shot and a few hours of sleep later, Molly was back in business and we were off to our next park.

While the kids were wowed with the magic of Disney, there began a quiet protest among them. They wanted to swim in the hotel pool.

We tried to explain that there are pools in Hilton, but sadly no Space Mountain, no Small World and no talking chipmunks. While they conceded this point, they wouldn’t give up on their quest for liquid refreshment and so finally on day five we had a moment of rest and splashing around.

Our final day at the parks was like the first. We made it to every Disney attraction and even had a successful scramble for souvenirs.

We left with blistered feet that supposedly will heal. Two of the children left with fevers that the doctor said will eventually come back down. We left with suitcases of souvenirs that will take some time to pay off.

Most importantly, we made memories that will last a lifetime.

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