Monday, November 30, 2015

Throwing a Fit: Toddlers to Tweens and Injury in Between

The title of the third book in the Life as a Fit Mom eBook series or a rant about my experience at Disney World last week? For fun, let's make it both.

Rant first (so I can end this post on a positive note).

We had been talking about this extended family (14 of us in all) trip to Orlando for a year. I had called the Disney planning help-desk (my term) no fewer than five times, read three travel guides and visited several Disney blogs. Still, I felt planning this trip required a secondary degree. I figured this would all be worth it when The Boy, who would be making his inaugural trip, experienced the Magic.

As you can see in the photo below (taken about one hour after walking through the front gates) The Boy (front center) was not impressed. But I can't say I blame him. We rode three rides using Fastpasses and then weren't able to get any more Fastpasses for the day. This meant hour-plus waits for other rides we wanted to do. The place was wickedly crowded. We left before the fireworks.
No matter. For The Boy this trip centered on going to the Jedi Training show. On my first call to Disney I learned 1) I needed to go to Hollywood Studios to experience the Star Wars attraction. 2) I couldn't make a reservation so needed to show up at 8 a.m. when the park opened to ensure we could get in. 3) The sign-up for Jedi Training was next to the Star Tours ride.

I had been through these steps with no fewer than three Disney customer service people in the months and weeks before our trip. I made my entire party of 14 (including two teenagers) get up and leave our hotel at 7:15 a.m. (which was really 6:15 our time) so we could make sure The Boy went through Jedi Training.

Jedi Training! A memory my little Star Wars fan would never forget!

After entering the park promptly at 8 a.m. I asked our ticket taker the fastest way to Star Tours to sign up for Jedi Training.

And this is what he said: "There is no Jedi Training today."

After all that studying, checking, and rechecking. Wha? It was closed, he said, for refurbishing. I had known the show had been closed months ago, but my first Disney guide told me the show would reopen mid-November, and--weren't we lucky--we would arrive after the reopening.

Somehow, Disney failed to inform the customer service agents I spoke to about the delay in reopening. And there I was with my 13 family members looking to me for... what? Permission to beat the guy up? A chance to go back to bed?

I really, truly wanted to throw myself on the ground and sob. I had spent about six months planning this trip. Magic Kingdom had been a bust. I wanted a good day. I wanted some freaking Magic.

It was Thanksgiving. By golly we had Fastpasses scheduled so we rode our rides (inducing Star Tours, which The Boy loved immensely) and allowed him to construct his own light saber. We left early (because we couldn't get anymore Fastpasses anyway) and let the kids swim in the pool the rest of the afternoon.

I had made reservations at the Swan Hotel's Garden Grove restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner. A coup with our large party. The restaurant was in a Disney hotel and B-list characters--Chipmunks, Pluto, and the like--would be in attendance. (I had attempted making Thanksgiving Day reservations in June for every restaurant inside every Disney Park but all were booked. I knew then I was out of my Disney vacation planning league.) With two days of Disney in the books I was ready to give thanks with my family over turkey and gravy. What more could go wrong?

The restaurant did not have our reservation.

I was quickly whisked away to a nearby bar by two women who care deeply about my mental health, while the husbands stood back with the kids raiding the dessert table during the hour wait.

Could the night get worse? Yes. The martini was awful. Jet fuel with a sake backwash aftertaste. I just needed a little something to take the edge off, make this day laughable, but I couldn't choke it down. Then, once we finally got seated and made our way to the buffet, the turkey was served with a salacious come-on... to my 17-YEAR-OLD NEPHEW.

Seriously, Disney. Not cool.

We spent the next two days at Universal and thanks to our Unlimited Express Passes (if time is indeed money then they were worth the expense) saw and rode to our hearts content. Still, what the kids enjoyed most was hanging out with each other in the pool. For free.

It really is that easy (and cheap). Being together was priceless and for that I was grateful.

I'm also grateful for the release of my third eBook. Yeah!

Throwing a Fit: Toddlers to Tweens and Injury in Between is available here:

Barnes & Noble
Google Play

This book covers the hard stuff (not unlike repeated letdowns at Disney World) and how I worked my way through them, some better than others. The book is in large part about the importance of fitness when clinging to sanity, how to stick with it when motivationally challenged, what fitness even means when you're injured and can't do the things you want to do. Truly, the chaos I speak of when I say "chaos of motherhood."

There's something magical about picking yourself up from the asphalt (or couch) and going forward despite not getting your way.

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