You’ve Got a Friend in Me

After my husband and I had our magical anniversary trip, it was time to make plans for another week long stay at Disney. When we bought into DVC, they let me choose my first “Welcome Home” stay, regardless of how soon it was approaching. I chose a week in May, in which I knew it would work best with everyone’s school calendar.

In the past year, I was used to someone else planning my trip for me. This time, I did it myself, and again, in the process of planning, it got me thinking about how I would love to do this as an actual job. There was so much excitement in planning our trip, so many choices, and so many things to consider. It never overwhelmed me, in fact, it pushed me to create the ideal vacation for my family since I wanted them to feel relaxed and rejuvenated, yet also enjoy every minute we were in the parks. One of my best friends, Katie, was accompanying us on this trip, so I also wanted to plan extra special things for her, since she hadn’t been to Disney in about 10 years. I soon realized that I had a true passion for planning things outside of my normal day to day life, and my mind began dreaming of a time when I could do this for more than just my family vacations.

Our week was absolutely glorious. We stayed at our home resort, the Polynesian, in a beautiful room overlooking the gorgeous foliage of Florida. Our room was located so closely to the TTC (Ticket and Transportation Center), that we were easily able to walk from our building to there and catch the monorail to spend a day at Epcot or catch the monorail that was located at the main entrance of the Polynesian to spend the day at Magic Kingdom. It was definitely a win-win for us.

When we were choosing DVC resorts to be our “home”, we thought long and hard about what meant the most to us as a family. It had very little to do with the status of a resort and mostly about accessibility for our entire family. While my son is not a true disabled person, he does have a physical condition that causes a lot of pain in his hips, knees, ankles, and feet. We have been going to therapy for six of his nine years, and he wears daily orthotics (AFO’s/SMO’s) to aide in better walking. But even with those, he fatigues easily, so spending a few hours walking, much less an entire day, is not something he is able to do. We knew a monorail resort would be best not only for him, but also for trips that my parents were able to travel with us. We also knew, from past trips to Disney, and my son being in extreme pain from walking, that I realized we had to use a wheelchair in order for him to enjoy this trip and future trips as well.

A fantastic thing about buying DVC from Disney is that you have a separate phone number to call at anytime to make reservations, check on accommodations, or simply ask a question regarding a future vacation. I needed help in selecting who to rent a wheelchair from, and they gave me the name of several choices. I found a fantastic rental company who had our wheelchair waiting for us at Bell Services when we arrived, and a wonderful cast member brought it right out for my son.

This trip was special for so many reasons. Katie and I had been working and coaching together for the past five years. We both resigned from coaching for different reasons, and thought this trip would be a fantastic way to celebrate the work we had put in and a toast to each other’s future. On top of that, my kids love her and she has the most laid back personality. Very easy to please and easy to take along anywhere we go. Did I mention she’s also an AMAZING artist? She made about 10-12 sets of ears for us to wear during our trip, as well as sketching Disney designs on shoes for my kiddos. We all need a friend like Katie.

This trip was everything a girl’s trip should be (plus kids). We enjoyed sleeping in every morning. I should say “they” enjoyed sleeping in. I enjoyed getting up at 7, sitting on the balcony for at least two solid hours, eating breakfast, reading, and simply relaxing. We got moving around lunchtime, and we spent the days hitting the parks around 1, coming back for a swim/nap, and going back to the parks for much cooler evenings with less time waiting in lines. It became a challenge each night to see just how many rides we could get on with the short wait times.

We enjoyed character meals with Lilo and Stitch, every single princess, meeting Goofy and Mickey, paused for much needed photo opportunities, rode the most magical rides, recharged with some snacks, enjoyed the Florida sunshine, and indulged in Dole Whips and adult beverages. I couldn’t ask for a better trip with a friend, than the one she took with us.

But there was still something I yearned for….even at the happiest place on Earth. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what felt off, but I would soon realize it. In the next post, I will share how I made all of my Disney dreams come true, with a little faith, trust, and of course, Pixie Dust.

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