How to visit Disney World without killing your family

Clark Griswold is my spirit animal. So when I got to spend part of the holiday season in Disney World with my family, I was in heaven. It was like Christmas Vacation AND Vacation in one hotel suite. Without Cousin Eddie.

We spent a magical 8 days in Orlando as my mom and I dragged our entire family to Disney World for her 60th birthday. Even though I’d just been there in June, I was fucking pumped. My family hadn’t been on a trip together since The Worst Thanksgiving Ever AKA The Worst Vacation Ever. We hadn’t been to Disney World together since 1998. And did I mention there was an adorable 9-month-old baby in tow?

Taking a baby to Disney World

My dad loves that little Nugget so much.

Somehow, all 7 of us managed to crash in the same hotel suite for most of a week and not kill each other. To be perfectly honest, I’m surprised that I don’t have more interesting tales of drama and/or homicide to regale you with from our trip. I was most concerned about being in a hotel room with Mom because she and I get along smashingly when we don’t live together, but put us in the same space for more than a few hours and smashingly turns into smashing things (love you, MOM!). Apparently, being in the happiest place on earth meant that both Mom and I were in our happy place and nothing could stop us from enjoying every freaking minute of it. Mom was only there for the first three days of the trip, culminating with her birthday party at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Look how happy she looks on Day 1!

Parents kissing under mistletoe magic shots Disney World

Day 1: Aren’t my parents the most adorable ever?

The best part? She was just as happy on Day 3, and I was just as thrilled to be there with her. Dad, on the other hand, was sick to death of taking fucking pictures (he may have told me so the next day).

Mom and daughter hugging under mistletoe magic shots Disney World

Day 3: Wearing our jams at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

But how did we all manage to share the same space for a week and not kill each other? Here are 5 ways we did it.

    1. Don’t all travel at the same time. I think if everyone had gotten on the same plane at 5:30 in the morning, there would have been even more crankiness, even if we were all drinking bloody Marys because Southwest is the best. Alas, Brian and I flew at the crack of dawn (yes that meant a 3 AM cab to the airport) with my parents, landing at a respectable 9:30 in the morning. My brother, Anna, and the baby flew in on an afternoon flight that allowed them the time they needed to get their little nugget prepped for her first flight. On the way home, it was just my brother, Anna, Nugget, Brian, and me. Mom left earlier in the week and Dad left the day before we did.
    2. Don’t feel obligated to follow the same schedule or plan. Originally, Mom and I were going to Disney on our own the first day, but Dad decided to join us. This was one of those days that will forever be with me. It was magic. Brian, on the other hand, needed time to decompress from the flight, so he stayed back at the hotel waiting for the rest of the fam. My brother and dad were originally going to go with us to Universal Studios, but they ended up staying back at the hotel with the nugget so Brian, Anna, TBCIII (one of my besties and bridesmen, who happened to be in Orlando for a conference at the same time we were there), and I could revel in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (more on that later). Mom decided she didn’t want to go to Animal Kingdom, so she met the rest of us at EPCOT later. It all worked out, and everyone got to relax when they wanted to.
    3. Do plan some time for yourself. I know me, you guys. I know that I’m the only one in her right mind who can do 7 days in a row of theme parks. I also know that I need to be able to do what I want to do when I want to do it. In June, I learned that Disneying on my own is AH-MAZING, and so I planned an entire day by myself before my family joined me around 4 PM. I went to a character breakfast, dined with Prince Eric, met more characters, took some photos, ate lots of delicious things, and just enjoyed the things I knew my family didn’t care about. Meanwhile, back at the suite, my family slept in, had a pool day, and relaxed before the Christmas Party.
    4. Do mix up who you spend your time with. You don’t all have to be together at the same time in the same place. Have a few set plans in place (We had dinner at Biergarten designated months prior, and we knew that Mom wanted a night picture in front of Cinderella’s Castle), but then feel free to split up and enjoy smaller group time.
    5. Do make sure everyone has food when they need it. A lot of unnecessary fights happen when people are hungry. My brother was ready to kill everyone when he felt like he hadn’t had a decent meal in days (he wanted to sit down and eat something that he liked, and we had been doing a lot of quick-serve snacks that day), and as soon as we got him delicious Chinese food, he was happy again. Also, if you’re into it, booze helps too. There are a ridiculous number of delicious drinks to try and not nearly enough time to try them all!


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Family in front of Magic Kingdom Entrance with Magic Shot

Merry Holidays from my family to yours! And if you want to get on our Christmas card list, this is your last chance to drop your address in the Google form. I’m mailing cards on 12/16!

5 tips keep your sanity on a family trip to Disney World

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Dreamers Need to Stick Together

Disney has been knocking them out of the park with magic lately. Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to see a pre-screening of Disney’s Tomorrowland, which hits theaters today. It was worth every second. The premise of Tomorrowland begins with a parallel universe of dreamers that welcomes young inventor, Frank Walker (George Clooney), after he sneaks through the front door. The movie jumps back and forth from Walker’s childhood and the story of Casey Newtown (Britt Robertson), who stumbles upon a glimpse of Tomorrowland through a magic pin and looks to Walker to help her get back in.

Photo used with permission of Walt Disney Studios

Photo used with permission of Walt Disney Studios

After Casey discovers the existence of Tomorrowland, Athena guides her to Frank, an unwilling participant in the return to the future. Much of the movie is spent escaping killer robots on earth as Frank, Casey, and Athena eventually  work together to return to Tthe titular universe.

Photo used with permission of Walt Disney Studios

Photo used with permission of Walt Disney Studios

Tomorrowland is a place where anything is possible if you just dream it. Very innovative Disney. You’ll note a few odes to classic Disney, and I have to admit I cried a little bit when they showed a scene featuring the “It’s a Small World” ride. I can’t help it. Disney World makes me cry nostalgic tears.

Photo used with permission of Walt Disney Studios

Photo used with permission of Walt Disney Studios

I honestly didn’t know what to expect; I just knew I wanted to see this flick. You know how I feel about Disney. The action sequences are fun, and the humanistic robots are pretty entertaining to watch (look for some SERIOUSLY entertaining cheesy grins). There are some incredibly inspirational lines that made my heart burst.

-Dreamers need to stick together-

Clooney is a convincing pessimist who’s lost all hope while Roberston shows us that optimism is full of hope. Raffey Cassidy is bright and full of life as the mysterious little girl, Athena. Hugh Laurie (omg House!) plays a phenomenal bad guy who gives you just enough of an impression that he’s doing it for the greater good but…is he? You’ll have to find out for yourself.

Photo used with permission of Walt Disney Studios

Photo used with permission of Walt Disney Studios

The story is all about believing, dreaming, and never giving up. All my favorite themes of whimsy. As a writer and a dreamer, I sometimes need reminders not to give up. This was a good one. Fun for the whole family, this movie is full of fun, action, friendship, and innovation. Because jetpacks were designed to inspire people, right?

Are you looking forward to seeing Tomorrowland? Are you a Disneyphile like me? What types of movies energize you?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Brian Shares Saturday: He’s Back in Full Force

Well, let’s start with a little something Brian did NOT share, but he certainly made his opinion known.

Drunk Puppy

So Ash from That Ash Girl sent me this video. And it was the cutest fucking thing I’ve ever seen. So watch it. Watch it now.

And I felt the need to show Brian, because it was (I repeat) the cutest fucking thing I’ve ever seen.

Here was the conversation that followed:

Me: wants
Brian: that video played a “get a free bible, mormon commercial”… haahaha! People came to my door in college with the same thing so I asked them for a bible written in Hebrew… which is why I have a bible all written in Hebrew in my bookshelves
Me: seriously?
Me: Secondly, that’s all you have to say about the SERIOUS cuteness of that horribly named pup?
Brian: I think it was drunk.  It kept wobbling around and falling down.
Brian: ?
Me: You!
Brian: That puppy was CLEARLY drunk off his ass! He couldn’t string together a coherent sentence… probably couldn’t say the alphabet, let alone backwards…couldn’t walk a straight line…probably couldn’t touch his paws to his nose. He even had that reddish nose that some chronic alcoholics get.  Drunk!
Me: Unacceptable.
  A few minutes later…
Me: So can we get one?

He never did respond to that…

Here’s the dog tag that we’ll get our future pup who will NOT be named Tebow.

If you can read this I will lick you funny dog tag


More of Our Future Pets

The Lizard Attacking a Grape

Brian almost didn’t send this to me…but I was standing over his shoulder while he was trolling through Reddit. And when he watched this I said, “You better send that to me!” and of course, he did, because it would not have been nice if he did not. And then I would not have made him a delicious Irish Breakfast the next day with all the Irish meaty goodness and everything fried in the same pan, even the tomatoes and onions and eggs.

But he did send it, and so like I do on Sundays at Brian’s mom’s, I made an Irish Fry and it was delightful. Whoever invented Irish sausages (bangers, white pudding, and black pudding) should seriously win an award. It’s kind of funny because I eat all the delicious Irish food and drink tea with milk when I’m with Brian’s Irish family and they always forget that I’m Irish…and they say things like, “Are you sure you’re Polish and not Irish?” And then I tell them that I’m Polish AND Irish. And I love breakfast. And breakfast sausage. And tea kind of grew on me (though I still love me some coffee Monday-Friday and sometimes Saturday when I’m home with my Keurig and not at Brian’s mom’s house.)

Anyways…sorry for the LONG distracted ramble. (Not really.)

Pet Dolphins on Vacation in Florida

So, right after Christmas, Brian was talking to his dad about how he has several vacation days that he needs to use by February…And his dad was all, “You should come visit!” (Brian has made his way down to Florida during many a January/February to visit his dad & get some Vitamin D/warm weather…so this wasn’t a total out of the blue idea.)

Brian made the mistake of mentioning this to me…And I got so excited. I have a love affair with Florida that cannot be matched. (Obviously, we’re going. I mean…you get an idea into my head…and it sort of happens.) This will be my 8th trip to The Sunshine State. The 3rd in a 12 month period. Speaking of Florida, check out the article that Brian sent me about Disney World.

So Brian sent me this awesome picture of dolphins in Google Maps from Marco Island (where we’ll be going). My pet dolphins miss me. They want to play in the canals with us again! I just know it.

Our Pets: Baby Sloth and Baby Platypus

If you didn’t read my sonnet to Yelp, go do that now. I can wait…

OK, now, if you don’t know about our future pet sloth…you’ve got a lot of reading to catch up on.

Now that you’re on the same page as me… here are our future baby pets. Aren’t the sweet?

baby platypus baby sloth

Random Internet Pictures and Obligatory Kitten gif

kitten attack gif dog playing fetch with a statue baby turtle on big turtle

The Castle: Our Future Home

beautiful castle

Have a great weekend!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!