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Old 13 Nov 17, 01:19 AM  
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At least we’re going back- trip report

We’ve been home for a week so thought I’d try a trip report. This was our second trip as a family of 4 and fourth with a baby, so in theory we know what we’re doing! I’ll try to add in a few photos but nothing of the kids. We made the decision to try to limit our children’s public online footprint when DD1 was born. I’m comfortable sharing stories without names but as a rule we don’t share photos. I totally get why others do and don’t judge at all, this is just what works for our family.

DD1 is 2.5 and DD2 was 8.5 months when we left. We flew with Delta EDI-JFK-MCO and had 12 nights in a standard view studio at VGF. We had a fullsize car from Alamo at the Car Care Centre.
DD2 has numerous allergies and foods we’ve not confirmed are safe, so we had the fun of allergy dining for both of us.

I’ll start this by saying that we’ve done indirect several times before. Options in Scotland are limited and it has never been a big deal. Our first trip with DD1 was United via Newark and was mostly fine. I will never do this route again and wouldn’t recommend Delta either.
I struggled to deal with the correct people in customer services before we flew. The UK number dealt with Air France/KLM bookings but we were Virgin, so needed to call the US. I couldn’t get my vegan meal booked online and was initially told that it could only be booked 24 hours in advance (the minimum notice required to order special meals!). It took 2 calls to sort that and DD2’s child meal.

I had meals confirmed by the cabin manager before food service began. Special meals came out but I wasn’t paying much attention and assumed they had ours with the trolley. The couple across from us got one and opened it all up, took out the snacky bits, then put it down on the spare seat beside them. I spoke up when the trolley arrived with no meal for either of us. Mine had been totally missed and DD1’s had been mislabelled A instead of F. At this point the couple in A and B mentioned that they had a child’s meal but hadn’t touched it. Hmm, yeah not touched beyond taking the bits you wanted then opening the meal and leaving it uncovered. What sort of adult gets handed a kids meal and doesn’t first go “I’m not a child” followed quickly by “so is there a child near me who didn’t get one?”. I was fuming! Cabin crew weren’t overly apologetic.

I had big worries about our connection in JFK. It was tight at 2h 25 when we booked, but Delta brought the MCO flight forward 20 minutes to make it 2h 5. I had heard that we could use Quick Connect if we had fewer than 3 hours between flights. Flight attendant said no and brushed off my concerns. Luckily we landed 20 minutes early. Immigration was hell. The hall is massive and the queue was well outside then round a corner. We finally saw a “60 minutes from this point” sign about 20 minutes in. It was ridiculously warm and we had the girls in slings which meant they were getting really sticky. No option for a buggy at this point.

We were able to go to the machines because we had all previously travelled on ESTAs. DH’s fingerprints failed and we got a big O on the rest of our tickets because I declared food (the question is now ANY food). This meant that we were filtered back in to the normal queue with just over an hour to go until our next flight. The guy in control of the queues must have seen my face and the upset baby because he told us to go through a US passports one instead. I was so grateful and he probably saved us another 40 minutes.

There were signs for flight connections until we got to the bag drop after customs but then suddenly nothing. We went up to the train feeling very stressed and with an hour to go. I remembered something in my paperwork from Delta about the “Jitney” but hadn’t seen any signs. The train line to T2 was closed and we were worried about the time it would take to go round the full circuit, so I asked about the Jitney. “Oh you need to go to gate B18 in T4 back downstairs”. So off we went to look for B18. In retrospect we should have turned around here but we had no idea how long the alternative would take. It took us 5 minutes just to find an entrance to the security queue. We finally got through and found gate B18 with about 20 minutes to spare. We literally only had enough time in T2 to buy a couple of bottles of water and get drinks for everyone before they were calling priority boarding. I don’t remember the last time I was so stressed and I didn’t calm down fully until we were in our hotel.

We had a bad experience with housekeeping at VGF last year so the first thing I did was check everything. The carpets hadn’t been properly vacuumed and there was popcorn around the tables. Perfect with a crawling allergy baby. Checked the cupboard and there was no travel cot. A couple of calls to housekeeping later and the floor was probably vacuumed, and we had a travel cot plus 2 highchairs for the girls. Bell services delivered our rental buggy with the rest of our bags which saved us a trip the next morning. Finally ordered some food from room service before collapsing in to bed around 9pm. Very very long day!

Our first full day was 1900 Park Fayre followed by MK. DD1 had been really excited about meeting Winnie the Pooh but she wasn’t interested once we were there. I think it was really overwhelming for her because it’s so big and noisy, plus she just wanted to eat! The characters weren’t overly interested in DD2 which was a shame.

Over to MK on the monorail and we were really impressed with the new security set up. The staff were lovely and we never waited more than a minute to get through - perfect!
First up was Mickey at Town Square. The queue was crazy and it took about half an hour to get through with fastpasses. DD1 wasn’t keen on this in June so we were a bit apprehensive. She was actually fine though and DD2 loved getting some attention from a giant fluffy person.

Next we went to Dumbo via Cheshire Cat Cafe for a Cheshire Cat tail. Sorry to all of the fans out there but I couldn’t get past the first bite! My teeth were actually aching it was so sweet. Luckily DH knows no limits with sugar and ate it for me .
DD1 loves Dumbo. She learned how to work the dvd player at the grand old age of 20 months and started putting on random movies from our Disney collection. Eventually she found Dumbo and fell in love. It’s a bit obscure but luckily there is plenty of Dumbo stuff in the parks thanks to the ride! We decided to go in one car which was a mistake. DH sat on my arm getting in and I was very squashed . It was worth it though for DD1’s face when she made the elephant go up and down. I swear she would have been happy doing that all day. I got some fantastic photos of her which almost look like ride promo shots. My one DIBB Facebook friend will have to tell you all how fantastic they are . Here is a photo though of the best bed ever. I don’t know how we’ll break it to her that it’s going to be Stitch next time.

Next up was the Tea Party which is another toddler favourite. I was convinced that I had booked one fastpass for this for DH and one for me for Space Mountain at the same time. I didn’t think DD2 would care for the tea cups and the single Space Mountain fastpass would get both of us on via baby swap. I’m also sure that I had it timed to coincide with the girls needing to nap, but apparently not . I’ll point out that they were fantastic with naps in June and all of my plans hinged on this!
So DH goes up to the fastpass gate and I go to push DD2 around for a while “sir, you’re supposed to be on Space Mountain”. Oops! Quick swap over and I get to do the ride instead.

We walked round to Space Mountain and I was starting to feel a bit lightheaded. I put it down to finally needing lunch after a big breakfast and started trying to figure out where we could all eat. Allergy dining at busy quick service restaurants isn’t easy. We got to the ride to find out that it was down anyway, so just headed back to the resort. DD1 was very sweet in her super tired state and didn’t want to leave the park because she still wanted to be on holiday . Photo on our way out, doesn’t it look so different without the crazy security?!

I can’t actually remember what we did for lunch because I felt pretty grim by this point. My bill says that we spent $30 at Gasparilla’s though so we must have eaten there.
I do remember being very happy that we could get the monorail back and not have to faff about folding the buggy. That was such a huge benefit of staying at a monorail resort.

We got back to the room and I pretty much just passed out on the bed. DH wasn’t amused at having to entertain the tiny ones for a couple of hours! He eventually went out to pick up the car and should have gone to Walmart, but I didn’t feel well enough to be left alone with the kids whilst he was gone. Instead we went to the Contempo Cafe for dinner and agreed to get breakfast stuff/snacks the next day.

Edited at 02:54 PM.
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Old 13 Nov 17, 01:20 AM  
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Day 2 was Hollywood Studios. I had booked the Disney Jr breakfast at Hollywood and Vine because DD1 loves Disney Jr.

I had ordered a car seat from Amazon because we only had 1 US seat. I have had nothing but praise for our budget Cosco Scenera Next, but realistically I wouldn’t get much use out of a second one because it’ll probably only do one more trip for DD1. Instead I ordered a Graco extend2fit after another recommendation. It came with great reviews and will apparently do rear facing until she’s at least 4.
I had an email from Amazon saying that it had been delivered but Bell Services said it wasn’t with them. We finally established that everything at the Grand Floridian goes to the conference centre, so off DH went with the car and the Cosco seat to get it installed. It took ages to get over there, wait for them to find it and finally get both seats installed in the car. No wifi for most of it either so I was worried that he had stormed off in a car seat fitting rage .

Eventually I decided to head down to meet him and ended up circling the lobby with two grumpy children who didn’t want to be in a buggy. Neither of the us was in a great mood when we got to Hollywood Studios . Here is last year’s photo of pretty much the entire lobby

We got there 5 minutes late but seemingly checked in ok with my apologies. They discussed highchairs and allergies, and even gave me the allergy menu. 20 or so minutes later someone asked our name because we hadn’t been called. Turned out that not only had we not been checked in so had no table waiting, we would have been marked as a no show! They weren’t overly apologetic but I have to acknowledge that it wouldn’t have happened if we’d been on time.

Disney Jr didn’t go well either. She just refused to talk until the characters had gone and again, none of them paid any attention to DD2. The food was ok though and the chef did a nice plate of allergy friendly stuff for the tiny one. I learned by this point to count everything off on my fingers then let them decide what they could do. We were up to 5 allergies/not confirmed safe foods . I do like that they’re so responsive to special diets for under 3s at buffets where you’re not even paying for the infant.

We took a trip to baby care but didn’t last long. The other 3 are great but there’s just nothing redeeming about the one in HS. I felt really ill again by this point so we just went back. The girls were really happy with their trunki and I paced around trying to get warm because somehow the room was suddenly FREEZING. Eventually had a nap then asked DH to help me find a cardigan. He responded by cuddling me to try to warm me up... and told me that I was burning up. Quick check on the thermometer that we take everywhere for the girls - 39.6. Hmm, that’ll explain a lot! I was very glad that I had insisted on packing plenty of paracetamol and ibuprofen.
The trunki chaos -

We didn’t do much other than go out to Gasparilla’s for dinner and even that was a huge task for me. We got an over keen cast member too and I really didn’t have the energy for it. She was lovely with the kids and put “Bruce” in his own highchair which was very sweet.

DD1 was being awkward about eating, so the CM brought out 2 cupcakes for the girls and said they could only have them if they finished their dinner. I really didn’t know how to say that I wouldn’t normally give my 2 year old that much sugar and that the baby is allergic to everything . She did eat in the end though and agreed to split her cupcake with daddy.

Day 3 was Epcot. I was still struggling to keep my temperature down and fely really groggy, but managed to get out in time for lunch at Garden Grill. My suspicion at this point was a nasty sinus infection rather than anything more sinister so I wasn’t too worried about being infectious.
Garden Grill was fantastic. It was really quiet which meant the characters kept coming back to us. I really liked the family style serving over character buffets with young kids too. The characters were all great with DD2 and spent loads of time playing with her. The toddler was much happier too, presumably because she had already had breakfast so wasn’t just desperate to eat. My only complaint was that they put her down as a child rather than an infant despite me clearly saying “two infants, two highchairs” when I checked in. It was sorted quickly but we learned to check the bill after that!

We managed to fit in the Frozen ride “it’s Olaf Daddy, Olaf!” and a wander round the World Showcase before I gave in again. The girls did at least fall asleep walking round but otherwise not an overly successful day again.

Day 4 was AK with lunch at Yak and Yeti. DD2 had been looking a bit rough for a couple of days and we were worried that her eyes were red and puffy. I called a doctor to get her checked out because of her allergies and the timing of the appointment meant we only had 2 hours in the park. Still, we managed to do the safari and the river journey as well as having a decent meal. I don’t know why I bothered getting river journey fastpasses because even the kids find it dull. It was worth the walk through Pandora though.

Last time it was a total wash out so we didn’t see much despite eating at Satu’li and doing the ride. It was nice to see the theming in the sun and without water pouring across our eyes.

Back to the room to see the doctor who says it’s allergies and we need a cream to heal it up. At least it wasn’t anything more sinister but not great that her allergies seem to be getting worse.

We went back out to AK in the evening and managed to catch King Louie which made DD1 happy. She kept asking where “bear necessities” was though because we’d told her that they’d be together. Oops. We got to wander round Pandora in the dark too which didn’t interest the girls but was pretty.

Day 5 was back to MK. I had originally planned Chef Mickey’s in the morning but cancelled it after two poor reactions to character breakfasts. I think we’re going to stick to lunch or dinner from now on.

I was still feeling ill and fevered, but this was the first day that I managed to do much. First up was Rapunzel and Tiana. I think she was tired at this point (I have photo of me holding her with DD2 in the sling in the queue!) so they fell a bit flat. She did show off the ‘meleon on her shorts to Rapunzel though which was really cute.
Next was the Barnstormer with Daddy, and a baby swap pass for me. Side note - any ride with a height restriction will offer baby swap and it’s totally worth grabbing if you’ve got very short people in your party. The conversation afterwards went along the lines of “so did you enjoy it?” “Yes” “Would you like to go on again?” “No” “Maybe another time?” “No”. Hmm, not sure if she actually enjoyed it. We’ll try again next year!

There was some glitch with my fastpasses which let me reschedule one I had already used. Weird but I wasn’t complaining and used it for a quick trip on Dumbo again just the 2 of us. It was much more comfortable with DH taking up all of the space . DD1 still had to sit on my lap though because she couldn’t reach the all important lever from the seat. I spent the entire time taking photos again just so I could see her grinning like a maniac. Time well spent imo! I sorted out a lunch ADR at Tony’s when I caught up with DH and the buggy.

Final ride of the day was the carousel and I was totally *that* mum. DD1 is tiny compared to most of the other kids we see on the ride, and pretty much the only way we can watch her is if she’s on the outside. I think it’s more fun for her too to be able to wave to Daddy. So I had the option of being one of the last ones on but instead waited at the gate to avoid the crazy rushing around trying to find a horse low enough to get on. I could hear the family behind me going on about how they were getting the outside horses because they go faster. I didn’t care, and as soon as the gate was open we took the horse right in front of it. Perfect. DH got some sweet photos and DD1 loved it. I don’t know what is so amazing about going up and down but it’s so lovely to see her so excited.

We decided to try Columbia Harbor House for lunch. We normally go at least once, but usually I get a baked potato from Liberty Square Market and meet DH inside. They’ve stopped doing the potatoes and corn now so I thought I’d try the chilli. I asked for help with an allergy order and ended up with “seasonal vegetables” for DD2 which was steamed green beans with shredded carrots. Probably wouldn’t have ordered them had I realised it was the same as the kid’s meal side. DD1 wasn’t a fan of the chicken nuggets and we had to peel off the batter to try to get her to eat them. I hate that quick service kids food is so bad when there are plenty of decent adult meals. Should have tried the salmon instead.
They had a pager system here for allergy orders which was quite handy. It takes a while to cook everything separately so it makes sense. I think we waited about 15 minutes.

We decided to try the Grand Floridian Cafe for dinner. It was nice, but the tables really weren’t big enough. DD2 can’t be trusted with plates yet so we push hers out of the way and let her eat off the (cleaned! ) table. Between that, wipes, bread and our own meals we really struggled for space. I would go back for the food but not until the girls are older and less feral .

Edited at 06:00 PM.
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Old 13 Nov 17, 01:20 AM  
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Day 6 was Saturday and our first day with no FP+ or ADRs. I was desperate for DD1 to go swimming but was still struggling with my sinus infection and didn’t think that chlorinated water was the best place for DD2’s skin. We decided that DH would take her down and I would get DD2 to nap then try to watch from the balcony. We had a great view of the pool from our balcony so I got to practice my paparazzi shots of DH.

She was so excited to go swimming and we got some really sweet songs about her swimming costume “I got the... elephant!”.

We went for a stroll round Disney Springs afterwards but didn’t stay for long because it was mobbed. I did see some Duplo that I liked though and made a mental note to check the Sterling price when we got back.
Dinner at Gasparilla’s again. I was really starting to miss Landscape of Flavors from our trip to AoA in June.

Day 7 my fever finally broke and I suddenly felt alive again! We hastily made a lunch reservation at Hollywood and Vine, and some FP+ for the day. I had avoided lunch here because it was Halloween themed rather than Disney Jr. That was a mistake! The character interactions were great and the buffet was actually pretty good. The chef walked me through the buffet but there wasn’t much allergy friendly stuff that I liked, so he did me a big bowl of pasta. Littlest one had more veggies which was fine with her. Once again though we were charged a child for the 2 year old despite being very clear “2 infants, 2 highchairs” when we checked in. It was sorted easily enough but still frustrating.
The characters loved DD2 and again spent ages playing with her. At one point one of the handlers came up to play too because she had heard that she was friendly . DD1 enjoyed it and this is actually the only meal I’ve booked so far for our next trip in April.

We managed to do Frozen and Voyage of the Little Mermaid with the girls. I thought she’d enjoy it more but DD1 was fairly quiet throughout both. She did really enjoy the bubble “snow” at the end of Frozen though. We also picked up an elusive RnR FP+ so did that with rider swap. So nice to finally do a grownup ride!

This was the day that I finally caved and bought a bubble wand. Oh my those things are annoying. She LOVED it. It had bubbles, noise, lights and a switch. What more does a 2 year old need?! I spent the entire rest of the holiday saying “out of the buggy please. Don’t point that at your sister. No, please don’t point it at the hood either!”.

It was getting rather chilly and I wanted to celebrate no longer feeling unnaturally warm by warming myself up with a hot chocolate. The access to Starbucks isn’t great with the buggy so I went in on my own. It was really busy but they only had one side open, so I had a bit of a wait. I ordered my coconut milk hot chocolate, no cream, then stood watching them make up drinks. I know from previous conversations that Starbucks syrups are dairy free but their drizzles aren’t. So I watched them rush through all of the drinks, topping them all with cream and drizzle. Mine will be fine though because I said no cream and who orders coconut milk if they can have dairy? I realised just as they were adding the drizzle that it was mine. Great. Re-do it please. I stood at the end of the counter watching again. One of the staff members decided to empty out a jug labelled “milk” from shoulder height just as mine was sitting waiting for the lid to go on, right in front of the sink. Thanks. That’ll be cows milk in my dairy free hot chocolate. My baby is allergic to cows milk so I can’t have it splashed in my drink.
They did it a third time and refunded me but I was really upset. It took ages too and my DH was stuck pushing the girls round shops waiting for me to come out. I was surprised because I thought they would be really hot on allergies and cross contaminated.

Back to the hotel for yet another dinner at Gasparilla’s. The staff there are great but the menu is very limited and the kids choices are terrible. I don’t understand why they have a totally hidden vegan menu too with two different types of burger! I couldn’t have either though because everything vegan contains soya .

Edited at 02:54 PM.
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Old 13 Nov 17, 01:21 AM  
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Day 8 we were back to MK. I had fastpasses starting at 11am despite DD2 consistently napping around then. I’m not sure what I was thinking with my fastpasses but they really didn’t fit with the girl’s routine. We got to the Ariel meet and greet 5 minutes outside of our 15 minute grace period because we had to stop to feed DD2 just as everyone else was ready to leave. Luckily the guy took pity on us and let us through anyway. We didn’t have to wait very long and I was grateful. She was actually really excited this time but the interaction was poor. It was basically “hi, take photos, go away” .

We went straight in to the ride from there. I think the girls enjoyed it. DD1 liked pointing out the characters and DD2 kept staring at the bubbles on the ceiling.

We managed to fit in another quick ride on Dumbo then off to lunch at Tony’s where we were seated in the conservatory. It took them ages to seat the serve us, so we were still there when the parade came round at 2pm. DD2 wasn’t interested but DD1 enjoyed it. I wish we’d been able to sit closer to the window though where there were loads of empty tables. Probably should have asked. Our meal was fine but I was a bit disappointed that I specifically asked for pasta that wasn’t spaghetti for my allergy order and ended up with spaghetti. I think the chef probably got distracted chatting away to us about the kids. I managed to splash tomato sauce on my top - typical!

It was getting chilly anyway so I used the excuse to buy a jumper (and another 3 tshirts between us for good measure). I was actually really happy with the temperature this week and I’m starting to wonder if early December would be a good time for us. DD2 fell asleep so we took a leisurely to the Tea Party. I had never seen the Dumbo statue outside the castle before so of course had to take some photos with DD1!

DH’s turn for the tea cups this time amd they both had fun. DD2 woke up just as they went on but at least that meant we could take her on It’s a Small World. Man I hate that ride! We did get a bit of a giggle though when the people behind us said that the piper was Russian .

This was all I saw for most of the day as we walked round

We had never done the flying carpets before and I was able to get one fastpass, so off we went. DH decided to take DD2 in to the Tiki room while they waited. We didn’t know much about it but apparently she loved it. DH thinks that a lot of it was to do with the woman behind him bobbing around to the music though . DD1 loved the carpets so that’s one to add to the list for next time.

I managed to just miss DH going in to the Tiki Room so decided to get a pineapple upside down cake from Aloha Isle. I asked them to split out the Dole Whip so they were in two cups which meant that DH and DD1 could eat the cake with ice cream, and I got some dairy free ice cream. It was almost as good as getting to eat it myself .
We got to say hi to some ducks too. I am really bad for duck photos!

Next up we finally had a fastpass for Space Mountain. We took a quick trip on the People Mover which I don’t think the kids cared about but I love!

We did rider switch on Space Mountain and both got through pretty quickly. I was so grateful for wifi in the queue area because it made getting to the ride slightly less lonely.
I decided to take the kids to Cosmic Rays for some food while DH was in the queue. Big mistake! I was trying to bend round the PIN pad with the buggy in front of me and kept accidentally pressing the green button. These queues really aren’t set up for double buggies and I was already flustered trying to figure out where it would fit. Finally moved and slowed down while the kindly CM rolled his eyes at me, but it was apparently too late and I had locked my PIN. Great. I asked how I could reset it and he shrugged. No other money on me because we were staying on site so I had no need to carry cash or cards (DH had his wallet with both, incidentally).

I was really upset at my stupidity and the lack of any compassion from the CM. I decided to head to Customer Services to try to get it unlocked but the queue was out the door and down the stairs. No idea how I would have managed that with the buggy. I realised afterwards too that they probably would have asked for ID which again, I don’t normally carry on site.
DH caught up with me at the gate after some very dramatic whatsapp messages. I decided that I couldn’t possibly spend another minute in the park which had so wronged me and we hopped on the monorail. Front desk were lovely and reset it for me without any hassle or ID (they did recognise me).

We finished up the evening with yet another meal at Gasparilla’s and some new dvds from front desk.

Edited at 01:16 AM.
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Old 13 Nov 17, 01:21 AM  
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Day 9 was Halloween and Epcot again. We’re not big Halloween or crowds people so I figured Epcot was probably our safest bet. We took the monorail there which was so easy. Just a shame we had to go through security twice - once at the resort then again at Epcot.

We started out with the Mickey character meet. The queue was moving really slowly and a guy who joined the standby side at the same time we joined the fastpass side got to the merging point at the same time. I guess more people fastpass this one than not. DD1 was really groggy and made me carry her. I was very grateful for the slings in our backpack because it meant that I could put her on my front and save my arms a bit.
There was a little 3 year old behind us who got really excited and ran right up to Mickey as soon as we got in the room. It was very sweet and her poor parents looked mortified! DD1 waited and was very happy to see all of the characters. They were great with DD2 too! She really had a great time this trip. My only niggle was that the photographer at Mickey stopped taking photos when he was still playing with the baby.

We had to go straight from here to Akershus. I was looking forward to this because she loves the princesses and was really excited about meeting them. It was really disappointing. Belle only took time for a photo with no interaction. The other princesses rushed past and some didn’t even acknowledge DD2. The tables were ridiculously close together too and I was getting squished by the guy behind me pushing his chair out very slightly. The worst part was the food though. We got a chef out as usual and he was really pushy. He laughed when I said that no, I don't eat fish because I'm a vegetarian and said "well you're a vegan then". I may have difficult dietary restrictions at the moment but that doesn’t mean that I like everything “safe”. He talked me in to getting the vegan meal and there was literally nothing about it that I liked. I asked the server if there was anything else that they could do for me and I was given a plate of side vegetables. For $60.
This was literally the only place that couldn’t give me something I liked in 2 weeks.

We had a quick trip to baby care and it looked like it was in the middle of a refurb. I noted that there were male toilets and I think previously it was only women’s. The feeding room has nice new chairs and a sofa, both of which were a huge improvement on the wooden rocking chairs. I was on my own for a while so took the opportunity to take a photo. The tables are a nice addition too.

Next up was a DD1 request of “purple dragon”. DD2 was asleep in the buggy so DH took her on then we ran around in the sensory play area for a while. Last time she was still a bit light to trigger the sound blocks on the ground but it was all good this time and she loved it.

We did Living with the Land which was really more for us again. I did try to point stuff out but really the boat moves a bit too quickly for it to work well. One thing that bugs me about travelling with babies is that the buggy parks are so far away. We tend to take the buggy up to the door and take the kids out, then DH goes down to the buggy park. It saves the tiny ones being in the sun too long which was especially important because DD2 had minimal sun cream on after her skin flared up. It drives me crazy though that every time we get CMs hassling us that we can’t take buggies inside. Are people really so bad that they have to go on the offensive?

We went straight from there to Nemo which the girls enjoyed. DD1 was getting really tired by the time we were done on the ride so we didn’t spend long looking at the tanks. She is a nap fighter at the best of times and we struggled to get her to sleep during the day the whole trip. Still, we saw the dolphins and a diver. Once again I ended up carrying DD1 with DD2 in the sling because they both wanted Mummy. It’s a good thing they’re cute .

DH wanted to pick up a Starbucks mug for someone at work so I took the girls down towards the exit to get some photos taken. The photopass photographer was lovely and suggested trying to get a photo with just the girls. We put them on the wall and they behaved wonderfully just long enough to get some great photos. I was really impressed.

DD1 finally fell asleep on the monorail back to the resort! DH took her out to Gasparilla’s to pick up food and they came back to the room with a red Mickey balloon. Apparently one of the lovely ladies at front desk gave it to her. I wasn’t going to buy one but she loved having it in the room. I think she has watched too much Mickey Mouse Clubhouse because she started saying that she had an idea to use it to fetch things which were out of her reach .

Day 10 was Animal Kingdom again. I had tried to get FOP for our first week but even at 60+3 there was no availability! We started off with FOP and couldn’t believe how long it takes in the FP+ queue. DH hung around in the shop with the girls while I was on the ride and they were all bored by the time I got off 30 minutes later. I decided to take the girls to baby care for tv and feeding when we swapped over, but DD1 started complaining that she was hungry.
I stopped off at Pizzafari planning on picking up some apple slices but somehow ordering two pizzas and a side of veggies for DD2. The allery ordering system here was really cool. They have to call a supervisor in QS locations and this time she had a tablet with ingredient lists for everything on the allergy menu. I was concerned that the dairy free cheese is normally soya but this was something else. It wouldn’t have been too bad if it hadn’t come on gluten free bread which tasted like cardboard!
I was sent off with a pager again and got the girls set up in highchairs. I only realised after it had gone off that I was still on my own and couldn’t just walk off and leave them to pick up food! Thankfully a very kind CM agreed to stand with them for a minute while I went off. She was playing with DD2 when I got back which was very sweet of her. DH showed up a few minutes later and helped me with the dodgy allergy pizza. DD1 ate all of her pizza and I was very jealous! It took him 30 minutes door to door too in the FP+ queue.

DH wanted to look for a very specific beer that he had heard they were selling in Asia, so we went for a wander and ended up going through the tiger trail. We saw quite a few carved pumpkins along the way which were presumably left over from Halloween. I liked the idea that they were recycling them as animal food/enrichment.

Back on the safari and we seemed to miss a lot of animals. DD1 was a bit upset when the driver started talking about monkeys but there were none to be seen. I did get a nice shot if a baby giraffe though (I swear there used to be reticulated giraffe here too)

We were stopped for a while because of zebra in front of us and I was a bit freaked out by how close they were to the lions! I guess it just shows how well separated the lions really are. The orange rock in the background is the lion’s area.

We walked through Pagani Forest Trail after we came out. It was nice to see the gorillas because that’s one thing that DD1 doesn’t see regularly at the zoo. DD2 fell asleep going round so we took the opportunity to wander the park some more. We had never noticed the lovely view across the water from the bridge in to Africa before, but we don’t tend to just look around much.

DH and DD1 decided to ride the dinosaur Dumbo type ride (triceratops spin?) since DD2 was asleep. She woke up before they got on but I left them to it. DD1, unsurprisingly, loved it. DH was a bit annoyed about the car set up though because the lever to go up and down is in the back. He had to lean round to move it and let her press the button to tip the car. I think that set up probably works best when your party can split across 2 rows.

I think I’ve missed it somewhere but only have photopass photos to refer back to. We managed to get in to see Minnie and Mickey which had been abandoned the first week because of DD2 being ill. This was one of my favourite interactions of the trip. The characters, handler and photographer were all fantastic with both girls. We were there for ages and got some great photos.
This is one of my favourites

We also got a family photo in front of the tree of life. I was really unsure because he literally snapped twice and sent us off. The photos were great though!

Back to Gasparilla’s where the supervisor didn’t even need me to order and knew our name. I guess that’s what happens with over a week of allergy ordering.

Edited at 10:06 AM.
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Old 14 Nov 17, 04:52 PM  
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Day 11 was our last full day so we decided to have a final day in MK. I seem to have muddled up our days and looking at photos we did Small World on our last day. Next we did a final run on Dumbo with an adult in each car. DD1 was talking about going on holiday again today and the first thing she mentioned was Dumbo .

I wanted to get food and felt like trying something other than Tony’s so booked a 2pm reservation at Skipper Canteen. It was barely 1:30 when we left Fantasyland so I thought it would be fine. Didn’t really think it through though and decided to walk right along the parade route through Frontierland. We finally got there with about 5 minutes to spare. Stupid parade!

DD2 fell asleep while we were waiting so I asked if it was ok to take the buggy in. They were lovely about it and put us right at the back in a quiet room. She woke up before we even had drinks on our table though. Never mind! The chef here was really lovely and made a fantastic pasta dish with a custom made sauce. He came out to check how it was too . I asked DH to get his name before we left and really need to get an email address to send in our compliments.
I was really frustrated by the family at the table next to us. I was impressed when they sat down because they had a big bag of toys for their little girl who looked to be under 2. They let her out of her booster half way through the meal though and just let her wander around while they ate. She kept coming right up to DD2 who then wouldn’t touch her food because there was a kid trying to play with her. The parents weren’t even watching her. I had to say something eventually because I didn’t want to pay for a meal for DD2 then have to buy more later due to someone else ignoring their kid. They kept her away for about a minute then left her to run off again. Urg.

Back to the hotel to pack and start to plan for our long trip home on Friday. We realised quite late at night that DD1 was really warm. I checked her temperature and it came out at 39.2. We gave her calpol and kept an eye on her overnight whenever DD2 woke us up. Helpfully she didn’t sleep well all night. Her temperature kept going back up within 4 hours and she had had 3 doses of calpol by the time we were getting up for the day. She had a stuffy nose and a cough too so I was panicking that she had the same bug which had knocked me out for almost a week.
I called a (different) doctor to come out and he arrived at 10am when we were due to check out at 11. He thought it was probably viral but couldn’t see signs of an ear or throat infection, and most importantly couldn’t rule out flu. He gave us amoxicillin and said that flying was a grey area because she was suddenly ill so close to the flight. Another couple of days and he would be able to say for sure if she had flu or something else nasty, but we didn’t have that time.

Biggest mistake we made was to head to the airport as scheduled. Our flight was at 3pm so we needed to go straight there. We talked it over in the car and I was really worried about keeping her temperature down on a plane when she was refusing to eat much or drink. We dropped off the car and paid a guy to take our bags up to the Delta desks, then stood at the wall trying to figure out what to do.
Eventually I called the insurance company to update them and relayed what the doctor had said about flu. She went off to speak to their doctor and came back saying that we couldn’t fly if there was any risk of flu. Great. They recommended waiting until Monday and trying to fly then. She went off to look for accommodation and we started trying to sort out a car. Turns out Alamo Brits works for same day pick ups and we managed to get another car straight away. £100 down and insurance don’t cover cars (but would cover taxi journeys to the same value, gah!).

DH got the car sorted and we saw the luggage guy dropping off someone else’s bags so grabbed him again. $40 in tips later and he had a decent afternoon on us. We still haven’t figured out how much you’re supposed to tip these guys given that they can be with you for 10-15 minutes. We got a Santa Fe in the Fullsize line and I think that I preferred the Dodge Charger we had initially. The Charger definitely had more leg room in the front even though the Santa Fe looked bigger.

We were booked in to the Disney Springs Hilton and it was really awful. Everything that DD2 could touch moved - the chair spun and was on castors, and the drawers pulled out with the slightest effort. There were loads of loose cables under the desk too. The room was tiny and shabby. I think it was actually smaller than our room at AoA earlier in the year. The corridors upstairs were damp and stuffy, and we had to call someone to let us set the air conditioning below 20. He said that it was a Disney green initiative but it’s certainly not anything I’ve ever experienced at a Disney hotel, or even the other Hilton on site. The room really just wasn’t suitable as somewhere to be stuck with a sick child.
I arranged for us to be moved to the Waldorf and it was so much better. There was plenty of space for the girls to play and no issues keeping the room cool to help keep DD1’s temperature down. The furniture was a lot more solid too which meant it was safe for DD2 to crawl around and pull up on stuff. I wasn’t a fan of the $27 per night parking though!
I called Kingdom Strollers who told me that the buggy hadn’t been collected from the Grand Floridian yet. We arranged to extend it until Monday and DH picked it up again.

We managed to get antibiotics in to her “no want my pink calpol” and the fever broke at some point on Saturday. She must have been feeling awful because she sat in bed for hours before even looking at her toys. We managed to eat and wander round Disney Springs for a little while with her in the buggy. We had a bit of a panic about having enough clean clothes to last until Monday and it turned out that neither of the Bonnet Creek hotels have laundry facilities! Luckily Mr Tom Morrow came to our rescue and smuggled us in to the SSR laundry room. We were very grateful to be able to wash enough clothes to get us home. He is such a nice guy too and it was lovely to chat to him for a while, even in such rubbish circumstances.

DD1 was looking much brighter on Sunday and started asking for food and water. We decided to take her to Centra Care rather than paying the upcharge for a doctor to come out to us. I think the doctor we saw works there too because he said we could do either. I wish that we had just called him back because the clinic was grim. The doctor was pretty dismissive too because DD1 by this point didn’t look ill enough to need a doctor, but we had to go for our fit to fly. Eventually she decided that it must have been an ear infection with no signs of an ear infection and someone else saying her ears were clear on Friday. Oh well. She did the fit to fly anyway so all good. It ended up costing the same as the in room doctor so I wish I had known that up front.

Insurance had a hold on BA flights for the Monday but couldn’t book them until Monday morning. I woke up at 7am to find a copy of our etickets... with DH’s name spelled incorrectly. He has one of these awkward names with a Scottish and an English spelling, and they typed in the wrong one. I tried to get in to check the rest of our API and his passport number was wrong. Aargh! Luckily my mum was on messenger and was able to call the insurer for us to sort it all out. Up until that point I had been paying £1 per minute for all calls in and out. At last check my bill was £92 of additional charges .
I got in to both bookings between the ipad and my phone but couldn’t get seats together. They had put me and the girls in bulkhead seats with DH 2 rows behind. I managed to move DD1 beside him and I’m very glad that I did. We take a car seat on board for her and they can’t go in the bulkheads.

The flights were pretty awful. DH and DD1 were in the window seats with a random woman on the aisle, so I couldn’t really talk to them. DD2 is fun but not the best conversationalist. Luckily there were a few other mums around who let me chat to them for a few minutes at a time. It was really tough not being able to sleep for the entire flight. DD2 hated the bulkhead seats too because she likes to stretch out and she kept kicking the fixed arms.
Poor DD1 got a bit unsettled towards the end not being able to talk to mummy . I would never fly separated again.

The BA cabin crew were lovely at least. I couldn’t get a meal because we had booked within 24 hours and so not enough time to order a vegan meal. We stocked up on snacks at the airport, more $$$ but I’d heard a lot of rumours that food going through security was causing huge delays. The guy looking after us went down to business class and picked up a plate of fruit for me at the start of the flight . DD1 stole an apple but at least she was eating!

We had a stressful experience in Gatwick. We got to security and couldn’t find our boarding passes. I had DH go through my handbag but apparently they weren’t there. So off we had to go back downstairs and across the airport to the BA desks to get them reprinted. Back up to security and the family lane was closed. We couldn’t go through the normal lanes because of the kids in slings, so the guy took us to a disabled gate in the main security. It didn’t work either. Third time lucky and we all got through. We picked a lane to go through and so many people were being stopped that it closed for 5 minutes. We got talking to one of the security guys and he moved us to another lane. Finally got through and one of our bags got selected for searching. Apparently DH was so tired that he forgot about putting a bottle of water away in our backpack “in case DD1 wanted a drink after we got off the plane”. Fantastic! Then of course the car seat bag had to go back through because they couldn’t scan it in the bag. We got through with about 20 minutes to spare before the gate was announced.

I was really unimpressed with the setup at Gatwick. They sent us to the gate but then just let people board as they reached the gate. That wasn’t ideal with two under 3s and one with a car seat that needed to be belted in. I think it annoyed the people trying to board around us too which wasn’t fun.

Finally got home 3 days late and absolutely shattered after no sleep on the flights. Edinburgh airport parking were great and didn’t charge us any extra. Now I just need to figure out how we’re going to pay for the car hire, parking, resort fees, food (mostly in the hotel because she was feeling so awful), extra toiletries and baby Tylenol at $7 a bottle ...

So it was an eventful trip. We had planned to do so much more and this was going to be our “big” trip. I was feeling so rough for so much of it though that it was a bit of a bust. By the end of it we were just glad that we’ve already got April 2018 booked. At least the girls mostly had a fantastic time though, and we managed to get the full holiday in before the panic of an ill toddler.

Edited at 02:08 PM.
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Old 14 Nov 17, 04:52 PM  
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I thought I’d do a summary of my thoughts of everything with two infants just to finish up.

Slings - these are a must do for us. We use Connecta Solars in baby and toddler sizes. DD1 will fit the baby size but is easier to carry in the toddler. We use them through the airport and in ride queues or if we need to take trams.

Buggy rental - we just don’t have space for a buggy with everything else. Kingdom Strollers have been fantastic with us every time we’ve used them. Imo there’s nothing better in the parks than a baby jogger.

Snooze shade - I put this across the bottom of the buggy to cover their legs. It stops feet getting caught in the sun but also keeps toys inside. The girls both had soft toys in with them and they spent as much time below their feet inside the snooze shade as they did being cuddled.

Baby swap - so much easier than trying to get 2 fast passes in as single riders. I tend to only book one of us on now and use rider switch for the other. It means we don’t have to ride back to back too if the kids are getting tired/bored/hungry.

Baby care centres - I’m a big advocate of these. They have much nicer changing facilities, and cool rooms with tv and books or colouring which can give the toddler a bit of a break from busy parks. Both of my girls have been easily distracted while feeding and I’ve found the feeding rooms work well for me. I have fed (or tried anyway!) everywhere around the parks and still head to baby care if I can.

Park bag - we take a backpack with slings folded up, cardigans for the girls, disposable bibs (tommee tippee are the best!), wipes in a sealed sandwich bag for meals, milton wipes and two wet bags. The wet bags act as mini changing bags with nappies, wipes, changing mat and clean clothes in sandwich bags. I find it easier to have extra wipes because it’s quicker to grab from the top of the bigger bag, plus we go through them really quickly with two small kids. The wet bags mean we can take a child each for changing and everything is easy to find.

Food - I don’t like the kids going to sleep after dinner so we like to eat at the hotel. It worked much better when we were at AoA in the summer but Gasparilla’s wasn’t awful. We like to do table service lunches because it’s a lot less stressful than trying to find a suitable table and highchairs in a quick service. The kids options tend to be a LOT better too (notable exceptions are the places in Disney Springs). I found allergy dining was much easier in table service restaurants.

Grand Floridian - I was second guessing booking this over AKL because DD1 loves animals. It was fantastic and I am totally sold on monorail resorts. The staff were lovely and so good with the kids. I really wish we’d had a chance to try out the splash area but I think DD1 was still a bit small. That hat dumps a crazy amount if water on the slides!

Flights - I have no issues flying indirect, and the BA flights would have been fine if we had been together (and DH had opened the folder with BA all over it containing our boarding passes! ). My preference with kids though is Thomas Cook for the direct flights to MCO and extra leg room compared with scheduled airlines.

Car Seats - I definitely prefer the Graco Extend2Fit over the Cosco Scenera Next. It feels more substantial but it’s also far easier to adjust. The latch system on both is horrible to adjust and I still wasn’t fully happy with the fit despite DH pulling them as hard as he could.
DH preferred the Cosco seat on the plane because it’s much lighter to carry round the airport! I still feel that having the car seat on the plane was a benefit at 2.5. DH was using the (mandatory?!) cup holders for snacks on the way home, but it also gives her her own little space. I’m not sure what would have happened if she had been in a lap belt landing in Gatwick when she wanted mummy.

Medicine - I packed a bottle of calpol in our hold luggage and threw in a few syringes. I was very grateful for it when DD2 wasn’t well and again when DD1’s fever appeared. I knew they’d both take it and didn’t have to worry about different doses (tylenol is a different suspension). I also arranged to get 75ml of piriton decanted in to a labelled bottle by our local pharmacy. I wanted it on the plane in case of reactions, and we did end up using it over there. They don’t sell chlorphenamine over there but even at home it’s prescription only under 1. I would recommend packing normal sizes of any regularly used medications in hold luggage.
I’d also recommend taking anbesol, saline nasal spray, travel calpol and a small tub of any prescription emollient in hand luggage. I discovered on this trip that you can stick a syringe inside a sachet of travel calpol and get about 3ml out (so I used 2 to make up 5ml).

Character meets - we have never gone wrong with Mickey in Epcot or AK. Garden Grill was our favourite character meal. We think it’s probably quieter because there are so many places to eat in Epcot.

Trunki - a lot of people hate them but I like it as a travel toy box.

The girls had free access to their toys in the room and it was easy to fold up to keep out of the way. I carried it around the airport and it sat fairly comfortably on my shoulder.

Bubble wand/balloon - DD1 loved both of these. I was a bit uncomfortable with the string on the balloon and we had to watch her playing with it. I put it up on the sofa overnight so that it would be away from her. I’m still out on the use of helium but we didn’t buy it. I have no regrets over the bubble wand.

Here are a few photos of the chaos that was our room to show how everything fitted. The buggy was folded by the window overnight because it took up the whole width of the hall.

I hope this is useful to someone .

Edited at 02:16 PM.
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Old 14 Nov 17, 05:10 PM  
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Gosh, it sounds like a mammoth task ensuring that you have food you can eat! $60 for a plate of veg, I'd have gone to customer services I'm afraid! Apart from that it sounds like you're having fun.

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Old 15 Nov 17, 02:11 PM  
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Originally Posted by Pussycat Doll View Post
Gosh, it sounds like a mammoth task ensuring that you have food you can eat! $60 for a plate of veg, I'd have gone to customer services I'm afraid! Apart from that it sounds like you're having fun.
It’s certainly not easy! I started off eating some dairy because we had been ok at home for a couple of weeks, but cut it all out again when she got ill. You do get used to it eventually though.
I am considering writing to complain now that we’re home. I felt like it was my fault for being awkward but really the whole experience was horrible. I’ve edited the post now, he laughed at me when I said that I was a vegetarian and didn’t eat fish. Apparently that made me vegan . It went downhill from there really.
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Old 1 Jan 18, 08:58 PM  
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Just an update on the insurance if anyone is interested. It took us ages to get all of the paperwork sorted, but the claim has finally been settled. I called back and pushed the point on the car hire since it would probably have cost them more to put us in taxis. The guy I dealt with was fantastic and agreed to refund up to the equivalent taxi cost.

Overall we’re only down about £200 excluding excess which is amazing really considering the amount on our credit cards when we got home!
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