Posted on October 5, 2016
Well, we are back from Disney and despite setbacks (me being wheelchair bound and then catching a righteous flu) we are now settling back into our daily routine. It’s always hard to hit the ground running right after vacation but it is even more difficult when you get home and have a raging fever and a cough that won’t quit. I had no intention of taking sick days after our vacation (as it is bad form) but I have had no choice but to take a day and a half because I truly am under-the-weather.
Although that puts some delay in our plan to get back and get organized, I do have to say that Mr. Tucker is an unsung superhero of our time! As soon as we got back home he tossed all the laundry in the washer & headed out to grab a few groceries for the week. He’s pretty much been solo-parenting as I have been sleeping every possible moment I can, so by this weekend I am sure he’ll be beat.
Not going to lie: we totally sprung for the build-your-own droid & build-your-own light sabre stations
The kids had an amazing time and we had an amazing time watching them enjoy themselves. Still, here are a few observations from last week:
1 – The amount of food and food waste is sad: we got the free meal plan with our vacation and even then it was way too much food. Often we shared one quick service (ie: cafeteria style) meal between two of us. In the end, we even left 5 meals on our plan that went completely uneaten. The portions were immense.
The buffets were all meat covered with cheese covered with meat covered with a meat sauce (ok, an exaggeration but not by much) that I ended up mostly at the salad bar. Most of the cooked vegetables were even covered with so much sauce that rendered them a shadow of their former selves. Honestly, I get it: Disney has to serve hundreds of thousands of meals in a week and they need to serve what appeals to the most people. But even with that seeing so much waste left on plates was really sad, which is obviously not Disney’s fault. They even had signs that read “please eat only what you can enjoy” which mostly went unheeded.
Having said all that though, the GIANT BOWL of gummy bears in the children’s breakfast buffet was a bit over-the-top. We had to argue with the kids over what constitutes a sensible amount of gummy bears for breakfast. Sheesh!
The kids enjoyed collecting autographs during our character dining meals
2 – Disney is a pro at accommodating people with disabilities: Despite some major setbacks (the Magic Express lift broke and I ended up having to finagle my way off the bus, and I only got a partially-accessible room), the actual accommodation for transportation within the parks & on rides was on point. With the exception of the People Mover (the only one I could not do) if you can manage to take one or two steps, you can pretty much do almost all the rides.
Disney also has the DAS where you can go and get a special pass if you can’t wait in line. Since it’s done on the honour system a lot has been written about how this can get abused. We did not get a special pass as I can wait, I just can’t walk. Even without the pass, a lot of the access to rides happens via the fastpass line if you are in a wheelchair, so a few times we were lucky to bypass some lines, even when I told the attendant that I could wait in line with everyone else.
Also – and I thought this was the coolest – some rides like The Seas with Nemo and Friends, as well as It’s a Small World have wheelchair-accessible cars that you can access with a chair. For other rides – especially ones with moving walkways – they will stop the ride so you can get on. It’s impressive and I am so grateful: this allowed me to do every ride except one. I was completely impressed by this. Great job, Disney!
3 – Having stayed at a budget resort and a luxury resort the better deal is…*drumroll* …it depends. Honestly, being in a wheelchair made staying at the luxury resort on the monorail so much less stressful than having to bus everywhere, which takes longer. When you are in a wheelchair everything already takes a ton of time so being on the line was a bonus this time around.
The overflowing top hat was a huge hit
Still, I feel I got even better service at the budget resort & the quick service meal options were so much better. The quick service meal options at the luxury resort were extremely limited and a bit frustrating. The pool and play area were 100x nicer at the luxury resort, and the rooms were bigger but how many hours do you realistically spend at the pool when you are generally in the parks during the day? You also only use a room to sleep, so really it’s a bit of a waste considering the budget resort rooms are clean and serviceable. If I went back – and assuming I was able-bodied at that point – I would definitely go budget resort again. You get the same, great Disney service at a fraction of the price. Disney can be as pricey or as inexpensive as you make it as they have figured out how to drawn in people at all different price points. Smart.
4 – Mr. Tucker is a champ: he hates roller coasters and still managed to suck it up and do all of them with the kids. On the day we were at Animal Kingdom it rained and most people left so we were able to do Expedition Everest six times in a row (much to the chagrin of Mr. Tucker’s stomach!). He was amazing the entire trip, and now he has the healthiest cardiovascular system in our city owing to the fact that he pushed me and my wheelchair for miles and miles, up and down hills, and in the rain and shine. What a trooper!
5 – Disney truths: if you bring a rain poncho, it will never rain. If you forget a rain poncho, it will pour.
Packing to come home
Overall, I am glad we had this trip. Sprout is old enough now that she pretends she is not into the fun stuff anymore but it was great to see her eventually get caught up in the moment with the characters when she let herself. The Bean is at an age where she LOVES IT ALL and isn’t afraid to show it, so watching her unabashed excitement was worth every penny to me.
It is good to be home though, and since this weekend is Thanksgiving here in Canada, we will have an extra day to enjoy. I am grateful for that because we will use it to prep our winter stuff & to have both sides of the family over for dinner. Until then, we are settling back into our school/work routine as I convalesce from this horrible flu.