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Spring Break 2012

Our kids have a two-week spring break that occurs earlier than most other schools. This allows us to avoid peak crowds if we travel, and schedule time to regroup at home before merging back into life's routines. Staycations are luxuriously long, too. Plenty of time to accomplish some spring cleaning, and refortify with a few pajama days.

This year we decided to go to Orlando. We did Disney World and Universal. For twelve days.

We got off to a rough start in typical Ross fashion, complete with a trip to an urgent care facility the night we arrived in Orlando. Redmond (6) passed a kidney stone or crystal. Extremely painful for him, but other than feeling tired the next morning, he recovered and was fine for the rest of the trip.

We've been spoiled by past spring break experiences. The California theme parks we visited in prior years have been crowd-free in late February and early March. In spite of the tips we received from supportive, Orlando veterans, and encouraging friends (Thank you, all!), we weren't prepared for the monumental task of parking, getting from the parking lot to a theme park, the massive amount of people...with strollers...even in the rain, the long lines, and the pushing.

One woman hip checked me as we tried to board a tram from the parking lot to the Magic Kingdom. She ended up sitting directly across from me on the tram (karma) and I could tell she felt sheepish.

Although the days were full and I need one of those post-vacation vacations, the boys had a great time. They hit it hard every day, with Chris tethered to Parke (14) and Duke (12), and me to Redmond. The older boys enjoy thrill rides, Redmond does not. Chris has an iron stomach, I get motion sick. We were all happy and well-matched in our exploratory small groups.

Redmond and I braved one thrill ride on our own.

Jurassic Park

Then Chris, Parke, and Duke talked us into another.

Expedition Everest

And one more. 

A family that screams together, stays together!

Redmond and I cried uncle after getting soaked on Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls. Several times during the ride Redmond said, "I hate this."

For a mother who poo-poos violent video games and doesn't own a gun or hunt, I got an odd charge from the shoot-at-target rides.

I LOVED this, and all the other shoot 'em up rides.

Redmond and I may scream like girls on a vertical drop, but when Chris and the older boys joined us (after several practice runs) we kicked tail on Men In Black Alien Attack.

When I get rich and famous, I'll have one of these in my backyard. For the record, I outscored all of my fellas by 100,000 points.

Thrill rides, kidney stones, hip checks, and 26-hour days aside...we had fun trying on hats, watching shows, exploring Tom Sawyer Island, *avoiding characters, sipping slushies, butterbeer, or beer beer, and generally...not being at home for a while.

Happy!*Redmond has an aversion to people dressed up in big plush costumes. We had to implement a family "character alert" code to ensure well-intended park employees didn't approach him. Redmond tried to crawl up my shirt every time a four-fingered hand waved at him.

Reader Comments (13)

Redmond had a kidney stone your first night in Orlando? What is it with you guys and tropical vacations? I'm so sorry he (and you) went through that.

Love all the photos. I went to Universal about 20 years ago on a cold, rainy Wednesday in mid-January and still had to wait in line for more than an hour for each attraction. At the end of the day, we'd been on something like five rides.

My Florida relatives love all things Disney, we went as a couple in the 80s, but we've never taken the kids there. We did hit Sea World with them a few years ago and I was surprised how much I enjoyed that.

Wow Chrisy, busy vacation. Sounds like a lot of fun. I just got home from my spring break and I need a vacation away from my family. LOL The one girl in the middle of your shoot'em up game, her expression is hilarious.

Hope Redmond is on the mend. Hope you can relax now that the vacation is over :)

March 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy Schow

V, yes! He was in so much pain—he asked me to call the paramedics. As intense and terrible as the situation was, he felt perfectly fine when it was over. Like nothing ever happened. My adrenalin surge during the ordeal resulted in the biggest, grossest nose herpes ever. (Sorry. TMI.) Parke also kicked off the trip with a miserable virus, BUT, all is well now. :)

The lines were miserable. The kids even got to the point where they decided a long wait wasn't worth the two-minute ride experience. There were so many other things to see and do. We didn't make it to Sea World, but we've been twice to the one in San Diego. We all enjoyed it, too.

Betsy, I understand. We moms sing the same songs. :) Redmond's completely fine and we're all sleeping like rocks in our own beds. Hope you are, too!

March 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChrisy

what an adventure! loved the pics, too. we have never tried disney....

March 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteranna see

Great telling. I so do not want to go now! Eventually I know I will buckle. And go. And have fun.

March 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Memories..... the first time we went to Orlando, Michael was three.... he started barfing on the plane on the way down, and I spent the first two days in the hotel room. After that, he loved every second, searching out the creepy plush animals for hugs. He became upset when, after hugging Eyore (sp??), three or four times he couldn't make him smile...!

March 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Hilarious, as always. Loved the pics.

March 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCorbie

Poor Redmond! Poor you! What do you think -12 days was just right or too long? I'm not sure I could handle it for more than a few days. I'm hoping to postpone our inevitable Disney trip until our youngest is at least 5 or 6...

And, I have say, HOT shoes momma! :)

Love all the pix!

March 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterchristy

Anna, it's worth the effort, but I think we're all good for a while.
Michael, I understand. You should go, though. Fun awaits you. :)
Pam, I find comfort in the fact that you can relate to so many of our *adventures*. Throwing-up vs. kidney stone? Sixes.
Corbie, you're nice. xo
Christy, you're wise to wait a while. For us, two more days would have completed the experience more fully. The parks are so spread out and crowded, the whole park-hopping idea wasn't a reality for us. I think for return visitors who know exactly what they want to see and do, a shorter trip would work. But we wanted to explore EVERYTHING. Our boys were thrilled to be there, absorb details, and take their time. Really depends on the family, in my humble opinion. (The shoes were comfy. They glowed in the dark...a little dorky.)

March 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterchrisy

We were in "Harry Potterland" on Monday and Tuesday this week. While watching the Hogwarts chior sing with their toads, a woman climbed over the little girl in a stoller next to me and stood directly in front of that child, completely blocking her view. The little girl made a face, grabbed her wand, and started casting spells at that womans ankles. Couldn't help but giggle. I nudged her mother and pointed down at her. "She's gonna want her money back on that wand."

March 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeb

You do have incredible vacation tales, don't you? And seriously? I do not like guns or violent video games. At all. But get me on Buzz Lightyear or Toy Story at Disneyland, put a pistol in my hand, and I want to shoot everything. Bullseye! :-)

We last went to Orlando when Laura was a week preschooler. I think it's time to go again. You've inspired me.


March 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCheri @ Blog This Mom!

"four fingered hand" - Ha!

Chris and I are both total wimps when it comes to rides so I can't imagine when we'll do a theme park... Luckily, at least two of our kids seem to be on the same page. I wonder when the third will start feeling seriously cheated. Perhaps we'll have to do trips with friends so SOMEONE can take the kids on a roller coaster or two (Chris would puke and I'd have a panic attack - not ideal for a fun family vacation).

Loved the pictures in this!

March 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Coveny hood

A kidney stone - OUCH.

I went to disney world when I was three - and I have a vivid memory of mickey mouse trying to come say hello to me and me crying and running away.

All I'm saying is Redmond - I feel ya, buddy.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeidre

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