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.
Then Chris, Parke, and Duke talked us into another.
And one more.
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.
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.
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.
*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.